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Thread: Suggestions Needed For Beginner For Better Photos

  1. #1
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    Suggestions Needed For Beginner For Better Photos



    I have been teaching myself photography & post processing for a few months now and I really love it! I have a Canon T1i and recently purchased a 300mm f/4 L lens w/ 1.4x II entender that I have had a chance to use the last two weekends and occasionally using a 580EX II speedlite I just bought this past week. To put it mildly, my photos stink! Granted, I don't know completely what I am doing but they have nowhere near the beauty and sharpness as the photos I see posted. Late last fall, I was taking macro shots of my flower garden without a macro lens that were much more pleasing and I was just using my 55-250mm kit lens!


    At first, I thoughtmaybe it is because I do not have a tripod. Even though I use IS, I am shaking because it is 20 degrees out and after awhile the lens, extender & speedlite get pretty heavy.Could the extenderbe doing me more harm than good because I am losing more than I am gaining?


    I am to a point of thinking I should just stick to macro photography and now that I also have a true macro lens, photos of my flower garden this spring should look awesome


    Any suggestions or feedback greatly appreciated!


    Denise


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  2. #2
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    Re: Suggestions Needed For Beginner For Better Photos



    Your photos are very good for a beginner. It's normal to be discouraged at first, especially in the winter, but keep at it. You'll get better and better, and it will be more enjoyable in the summer (if you can ever pull yourself away from shooting macros). I'm sure there are some techniques you can work on for improving the photos. You might consider a monopod to improve steadiness without losing too much mobility. You can DIY a monopod for $15 or less from a broom handle and quick release plate (though it wont be a telescoping carbon fiber []). You might also consider trying the AF-ON button for autofocus to see if it helps you achieve critical focus. Microadjustment may be another method to improve autofocus.


    Quote Originally Posted by ddt0725
    Could the extenderbe doing me more harm than good because I am losing more than I am gaining?

    No, it is still helping.

  3. #3
    Senior Member btaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions Needed For Beginner For Better Photos



    Agreed, your photos are hardly as bad as you think they are.


    First thingI noticed in these images is that the lighting is very bland and unexciting. May I suggest trying to get more shots during the hour or two after sunrise/ before sunset so the sun is low and warm. I have never lived anywhere near snow so I'm not sure how the light is in the latter part or the day, so that could be a useless suggestion.


    Other things maybe are just to remember you rule of thirds and to make sure you are in perfectly focus before firing away. And shoot shoot shoot as we all improve the more we practice.


    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Browning
    You might also consider trying the AF-ON button for autofocus to see if it helps you achieve critical focus. Microadjustment may be another method to improve autofocus.

    Just out of curiosity Daniel, how does using the AF-ON button differ from half depressing the shutter button?
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    Re: Suggestions Needed For Beginner For Better Photos



    Quote Originally Posted by btaylor
    Just out of curiosity Daniel, how does using the AF-ON button differ from half depressing the shutter button?

    It prevents the camera from autofocusing when you didn't want it to. I find that the increased flexibility makes it easier for me to achieve the critical timing necessary for fast paced wildlife photography. For example, I can take a shot, wait a half second, then take another shot, all without performing any autofocus (which might focus on the wrong thing or take too long). When the autofocus is integrated with shutter release, there is no way to snap the shot without engaging autofocus. (Which is fine if you want to autofocus every time, but many times I don't, and autofocusing again would slow me down.)

  5. #5
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    Re: Suggestions Needed For Beginner For Better Photos



    Hmmmm makes sense... I might try it out for a while and see how I like it. At the moment I use it for exposure locking rather than focus lock.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ben_taylor_au/ www.methodicallymuddled.wordpress.com
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  6. #6
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    Re: Suggestions Needed For Beginner For Better Photos



    Hey Denise!


    Well I think your photos aren't bad at all!!!


    Especially when looking at the fact you only just started out and still need to get used to your equipment! Better, you're doing better then I ever did! You might think your photos stink at the moment, but I got the same problem. Nothing great came out of my camera the last 6 weeks or so. It's winter! It's pretty cold here and occasionally there is snow, but the most important issue here is: IT'S GREY!!!! Most of the time at least.


