Apeture and Shutter Speed

Started Mar 1, 2014 | Questions
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Aspiringtobe New Member • Posts: 20
Apeture and Shutter Speed

Ok, so I am by no means pretending to be a top notch photographer like the majority of people on this forum, but I am looking for a little advice if someone is willing to give it. I have been taking photographs for many years just for fun and recently after many people inquiring into how much I would charge for their photographs I decided to pursue a business. I have taken a few classes trying to improve my skills but there is something that is simply bugging me. I have a Nikon D3200 and I try my best to get the Aperture and Shutter speed right for indoor photographs without flash, but I seem to be having a terrible time. They come out blurry or underexposed and I was just curious if maybe someone could offer a little bit of friendly insight into what I may be doing wrong. Thank you.

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Nikon D3200
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John Deerfield Senior Member • Posts: 2,567
Re: Apeture and Shutter Speed

Aspiringtobe wrote:

Ok, so I am by no means pretending to be a top notch photographer like the majority of people on this forum, but I am looking for a little advice if someone is willing to give it. I have been taking photographs for many years just for fun and recently after many people inquiring into how much I would charge for their photographs I decided to pursue a business.

The business of photography has nothing to do with photography. You need a business plan. Insurance. Taxes. Etc.

I have taken a few classes trying to improve my skills but there is something that is simply bugging me. I have a Nikon D3200 and I try my best to get the Aperture and Shutter speed right for indoor photographs without flash, but I seem to be having a terrible time. They come out blurry or underexposed and I was just curious if maybe someone could offer a little bit of friendly insight into what I may be doing wrong. Thank you.

Sound as though you don't understand exposure. And exposure is fairly fundamental if you plan on charging for photography. I might suggest picking up Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure as a place to start. That said, your camera is a tool used to record light, to record an exposure. In low light, the shutter needs to stay open longer in order to capture enough light to make an exposure. The slower the shutter, the blurrier the image. Just because you want a fast shutter doesn't mean you can use a fast shutter. Another very important part of photography is understanding light. Low light and professional photography are good companions. Your first line of defense is learning how to light something, whether that be with flash or ambient light.

WryCuda Senior Member • Posts: 5,048
Re: Aperture and Shutter Speed
1

Aspiringtobe wrote:

I have taken a few classes trying to improve my skills but there is something that is simply bugging me. I have a Nikon D3200 and I try my best to get the Aperture and Shutter speed right for indoor photographs without flash, but I seem to be having a terrible time. They come out blurry or underexposed and I was just curious if maybe someone could offer a little bit of friendly insight into what I may be doing wrong.

Could it be that as a result of your photography classes, you are trying to do your photography with "Full Manual Control"? This is a guaranteed method to get poor results when you are starting out.

Try one of the semi-auto modes of the camera (P, A or S), use a fast lens if you have one (e.g. prime lens f/1.8 or better) and a tripod. Either use available light, studio lights or flash. Look at the metadata (EXIF) of the images and adjust your settings as required.

See EXIF for this shot:

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Nick_Brisbane Contributing Member • Posts: 845
Re: Apeture and Shutter Speed

If you are shooting manual (difficult if you are shooting people in low light) you need to understand the other corner of the exposure triangle - ISO

read this:

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/camera-exposure.htm

Trial shooting in aperture priority with aperture at 5.6 or wider ie lower number than 5.6  (depending on your lense), make sure auto ISO is on (in menu)  and the camera will find the settings.

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darklamp Senior Member • Posts: 3,567
Flash
1

I try my best to get the Aperture and Shutter speed right for indoor photographs without flash

Why are you trying to avoid flash ?

If you wish to develop your skills you need to learn about flash ( and indeed exposure principles ).

A coupe of links :

http://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/dragging-the-shutter/

http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm

You also need to understand the metering modes of your camera and how to control them.

Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 11,110
Re: Apeture and Shutter Speed

Aspiringtobe wrote:

Ok, so I am by no means pretending to be a top notch photographer like the majority of people on this forum, but I am looking for a little advice if someone is willing to give it. I have been taking photographs for many years just for fun and recently after many people inquiring into how much I would charge for their photographs I decided to pursue a business.

Something doesn't add up here.  If many people are already asking you about you taking their photos, you must be doing something right.  But then you say you're having a terrible time with some shots.  So either people are willing to pay for poor shots or what they want you to do is in different conditions from the ones you describe.

You've already had some good general advice.  To go further we need a lot more information:

How many is "many" - two or three, a dozen or so, hundreds?

What types of photo are they enquiring about?  Post some examples so we can assess this potential market.

Also post examples of the poor shots you refer to below.

I have taken a few classes trying to improve my skills but there is something that is simply bugging me. I have a Nikon D3200 and I try my best to get the Aperture and Shutter speed right for indoor photographs without flash, but I seem to be having a terrible time. They come out blurry or underexposed and I was just curious if maybe someone could offer a little bit of friendly insight into what I may be doing wrong.

