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General Chat Thread, DSLR Help in General; Basically, the wider the appature, the less is in focus (depth of field). I tend to use either TV or ...
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    Basically, the wider the appature, the less is in focus (depth of field).
    I tend to use either TV or AV mode the most. If you want to control the depth of field select AV mode and then if you want more in focus, choose a nice small apature, while watching the length of your exposure. If you have an Image stableized lens then you can usually go down to about 1/10 second exposure if you have steady hand. Slower if you have a mono or tripod.
    Increasing the ISO setting can let you choose a smaller appature also.

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    RabbieBurns (19th April 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Quick n dirty: when you open an image in Photoshop, add a new Levels Adjustment layer, and move the black and white triangles in to the edge of the graph e.g.
    Attachment 17889
    This was the only thing i have done to the above. The originals were a lot more 'washed' looking before I did that.

    I guess i need to read more because I have figured out I change the ISO and the exposure time so it must be the aperture option I am yet to figure out.

    This is the original of one of the photos from above before i changed the levels (will have a read about curves cheers):

    DSLR Help-_mg_5127.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterp View Post
    Basically, the wider the appature, the less is in focus (depth of field).
    I tend to use either TV or AV mode the most. If you want to control the depth of field select AV mode and then if you want more in focus, choose a nice small apature, while watching the length of your exposure. If you have an Image stableized lens then you can usually go down to about 1/10 second exposure if you have steady hand. Slower if you have a mono or tripod.
    Increasing the ISO setting can let you choose a smaller appature also.
    I have been shooting all in AV and changing the ISO and Exposure based on what came up when I looked to shoot on Auto. Ill need to look at TV

  5. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    This was the only thing i have done to the above. The originals were a lot more 'washed' looking before I did that.

    I guess i need to read more because I have figured out I change the ISO and the exposure time so it must be the aperture option I am yet to figure out.

    This is the original of one of the photos from above before i changed the levels (will have a read about curves cheers):

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	_MG_5127.JPG 
Views:	43 
Size:	839.3 KB 
ID:	17890
    You can go in from the edges of the graph as well, but at that point you are destroying information. The arrow in the middle determines the midpoint grey; if you drag it left (towards the black) then more of the image will fall in the brighter 50%, so the image will be lighter overall. Drag it closer to the white to darken the image.

    Curves is just a more controlled version of levels; what I tend to do is do the levels straight off as above, then use the curves to actually control the contrast I want from that point.

    Sharpness tends to give a better appearance as well, when used within reason; look into Unsharp Mask to just crisp it up a bit (if you overdo it you just get artifacts, but for now: set your radius to 1-2px, threshold at 2-4, then play with percentages - normally 70-100%).

    Also, in general: the best way to get better is to look at what you like and work out _why_ you like it. Anything I know, I taught myself from hanging around deviantArt and talking to better photographers. If you can learn to critique someone elses photos, you can do it to yours at the point where you're kneeling down framing the shot. I'm trying to do the same now for writing.

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    can I send you the 10mb raw of one of the above photos and see if you can make it look better using photoshop to see if theres perhaps some better post processing I can be doing?

    I see better photos from the kids with their instagram iphone photos these days than Im taking ;p

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    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    This was the only thing i have done to the above. The originals were a lot more 'washed' looking before I did that.

    I guess i need to read more because I have figured out I change the ISO and the exposure time so it must be the aperture option I am yet to figure out.

    This is the original of one of the photos from above before i changed the levels (will have a read about curves cheers):

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	_MG_5127.JPG 
Views:	43 
Size:	839.3 KB 
ID:	17890
    I think the major difference you could make here would be to use some fill in flash. That would help to bring the bird out a bit and firm up some of the nice detail in the feathers. You can do some tweaks for contrast and dynamic range in photoshop afterwards (aim to minimise the post processing), in camera you need to think about the lighting and if god isn't going to provide it by way of a nice sunny day, you may well need to provide your own!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    I think the major difference you could make here would be to use some fill in flash. That would help to bring the bird out a bit and firm up some of the nice detail in the feathers. You can do some tweaks for contrast and dynamic range in photoshop afterwards (aim to minimise the post processing), in camera you need to think about the lighting and if god isn't going to provide it by way of a nice sunny day, you may well need to provide your own!
    When I first started this thread I was quite surprised to see people mention Photoshop to be honest as that always to me meant 'doctoring' photos. But since starting taking photos i can see it can enhance not just fake them.

    It would be nice to be able to take a photo that didnt need post processing, but I guess I still need to work at the lighting aspect. I assume thats why when I get my school photo taken they have the external flash with the umberella extension and all those accroes. The only photo taken with a flash above is the green parrot on the bird feeding table but I think it didnt turn out very well. Is it worth getting an external flash?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    When I first started this thread I was quite surprised to see people mention Photoshop to be honest as that always to me meant 'doctoring' photos. But since starting taking photos i can see it can enhance not just fake them.
    Sure. I think it depends what you want. I personally try and minimise post processing and get what I want in camera. Sometimes there is no avoiding it and for prints, an unsharp filter is almost essential (but I excuse that as part of the print workflow).
    Is it worth getting an external flash?
    IMO Yes. Good lighting is critical and relying on nature to provide it is a gamble. Look at any gaggle of press photographers clustered round their favourite subject even on a sunny day and they are likely to be popping off their flash to fill in and bring out the subject.

