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Old 12-03-2011, 09:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Cool The Picture Taking and Editing Q&A/Tip Thread

RileysMommy's thread gave me this idea. I think we need a place to consolidate our photography tips and a place to discuss photo editing (Photoshop, etc.).

My first question involves lighting. Everyone is invited to respond, but I'm going to address two that stand out in my mind.

Mama2FourAZ & Spoowhisperer: how do you get such perfect lighting in your pics?

Mama2FourAZ - your pics of Lilly are always so sharp and crisp (studio shots).

Spoowhisperer - I love the pic of Kai relaxing by the fire in the Raptor thread.

What camera/lens did you use and do you do any followup editing?
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Old 12-03-2011, 10:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
RileysMommy's thread gave me this idea. I think we need a place to consolidate our photography tips and a place to discuss photo editing (Photoshop, etc.).

My first question involves lighting. Everyone is invited to respond, but I'm going to address two that stand out in my mind.

Mama2FourAZ & Spoowhisperer: how do you get such perfect lighting in your pics?

Mama2FourAZ - your pics of Lilly are always so sharp and crisp (studio shots).

Spoowhisperer - I love the pic of Kai relaxing by the fire in the Raptor thread.

What camera/lens did you use and do you do any followup editing?

Okay, this is GOOD! Good good thread, I have been thinking of starting this myself! I know a forum is not a photo community, so have been hesitant to address this, but hey, who wouldn't like to take better photos of your 4 legged family members!

I am no expert photographer for sure. After I got my new Canon 7D, I never really learned the technical stuff, so if I get a good shot I'm lucky.
However, I do make use of editing tools to help correct lighting issues, or to get an effect I want for a certain photo.

I use Aperture on my imac for storing my photos and some editing, also have Topaz, and one of my most handy tools is in Picnik, which is a online editing program. I actually use Picnik the most for quick touch ups. If you buy a membership, ALL the tools are available to you. There is a tool I use all the time which is under Advanced, it is called Curves. It really helps me correct lighting and it is so easy!

Shoot, want to share more, and I will, but have to help my husband get ready for a icky trip to a place that kind of scares me. Pack pack pack...
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Old 12-03-2011, 12:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm no pro, but I have learned a few tricks over the years.

Generally speaking, you want diffused light, not direct. And if you have to use the built-in flash on your camera, you're probably not going to like the results. Outdoors, this means a slighly overcast day will produce better results than a bright day with the sun high up. I'm pretty sure it's @Mama2FourAZ who has a pro studio portrait lighting setup with a softbox to diffuse the lighting --hard to compete with that!

As for cameras, the biggest problem with most point and click models is shutter lag and processing speed. It just takes too long from the time you press the shutter to the time the image gets exposed, and then too long to store the image before you can shoot again. Any decent Digital SLR will excel in this area, not to mention better optics, lens choices, etc. If you can, get a "Prosumer" SLR rather than an entry level model. Last year's Prosumer model can be a great deal, with discounts that bring the price down to this year's entry level.

Most cameras have a "Sports" mode that favors shutter speed over aperature. My Canon aging but still great 30D has a Shutter Priority mode that is great for stopping fast action against a blurred background.
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Old 12-03-2011, 12:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LEUllman View Post
I'm no pro, but I have learned a few tricks over the years.

Generally speaking, you want diffused light, not direct. And if you have to use the built-in flash on your camera, you're probably not going to like the results. Outdoors, this means a slighly overcast day will produce better results than a bright day with the sun high up. I'm pretty sure it's @Mama2FourAZ who has a pro studio portrait lighting setup with a softbox to diffuse the lighting --hard to compete with that!

As for cameras, the biggest problem with most point and click models is shutter lag and processing speed. It just takes too long from the time you press the shutter to the time the image gets exposed, and then too long to store the image before you can shoot again. Any decent Digital SLR will excel in this area, not to mention better optics, lens choices, etc. If you can, get a "Prosumer" SLR rather than an entry level model. Last year's Prosumer model can be a great deal, with discounts that bring the price down to this year's entry level.

