Question for Nuteshack

Joined
Aug 5, 2007
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679
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Chicago, IL
Hey Nute
Hope all is well well with you and your family :smile:

I got a question,
How the heck do you get those AMAZING portraits open at 1.4 so consistantly? It's so hit or miss for me and sometimes very aggravating, i look at your pics and im like "how does he do it!"

Would you mind doing a step by step of your process, I would love to learn from a master like you. i would like to see what im doing wrong.

Pretty Please :biggrin:
 
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Joined
Jan 22, 2007
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722
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Hartsdale, NY
I know you asked Nute, but as someone who shoots wide open using f/1.4 - f/2.0 quite frequently, I can offer some advice.

1) Don't be a focus-recomposer when it comes to shallow depth of field. The old practice of using the center focal point to target your subject and then recompose to fill the frame the way you want to doesn't work correctly because you change the distance from the front of your lens to the subject when you recompose ... this isn't normally a big enough change to throw things out of focus but when your depth of field is extremely shallow, it becomes a problem.

2) Don't waste time between acquiring focus and shooting. When I shoot at 1.4, I tend to hold the shutter button all the way down as opposed to my normal practice of half-pressing, then waiting for the "right" moment and finishing the depress. This ensures that there is very little time for either my subject to move or me to move between the time that my camera acquires focus and the time the shutter goes off. Simple things like breathing can push you around the half-inch necessary to throw focus out of whack.

Those are my two tips .... hopefully others can chime in as well:

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Joined
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Thank you Billy, Thats a great shot!

i tried those tips and got great results,
mistake #1. Im recomposing too much, your right, just get the shot.
 
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Joined
Sep 24, 2007
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Austin
Billy did a fine job of describing some of the techniques. The only couple of things I'd add are the fact that the eyes HAVE to be in focus, and use the lowest ISO settings you can. You'll notice almost all of his amazing f/1.4 shots are very well lit and are at the lowest (or very close to) ISO of the camera.

There's also quite a bit of post processing that goes along with it to really get the pop. I'm still a newbie...

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Joined
Apr 30, 2006
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Marietta, Georgia USA
I know you asked Nute, but as someone who shoots wide open using f/1.4 - f/2.0 quite frequently, I can offer some advice.

1) Don't be a focus-recomposer when it comes to shallow depth of field. The old practice of using the center focal point to target your subject and then recompose to fill the frame the way you want to doesn't work correctly because you change the distance from the front of your lens to the subject when you recompose ... this isn't normally a big enough change to throw things out of focus but when your depth of field is extremely shallow, it becomes a problem.

2) Don't waste time between acquiring focus and shooting. When I shoot at 1.4, I tend to hold the shutter button all the way down as opposed to my normal practice of half-pressing, then waiting for the "right" moment and finishing the depress. This ensures that there is very little time for either my subject to move or me to move between the time that my camera acquires focus and the time the shutter goes off. Simple things like breathing can push you around the half-inch necessary to throw focus out of whack.

Those are my two tips .... hopefully others can chime in as well:
Billy the tips are appreaciated! And thanks to bokehmanedof for asking the question

From your tips for shooting shollow dof subjects I assume you find using shutter release for AF is an advantage over using the AF-on button in this situation. Is that correct?
 
Joined
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Always go for the eyes. If it is a must get use the center focus point then crop for composition. Also make sure to take a lot of pictures and check your focus on your rear display.

Where is Master Nute? :)
 
N

Nuteshack

Guest
yo Joey!

just Pray, shoot -> and let God sort it out! ..;-)

but really, just shoot and shoot often ..if u have to give this much thought u prolly missed it already. it basically comes down to commitment. stick it in 1.4 and keep it there till u get it down....bless..;-)
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
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Billy the tips are appreaciated! And thanks to bokehmanedof for asking the question

From your tips for shooting shollow dof subjects I assume you find using shutter release for AF is an advantage over using the AF-on button in this situation. Is that correct?
Yes, I always use shutter release ... I do not use the AF-on button.

Bill
 
Joined
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Ok guys these are the results i got, A little PP, i think they look good.

The focus recomposing tip billy gave us worked great!

My Babys Ernie Doll

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Flower

View attachment 218237


Dog

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Joined
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What do you guys set your AF-C & AF-S Priority Selections to?
I'm almost always in AF-S unless I'm using my 70-200 and my son is running around. The reason behind that though has more to do with the fact that my screw-drive 50 1.4, 35 2.0, and 20 2.8 don't have fast enough focusing to track well in AF-C
 
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Denver, CO
yo Joey!

just Pray, shoot -> and let God sort it out! ..;-)

but really, just shoot and shoot often ..if u have to give this much thought u prolly missed it already. it basically comes down to commitment. stick it in 1.4 and keep it there till u get it down....bless..;-)
LOL! What he said.:smile:

Practice on a sleeping subject.:wink:
From a long time ago.
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N

Nuteshack

Guest
LOL! What he said.:smile:

Practice on a sleeping subject.:wink:
From a long time ago.
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wow Chuck, this is a very special photo. first words out of my mouth was "ooooooooooooo, look at this"...:Love:
 
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LOL! What he said.:smile:

Practice on a sleeping subject.:wink:
From a long time ago.
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WOW & ooooooooooooooo
great shot
 
Joined
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San Jose, CA
I also find that shooting in burst helps a lot!!! I take a quick burst of 3-5 shots and at least one will be super sharp. This controls for subject movement a bit too. I use AF-ON and as a result it is always AF-C, till I let go. That combined with burst shooting results in a high keeper percentage for me. Same technique also allows me to get sharp shots at slow shutter speeds. Of course the keeper rate goes down, but I usually get one or two good ones out of a sequence. I do this all the time at 1.4 and have no problems. I also advocate the non re-composing tip, learning to use the focus points for shallow depth of field shots is paramount.
 
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