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An interesting "foot in the door" experience

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Tzvi Friedman    11

I noticed my friend and his daughter playing outside on a nice day. I had been taking some pictures on a day trip with my own 2-year old, so we decided to go over there and hang out for a few minutes. My friend had expressed interest in photography and complaining about how his camera can't take good pictures, etc. So I took some pictures of him and his daughter and my son on a nice day in the shade (hard to screw those pictures up, amirite?), and posted them to Facebook.

Needless to say, he was thrilled that I took some high quality pictures, and immediately shared the pictures with friends and family. A day later, I already have people expressing interest in taking pictures of their own families, in that Facebook-esque casual candid style. Don't know if I'll ever make something out of this opportunity (wayyyyy to much else going on to start doing this for pay), but I thought it was a cool story, and a good example of using social networks as a free distribution and marketing tool, especially for amateurs like myself.

Also, the quality of these photos is nowhere near professional. However, the use of Facebook as the "gallery" has a distinct advantage in being a veritable warehouse of crappy cell phone photos. Any picture from a decent camera automatically pops out in Facebook news feeds just because the competition is so bad. You don't really get that advantage on Flickr. Also, make sure you don't have a lot of Facebook friends who are photographers :p

Equipment used:

Nikon D3100 | 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Nikkor

Samples:

215093_545304523727_52602206_31208316_2921783_n.jpg

207779_545304548677_52602206_31208317_1405797_n.jpg

207423_545304573627_52602206_31208318_3866901_n.jpg

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remus_lupin    10

Good to hear!

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Draconian Guppy    13,038

You should look at the stuff bubbabyte shoots, IMO he's got talent for shooting his kids. :p

As for the photos,

here my take:

1 and 2. Under-exposed

3. Is the best but the car in background ruins it.

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remus_lupin    10

As for the photos,

here my take:

1 and 2. Under-exposed

3. Is the best but the car in background ruins it.

I noticed these as well, watch composition (the cutting off of hands, ears etc.)

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Tzvi Friedman    11

You should look at the stuff bubbabyte shoots, IMO he's got talent for shooting his kids. :p

As for the photos,

here my take:

1 and 2. Under-exposed

3. Is the best but the car in background ruins it.

I was unfortunately taking pictures into a sunset in late afternoon. I was also under shade, which caused some variable lighting conditions. Any tips on how to expose correctly in that situation? I was already wide open as far as aperture goes, I guess I could have stepped up the ISO.

3 was tough because it originally was super over exposed, having the frikin sun in the background and all. Took some post-processing to get the subjects right in that one.

Here's my favorite of the set. A little dark, too, but it still came out nice. And plz2ignore the drool :p

216414_545304603567_52602206_31208319_1587228_n.jpg

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remus_lupin    10

I was unfortunately taking pictures into a sunset in late afternoon. I was also under shade, which caused some variable lighting conditions. Any tips on how to expose correctly in that situation? I was already wide open as far as aperture goes, I guess I could have stepped up the ISO.

You don't mention your shutter speed, but I am guessing it was near the limit of what would be acceptable until introducing blur from camera shake... If not, then your two options to add more light would be:

1. lower shutter speed

2. increase ISO (as you mentioned)

Don't be afraid of increasing ISO... When I first got my DSLR my camera was NEVER above ISO 200 (note this was my first ever camera)... then after 2 months I realized that was stupid of me... Sure, if you can, keep it as low as possible, but I get usable shots at 1600 with my D90.

If I recall correctly you are shooting in manual, so in this situation try and make sure the meter is more towards the "plus" by changing the variables I mentioned above... In addition you can experiment with various exposure weight options (can't recall the official name). For example, use spot metering opposed to an overall image average, this way you can get the correct exposure on your subject without having strong lighting in the background (or where ever else) effect your camera's metering.

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Draconian Guppy    13,038

Well, it's usually easier to shoot with the sun in front and not in the back, which is what happened in the first two pictures, your camera meters for the light in the back and not on the faces.

Try shooting S or A, M can be a handful for beginners (aperture, shutter + exposure )

Also, what quality are you shooting at? You photos have a weird softness to them.

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Argote    73

FYI: Most shots where the exposure is off by +/- 1 EV or less can be easily corrected in Lightroom with minimum quality loss.

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remus_lupin    10

Also, what quality are you shooting at? You photos have a weird softness to them.

He shoots RAW for the most part, I noticed this too... I immediately dismissed it as being a byproduct of using a kit lens...

To add to this, what kind of post-work did you do (or what program did you run it through to convert from RAW to .jpg)?

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Tzvi Friedman    11

In addition you can experiment with various exposure weight options (can't recall the official name). For example, use spot metering opposed to an overall image average, this way you can get the correct exposure on your subject without having strong lighting in the background (or where ever else) effect your camera's metering.

I really haven't touched the metering settings yet. I know technically what they do, but I'm just mastering on-the-fly manual settings of A, S, and ISO, so I'll get to that eventually I guess.