Most cameras have a "Sports" mode that favors shutter speed over aperature. My Canon aging but still great 30D has a Shutter Priority mode that is great for stopping fast action against a blurred background.
This! This is so my problem. I wasn't sure what the technical terminology was to explain this but now I know. (Thanks!) My parents are getting me a new camera for Yule (I think) and my mother is really picky about the flash aspect.

Spoowhisperer: when you have time, please walk us through the Kai by the Fire pic. I LOVE that one. I hope your husband isn't going where my "people" often have to go. Not a good place.

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Old 12-03-2011, 12:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have no problems taking my limited little pix. My camera's an old Fuji Finepix. But I would like to share a simple way of resizing pix before they go into a post. Just so that it doesn't widen the thread so we have to scroll from side to side.

Any image editor will do . . . but, if u don't have one, Windows has a series called Powertoys. The Image Resizer is what I use. Available HERE for XP . . or HERE for Windows 7.

Very easy to use. Simply right-click on an image and choose yr size. 640 x 480 works perfectly in a forum. *My 'Frank's Gang' sig is 600 pixels wide.*

Spoospirit . . Spoowhisperer . . . who can tell the difference, eh? lol
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Old 12-03-2011, 12:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Countryboy View Post
I have no problems taking my limited little pix. My camera's an old Fuji Finepix. But I would like to share a simple way of resizing pix before they go into a post. Just so that it doesn't widen the thread so we have to scroll from side to side.

Any image editor will do . . . but, if u don't have one, Windows has a series called Powertoys. The Image Resizer is what I use. Available HERE for XP . . or HERE for Windows 7.

Very easy to use. Simply right-click on an image and choose yr size. 640 x 480 works perfectly in a forum. *My 'Frank's Gang' sig is 600 pixels wide.*

Spoospirit . . Spoowhisperer . . . who can tell the difference, eh? lol
Bolding is mine!

LOL--I fixed it. I always get them mixed up (screen names). Heck, they both take great pics!
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I wish I can be of better help here Rowan, unfortunately my husband is the one with the photography talent. When he tries to explain to me the technical details I just zonked out and my mind start to wonder away I ended up telling him it's ok as long as I have you to take the pics I don't need to know all that LOL!

I can share what I do know though....and that is editing! Never underestimate the power of editing. Every photo that my husband takes he edits them to bring out the best of image. What type of software you use also plays a big role in your end images. For example, if you notice the pics I've posted, some are with my husband's signature at the bottom of the pic. Those are the ones he edited and he uses Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Then there are some pics without his signature and those are the ones I edited using Picasa. The outcome is very different as Picasa has very limited editing functions compared to Lightroom. The ones he edited turns out to be more vibrant and can bring out the mood he wants to project in that image.

He is using Canon EOS 500D and then there are the different types of lenses he has. Depending on the lighting and what sort of images he wants to take there are different lenses for it. A fast movement shot like if he's shooting an agility trial he uses different lens. Not much of a help here as well

Here are some sample pics. This was shot using a fisheye lens which can capture wider angles. See the first 2 pics below, similar shots but the 2nd pic was edited in a different manner and thus you get a different mood or vibe from it.







Wish I can be of more help but at the end the day, I think no matter how good your camera or lens is, you still need to know how to edit your photos. My husband can take a pic from his iphone and you would never have guessed it came from his phone after he has done editing it

Some more sample pics, all edited using Lightroom :







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Old 12-06-2011, 04:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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LOVE the fisheye pics--I want a FE sooooo bad. My lens wishlist is really long though so I'm not sure when I will actually get one. Maybe I should rent one for a couple weeks....hmmmm.... LOL

Well I could write a book on this subject! I've written a few short articles relating to natural light and exposure:

Take advantage of the Arizona sun: Natural light portraits - Phoenix Photography | Examiner.com

Phoenix Photography Examiner - Arts & Exhibits | Examiner.com

My new blogsite (work in progress as I slowly change my main focus from people to pet photography) is at Queen Creek Photography | San Tan Valley Photography | lilypoo | Phoenix, AZ - Phoenix Child Wedding Commercial Photography . FWIW, the shots in the little slideshow at the top of the page are all studio light except for the black and white one, which was natural light.

Most, if not all, of the Lily pictures I've posted here have been studio light. I use a very simple set-up usually--one key light and a reflector for fill, or one key light and a second light for fill (sometimes still use the reflector for fill in this case).

