(rant) Why I suck as a photog & my camera sucks (EXIF added)

Discussion in 'People' started by Steve S, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    First of all, I am really getting pi$$ed at all the front focussed & backfocussed shots I'm getting from my D2x! No real rhymn or reason for it that I can see. Sometimes it does fine, others they are awful.
    Secondly, I couldn't expose for a white dress in the sun if my life depended on it. In some of these shots, I turned the EV down to -1.7 and that still wasn't NEARLY enough! I just wish I could just hit the delete button on this entire Erin folder and forget I ever shot them, but they are depending on me to produce something printable.
    Didn't help that she was 45 mins late for the 7:15 shoot either. They left their house on time, but forgot the bouquet and veil! They STILL forgot the d@mn engagement ring!
    What I'm going to show you are the best of the bunch, except for the gawd-awful last shot, which I only uploaded to shot a rather extreme example of backfocussing. I'm really had it with this camera ff & bf problems, and my lack of any really skill to use it OR my flash! I think I need another hobby that's less frustrating! :mad:
    original.
    Nikon D2X
    Focal Length: 70mm
    Optimize Image:
    Color Mode: Mode I (sRGB)
    Long Exposure NR: Off
    High ISO NR: Off
    2005/09/10 09:14:01.9
    Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
    White Balance: Auto -1
    Tone Comp.: Less Contrast
    RAW (12-bit)
    Metering Mode: Center-Weighted
    AF Mode: AF-S
    Hue Adjustment: +3°
    Image Size: Large (4288 x 2848)
    1/250 sec - F/4
    Flash Sync Mode: Front Curtain
    Saturation: Normal
    Exposure Comp.: -1.7 EV
    Auto Flash Mode: i-TTL
    Sharpening: Normal
    Lens: 28-70mm F/2.8 D
    Sensitivity: ISO 200
    Auto Flash Comp: 0 EV
    View attachment 15225
    Nikon D2X
    Focal Length: 40mm
    Optimize Image:
    Color Mode: Mode I (sRGB)
    Long Exposure NR: Off
    High ISO NR: Off
    2005/09/10 08:25:16.5
    Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
    White Balance: Auto -1
    Tone Comp.: Less Contrast
    RAW (12-bit)
    Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
    AF Mode: AF-S
    Hue Adjustment: +3°
    Image Size: Large (4288 x 2848)
    1/250 sec - F/4
    Flash Sync Mode: Front Curtain
    Saturation: Normal
    Exposure Comp.: -0.7 EV
    Auto Flash Mode: i-TTL
    Sharpening: Normal
    Lens: 28-70mm F/2.8 D
    Sensitivity: ISO 200
    Auto Flash Comp: -0.7 EV

    View attachment 15226
    Nikon D2X
    Focal Length: 38mm
    Optimize Image:
    Color Mode: Mode I (sRGB)
    Long Exposure NR: Off
    High ISO NR: Off
    2005/09/10 07:44:50
    Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
    White Balance: Auto -1
    Tone Comp.: Less Contrast
    RAW (12-bit)
    Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
    AF Mode: AF-S
    Hue Adjustment: +3°
    Image Size: Large (4288 x 2848)
    1/250 sec - F/3.2
    Flash Sync Mode: Front Curtain
    Saturation: Normal
    Exposure Comp.: -0.3 EV
    Auto Flash Mode: i-TTL
    Sharpening: Normal
    Lens: 28-70mm F/2.8 D
    Sensitivity: ISO 200
    Auto Flash Comp: -1.7 EV
    View attachment 15227
    Nikon D2X
    Focal Length: 70mm
    Optimize Image:
    Color Mode: Mode I (sRGB)
    Long Exposure NR: Off
    High ISO NR: Off
    2005/09/10 07:58:12.4
    Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
    White Balance: Auto -1
    Tone Comp.: Less Contrast
    RAW (12-bit)
    Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
    AF Mode: AF-S
    Hue Adjustment: +3°
    Image Size: Large (4288 x 2848)
    1/250 sec - F/3.2
    Flash Sync Mode: Front Curtain
    Saturation: Normal
    Exposure Comp.: -1.3 EV
    Auto Flash Mode: i-TTL
    Sharpening: Normal
    Lens: 28-70mm F/2.8 D
    Sensitivity: ISO 200
    Auto Flash Comp: -2.0 EV
    View attachment 15228
    Nikon D2X
    Focal Length: 48mm
    Optimize Image:
    Color Mode: Mode I (sRGB)
    Long Exposure NR: Off
    High ISO NR: Off
    2005/09/10 08:14:47.8
    Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
    White Balance: Auto -1
    Tone Comp.: Less Contrast
    RAW (12-bit)
    Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
    AF Mode: AF-S
    Hue Adjustment: +3°
    Image Size: Large (4288 x 2848)
    1/250 sec - F/4
    Flash Sync Mode: Front Curtain
    Saturation: Normal
    Exposure Comp.: -1.0 EV
    Auto Flash Mode: i-TTL
    Sharpening: Normal
    Lens: 28-70mm F/2.8 D
    Sensitivity: ISO 200
    Auto Flash Comp: -0.7 EV
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2005
  2. In my opinion, there are not harder pictures to take than wedding pictures. There is a lot of pressure to produce outstanding images and the conditions are oft time less than ideal. Your series of image here are pretty good and not something you would have to hang your head about.

