Make the most of compact camera output

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Chillijam, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. Chillijam macrumors member

    Chillijam

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    Location:
    UK, but maybe not for much longer
    #1
    Hi,

    I have a Fuji F11 compact camera that has always done well enough for me - I haven't yet persuaded myself to dive into photography in a much bigger way - I'm not sure I have the eye for it at the moment.

    Anyway, here are a few shots I took at my folks' place yesterday. As you can see, the camera has done about what you'd expect from a compact. I was really hoping someone could give me some hints or suggestions on what I could do to make the most of the images I did manage to get.

    The first two were taken in the morning with some lovely mist, and I was trying for a decent amount of contrast with the minimal detail that is available.
    The next three were more atmospheric shots of a couple of areas of interest around the place, followed by a slightly shallower DOF shot of an old wooden crate. The remaining three were attempts at a different quality of light taken at around dusk.

    If anyone could offer any words of wisdom, I'd really appreciate the guidance on making the most of these images.

    Thanks in advance
    Marc.
     
  2. SummerBreeze macrumors 6502a

    SummerBreeze

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #2
    I'd first like to say that you have a good eye for composition! Most people underestimate their photography capabilities, but I believe we can all learn a lot just from checking out online resources and shooting, shooting, shooting.

    The real question here is, what kind of photo editing software do you have? Photoshop is a very powerful tool, and not just for airbrushing celebrities. If you've got it, great, if not, I would recommend The Gimp, which is a free, open source Photoshop like program with a solid user base that can do everything you need it to do. Photoshop is relatively expensive, and that's money better spent on a camera.

    I've done a five minute color correction of one of your photos, I hope that is okay. If not, just let me know, I'll take it down.

    What I've done here is used levels to get a more correct exposure. I then made some fine adjustments in curves. I created another curves layer to pump up the green of the grass, and blended that so I didn't get a green sky. A final curves level brought out the beautiful pink in the sky. I finished by cloning out the telephone pole and wires in the upper left of the image.

    If that was all gibberish to you, you can check out some levels and curves tutorials on the web. These two tools are really the only ones you need to make your photos really pop. That, combined with the clone tool (to remove unwanted, distracting bits of the image) are the main tools that photographers use to make their digital images even better. If you master these three tools, you can do a lot to correct your images.

    You may also want to borrow a friend's DSLR camera to see what full manual controls can do for you. Of course, you don't need a DSLR to get full manual controls, so you might want to look at point and shoots with Aperture and Shutter priority modes when you get your next camera if you don't want to make the jump to DSLR. I hope this was helpful and not too rambley (I've only had one cup of coffee this morning!). Let me know if you have any questions!
     

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  3. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Ireland
    #3
    At the moment you don't necessarily need a DSLR.
    Enroll in a decent photography evening class and explore the camera you have.

    Too many people think that having a more expensive camera will automatically mean better pictures ..... I'm afraid that rarely is the case .... :(
     
  4. Chillijam thread starter macrumors member

    Chillijam

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    Location:
    UK, but maybe not for much longer
    #4
    SummerBreeze : Thanks for doing that. It looks great, and the steps you described sound simple enough. Of course, I would have to try it out for myself. I'll have a look at some similar shots that I didn't post and see what I can do.

    Father Jack : You are right. I didn't actually mean investment in a DSLR as much as an investment in time to learn the techniques, bith of shooting and tweaking.

    Thanks again for the input. Anyone else have anything they'd like to add?
     
  5. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Ireland
    #5
    Hope you don't mind, I lightened it a bit .. :eek:
     

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  6. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Ireland
  7. ::Lisa:: macrumors 6502a

    ::Lisa::

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    #7
    I agree with what everyone else is saying.

    You don't necessarily need a new camera, I have seen some fine, fine images taken from P&S cameras. Personally, you could make them a lot better by editing levels, curves etc on them in Photoshop/Aperture etc.

    I took one and editied it in Photoshop to show the difference (hope you don't mind, before at top, after on bottom)
     

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  8. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #8
    Carry on with your p&s camera for a bit, while trying to tweak the colour, tone, line, composition, etc. Then, when you plump for a DSLR, you'll 'hit the ground running'. And there are plenty of great second-hand cameras on the market, thanks to amateur snappers thinking they must trade in a year-old camera for something even newer. :)
     
  9. HomeingPigeon macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #9
    Some of your photos seem a bit overexposed. That can be changed in a simple photo editing program.
     
  10. HomeingPigeon macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #10
    Some of your photos seem a bit overexposed. That can be changed in a simple photo editing program.
     
  11. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #11
    Love this comment!

    Anyway, I honestly think you could hang onto that camera for a bit longer and take Doylem's advice. I think you're probably going to be happier with a DSLR in the end but even a DSLR won't teach you about color, tone, line etc. Does your camera offer any type of manual control? Exposure compensation etc?
     

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