Even on the information you've given it seems optimistic to try to create a business.  It's one thing for relatives and friends to offer money for photos you've taken that they happen to like.  It's a completely different thing to push yourself as being able to accept a commission and produce output that will satisfy a demanding stranger.

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Gerry
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ZX11
ZX11 Senior Member • Posts: 3,737
Re: Apeture and Shutter Speed

Aspiringtobe wrote:

Ok, so I am by no means pretending to be a top notch photographer like the majority of people on this forum, but I am looking for a little advice if someone is willing to give it. I have been taking photographs for many years just for fun and recently after many people inquiring into how much I would charge for their photographs I decided to pursue a business. I have taken a few classes trying to improve my skills but there is something that is simply bugging me. I have a Nikon D3200 and I try my best to get the Aperture and Shutter speed right for indoor photographs without flash, but I seem to be having a terrible time. They come out blurry or underexposed and I was just curious if maybe someone could offer a little bit of friendly insight into what I may be doing wrong. Thank you.

Select two of the three things that impact exposure and let the camera run the third thing.  ie, you control aperture and shutter while letting the camera chose ISO.  Why is the picture blurry?  You are moving the camera with a non IS lens, everything too dark for the camera to find the focus, or is the shutter too slow to stop people who are moving around?  You have to analyze what is wrong with each missed shot rather than just deleting them.

I think everyone can happen upon a great shot by chance (my method) but a pro uses his or her skills to make a great shot happen.

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Tee Dub Forum Member • Posts: 63
Re: Apeture and Shutter Speed

Aspiringtobe wrote:

........They come out blurry or underexposed

I'm still hashing my way through all this stuff myself. I found the Bryan Peterson book helpful that someone here also recommended to me.

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-3rd-Edition-Photographs/dp/0817439390/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393700636&sr=8-1&keywords=understanding+exposure

"Blurry" most likely spells camera shake and could easily be enhanced by a long shutter speed which I think could also account for underexposure if combined with the wrong ISO.

Sounds like your shooting in (M) Manual mode ?  I shoot with a Canon. Does your Nikon camera have a light meter to check your exposure while making your adjustments ?

A tripod will be helpful to eliminate the camera shake possibility and will come in handy for the indoor and portrait work that you want to explore anyway.

Good Luck, God Bless & Keep on Klickin' !

TW

lexfori
lexfori New Member • Posts: 10
Re: Apeture and Shutter Speed

my personal settings to start from would be something like 1/60 shutter speed, F5.6 aperture and then simply play with my ISO depending on the amount of light is in the room. if the light is on the dim side, a tripod would allow me to slow my shutter speed down. the type of light around you and white balance are factors as well.

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l_d_allan
l_d_allan Veteran Member • Posts: 4,594
Re: Apeture and Shutter Speed

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

Something doesn't add up here. If many people are already asking you about you taking their photos, you must be doing something right. But then you say you're having a terrible time with some shots. So either people are willing to pay for poor shots or what they want you to do is in different conditions from the ones you describe.

That was my reaction also.

Something I found helpful ... using a white foam manikin head partly covered with flesh-colored hose. I spent quite a bit of time with different lighting from windows, diy reflectors, bounce flash, etc. And learned a lot.

Or with a tripod, try lots of different things with yourself as the subject and 10 second timer.

I'm inclined to like camera on tripod, bounce flash, with 1/200th second, relatively shallow f-stop like f2.8, and whatever ISO that works out to be ... usually about 200 to 800.

FWIW: with groups with 4+ people, you may have two rows of people, and need smaller f-stop like f5.6 or f8 to have enough depth-of-field.

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Aspiringtobe OP New Member • Posts: 20
Re: Apeture and Shutter Speed

I also have a Canon and it has a light meter, but if the Nikon has one I haven't found it just yet. I found the light meter extremely helpful when using the Canon, but someone recommended a Nikon to me, and don't get me wrong the shots are beautiful, most of the time.

Aspiringtobe OP New Member • Posts: 20
Re: Flash

The classes that I took pounded into me that flash is bad. So I thought I should try to avoid it. It can cause wash-out if used in the wrong situations but before I took the classes I didn't think anything of it. I'm actually asking because my sister wants me to try Birth Photography, which I am completely unfamiliar with and I don't want to disappoint her (not getting paid btw, wouldn't charge for something I've never done).

Aspiringtobe OP New Member • Posts: 20
Re: Apeture and Shutter Speed

It's mostly portraits and they are taken outside with natural lighting. I've never tried to do studio shots and I've experimented but they look terrible. I haven't charged anyone for something I am not good at and I wouldn't. It's been many people over the years, and no not just friends and family.