Well, it's usually easier to shoot with the sun in front and not in the back, which is what happened in the first two pictures, your camera meters for the light in the back and not on the faces.Try shooting S or A, M can be a handful for beginners (aperture, shutter + exposure ) Also, what quality are you shooting at? You photos have a weird softness to them.

He shoots RAW for the most part, I noticed this too... I immediately dismissed it as being a byproduct of using a kit lens...To add to this, what kind of post-work did you do (or what program did you run it through to convert from RAW to .jpg)?

Ya, this is in RAW. When I first sit at the PC, I put the photos in NXview. With RAW, NXView does magical things with WB settings. It's made some so-so shots look gorgeous. I also use that to convert to Jpeg. Keep in mind these are facebook uploads, so i don't know if that takes away quality in and of itself.

I went through the 30 day trial of Lightroom, and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it ain't cheap. I might be able to squeeze a licence out of my company for photoshop CS5 (for "business" use, and being in IT, I really could just install the thing and be done with it), but the chances of that are slim. I can't stand the Gimp UI, and I don't really know of anything else that works well and is free. The WB and Picture Settings in NXViewer are great tools, though. For basic photo editing, it does the job for free.

My typical editing process is:

- Tweak WB.

- Up the contrast a bit (personal preference here. I like my images a little contrasty)

- Boost the saturation a bit. I tend to oversaturate, and you can see that in some of the photos above.

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remus_lupin    10

Ya, this is in RAW. When I first sit at the PC, I put the photos in NXview. With RAW, NXView does magical things with WB settings. It's made some so-so shots look gorgeous. I also use that to convert to Jpeg. Keep in mind these are facebook uploads, so i don't know if that takes away quality in and of itself.

Facebook applies their own algorithm to the photos uploaded, which IMO makes the majority of my shots look worse than when viewed through flickr (look into starting an account there)

I was going to suggest LR, but since you already know of it...

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Tzvi Friedman    11

Facebook applies their own algorithm to the photos uploaded, which IMO makes the majority of my shots look worse than when viewed through flickr (look into starting an account there)

I was going to suggest LR, but since you already know of it...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/60484419@N06/

I use it also, but most of my friends and family won't see that stuff, so I'm forced to use facebook.

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Draconian Guppy    13,038

You don't mention your shutter speed, but I am guessing it was near the limit of what would be acceptable until introducing blur from camera shake... If not, then your two options to add more light would be:

1. lower shutter speed

2. increase ISO (as you mentioned)

Don't be afraid of increasing ISO... When I first got my DSLR my camera was NEVER above ISO 200 (note this was my first ever camera)... then after 2 months I realized that was stupid of me... Sure, if you can, keep it as low as possible, but I get usable shots at 1600 with my D90.

+1

FYI: Most shots where the exposure is off by +/- 1 EV or less can be easily corrected in Lightroom with minimum quality loss.

+2

http://www.flickr.com/photos/60484419@N06/

I use it also, but most of my friends and family won't see that stuff, so I'm forced to use facebook.

Meh facebook :/

Also, I think the default windows photo viewer has a couple of editing options.. Though I would try to squeeze that CS5 out of your company, nothing beats proper tools :)

I was browsing through your flickr account and most pics are sharp, so yeah, it's probably facebook algorithm.

Also Auto-WB on nikon is usually really good, I tend not to mess with WB unless under artifical lighting (fluorescent or incandescent )

Also, see how everyone days only good things about nikon :p ! Don't believe it! Lies I tell ya! Lies! But surely enough, that's what C & C is about, improving!

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remus_lupin    10

I was browsing through your flickr account and most pics are sharp, so yeah, it's probably facebook algorithm.

+1

Interestingly enough, I find facebook over sharpens my images.

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booboo    6

Well I suppose the algorithm is there to increase the very sub standard point and shoot pictures that most people upload from their phone cameras!

</offtopic>

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Tzvi Friedman    11

Facebook

216414_545304603567_52602206_31208319_1587228_n.jpg

Flickr

5609677067_ba025cf4c9_z.jpg

I can definitely see a difference.

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Draconian Guppy    13,038

yeah, there's some weird detail loss on the FB one.

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Argote    73

It's compression.

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Tzvi Friedman    11

A lot of the highlights on the face just totally disappear

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Draconian Guppy    13,038

Yeah I understand artifacts because of compression, but not images getting darker :/

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o0moonman0o    54

images look flat over all because on the choice of light or exposure.

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Draconian Guppy    13,038

OMG TVzi, the mighty moon has replied! Bow before him! :p

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c.grz    391

The only recommendation I can make when it comes to shooting pictures of children is...get down to their level.

Don't shoot down; kneel down and shoot straight.

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o0moonman0o    54

OMG TVzi, the mighty moon has replied! Bow before him! :p

:p i've been away traveling :p he's in fine hands of the guppy!

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BajiRav    2,137

The only recommendation I can make when it comes to shooting pictures of children is...get down to their level.

Don't shoot down; kneel down and shoot straight.

+1000, generally applies to all subjects.

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