    If you are getting a lot of OOF images then I would try manual focus. When using Auto Focus it is real easy to compose and then move the subject off center and the focus to who knows where. Locking the focus on the subject is one way around that. Same thing with flash so I use FV or flash value lock. I have made up a cheat card on some jobs so that I won't forget any of the steps. I try to keep in mind that I am in control and I don't let myself get rushed. I would rather get ten good images than 100 mediocre ones.

    Don't get discouraged, you have produced some fine images in the past and you will do more in the future. Learn from your mistakes and practice around your yard and house so that you don't duplicate mistakes in the future.
     
  3. PGB

    PGB

    Jan 25, 2005
    Steve,

    You are one of the best photogs on this forum. Your portfolio is one of the best I've seen. You have had countless model shoots that you have displayed here that have been excellent. I wouldn't get so down on myself. I have a terrible time with the same issues you do. The SB800 is probably more intimidating than the D2x by 10 times. I'm good to even get it to fire. Before you decide you want to send me all of your gear give us some exif data so we can analyize your shots. Like I've said before, I'm no expert but I do know that you are a great photographer and I aspire to be able to get as good of shots as you do. Even if you feel you had a bad day, its still better than my attempt at using flash.

    Here are some examples of your work that I feel is just awesome.

    The following photos are copyright Steve S. SRS Photo

    original.
    [​IMG]

    View attachment 15230
    View attachment 15231
    View attachment 15232

    [​IMG]


    Now, if you don't feel better just get out there and practice some more. You know you are capable, have an abundance of great looking women that love to get their picture taken. You can do it!

    Regards,
     
  4. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  5. Hi Steve,

    I see you had a hard time shooting a wedding. First of all Weddings dresses are hard to shoot. And especially in the sun. And everything needs practice to master it. I seen shots of you and many of them are really nice some are great. So why you feel so frustrate is for me a riddle.

    Yes we can have a photoshoot that comes out not good. I have had days that i made mistakes and had photo's that sucked big time. But most people who see these photo's are finding them great. So are we getting every day more critical on ourselfs. Because we see better photo's and we know we can do better will not say we can do better without practicing. Some photographers make images for 40 years they had bad photo's to.

    Do you shoot in RAW format. And if you do do you shoot Compressed RAW or Uncompressed RAW. And do you use any curve in your D2X? I find your photo's not bad. I understand you are not feeling great about the shoot because you wanted different results. Maybe some photo's had been more nicer if you shot them wide open. But it is easy to judge photo's when they are finished. And you feel frustrated because you know you can't shoot the same marriage more then once. A model shoot can go wrong and the next time you try the same model again.

    But i think you are being to hard on yourself. Like others showed some really nice photo's from you and like others told you to use other settings like the AF-Lock to get infocus shots to help with back or front focus. Also look if you have your camera on Single or Continues. You are not shooting a sportgame so you can easily use Single mode.

