Sony A7 plus Zeiss 55 = Magic! (Still: Advice appreciated!)

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jfleischmann
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Sony A7 plus Zeiss 55 = Magic! (Still: Advice appreciated!)
3 months ago

I am pretty new to the business, but for me the output of the a. m. combination is stellar. Of course, I am definitely somewhat biased, it is my son after all...

As I said before, I am an amateur, so your advice on how to make my portraits/photos better is highly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your input!

Jörg

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MrT-Man
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Re: Sony A7 plus Zeiss 55 = Magic! (Still: Advice appreciated!)
In reply to jfleischmann, 3 months ago

I'd say a key piece of advice is that you really should post-process your images. Download the 30 day trial of Adobe Lightroom, shoot in RAW and give it a try. You'll be astonished at how much you can improve an image by tweaking the exposure/highlights/shadows/whites/blacks sliders, especially with a camera like the A7 that captures a much broader dynamic range than actually appears in a final image.

Make sure to add some vibrance/saturation and some sharpening/noise reduction because normally the camera's JPEG engine would be doing that for you.

It might seem intimidating at first, but with some practice it'll take you like half a minute per image to get much better results than you otherwise would have (with the benefit more pronounced with low-light shots, or shots with a wide dynamic range).

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jfleischmann
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Re: Sony A7 plus Zeiss 55 = Magic! (Still: Advice appreciated!)
In reply to MrT-Man, 3 months ago

MrT-Man wrote:

I'd say a key piece of advice is that you really should post-process your images. Download the 30 day trial of Adobe Lightroom, shoot in RAW and give it a try. You'll be astonished at how much you can improve an image by tweaking the exposure/highlights/shadows/whites/blacks sliders, especially with a camera like the A7 that captures a much broader dynamic range than actually appears in a final image.

Make sure to add some vibrance/saturation and some sharpening/noise reduction because normally the camera's JPEG engine would be doing that for you.

It might seem intimidating at first, but with some practice it'll take you like half a minute per image to get much better results than you otherwise would have (with the benefit more pronounced with low-light shots, or shots with a wide dynamic range).

First of all, thank you for your piece of advice!

The thing is that although I am more or less a novice (I still feel like a beginner, that is), I nevertheless have been shooting in RAW for quite some time. Also, I started using LR about two years ago, so in fact, the images shown are already post-processed (but only slightly imho). Maybe I should have specified my question somewhat, especially referring to the images shown and what could be done to improve those in terms of post-processing but also regarding image composition...

Thank you once again!

Jörg

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juvx
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Re: Sony A7 plus Zeiss 55 = Magic! (Still: Advice appreciated!)
In reply to jfleischmann, 3 months ago

Hi, your shots are nice as is ! Only advise i could give is to crop the first one using the rule of 2/3s and put the babies eye in the right cross of rule. Other then that, well done.

Another tip when shooting kids is to always get down to their level. Lay down on your belly if needed. You'll get better results. Cheers.

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Jerry R
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Very nice (great Zeiss quality). First image, watch your backgrounds.
In reply to jfleischmann, 3 months ago
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Canon A2E, Sony R1, NEX C3 & 5R + Zeiss 24mm & 16-70 E Lenses, Nikon D5100 + 35mm, 85mm & Sigma 150mm lenses, Nikon V1 + 10-30 & 30-110 lenses.

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viking79
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Trick with RAW
In reply to jfleischmann, 3 months ago

jfleischmann wrote:

First of all, thank you for your piece of advice!

The thing is that although I am more or less a novice (I still feel like a beginner, that is), I nevertheless have been shooting in RAW for quite some time.

The trick with RAW is that you must post process it. The tone curves are flat. In the develop module in the bottom right, you can select a camera profile and do portrait, etc. Also, I would suggest trying these presets: "Punch" and "Sharpen Faces" (or scenic) and maybe Vignette 1 or 2. These will make most of your images look more like out of camera JPEG (general, not necessarily these two).

Also, I started using LR about two years ago, so in fact, the images shown are already post-processed (but only slightly imho). Maybe I should have specified my question somewhat, especially referring to the images shown and what could be done to improve those in terms of post-processing but also regarding image composition...

I would say boost the exposure 1/3 or 1/2 stop on the first. Try to get the baby to look at the camera. I enjoy off camera looks too, but this seems more like he should be looking at the camera. For your color shot, I think if the person who is holding the baby was just off to camera right instead (not visible in frame) ready to catch the baby it would help. Jingle keys over the camera usually gets a babies attention for at least half a second

For your B&W, I would prefer more contrast between baby and background. A trick with B&W is you can adjust the color luminescence independently. For most Caucasians you can tweak orange, yellow, and red to make the skin look smoother or contrast more (different colors for different skin complexions). This actually makes the skin look more natural.

Your shots are fine though, composition wise. I think the main issue I have is the baby is not looking at the camera. Again, feel free to disagree with me, they aren't my photos (always take critique as an opinion you are free to ignore).

Eric

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jfleischmann
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Re: Trick with RAW
In reply to viking79, 3 months ago

Thanks for helping, I will certainly implement some of your suggestions! 