    Like someone already said, you need to find the sweet spot of the day. Just after sunrise or just before sunset. And also you need a bit of luck [:P] And don't think you can make pictures like some of them here on the forums after a few months. Yes you could make a lucky shot, but just ask them how many pictures they have thrown away before they did make that great shot. Also consider the environment they are in. They might be more lucky with the weather then you are. Sometimes it makes you very jealous, at least I am []





    About sharpness...the 1st 3rd and 5th picture are pretty sharp in my opinion. Oh and don't let the fact that your 55-250 made better pictures pull you off. A better lens doesn't mean you don't have to work for your pictures. With true macro you have much more challenges to overtake before you get a good shot. But when you succeed the result is like a 100 times better then with your 55-250 believe me. I was struggling a lot when I bought my real macro lens, but after a while you get the hang of it and you can make the stunning pictures just like the ones posted here. (Of course others are ALWAYS better, that's just a fact)





    I say don't give up hope to soon. Try a lot and try different positions, perspectives and compositions while there isn't a lot to see. (wintertimes [:P]) So when the weather gets better in spring you've got a rugged foundation to count on to make much better pictures then you've ever did.





    Good luck!





    Ps: just ask an expert bird-photographer like Nate for instance how much time he spend on taking a particular picture. I bet he's sitting for hours waiting for an opportunity. Or he just knows when to go out, when it's the best time to shoot. And ask how many photos failed during his shoot. What the keeper/junk picture rate is. You might be surprised how good you're doing.

  7. #7
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    Re: Suggestions Needed For Beginner For Better Photos



    Denise, in my opinion you just have to wait for better weather. My suggestion is to create a songbird set-up. So, put out a birdfeeder or two, and a couple of bushes/trees near them. Then, buy a blind and wait. I have been doing SLR photography for less time than you, and set-up photography has done me wonders. Here are a couple of shots from yesterday with my (new!) 300 f/4 (this was my second try). I am in no way a seasoned photographer but a setup can make shots like these much easier.


    Both taken with 7D, 300mm f/4L IS USM


    Both at f/5.6, 1/200, ISO 320. Manual Exposure, Handheld.


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  8. #8

    Re: Suggestions Needed For Beginner For Better Photos



    Denise,


    You're shooting with a very long telephoto lens, and with the extention and crop body, it is very, very long! The 35mm equal would be a 670mm lens, if my math is right. That would mean a shutter speed of 1/1000 or better with no IS, and probably no less than 1/125 with IS. Any vibration from you is really going to be magnified in your images, so work on some good photo technique. My telephoto lens is the super cheap 75-300/4-5.6 III, and the first couple times I used it, the results were pretty bad. But I started leaning the lens on a fence (I shoot little league and softball with it), then leaning my body up against a light pole, and the keeper rate went way up. Now, I just crouch and keep my elbows in tight, and am pretty pleased with the results. And by pleased, I mean I delete 30% and consider 10% good enough to edit, post, and show to the people in the photos. Keep working with it, you'll get better.


    Lewis

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    Re: Suggestions Needed For Beginner For Better Photos



    Lewis, what do you mean? I don't see movement in her pictures so in my opinion the shuttertimes are good. Perhaps the 2nd one is motionblurred. The rest is tacksharp.





    300mm with 1.4x extender == 420mm


    420mm on crop is equivalent to 672mm on filmformat.


    Rule of thumb with film was 1/focal length if I'm not mistaken


    So minimum would be around 1/640th?? That's without IS. 2stop IS would make it around 1/160th of a second.


    As far as I see it, she already pushed her ISO up, at least in the 1st picture. Background noise shows up, even at this small size. Shuttertime isn't really the problem in my opinion, but I don't know what she has used. Can you clear this Denise? Post some exif info?





    Ps: nice photos mister burns, the first photo has a mice and calm background. The second photo background isn't so exciting, but the colors of the bird are very natural. I like that a lot! Don't push natures colors too much, keep it faithfull []















  10. #10
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    Re: Suggestions Needed For Beginner For Better Photos



    I can only agree with what the other have said. I think your photos are fine. Light is important. Just how your subject is illuminated makes more difference than practically anything else. I have a very useful learning technique is simply to pick a landscape or subject that appeals, and take photographs of it under a variety of different weather conditions and at different times of the day.

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