    Another thing i noticed in your photo's that your camera was on ISO 200 and you used speeds like 1/250th. Why you did not use ISO 100? I think it would have been possible because the highest was 70mm so that is 1,5x 70mm is 135mm so you could have used 1/125th of second as speed and if you chosen a wider apperture like 2.8 or 3.2 for a background blur. Spot metering would have been maybe better for wedding photography because of the white dress.

    But once again shooting weddings needs experience and i think i remember you saying that you going to do this shoot. But you did not accepted to do the bridal shooting yourself. I think you did what you could do and it is learning curve for you. Next time i bet your photo's will be so much better. Maybe she will even help you out if you ask her if you could shoot her once more in her dress just to learn it better. Woman like to have a excuse sometimes to wear a wedding dress again.

    But don't put your head down Steve. Because we enjoy your postings with photo's. We all come here to help each other and learn from each other. I find your self critique to harsh and i find you are doing the best you can. I learn in many ways too. And i expect everytime i do something to get better. I am used to whitebalance for i shoot the photo i want. I learned that by some of you here.

    And i use a 1$ cheap Pringles lid for it but works fantastic.

    And if your interested in trying out a curve on your D2X then let me know it i have it from DPreview and it is for these contrasting weather hard sun very nicely to work with. And it prevents as much as i can to blow highlights. And gets nice results.

    Edit: I hope you don't mind if you do mind i will take them away right away this is just quick edits to give more softer background.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Greetings,
    VinceBeus
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2005
  6. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Thanks for the support guys, a further explanation...

    First off, Vince this wasn't the wedding, it was the Bridal Portrait, thank God!
    Apparently I have no knowledge of how to properly use my flash unit. The more I read, (ala Thom's D2X Guide), the more confused I get. At least I've got some confidence with studio strobes, but I haven't a clue when it comes to using my SB800 outdoors. While I normally trust Center-Weighted metering more, this time I used Matrix. The reason I stopped down the lens was to hedge against FF or BF problems, but that didn't help matters. I used ISO 200 in an attempt to keep the shutter speeds up. Yes, I shot Uncompressed RAW to help preserve highlights. Ya riiiiight, there's no help for these puppies! The setup I used was the 28-70 lens, with Really Right Stuff Perfect Portrait Package w/SB0800 mounted, and it's pretty heavy, so being the shaky type, and shooting handheld, I gotta try to keep shutter speeds well up there. Take a look at the EXIF I edited into the shots above, and see if there's anything (else) obvious you can recommend.
     
  7. I know you did not do the wedding part my mistake writing it wrong. And about you saying did anything wrong. Not really only the flash output on the dress looks to strong. So yes the SB-800 gave not the results you wanted and gave you lesser details in the dress. The SB-800 is a bit strange in comparing with the Nikon camera's. I find the ergonomics and how the SB-800 can be changed in settings not easy and it takes time.

    I think the combination of the ISO 200 and the SB-800 light was to hard had the effect you did not wanted. You could have tried to set up the SB-800. But ok for you it went wrong. You can only try to get the best out of the shots you have made. And i bet you can use some softfilters and blurring techniques to give these photo's a good results. There are not bad to work with. So it takes a bit more post processing then normal. But everything is fixable with at least the shots you shown. If you like me to try to edit a raw file from you just let me know i like to work on file for you. I can't do anything until my new backdrops come.
     
