What am I doing wrong??

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by sud, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. sud macrumors regular

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    #1
    Seems that every time I take photos of plants and flowers I seem to get nasty blurry reds and purple, I am using a tripod but still get this sort of result. i have done some research and some sites say that a polarizing filter may help?

    I was shooting with a 50D and 17-40 f4 L

    My photos also dont seem to be as sharp or "pop" as others do, any advice would be much welcomed.

    Have posted some samples of what I have taken.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. timmyb macrumors 6502

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    #2
    I have no expertise with this, however a couple of my thought...

    1. The one of the red flower is taken at ISO 400 which might have an effect on the sharpness.
    2. Which colour were you metering on?
     
  3. svndmvn Guest

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    #3
    I'm on my iPhone and cannot check but it might have to do with the aperture?and of course colour metering
     
  4. sud thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    To be honest I did not know you could meter on a specific color, how would you go about doing that?
     
  5. timmyb macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Again this may be a bit rough but I'll give it a go.

    Different colours give off different levels of light, (by definition,) so if you're using spot metering and meter off say the colour green, you may end up with the other colours looking a bit off in terms of their exposure.

    However I don't know if the same problem occurs with matrix metering?
     
  6. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

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    #6
    If you use a UV filter on your lens, then try removing it and take some photos to see if they improve.

    I used to have a cheap UV filter on my EF70-200mm f/4L, and the photos were seldom sharp and had a constant blur throughout. After removing the filter, it was fantastic. Now that I know what's causing my issues, a new filter can be purchased (unfortunately a good B&W filter is expensive).
     
  7. anubis macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Well, I think close-up macro photography like you seem to be trying to do is probably the LAST thing the lens you're trying to use was designed for. In fact it's probably one of the worst lenses you could pick for the job. If you're really wanting good flower close-ups, you should get a dedicated macro lens.
     
  8. sud thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    If the lens is no good for the job, would that cause the reds to look as they do? or would that just effect the sharpness?

    I was thinking that perhaps it was the harsh morning sunlight, these were taken at the same time, from at least 1m away and also look crappy.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. anubis macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    That would do it. Also, if you looked at your histogram, you'll probably find that most of your images are overexposed...

    I'm not familiar with the 50D so I don't know what kind of in-camera processing can be programmed. Are you shooting JPEG or RAW? If you're shooting JPEG, what settings do you have in the camera? Do you have some kind of strong contrast setting enabled? Are you overexposing? Do you have overly aggressive sharpening enabled? If you're shooting in RAW, what program are you using to do the RAW processing and tone curve?

    I think it's a combination of wrong equipment for the job, overexposure, harsh midday light, and too much post contrast.
     
  10. mknawabi macrumors 6502

    mknawabi

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    #10
    A lot of it is also postprocessing. Move up close with your lens, shoot in RAW, edit the whole shebang in aperture or lightroom. Make sure you get a good exposure, meter a neutral color to get the best range. As for the shots not being sharp, ASA 400 is fine, just make sure there is no wind blowing before you take your shot. Shutter speeds of 1/125 or higher will definitely help, though.
     
  11. JSF macrumors member

    JSF

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    #11
    Sud, a circular polarizer would help. It cuts the glare from the sun on the foliage. The blur has nothing to do with your lens. It looks like to me you are using a large aperture. In the pics it seems like one thing is in focus and the rest is not. Try stopping down the aperture to around f/11 and see if you like the results better. More of the picture will be in focus. When photographing plants and landscapes a polarizer is pretty much a must have. Plants throw off a lot of glare from the sun.
     
  12. sud thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    I have the camera set up as it was when new out the box, I was shooting jpeg with metering set to Evaluative. Looking the histogram in aperture it does show they are leaning to the bright side/over exposed. I have not done any post processing of the photos but from now on will be shooting raw.

    When you all shoot raw do you convert the raw file to jpeg after processing and bin the raw after done, or do you keep the raw file? I ask because my raw files seem to be upwards of 19mb and would consume huge amounts of disc space.

    How do I meter a neutral color?
     
  13. sud thread starter macrumors regular

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  14. firstapple macrumors 6502a

    firstapple

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    #14
    Are you using any applications to edit the photos with, or are you just posting untouched photos?

    It seems like with a lot of these, a simple few editing touches in Aperture or iPhoto would fix them up real nice. On others, they are definitely out of focus and not much can be done with those.

    I would also have to agree that most of these are overexposed as well...
     
  15. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    #15
    I never delete RAW files. If I'm consuming a lot of disk space, I buy an external hard drive. Right now, with six hard drives, I'm sitting on over 2 terabytes of disc space.

    Treat your RAW files as you would a film negative. It's something you can always go back to and start over with.
     
