Quality assistance

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Quality assistance

Postby mroskamp » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:47 am

Hello!
I want to preface this by saying I've had no formal photography training, classes, or other assistance. I've simply had an eye for photography and a love for this to remain a hobby and not a business (it's too fun for me as a hobby that I don't want to ruin it :wink: ) Please be kind to this young, inexperienced American girl :)

I currently have a Canon Rebel t3i with an EFS 18-55mm lens and an EFS 55-250mm lens. I've been playing around with different settings and functions to learn it better for the past year.
I'm really stuck if it's my camera, me the user with not using the right settings, the lens, a filter, or a photo editing program that I'm required to get.
What I want is to find why certain portrait images look so "raw" and not as smooth? I feel like the rawness looks SO amateur and I cannot figure out how to get the more polished appearance. I'm trying to insert a sample image, completely raw with no editing or special features/functions used (hoping I'm not completely hopeless and can get this image to work).
Image

Otherwise if you happen to know what I'm trying to describe and have any helpful tips or suggestions, it would be much appreciated. I'm not looking to make a background blurry and the subject in focus; it's stemming beyond that.

Thank you!!!!
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Re: Quality assistance

Postby keystrokesuk » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:00 am

The best way to learn is to play with your camera settings and try stuff out. You also get a lot of information from online resources. On some image websites you can look for something called EXIF data, this tells you the camera used, the lens used (and what zoom if any it was set to), the shutter speed and if a flash was fired. So you can find examples of images you like and look at the EXIF information to give you an idea of settings you can try on your camera.

If you could post an example of what you feel is a good image and a not so good image it may be easier to help you with what you are trying to achieve.
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Re: Quality assistance

Postby Bjorn van Sinttruije » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:54 pm

Welcome mroskamp to the Camera Labs forum. Don't worry, we are kind to everyone* on this board (*except spammers or very annoying people :lol: ).

In my opinion, your use of flash in the above pictures causes most of the rawness of the photograph. It's very direct lighting, the kind that anyone who picks up a camera could (and does) use. There's two options, both of which may require an expansion of your camera set-up:
- shoot with indirect flash (e.g. bounce of the ceiling or a wall). I never use flash, as I dislike the look of it, as well as the disturbance it causes, but this is an option. Of course, if thus far you've been using the little flash that's built into your camera, this isn't possible.
- shoot without flash. This will require shooting with available light, which means you'll have to open up your aperture all the way (and perhaps even get a new lens that is better in low light), bump up your ISO, and learn to handhold your camera at slower shutter speeds.

If you do decide to use flash, I believe most cameras have a feature that allows you to retain more detail in the background. In your photo, the background is plain black, and thus the photo has no depth whatsoever. If you synchronize the flash with the second shutter curtain, and use a slower shutter speed, you might retain some more detail. As I never use flash, I can't tell you how to set it up, hopefully other members can do that.

- Bjorn
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