  8. I'd like to begin by saying that you need to stop this self deprecation....There aren't many photographers as GOOD as you, judging by the work I see here. I particularly like the first shot (what do you feel is wrong with it?) and the fourth one. I'll now put my little experience and my personal observations and preferences forward to attempt to help you out.
    just a few questions-
    were you using regular ittl or ittl-bl? I think you were using BL judging by your shutter speeds in aperture priority/matrix metering
    I would have, like you said, probably used centerweight metering or maybe even spot.
    Did you try FV lock at all? whenever I have something really bright or reflective in the shot I do an FV lock with center or spotmeter on that item or person. Sometimes I do it literally a moment before the shutter release. I have my AE/AF-L button on my D70 set to FV Lock at all times. I use it when shooting wireless flash, on camera flash, bounce, fill, shooting at mirrors and people whose skin is light enough to be a mirror, white clothed people and bright objects, etc. Really I use FV lock for more than 60% of my flash shots if not more. It saved my life for the one wedding I did (just happened to have my camera, unpaid did it as a friend, not a pro).
    Of course I'm using a mere D70, compared to your D2X, and i've never shot a formal wedding with white dress etc. but I think I may be able to help.
    I also see you were using aperture priority. When I use flash and I want a specific effect or to keep my shutter up, I use manual and let the flash do the adjusting. If flash comp is required, I dial that in separately. You're pegging at your sync speed, but it seems that you're relying on Balanced fill, ISO 200, matrix, and a wide aperture to do that for you. In this sort of situation, may not be your style but I personally would much rather be stopped down a bit more unless needed for effect, centerweight, and using manual to dictate what shutter speed I want no matter what. Your flash is likely not pegged at max output for these shots, it can cope with f/5.6 1/250 most likely.
    IMO stopping the lens down a bit more may have helped a bit.....the 28-70 while an excellent performer at any aperture, isn't at its peak at 2.8/3.2, its improving at 4, but when I use flash I try and keep around f/5.6 with any lens unless i'm really relying on a wide aperture for shallow DOF. Which I do have happen a lot. But since my lenses both current and future are f/2.8 (unless no 2.8 available in the range) the sweet spot is close to f/5.6. From these pics I don't think you're really trying to isolate her DOF-wise....
    As far as your AF problems, I haven't read anything on your situation before, but I was wondering if you'd read the article on understanding the d2x focus system on Nikonians? I've read some praise about how it helped users understand the system better and create better results.
    Anyways I hope even one word of this helps you. If so then the time i've spent writing this has not been for nothing.
    Thanks for reading.....
     
  9. look good at your exifs and you can see what went wrong. The problem is that you used higher iso 200 that lets more light be caught on the sensor.

    In the picture that i edited from you the one infron of the palm leaves you see the best details in the dress and less overexposed. As you see there you had turned in Auto Flash Comp: -1,7 EV

    So the high iso and the flash did not go well together. It overexposed the dress. I won't say that if you used iso 100 and 0 EV on the flash that it would not been overexposed. But atleast you would have had more details. But like i said before it is easy to judge a photo afterwards. I don't find the photo's bad. You could have shot them better with better settings. But i like the work you did. So still i say you can get some reasonable shots from it and save the photoshoot. And i bet you will next time you get a chance of making bridal portrait use the right combinations.

    I think i would have made the same mistakes as you did. You want to do good and sometimes you do it to good. And at the moment of the shoot it feels the right way. But like with film you can think you did good and when you see the bigger view on the real photo or on your pc then you notice that you could have done better. But it is to late for this time but never to late for the next time. I sometimes find it good that i made wrong photo's because that shows i got alot to learn and alot to improve and some mistakes i will not make again. Some people complain about nikon to make a full frame dslr camera. Maybe for me sometimes i could need a Real World Frame dslr camera. Sometimes i shoot a photo and think later why didn't i step back and added that part and that part. But i am happy with my nikon gear. And without Nikon capture and Adobe photoshop and my other editing software i would be disapointed alot. :wink:
     
  10. http://www.nikonians.org/html/resources/nikon_articles/body/multi-cam2000_af/

    Is this the article ?
     
  11. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    re: Flash comp & FV Lock

    This time, I used regular iTTL, thinking it would serve me better, while I usually use iTTL-BL-FP. I think I read that in Thom's D2X E-book. More experimenting there. In most of these cases, I dialed back the Flash comp to around -1.7. I don't know anything about FV lock, but better read up on it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2005
  12. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    I hear stamp collecting is fun.




    But if you'd rather take another shot at photography (which you and I both know you rule at) try redoing the RAW conversions. Give ACR a try - it really can pull about an extra stop out of 'burnt' highlights. Reduce the Exposure and increase the Brightness, and trim with Curves. You'll recover a lot of those dresses, I'm sure. Can't say anything about the focus issues.