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    I would also agree that a decent flash is important - being able to position your light source according to the outcome you want is very useful. When I did wedding photography, an external flash was a must - being able to do things like bounce the light off a ceiling etc... very useful.

    Light is everything - so if you can improve it, do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    The only photo taken with a flash above is the green parrot on the bird feeding table but I think it didnt turn out very well.
    It certainly brings out the birds colour but you also get the reflection from table it's on and the hoop support, which is distracting and spoils the shot. That's just about framing and thinking through the shot. It will come with time!

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    Photoshop has become a dirty word, but all it is really is a digital darkroom. Back in the day you'd have played about in the dark room to develop the print to the best it could be; tweaking contrast, colours etc. in Photoshop is similar. The more you can do in-camera, the better, because a lot of what you do in Photoshop is destructive and lowers the quality; you can get away with a fair bit, but too much playing will tell, and a source photo that doesn't need fixing will give you much higher quality at the end. GIGO, after all.

    Any photo I want printed absolutely goes through Photoshop. There's no way I'm printing something that isn't as good as it can be.

    The umbrella flashes for portraiture work because they are big, expensive lights that illuminate evenly; the built in flash in a camera is small, with poor colour cast, and casts harsh shadows. Photography is literally "light writing"; the better the light you write with, the better the result.

    Stick a JPG up here and I can have a quick play (as can others, then); to be honest, as nice as RAW is, you're only going to overwhelm yourself if you try and get your head around it now. Just play with JPGs for now and then when you understand a but more of the theory around colour balance, contrast, lighting etc., you can make more use of the controls on a RAW file. Instagram shots look alright because it is mindlessly, automatically doing the contrast and the colour balance etc., but after you've seen two dozen in quick succession, it stops looking good because it all looks the same. Learning to do this properly will give you the flexibility to keep your photos interesting

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    Sort of on, but also a little off topic - I thought it might be of interest and it emphasises the "bring your own light".

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    Nothing wrong in using Photoshop to bring out the best in photos - all of these I touched up in Camera RAW:







    I will get around to up-loading that stuff I promised......

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    @mattx they are amazing and what I am aspiring to. There is a definite different class between those and what I am taking, and I am trying to learn what that difference is.

    Take that single photo of the cockatoo above, with the yellow crown. The single attachment above is a direct Save-As jpg of the original photo from the camera. The one I posted with the bunch was after I adjusted the levels.

    Neither look like they belong in National Geographic.

    Matt's ones, and others from this thread who have posted theirs, look amazing and I want to learn what im missing

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    Done a quick once over in Photoshop (more or less what I'd normally do to any photo, to be honest), but the problem with this particular photo is the background - there's a very harsh line that goes right through the parrot and it really distracts the eye. It's not always easy with animals, but if you could have stepped to the right one step so the photo was just against the greenery, it would have looked better. These are the kind of things you will learn to critique through the viewfinder, and correct before you click.
    DSLR Help-rabbieparrot.jpg

    That said, what I've done (in order)
    - New Levels layer, set to 25, 1.00, 179 respectively for the arrows
    - New Curves layer in an S shape, chose Medium Contrast from the drop down, dragged the bottom left point up so it sat just below the diagonal line and moved the top right point up so it sat above the line - horizontally it was in the middle of squares 2 & 3, vertically it almost touched the top of square 3. This boosted the contrast at the top end, so we haven't lost detail in the dark areas but we've brightened the parrot
    - Copied the original photo layer (so we don't damage the original while we're still working), and on this duplicate, applied an Unsharp Mask @ 80%, 4px radius, 1 threshold (sharpened the feather detail on the parrot)
    - Applied a vignette, which I do in two stages - one layer is solid black with a circular gradient on the layer mask @ 20% opacity (in this case), the second layer is a copy of the just-sharpened photo using the same layer mask with the blending mode set to overlay (at 100% opacity).

    The vignetting step there might not make much sense now, but layers & layer masks are where the power of Photoshop really lies; Google up some tutorials. I can email the PSD at a lower resolution if it helps any, just PM your email (too big to attach here).

    (and whilst it might only have taken me five minutes in Photoshop now, it's taken me ten years to learn what to do in those five minutes)

    EDIT to add: the main difference between the edit you did and mine, then, is that there's more contrast in mine, and the vignette draws the eye in to the centre; @mattx has made use of the same trick, both with light and focus (and I'd be interested to know, @mattx - was the DOF all in camera, or have you applied some judicious Lens Blur in PS? I always find the latter far too fiddly to do with depth masks etc.)
    Last edited by sonofsanta; 19th April 2013 at 03:12 PM.

  19. Thanks to sonofsanta from:

    RabbieBurns (19th April 2013)

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