My portrait shots outside.

Indoor experiment, not good at all in my opinion.

Aspiringtobe OP New Member • Posts: 20
Re: Aperture and Shutter Speed

The classes harped on full Manual and NO flash. So I have tried my best to stick to them, most of my pictures have been just portraits of my children and such. Which all come out awesome, but if I want to try and charge for photography I need a better understanding. As I said I've taken classes but they seem to confuse me on some points. I am definitely grateful for the advice and I am going to check settings on my camera and read some of the material mentioned.

Aspiringtobe OP New Member • Posts: 20
Re: Apeture and Shutter Speed

Thank you to all that left helpful feedback. I value your advice and I will definitely read the material and practice. I know I have creative ideas and a good eye for photography, now I just need to master the camera itself if I ever hope to pursue my dream!

WryCuda Senior Member • Posts: 5,048
Re: Aperture and Shutter Speed
2

Aspiringtobe wrote:

The classes harped on full Manual and NO flash. So I have tried my best to stick to them, most of my pictures have been just portraits of my children and such. Which all come out awesome, but if I want to try and charge for photography I need a better understanding. As I said I've taken classes but they seem to confuse me on some points. I am definitely grateful for the advice and I am going to check settings on my camera and read some of the material mentioned.

I haven't been to camera classes, but I have been to quite a few training sessions over the years in connection with my profession. Often, the subject will be approached rather obliquely in an effort to get you thinking along different lies, or to extend your understanding in some way. A popular approach in many areas is to introduce the concept of a triangle to illustrate something. This is almost as irritating as the "Thinking outside the box" exercise, which is another old training stand-by.

"Going Manual" is in this category, and supposedly gives beginners a deeper understanding of exposure. It's rubbish, of course; five minutes should be enough to assimilate that. Add an understanding of ISO and you complete the "triangle" (another two minutes).

There's a carry-over here from learning to drive. It's commonly believed that learning on a manual transmission is the way to go, even if you are planning to drive an automatic. There's some validity in this argument, but it's hardly transferrable to photography. I'm old enough to have learnt on a non-synchro manual, BTW.

When I first handled a DSLR, I tried it on Auto for a while. Needing more control, I went to Program mode (balance between A and SS immediately selectable), where some other customisations were available. I now mostly shoot in A mode (landscape). Note that even in Manual mode, you have an exposure indicator to guide you, so why not set one parameter and let the camera do the rest? For holiday snaps and sports photography, you don't have time for manual.

Program mode adjustment of A and SS tells you a lot about two legs of the "exposure triangle". I'm rather derisive about that concept, because A, SS and ISO are linear functions, and nothing to do with triangles.

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Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 11,110
Re: Flash
1

Aspiringtobe wrote:

The classes that I took pounded into me that flash is bad.

... which is absolute rubbish.  Anyone "teaching" that shouldn't be giving lessons.

So I thought I should try to avoid it. It can cause wash-out if used in the wrong situations

No.  It can cause washout if used wrongly - but that's the way it's used, not the situation.  Read Lighting 101 Archive (drop down menu on right-hand side.

Using flash poorly is obviously bad, but so is using a camera or any tool wrongly bad.  The object of lessons should be how to do things well, not just to reject them.

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Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 11,110
Re: Apeture and Shutter Speed

Aspiringtobe wrote:

This one looks quite noisy for the type of shot it is.  You didn't need f/11 or anywhere near that: f/5.6 and ISO200 would give better results.  The fluffy balls on the hat are blown out; 1 stop less exposure and a tweak in PP would cure that.

I hope that your teacher has explained that sort of thing.

There's no way to get a decent shot in this light with the equipment you have.  You really do need to learn flash (or other lighting) if you want to do this sort of thing.  Focus is out - the sharpest thing is the straps on his sandals.

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WryCuda Senior Member • Posts: 5,048
Re: Flash

Aspiringtobe wrote:

The classes that I took pounded into me that flash is bad. So I thought I should try to avoid it. It can cause wash-out if used in the wrong situations but before I took the classes I didn't think anything of it.

Those classes aren't helping much.

I don't use flash very often, as I'm mostly shooting outdoors, but flash is a whole subject in itself and takes a fair bit of technique to get good results. The built-in flash can be used, but an off-camera flash where you can control the intensity and angle of the flash is very commonly used.

BTW, there was a Freudian typo in my previous rant about training sessions. I meant "thinking along different lines" rather than "lies". Maybe I should go to typing classes.

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Leonard Migliore
Leonard Migliore Forum Pro • Posts: 13,235
I thought you had it right the first time

WryCuda wrote:

BTW, there was a Freudian typo in my previous rant about training sessions. I meant "thinking along different lines" rather than "lies". Maybe I should go to typing classes.

The original worked for me.

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Leonard Migliore

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