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UER Forum > Archived UE Photo Critiques > Rather Basic Questions (Viewed 485 times)
Tristan Brink 


Location: Banks of the Miskatonic, MA
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Rather Basic Questions
< on 8/19/2013 7:22 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I see a lot of really amazing work on here, there are a couple of you whose photos really just blow me away. I have a few basic questions, mainly framed in the context of urbexing.

1. I have a point and shoot right now, am eventually looking at taking the plunge into a DSLR. That's months away. What I wanted to know is- what can I be working on in the meantime? Composition? Does anyone have any good links to sites that cover some of the basics? I'd like to know more, as most of what I've been doing has been trial and multiple error.

2. Let's talk black and white. I love it, and working with it. I know now that I should convert AFTER the fact, even with a point and click. What other obvious things should I keep in mind with b&w?

3. Any suggestions for editing, or places to look into further information editing?

Here are a few samples of what I've tried.

1.


2.


3.


4.



[last edit 8/19/2013 7:24 PM by Tristan Brink - edited 1 times]

The most merciful thing in the world... is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.
corvettejoe 


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Re: Rather Basic Questions
<Reply # 1 on 8/20/2013 1:38 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Let me touch on your points first:

1 - Nothing wrong with that. What brand/model is it? Does it shoot in RAW modes? Does it have manual settings?
You can still do some amazing work with a point and shoot.

Composition is always something to work on. I laugh when I pull out my camera phone to snap something real quick, and I stand there, framing up the shot and already thinking how I'm going to edit whatever it is... even though it's just a camera phone pic LOL. Point is, once you get in this mind set, it shouldn't matter what you shoot with.

Perhaps learn more about your point and shoot... does it have white balance settings? Can you change it into manual modes? If so, learn about shutter speds, fStops and the like. This will not only help you better you point and shoots, but once you move into a DSLR, you will already know what this stuff does (its the same on any camera)

2 - Yes, shoot in color, then convert to B&W unless you just want the challenge of doing it all on the camera.

3 - LIGHTROOM LIGHTROOM LIGHTROOM!
Learn Lightroom and Photoshop. They can be daunting at first, but even the most basic settings will start to give you those WOW finished photos. You can do pretty much anything in Lightroom if the shot is already good. If you need to do heavy editing, that's what Photoshop is for (fixing things), but I rarely use that unless I'm blending photos together or trying to cut something out for some weird effect.

---

As to your photos, and I am going to speak as if you are using Lightroom as to how I would go about doing basic fixes to each one...

#1 - Way too bright, a faster shutter speed would help (if you can do manual modes). Post processing: Rotate it counterclockwise, maybe line it up vertically with the center window or door frame. I would pull the highlights down so its not so blinding, then play with the rest of the brightness/darkness settings to get it just right. I would then add a bit of clarity and then hit it with some sharpness and finally finish it off with a lot of noise reduction (I see the window frame an some areas just look grainy)

#2 The composition is almost there. Door frames make for nice photo frames, but I would have stepped back a ways and gotten the entire door frame in and just a tad bit of the floor and also squatted down some. Also, get a tripod. Yes, even for a point and shoot...get a tripod. If you get something decent now, you can use it for your DSLR later. You can tell you need one by how blurry the shot is.

Now for post processing: I would pull the shadows out just a tad, brighten it up a little (not much, its kind of nice how it is, but needs a LITTLE tweaking). and then because it's blurry, hit it hard with sharpness settings and then clean it up with a lot of noise reduction. Bring the highlights down too if you want to see more of the bushes in the very back, or raise it up if you want to just blow it out and focus on the cool busted door and tree.

#3 - The shot isn't bad actually. It's interesting...but could you have moved back several feet and gotten more of the scene in? It would have made for a "photograph" instead of a "snapshot". Perhaps angling it or walking more to the right and getting more of the left door in. Centering both doors in the shot.

Post processing: I kind of dig the lighting, I might brighten it just a hair, pull some of the shadows out just a tad. Then I would pull some of the reds/oranges up a little to show off the cool red color of the busted walls. (that's just me, I like vibrant, yet desaturated scenes). I would also give it a tad bit of clarity, then again, sharpen the heck out of it and then use the noise reduction.

#4 - I might have moved my shot more to the right, maybe making the left door frame the edge of your photo (just cutting the door way out) Or putting it right to the edge to still get the yellow wall of the next room in. This will also show more whats to the right and maybe get that window in the back room fully in the door way for a cool effect.
A tripod would have come in handy here too.