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jfleischmann
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Re: Sony A7 plus Zeiss 55 = Magic! (Still: Advice appreciated!)
In reply to juvx, 3 months ago

juvx wrote:

Hi, your shots are nice as is ! Only advise i could give is to crop the first one using the rule of 2/3s and put the babies eye in the right cross of rule. Other then that, well done.

Another tip when shooting kids is to always get down to their level. Lay down on your belly if needed. You'll get better results. Cheers.

Thank you! I will crop the first one accordingly and post it in a few days. I didn't know about the "being on an equal level thing", thanks for sharing this valuable advice!

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jfleischmann
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Re: Very nice (great Zeiss quality). First image, watch your backgrounds.
In reply to Jerry R, 3 months ago

Thank you for your background tip.

Yep, I love the Zeiss lens. About twenty years ago I had my first SLR (Minolta Maxxum series), in 2004 I switched to the digital world (Konica Minolta Dimage A7), then Pentax K5 - all of them with the kit zoom lens. Last year I got my first Zeiss lens (RX1) and it opened my eyes (naturally also due to the ff sensor)!

Compared to the image quality I regarded as being pretty good before, the Zeiss + ff combo is just out of this world. Unfortunately I had to sell my RX1 due to financial limitations, but could never really enjoy using its "more sensible" replacement, the RX100MKII. About two months ago I finally bought the A7 and the superb Zeiss lens - and don't regret it all.

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MarsObserver
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Re: Sony A7 plus Zeiss 55 = Magic! (Still: Advice appreciated!)
In reply to jfleischmann, 3 months ago

It is a magic combo, isn't it!  Cute son BTW!!

I like the images very much.

I think the next 'challenge' may be to get some 'eyes-on' shots possibly - photos where baby is looking at us (into the lens).   This may require an assistant, or using the A7 one handed (while holding Teddy, jangling keys, etc. in the other hand).  

Please keep up the good work and post some more images!

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Tubbycub
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Re: Very nice (great Zeiss quality). First image, watch your backgrounds.
In reply to jfleischmann, 3 months ago

jfleischmann wrote:

Thank you for your background tip.

Yep, I love the Zeiss lens. About twenty years ago I had my first SLR (Minolta Maxxum series), in 2004 I switched to the digital world (Konica Minolta Dimage A7), then Pentax K5 - all of them with the kit zoom lens. Last year I got my first Zeiss lens (RX1) and it opened my eyes (naturally also due to the ff sensor)!

Compared to the image quality I regarded as being pretty good before, the Zeiss + ff combo is just out of this world. Unfortunately I had to sell my RX1 due to financial limitations, but could never really enjoy using its "more sensible" replacement, the RX100MKII. About two months ago I finally bought the A7 and the superb Zeiss lens - and don't regret it all.

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You sold your RX1.. Nooooooooooooo!

RX1, A7 Zeiss 55 Zeiss 35

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jfleischmann
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Re: Very nice (great Zeiss quality). First image, watch your backgrounds.
In reply to Tubbycub, 3 months ago

Tubbycub wrote:

jfleischmann wrote:

Thank you for your background tip.

Yep, I love the Zeiss lens. About twenty years ago I had my first SLR (Minolta Maxxum series), in 2004 I switched to the digital world (Konica Minolta Dimage A7), then Pentax K5 - all of them with the kit zoom lens. Last year I got my first Zeiss lens (RX1) and it opened my eyes (naturally also due to the ff sensor)!

Compared to the image quality I regarded as being pretty good before, the Zeiss + ff combo is just out of this world. Unfortunately I had to sell my RX1 due to financial limitations, but could never really enjoy using its "more sensible" replacement, the RX100MKII. About two months ago I finally bought the A7 and the superb Zeiss lens - and don't regret it all.

-- hide signature --

You sold your RX1.. Nooooooooooooo!

RX1, A7 Zeiss 55 Zeiss 35

I had to... Would have never done it if I had had the choice. In fact, if I had the money, I would buy it as a first/second camera, next to my A7. The RX1's build quality and IQ are still one of a kind...

This one, by the way, is just jpeg ooc, unprocessed. I do have a slightly cropped and improved version (the image size being too big), but still, for me the RX1's IQ is still one of a kind! If I had even tried to do a job with the cameras (+kit combos) I had before, I would have failed massively!!

Hanoi impressions...

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jfleischmann
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Re: Sony A7 plus Zeiss 55 = Magic! (Still: Advice appreciated!)
In reply to MarsObserver, 3 months ago

MarsObserver wrote:

It is a magic combo, isn't it! Cute son BTW!!

I like the images very much.

I think the next 'challenge' may be to get some 'eyes-on' shots possibly - photos where baby is looking at us (into the lens). This may require an assistant, or using the A7 one handed (while holding Teddy, jangling keys, etc. in the other hand).

Please keep up the good work and post some more images!

Thanks for your encouragement, I really appreciate that!

As for the "eyes-on" shots, I tried something like that a couple of weeks ago, although I must admit that you need a lot of patience for that (also as the autofocus as not the fastest...). This one was originally taken as a colored image, then post-processed via LR4. With regard to the expression captured I am very happy, however, not so much with respect to the overall composition. In my opinion it would have been better to have positioned the head to the right side...

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