[This type of set-up can easily and inexpensively be achieved with an off-camera flash (compatible with your camera, there are lots of affordable options) and cheap, white photographic umbrella. I use AC strobes in my studio and off-camera portable flashes on-location.]

Strobe light (AC or portable flash) will freeze action at fairly low shutter speeds which virtually eliminates mild camera shake and subject motion blur, so this is part of getting pictures that are crisp and crystal-clear.

Proper lighting and exposure also are key with image clarity (this applies to natural or artificial light) because underexposure/low-light will cause more digital noise (or grain, when referring to film).

This is where reflectors come in, because they help avoid having less clarity in the shadow (or less-lit) areas of your picture.

On the fly, a light-colored wall, ceiling or area of concrete pavement will function as a reflector. A piece of white foam-core is handy to bounce natural light back at your subject and can be used anywhere--around your house, at the park, etc. Anyone interested in improving their lighting results can easily see great improvements simply by learning how to use a reflector.

Then of course there's the post-production. Digital images often need to be processed to look good. Especially if you're using a RAW format and not applying a lot of image enhancement in-camera. Which is what serious amateurs and aspiring pros usually end up doing, because then you have ultimate control over the final image and they camera is not deciding for you.

I'm a Photoshop person but I now use Lightroom as well. LR has really streamlined cataloging and workflow for my personal images, which is great because I have issues actually DOING something with my images. With Lightroom, you can get an image 100% where you want it, or you can do preliminary processing and then take it into Photoshop for full retouching.

I recently bought Elements, thinking it'd save me time making layouts and scrapbook pages, but I've been using Photoshop for so long that I am having trouble adjusting to Elements. It'd be great for someone just starting out though! Heck I just bought Paint Shop Pro X4 Ultimate because it was on sale for $25 and came with some great bonuses. I love to play with various imaging software packages but when it comes down to "I have to get this session proofed and then delivered for a client" I *have* to use Lightroom and Photoshop!

[Yes, I am a loyal Photoshop person but also a little annoyed that Adobe won't support newer camera models and OS as their versions age and I'm forced into purchasing a $200 upgrade (for my $600 software package) every couple years!! Something to think about before you invest in Photoshop or any other Adobe Creative Suite product for that matter!

I'm a loyal Canon person as well. I currently use a 60D and a Rebel XSi. The XSi is an older model of their smaller Rebel line but it's a great little camera and smaller and lighter than the prosumer models like the 60D. I've been with Canon since their G2 point-and-shoot came out in 2002 and the Canon 20D was my first digital SLR and the 60D was my 7th Canon dSLR since 2005. Sometimes I get curious about Nikon but I'm a huge fan of Canon's L (pro-level) glass line-up.

So my Lily pics are usually my 60D and I've been partial to my Sigma 17-50mm lens indoors these days. (
Amazon.com: Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD Large Aperture Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital DSLR Camera: Camera & Photo Amazon.com: Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD Large Aperture Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital DSLR Camera: Camera & Photo
) I've had this lens since March and it's barely come off my camera. It has image stabilization, which helps get those crisp shots as well. It's also got a fixed maximum aperture of f/2.8 so it's also a great natural-light lens, and the wider-angle is great for using inside as well.

Sigma's 10-20mm is also a great wide-angle zoom. Other lenses I'd recommend for natural light would be Canon's 50mm f/1.8 (on a budget) or 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8, Sigma's 30mm f/1.4...there are so many great lenses out there it's difficult to narrow it down but those listed tend to be consistently good lenses, under $500 (or so) and great for natural light because of the wide apertures (to let in more light).

I'm sure I'll think of more to say but I'll leave it at that for now. Hopefully helpful and not too boring!!
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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OMG, thank you both! Now I must add Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to my list. I have Adobe Photoshop already so hopefully I can figure the Lightroom out.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I ordered my T3i today and cant wait to get it! But, I already said that on the other thread. I will also be getting Elements (my husband is getting that for me for Christmas too)....I have never used photo editing software before....so, I HOPE that it's what I want! LOL


Thank you all for your posts! Sounds like a foreign language to me...guess I have a LOT to learn! Maybe a photography class will be in order?
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