Better photos

Discussion in 'General photography questions' started by Chongkie, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Chongkie
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    Chongkie Aquascaper

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    Hehe, have you tried H. Difformis yet... that stuff grows out of control hectically!

    Quick question on taking photos. What settings do you take your macros on? and also for the FTS? and how do you get the colour saturation so intense?
     
  2. AdrianT
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    AdrianT Aquascaper

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    Have not tried that stuff yet.

    Tricks of the trade :p Just kidding. Aperture priority mode. First rule, never use the preset modes. They suck, generally. I shoot 80% in aperture priority. Sometimes shutter priority and rest in manual. There are loads of menu's within the camera which you can fiddle with. It may take months to get the settings you want, depends how fussy you are. Now when I take a photo it's pretty much exactly what I want. I go into Photoshop to add the watermark. Telling you my ISO, shutter speed or aperture is actually totally useless. Because it depends on your camera, lens, ambient light available, tank lighting etc. But I'll copy and paste what I wrote on another thread once here on APSA:

    If you're shooting by hand, don't shoot at less than 1/60th (shutter speed), otherwise use a tripod. But your fish will be blurred if you shoot with a shutter speed too slow. I suggest you play with the three basic things that control light, namely aperture, shutter and ISO. They work together. Putting it simply:

    Slower shutter = more light.
    Smaller f number = more light (f/4 = lots of light & f/16 = not so much light)
    Low ISO number like 100 = little light, higher ISO = more light.

    However, I wouldn't shoot higher than ISO 400 unless you have a decent DSLR camera. The little point and shoots always boost ISO very high in low light situations (indoors like you have and you want the flash off) to make up for their tiny lenses and high ISO = noise (the grainy look on the photos, which is not what you want.

    If that didn't make sense here is another solution. Set your camera to ISO 400. Set it also to aperture priority mode so the camera decides what shutter speed to use. Set the f number (aperture) to the smallest number. If it's showing less than 1/60 use a tripod. If the camera does not show the shutter speed take the photo and check afterwards :) I'd also face the tank more square on.

    On focal length (what most people call "zoom") - if don't "zoom" in there may be distortion on the outer edges of the photo. If you have a longer focal length (zooming in), the image will be "more true", if that makes sense. However by increasing focal length you lose light so if you had the camera in aperture priority you would notice the shutter speed would decrease to compensate ;-) It's all about a balance.

    White balance I'd keep it on auto most of the time. It's something many people try to play with, but with terrible results. Fiddle with it at your own peril. For a tank shot, leave it alone :)
     
  3. Chongkie
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    Chongkie Aquascaper

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    Don't you want to start a thread on taking photos, etc. It would be so much easier to follow and ask question without hi-jacking your thread! hehe

    I have an old DSLR, Canon 450d, stock lense (18-55mm), got it in Hong Kong about 6+years ago. It takes good photos, and is small enough to take everywhere, but I'm finding that it is so difficult to take "true" colored photos. I've played around with the aperture/speed/iso,etc, but still can't get the true colour of the tank. Outdoors is fine, but I've always struggled with FTS.. not sure why. :BangHead:

    I've noticed on your photos of your tank, that the greens pop like a mofo! but my greens are always dull... do photoshop / adjust your photos ?
     
  4. AdrianT
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    Maybe a mod can split the thread on your post above this one?

    No not on these photos. The colours are acceptable to me already.

    I am by no means an expert on photography, but that tiny little thing called the sensor, that does make a difference too, and does drive the prices up from 10K to 50K for a body, unfortunately. HOWEVER, I can promise you now I can get your camera to take great photos. Unfortunately the menu's are so different to Nikon I could not do that over a forum :( Another reason to move to CT... (I never give up - apply for that job....nothing to lose by enquiring)
     
  5. Chongkie
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    Chongkie Aquascaper

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    Haha, Ok I will apply.

    I understand that the sensors play a huge role, but also from my understanding, not as much a the lens itself. A friend of mine in Hong Kong has the 450D body and hectic lenses and he said that for most photography the sensors on the entry level DSLR's are more than adequate. It's the lens that is not adequate enough.

    I've taken awesome photos outside, but not inside. hehe... lacking the skills and experience i guess.
     
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  6. AdrianT
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    Check your white balance setting. I would maybe put money on the fact that it's messing you around :rolleyes: Not a lot of money, but some ;D:D I am assuming photos of your wife indoors (as an example...) look a bit pale and ghost like?
     
  7. Singu
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    Singu Algae harvester

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    you have to fix white balance and colors in photoshop, do you shoot raw @Chongkie ?
     
  8. Chongkie
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    Chongkie Aquascaper

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    Yeap. Tried all white balance, but non seems to be accurate.
     
  9. Linxie
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    Linxie Aquascaper

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    What colour lights do you have? This could cause the colour to look off. Try using the "flash" white balance setting or set it to auto. Flash renders as if the light was pure white and generally gives the right colour (in most cases). To increase colour, change the images saturation or vibrance. Also check which colour setting your camera is set to... you get standard, vivid, landscape, portrait and so on, these affect hue, contrast, temperature etc.

