Are My Expectations Too High?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Nobody Famous, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. Nobody Famous macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #1
    I enjoy taking pictures with our Canon Powershot S45 4.1 MP P&S. Some shots are great, but all can use a little tweaking.
    I bought Lightroom 1.1 and Kelby’s book on how to use it, consume all the internet articles I can find, watch tutorials by the dozens, and listen to Podcasts every chance I get.
    My question is: why aren’t my edited shots closer, comparatively, to the great shots I see here or in the articles and books? Essentially I can white balance, crop and use red-eye reduction very well. But playing with luminance, saturation and sharpening just isn't taking the photo to where I'd like for it to go.
    I’m not interested in trying to sell my pix … but are my expectations of Lightroom too high for wanting to edit/process/develop a little closer to “great”?
    Suggestions would be greatly appreciated. If anyone recommends upgrading to a better camera, tell me all about it.
     
  2. Aperture macrumors 68000

    Aperture

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    Mar 19, 2006
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    PA
    #2
    Maybe you could give us an example so we can see what you mean? I'm just kind of confused as to what exactly are wrong with your pictures.

    Don't get too frustrated, though. We all take bad pictures along with our good pictures. Even the professionals throw out a few of their images; it is to be expected.
     
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #3
    How does one critique photos without examples?
     
  4. aaron.lee2006 macrumors 65816

    aaron.lee2006

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    Ontario, Canada
    #4
    It is all in the lenses. Most DSLR cameras today produce the same quality of image. Lenses are what make the difference. There are a wide variety and many different prices as well. A better lens, a better photo.
     
  5. chriscorbin macrumors 6502

    chriscorbin

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    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    #5
    It's not just the camera or the software, its you to certain extent, artists don't make great paintings because they have the best brushes, or the best clay, its an art, not a science, well kinda? You have to look at why your shots are bad, and improve that, it my be that you are using the wrong camera settings, or you might need to work on your composition. you are not going to get published in national geographic overnight:D
     
  6. Aperture macrumors 68000

    Aperture

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    #6
    Yes... but you don't need the best glass to get good shots.

    Couldn't have said it better myself. :)
     
  7. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

    TheAnswer

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    #7
    It's probably not a matter of expectations. Unless you expect to get to the "great" level overnight. Keep in mind that the pressing of the shutter button and post-processing are only about a third (at most) of making a great photo. Some of it is equipment, but a lot of it is framing/composition and setting your aperture and shutter speed appropriately for the light level and the composition.
     
  8. aaron.lee2006 macrumors 65816

    aaron.lee2006

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    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #8
    I certainly agree. But to some extent you need to have right equipment. You can't expect to buy an HP P&S and expect to become a famous photographer with it unless you find a way to take nude pictures of a celebrity ;)
     
  9. Aperture macrumors 68000

    Aperture

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    #9
    ;)
     
  10. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #10
    I'm not sure why so many people think they're going to take great pictures the moment they first pick up a camera. Photography's both art and science; photographers improve in small increments as they refine their technique and their 'eye' for a picture. It really is like playing a musical instrument. Just because you buy a guitar and a book of chords, that doesn't mean you're going to sound like (**insert the great guitarist of your choice or era**).

    It's frustrating to watch a virtuoso zipping up and down the fretboard while you're trying to force your fingers into simple chord shapes. But the guy was once a beginner too... he just practised, practised, practised for years and years and years, learning everything he needed to know, so that now he can make the whole thing look effortless.

    So hard work and patience are what's required for anyone wanting to learn the art and craft of photography. The learning curve in almost certainly steeper with digital than it is with film, you don't really pay for all the mistakes, and the process can be a lot of fun.

    As someone once said to me: "It takes 1/250th of a second - and ten years - to take a good photograph...".
     
  11. Aperture macrumors 68000

    Aperture

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    #11
    Even after your post edit, I'd still like to see some examples of your editing to see if maybe we can help. Still, it has to be a decent photograph when it comes off the camera. Editing can help make a good photograph better - not necessarily a crappy photograph good. The key is to get a good photograph right off the camera, then tweak the coloring, etc to make it superior.

    That is an interesting quote.
     
  12. J'aime macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    #12
    As the others said, pictures would help us help you. Otherwise it kinda sounds like you're trying to post-process things that should be done before you press the shutter button. Since you're using a p&s it may be that your camera just doesn't have the capability to easily change settings. If you want to stay with p&s, you might want to consider upgrading to canon powershot s5 is, or getting an entry level dSLR like the XT so that you can take advantage of better lenses.
     
  13. Nobody Famous thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2007
    #13
    "Before" taken with a Nikon D200 in jpeg format. "After" was after I threw in the towel with Lightroom and knocked it out in minutes with iPhoto.
    Thanks for all who've replied, sorry I didn't clarify better in my original post.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. M@lew macrumors 68000

    M@lew

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    Nov 18, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #14
    Well for the picture you just posted, processing isn't really going to make it better or worse. For the type of picture that it is, it's fine the way it was taken. Whether or not processing will make a photo better will depend on what the photo is and how it was taken.
     
  15. J'aime macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2007
    #15
    Seconded, to the OP: you may want to read up on some composition techniques like the rule of thirds. It doesn't seem to me like your photo has a problem with luminance, saturation, or sharpening.
     
  16. Aperture macrumors 68000

    Aperture

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    #16
    Exactly. With that type of photo (like a family scrapbook-y photo) it is fine. I'd have done a few of things you did to the first one as well (if I was to edit it) such as a little exposure boost and maybe a little saturation & contrast. Maybe it just isn't my style but I'd stay away from such an extreme vignette.

    Are those kind of photos the majority of what you are taking?

    Btw, the baby's face is hilarious.
     
  17. kcross macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #17
    in short. yes.

    you're simplifying photography too far. if you're looking for those crisp portraits without distracting backgrounds you so often see here and in magazines the number one thing you are disregarding is aperture. aperture. aperture. aperture. and all that aperture costs a lot of money.
     
  18. Nobody Famous thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2007
    #18
    Yes. Tons of family/scrapbooky photos.
    I'm beginning to appreciate the significance of the replies and help posted here.
    I have some learning to do.
    I've ordered Peterson's Understanding Exposure, recommended by Lovesong in a different thread. After reading the reviews I figure it's a good place to start. Any other suggestions: take a class, shadow a pro, find a club ... ?
     
  19. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    Omaha, NE, USA
    #19
    Understanding Exposure is a great book, it explains alot of the key ideas in a straightforward way. Other than that, just keep shooting, as they say "practice makes perfect"
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #20
    Good Google terms:

    Rule of thirds
    Leading lines
    Negative space
    Fill flash
    Dragging the shutter

    Good concepts:

    Get low
    Get close
    Simplify the background
    If you can't afford fast glass, increase the subject to background distance

    Useful sites:

    http://super.nova.org/toc/index.html
    http://strobist.blogspot.com/



    "I only shoot natural light" is generally a euphemism for "I can't light to save my life, I don't understand it and I'm not sure how to learn it" disguised as "purism" by the person doing the talking. Good lighting can save a bad location, and understanding the light in a location can help you with positioning subjects. If you're shooting people and you're not at least using fill flash, you're not likely to be getting optimal results.
     

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