Why Are My Pics So Poor?

Started 7 months ago | Questions
MarshallG
MarshallG Veteran Member • Posts: 8,360
Re: Why Are My Pics So Poor?

Let's look at them one by one.

In this first photo, you have several problems. The first is that the light is too harsh. You won't understand what this means until you start shooting in shade and at different times of day. The camera sees light differently than we do. You need to seek out low contrast, diffused light. Pay attention... decades of experience telling you that the character of the light is the most important thing. This is why the central flower has no texture; it's got too much white/black when it needs shades of colors.

Next, when you look at the sharpest part of your photo under 100% magnification, it's still blurry. Your photos must be sharp. Your left hand ALWAYS goes UNDERNEATH the lens. Elbows against the body. Pay attention when you release the shutter; use a gentle squeeze. Make these habits, every single time you shoot.

Third problem is the photo is cluttered. I cropped it and inserted below. See? Now we're putting the viewer's eye somewhere. It's still not great because you aren't facing the flower, and it has a dead petal you should have pulled off, but you see the change?  And see how depth of field defocuses the background, so it becomes artistic and not clutter.

This photo is blurry. How do we know?  Just magnify to 100%. I took a screen grab of the center at 100% and pasted it below. See the little lines all over the flower? That's camera shake. What should have been dots are streaks. Your shutter speed should have been fast enough, but you're shooting up close, so go faster, and hold the camera steady. A small amount of wind can do this too. You need to be still and look at the flowers. If they're moving in the breeze, wait for the breeze to die down, or hold some cardboard nearby to block the wind, or raise your shutter speed.

The other thing in this photo is that it's full of leaves and twigs. Get rid of them (see cropped version below it)

In this one, it seems you have acceptable focus and sharpness on the central flower, but.. gee, it just isn't very interesting, is it? Cropping in helps, but it doesn't quite rescue it. I think your angle towards the flower doesn't work well.

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MarshallG
MarshallG Veteran Member • Posts: 8,360
Re: Why Are My Pics So Poor?

Aberaeron wrote:

MarshallG wrote:

Aberaeron wrote:

abrogard1 wrote:

Thanks for that. I intend to try some additional lighting. And to get out there early and late more often.

I took some more bad ones today. More and more I think my own focusing is a problem.

And speed. I'm shooting on Tv at a 1/320 just in order to stop shake, tremor, wind movement. I'm thinking I need to shoot faster. And focus more carefully.

And learn about my camera.

Are you shooting at or too near the subject for the lens’s minimum focussing distance for the focal length you are using?

At half a metre distance at 55mm f10 focal length there will only be 20mm in acceptable focus. The near focus would be at 49mm and far limit at 51mm

At 1m distance, 55mm f10, 94mm nearest to 107 mm furthest will be in acceptable focus.

Also if the wind is moving the flowers then you will indeed need 1/320th shutter speed or even faster to get a really sharp image.

I suggest you zoom out a bit and stand back a bit to maximise your depth of field. f10 should be an ideal aperture to maximise it, so no need to adjust that further in my opinion.

You want to control your depth of field. You need to take the entire photo into account, not just the subject. Don't think of DoF as controlling what is in focus, you must also use it to control what is not in focus, and how defocused it is. In most of these flower shots, what I see is a central flower as subject, and everything surrounding it is "noise." Use DoF to throw that as far out of focus as you can. If some object is too close, move it out of the way or move your camera to take it out of frame. Our eyes look to the subject but the photograph is the entirety.

Yes but in at least one of the photos the flower itself is probably out of focus and probably due to the tiny depth of field in the zoomed lens too close to the subject. Its all very well getting the background out of focus but at a minimum the main subject should be sharp. The issue here is that it’s not.

Yes, this is what I mean about controlling DoF. But usually after f/8, depending on the lens, diffraction makes the image softer. With a flower, you want your focus point to have extreme precision and you want to control how focus breaks over the flower. Moving back doesn't help because now you're taking a photo of a whole bunch of flowers, and twigs, and leaves, and...

 MarshallG's gear list:MarshallG's gear list
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OP abrogard1 Regular Member • Posts: 207
Re: Why Are My Pics So Poor?

I just haven't learned enough about my camera.  the one I'm talking about here is the eos550.

if I want a speed up around 400 and I want an aperture about f22 what do I shoot on?

Full manual?

Or I should shoot on P but set the ISO up at 3200 or something?

I'm blundering around with the thing it seems.  I thought I knew what I was doing when I was going around shooting on Tv at 320 but it turns out I was kidding myself. 

OP abrogard1 Regular Member • Posts: 207
Re: Why Are My Pics So Poor?

That's an interesting little discussion.  Makes me think along with understanding my camera I perhaps need to use a tripod, too?  For the sake of rigid control of distance to subject in order to put the depth of field just where I want it

as regards subject and background that's a bit mutable.  sometimes I want and sometimes I don't.

In fact one of my most common wishes is to have softly out of focus but identifiable background showing the 'palette' of the ground or foliage which is a 'setting' for the bloom or bud or whatever in question.