    I struggle getting my tank to look right in post and have found that setting white balance to auto works the best. Any tannins in the tank also has a major affect on the end photo.
     
  10. AdrianT
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    Just shoot properly, then you won't need to do much in Photoshop. :laughing: RAW is useful for sunsets where colour graduations are an issue, and obviously the algorithms of a RAW file means there is not data loss each time it's opened blah blah yakety yak, otherwise I don't bother, and have plenty double A4 spreads in local and international magazines and even National Geographic Traveler magazine in Indonesia. Yes it gives more scope for change, but honestly, know what you're doing with the camera and you'll save loads of time. I like to play with the camera, not Photoshop. Each to their own. This is well off topic by now, where's the :police: to stop this hi jack? :evil7:
     
  11. Singu
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    Singu Algae harvester

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    I don't know, I don't like the the camera doing the processing, and if you have it in raw you can do other stuff to an image at a later stage.
     
  12. shihr
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    so what i do for proper fts on my cannon dslr:

    1. I use the smallest iso i can so theres no blur on the fish
    2. Always use a tripod
    3. i boost the colours on my camera slightly (setting for this)
    4. build a light box to cut out any light leaching from the tank.. this is very important and also the main reasons why pics never come out as nice. the leached light affects your cameras auto sensing
    5. try different zoom or no zoom pics.. pay particular notice to the depth perception on the tank.. ie the angles of the tank.. the further away you are and if you using zoom to get in close, the flatter the photo. standing too close, distorts the pic too.. so yes you have to balance again..also standing too far means the light has to travel further so pics may not come out as nice..esp with a lower iso and a faster shutter

    these are just off the top of my head..hope some of these tips help..
     
  13. Singu
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    Singu Algae harvester

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    hi shihr, iso doesn't have anything to do with blur ? ISO is the sensitivity of the sensor to light, so low iso ie 100 not very sensitive but the image is clean, the higher the iso the more sensitive but it gets grainy or noisy.
     
  14. AdrianT
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    Actually think of the ISO as one of the corners of a triangle that control light, the shutter speed and aperture sit in the other two corners. Those three things need to be juggled and each affects the other. So actually use a minimal ISO to reduce noise, but in doing so, you effectively "lose light". There are surely Youtube videos explaining that triangle. Keeping shutter speed and aperture set (in manual mode) and play with the ISO to see the effect. ISO is the only variable that is going to control how much noise is produced - the grainy look which we all want to avoid.

    Thanks for splitting the thread Richard :)
     
  15. shihr
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    shihr Administrator Staff Member

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    haha.. oops.. i meant smallest aperture or highest appeture number..

    why highest aperture no? so you can catch all of your tank and have no blurry areas. unless that is what you want..
     
  16. Singu
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    Singu Algae harvester

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    Most modern slr`s can be used on iso 1600 (and more if you know how to clean up noise in PS) and the images are still fine for the interweb
    ISO- Sensitivity of sensor to light
    Shutter speed- how long the shutter stays open to allow light through
    F-stop- the size of the hole in the lens that lets light through, smaller hole(larger fstop number)= less light but more of the image is in focus, larger hole (smaller fstop number) means larger hole but you have a very thin focal plane, which makes it hard to get the focus spot on on fast moving subjects like fish
     
  17. AdrianT
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    I wouldn't go to the max. Lenses perform best (most of the time) away from the extremes of their aperture values, especially a small aperture (large f number)... Plus you'll lose a shed load of light, and worse still is (and this should actually not be a problem) the dust in your camera will show up even more. Try it, take a photo of the sky with f/5.6 and f/22 and notice the irritating blobs - dust... Moral, keep it clean. And to be clear, Richard meant for a full tank shot.

    And for those that don't know, aperture controls depth of field. So the big f number (say f/16) has a big depth of field, but because of the loss of light, you would have to compensate with a slower shutter speed, or higher ISO, or both. That triangle is an easy way to understand it.

    To further on the "triangle" and add a fourth component which for understanding of basic concepts one can ignore, focal length (how much you "zoom" in) would also effect light. Shoot at 18mm, lekker light, zoom in to 200mm and you've "lost light".
     
  18. AdrianT
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    What ISO you use really depends heavily on the body and lens and available light. For most amateurs I would say stay away from anything above 800, and probably even 400 if your camera is very entry level.

    At the end of the day there is only one way to get good - practise and experiment, lot's, and don't fear failure. You're only up against yourself anyway. There really isn't a need to understand a great deal about photography to get photos which you'll be happy with. I think all the technicalities chase people away and then the learning juices dry up quickly.
     
  19. shihr
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    defn..

    its all about balance and trial and error.. more you take pics, the more you will know your camera and what to set to get desired results without having to take multipule shots and fiddle..

    but also prep your scene.. so if you are taking a proper fts, take out your equipment, make a light box, scrub the glass etc.. your audience can only see what you show them
     
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  20. Singu
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    All I am saying is that people shouldn't be afraid to push the iso, unless you want to print big, in the example below I am sure all of you will agree that it is as near as makes no difference. Exif data intact

    ISO 500
    [​IMG]

    ISO 100
    [​IMG]
     

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