  16. thomahawk macrumors 6502a

    thomahawk

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    #16
    i think the exposure is just too much, i would suggest lowering the exposure of your camera, thats why you take test shots and stuff to set the settings properly to initiate a masterpiece shot.
    if your camera is set to auto focus and auto exposure, your going to have to change things manuelly to set your wants and needs
    however your photos can be solved with a little touch ups via lightroom or aperture. so basically you wont need to constantly change your settings on your camera.

    overall nice pictures! fool around with lighroom or aperture to get the feel you want out of your picture!
    good luck and have fun
     
  17. sud thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    Thanks for all the advice and tips! Will get back out today lowering the exposure and try shooting at f11 in raw.
     
  18. timmyb macrumors 6502

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    #18
    I don't understand why so many people are suggesting post-processing. If you're a beginner, (like me,) then you'll have enough on your hands learning to use the camera without needing to worry about Photoshop/Aperture. Playing around with pp/filters etc. can come afterwards - the returns on learning to basics now will be much greater, (and will mean you'll be able to fully exploit the extras in the future.)

    My suggestions would be to:
    1. Switch to manual mode, (it's not as daunting as it seems!)
    2. Pick a subject
    3. Take hundreds of photos of it, (they're all free!) Experiment with different combinations of aperture/shutter speed/focal length and see what you get. The only thing to make sure is that they all give a 'correct' exposure, (i.e. the exposure meter reads 0.)
    Most of the photos won't be up to much but there'll be a few good ones in there and more importantly, you should end up having learnt something about your camera.

    If you need a good site for the basics then this is one I like.
     
  19. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    #19
    I do enjoy someone stating they're a beginner and then questioning why others are giving the advice they're giving.

    First off, post-processing is not the same as running filters. It is defining your white and black points, color balancing, introducing sharpening, and all the other stuff you would do if you were in the darkroom. So the / is not needed in reference.

    Manual mode isn't as glorious as people make it out to be. Aperture or shutter priority are equally as sufficient. I only shoot manual when I'm using strobe lighting. Otherwise, I shoot Aperture and use exposure compensation if needed.

    I do agree with shooting a subject over and over with different light and camera settings, though. Better yet, put it on a tripod and change the camera settings. That way, you erase the camera shake variable and can focus only on what a setting means.
     
  20. sud thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    Thanks for that timmyb, you have given some excellent advice and the link is just what I have been looking for. Once again thanks to everyone!
     
  21. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

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    #21
    There's nothing wrong with your advice here, but the OP had a specific problem that he was trying to address. That's why people have been suggesting post processing to deal with these issues. Setting a camera to manual mode does not deal with the problem.
     
  22. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

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    #22
    I totally agree. Most pros that I know shoot with Aperture Priority. I'd only use Manual if I were planning to use settings the camera did not agree with, like in astrophotography.

    There are a lot of benefits of using manual focus though.
     
  23. neutrino23 macrumors 65816

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    SF Bay area
    #23
    I use the Canon 40D so the controls are probably similar. When viewing the image in the camera click the info button once to see a histogram then click it again to see separate histograms for each color. When shooting flowers I frequently see one color much brighter than the others. The nice thing about shooting RAW is that you can lower the exposure to capture all the information cleanly then worry about presenting a nice image later.
     
  24. timmyb macrumors 6502

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    #24
    You're more than welcome.

    From reading the OP's initial question I thought that they were looking for how to improve future photos and the ones provided were just samples, not specific ones that needed rescuing in Photoshop. As such giving some advice on how to approach the next day seemed best.

    I was giving my opinion. Personally I don't like the idea that pp can be the solution for so much, (as is often proposed,) and looking at the photos I didn't think it would be in this case. However I wanted to prefix this to let the OP know it was the view of someone with limited experience. There are many ways to skin a cat but given that the OP didn't know about metering it led me to think that perhaps there were some simpler solutions than learning how to pp, buying a filter, (or even a new lens :eek:.) In my opinion the first shot was overexposed and the last two could have done with having the subject more isolated. Learning about the different settings will help a great deal to solve those issues in the future.

    I was using the '/' in place of 'or' - whilst I have no idea how to use filters I know they are not the part of pp.

    I found going straight from auto to M a really useful learning experience. I used A and S for a bit but didn't fully understand what the camera was doing to correct the exposure, (or rather why it was doing it.) Being forced to change both aperture and shutter speed myself made me think more about why I was doing it and now it's second nature.
     
  25. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

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    #25
    Fair enough. When I bought my first SLR ('97), the thing that made me first switch from auto to the creative modes was the fact that auto kept making the flash pop up when I didn't want it to! :)
     

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