And often that bloom or bud is not one but many.  Aussie bush flowers often being so tiny I try to get shots of a group of them.  That's when I run into the need for a depth of field sufficient to cover the small discrepancies in distance from the camera of the different flowers or gum nuts or whatever...

Aberaeron Veteran Member • Posts: 9,503
Re: Why Are My Pics So Poor?

abrogard1 wrote:

I just haven't learned enough about my camera. the one I'm talking about here is the eos550.

if I want a speed up around 400 and I want an aperture about f22 what do I shoot on?

Full manual?

Or I should shoot on P but set the ISO up at 3200 or something?

I'm blundering around with the thing it seems. I thought I knew what I was doing when I was going around shooting on Tv at 320 but it turns out I was kidding myself.

I don’t think you should venture down to f22 very often. I would set your ISO to Auto with a maximum limit below your noise tolerance threshold, probably 3200 or 6400 on your camera. Personally and unless shutter speed was critical, I would use Aperture priority with Auto ISO to start with although as you gain experience you could maybe set your preferred ISO and start using P or S [or whatever Canon call them] as appropriate. P is good because it is an auto exposure mode which you can offset/adjust to give the result you desire, whether a faster or slower exposure or larger or smaller aperture.

Keep shooting. It costs you nothing and if you think about what your are doing and are flexible in your approach, you will soon learn what works and what doesn’t.

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OP abrogard1 Regular Member • Posts: 207
Re: Why Are My Pics So Poor?

Thanks for that.  Yes I'm thinking speed is critical.  At least insofar as it shouldn't be slower than about 400.

So how can I control my speed and my aperture on this EOS?  Must go to M I guess.

MarshallG
MarshallG Veteran Member • Posts: 8,360
Re: Why Are My Pics So Poor?

abrogard1 wrote:

That's an interesting little discussion. Makes me think along with understanding my camera I perhaps need to use a tripod, too? For the sake of rigid control of distance to subject in order to put the depth of field just where I want it

as regards subject and background that's a bit mutable. sometimes I want and sometimes I don't.

In fact one of my most common wishes is to have softly out of focus but identifiable background showing the 'palette' of the ground or foliage which is a 'setting' for the bloom or bud or whatever in question.

And often that bloom or bud is not one but many. Aussie bush flowers often being so tiny I try to get shots of a group of them. That's when I run into the need for a depth of field sufficient to cover the small discrepancies in distance from the camera of the different flowers or gum nuts or whatever...

Brilliant! Yes, that's exactly it!

This is one reason why I LOVE my full frame camera with its high dynamic range: The ISO doesn't matter, you see? You set both the aperture and the shutter to deliver the appearance you want, and, more or less, the ISO can be whatever it wants. Also, full frame delivers shallower depth of field compared to crop sensor, unless you use very fast aperture lenses, which I think only Fuji makes.

You do have to understand that aperture isn't infinite, and after f/8.0 or f/11, depending on the lens, an effect called diffraction reduces sharpness. Also, the way that focus "breaks" at each aperture depends on distance and (if it's a zoom) the focal length, and you cannot see these effects well through your viewfinder. You need to go out, put the camera on a tripod, and take a range of shots at different apertures so you can study the behavior of the lens aperture on your computer screen at home. Or, more generally, in landscapes, just shoot at a range of apertures and see what you like best when you're back home.

This is why I spent a LOT more money on my three zooms, which are all f/2.8. Even still, I prefer my 85mm f/1.8 lens to all three of them, even though it's only a $300 lens.

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OP abrogard1 Regular Member • Posts: 207
Re: Why Are My Pics So Poor?

Thanks for that.

I'm not sure if my camera will adjust ISO while the aperture and speed are set.

I'll have to learn and take into consideration that aperture diffraction thing.

Mainly I think I'm going to have to do what you suggest: experiment.

Currently I don't. I'm undisciplined.

I'm reluctant to cart a tripod around the bush.  I must be egotistic or something - that's what's behind self consciousness, isn't it?  Grow up a bit and just do it.

Learn.  I need to learn.

Thanks. 

MarshallG
MarshallG Veteran Member • Posts: 8,360
Re: Why Are My Pics So Poor?

abrogard1 wrote:

Thanks for that.

I'm not sure if my camera will adjust ISO while the aperture and speed are set.

I'll have to learn and take into consideration that aperture diffraction thing.

Mainly I think I'm going to have to do what you suggest: experiment.

Currently I don't. I'm undisciplined.

I'm reluctant to cart a tripod around the bush. I must be egotistic or something - that's what's behind self consciousness, isn't it? Grow up a bit and just do it.

Learn. I need to learn.

Thanks.

Instead of a tripod, you can always use a rock, or a stone wall. But if you photograph foliage up close with long shutter, you must be mindful of any breeze at all.

 MarshallG's gear list:MarshallG's gear list
Canon EOS R5 Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L II USM Canon Extender EF 1.4x II +3 more
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