    Now imagine your frustration when you think you've finally found that famous postage stamp with the upside down butterfly, only to discover they had a regular one in the case upside down instead. :8Ball:
     
  13. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Thanks Chris, a sense of humor is what I need right now. I was thinking more along the lines of skydiving or alligator wrestling :rolleyes: I already dialed the Exp way back in Capture to get them to where they are now. I'm not at all familiar with using Adobe ACR, and frankly, I don't want to learn a new piece of sw. I hve my lpate full with what I'm trying to master now. I do think after reading parts of Thom's E-book on using flash, I'm more cconfused than ever with my SB800.
     
  14. First, stop beating up on yourself.
    It seems to me you simply were asking the camera to do the imposible...deal with bright sunlight, white dress and dim backgrounds.
    Above, Patrick's shots are great, but notice he's avoided the latitude-abusing light situations. His one bright sun shot(5th) has the burned out neck and shoulder. Simply beyond sensor limits in 2005.
    You have the luxury of dealing with a scheduled shoot rather that the rigid time constraints of the actual wedding.
    How about get together with her on an overcast day or very early/late and avoid the sun's abusive rays.

    My first days with my D100 I sought out the sun, shunning cloudy days. Now I know better I think, or at least hope.

    Even very cloudy days are hard on whites. Here's in my back yard, always a challenge.

    32542375.
     
  15. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    I know it's uphill, but I SWEAR ACR can recover highlights that NC can't even touch.
    Then don't read how-to books.
     
  16. First of all you have a beautifull shot there Vernon, Your first part about patrick his photos is a mistake. Patrick posted these photos from Steve's earlier postings. So these photos what are good work are from Steve. Patrick pointed out to Steve why we think he is wrong about that he is not good enough. We know Steve is doing good jobs. Only Steve is bit disapointed he thought by using the information of Thom Hogan the photo's would be perfectly. But seems he is not satisfied with the results. But the question is... Are you to hard on yourself Steve. Do you think the woman who you made images from is going to give you critiques about your results? If yes then you must only take the best shots you really find word to work on and edit these to the best you can and these are the only ones you present. Normally 5 big ones and 10 small ones are enough for bridal dress shoot. And sometimes you can include the 5 big ones in to 5 small ones.

    But the fun thing is i know for sure he amazes us again with the next photoshoot he done. He did before!

    And Steve are you sure about your Front Focussing issue and Back Focussing issue? Because i would let it be checked out then by nikon.

    Greetings and cheer up Steve before we start a fund raising to raise a model in a white wedding dress for you to pose all day! :Nurse:

    greetings,
    VinceBeus
     
  17. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Thanks Vernon, I'll get something out of this 250 shot mess that they can display at the wedding, but you can imagine my disappointment. I wanted 250 shots to choose from, not 4 or 5! Didn't help having the mother of the bride hovering over me the whole time either, not only concerned with Erin getting her dress dirty, but also constantly reminding me of the shortage of time they had. Gee, when they were almost an hr late themselves! When I'm doing a bunch of new stuff, I have to be extremely ponderous, taking lots of time to check and double check my shots. Didn't happen here.
     
  18. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Well maybe it Can recover some lost highlights better than NC, but nothing this extreme! I should've followed the Sunny 16 rule, which I learned about after my park adventure with Jesse last fall.
     
  19. I like the 1st shot. Very tightly composed, good exposure, nice detail.

    The 2nd shot looks fine too. Noticed you switch to matrix and you can see falloff from the flash as the foreground is nice & bright but the background is going dark.

    3rd & 4th are tough, would've rather not seen her tattoo. And on the 4th, you're starting to run into mixed color temps (face in shade, hair in direct sunlight, flash going off).

    I think the reason your first 2 shots came off great is because you composed your shot tight so the exposure is much closer overall throughout the entire frame. With portrait you really can't go too dynamic with your foreground vs background vs subject. As far as the dress goes, it's going to throw metering simply because it's white. Could try using a light meter or spot/center metering off her face. If you're concerned about blowing the dress out then find a different way to light your shot. Have the light coming more overhead like in a high fashion shot so that the face is lit but the falloff keeps the dress from blowing out.

    Don't get discouraged, shoot your way through it.
     
  20. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    LOL, a model dressed in white to pose for me all day. Great idea! Now, you got me thinking! I *might* do a shoot with Jesse this week, and while I normally tell her to never wear white, this would be a good experiment for me.
     
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