Post Processing: Crop a few inches of the left most wall out. Brighten the scene a bit, pull some of the shadows out. The lighting is good, but poor camera skills kind of muddled it (no offense, it just takes practice!!). Since its all blurry, you will need to sharpen the crap out of this, and then use a lot of noise reduction to even remotely try to save the photo.



I hope some of that is what you were looking to hear and helps you on your quest to make those WOW photos





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Abby Normal 


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Re: Rather Basic Questions
<Reply # 2 on 8/20/2013 2:16 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
There are tons of books about photography methods and techniques. I would suggest heading to a book store and browsing through the photography section. I don't have a specific recommendation but you will probably find one or two that really speak to you. The artistic side and the technical side are both important. Understanding the camera controls and settings gives you the tools to create images as you envision them.

I would also suggest that you evaluate some of the great photos on the forum. What makes them stand out? Where was the camera angle? Is everything in focus or only a portion of the photo? (for effect, not by accident). Where is the subject placed in the photo?

Compare your pictures to similar ones that you find on the forum. What is better about your photo? What is better about theirs?

Evaluate every image in the viewfinder before pressing the shutter. Would a different angle make a difference. Is the camera level side to side?

Have fun!

Abby Normal

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Tristan Brink 


Location: Banks of the Miskatonic, MA
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Re: Rather Basic Questions
<Reply # 3 on 8/20/2013 6:07 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Thanks for the encouraging feedback!

I'm trying to find something as far as books that's right in between "So you got a digital camera" and something that goes into more detail on the DSLRs than I need at the moment. The exposure compensation I'm definitely working on. I WISH my point and shoot shot in RAW mode, that's kind of the biggest gripe I have with it at the moment.

Thanks!

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toefu 


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Re: Rather Basic Questions
<Reply # 4 on 8/20/2013 6:32 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I don't know what your point & shoot is capable of but if you intend to delve into photography you will need a camera with manual settings. I feel ya that you have to work with what you have so I suggest you just work on composition in the meantime. Go slow setting up a shot and take some time feeling out what you would like to capture.

and go out shooting as much as possible. See what you dont like about your results and change that.

I'm no pro and just bored at work but I hope that helps a little.



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corvettejoe 


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Re: Rather Basic Questions
<Reply # 5 on 8/28/2013 5:59 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
What model point and shoot do you have?

I just recently discovered CHDK for Canon point and shoots:
http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

It's an easy-to-install side loading firmware. For my particular model it does not do any permanent changes to the camera. It unlocks ALL the options of the later model Digic chips and lets you shoot in raw and play with a ton more settings that the camera model itself wasn't optioned with (even though the chip itself can do it).

I use my Canon point and shoot for my dive camera and after starting to shoot in RAW, it makes a night and day difference in the post processing.

If you want some basic "what do the manual settings do" advice:

This seems like a good site for info, I'm actually going to go through and read it myself:
http://www.exposur...ocusing-basics.htm

This has been floating around awhile..









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seedy 


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Re: Rather Basic Questions
<Reply # 6 on 9/12/2013 11:49 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by toefu
I don't know what your point & shoot is capable of but if you intend to delve into photography you will need a camera with manual settings. I feel ya that you have to work with what you have so I suggest you just work on composition in the meantime. Go slow setting up a shot and take some time feeling out what you would like to capture.
and go out shooting as much as possible. See what you dont like about your results and change that.
I'm no pro and just bored at work but I hope that helps a little.


This was pretty much going to be my response....even down to the "bored at work' part. Learning the nuances of a camera as well as how to train yourself composition can be tough all at the same time so I would suggest you learn the very basics of what you have (old photography adage is "the best camera is what ever you have in your hands at the time) and concentrate on Composition. I can tell from the photos you put up how you are seeing things. I see you're using long lines to pull the viewers eye in certain directions. Keep rolling with that.


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mrcoolantspray 


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Re: Rather Basic Questions
<Reply # 7 on 9/13/2013 5:07 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
www.digital-photography-school.com has loads of tutorials for beginners to advanced-ish amateurs. The forums there are pretty helpful for introduction stuff, too.

The other folks have already provided some good advice. If you do decide to take the plunge and go full-SLR, go to an actual camera store first. SLRs are pretty much all the same these days, so find the one that feels the most comfortable in your hands.

Don't worry about getting a top-of-the-line SLR from the start. You can learn everything you need to know with the basic starter model (the Rebel series in Canon, I don't know what Nikon calls it, and I haven't paid much attention to Sony, but they're stuff is nice). Once you start shooting with it, you'll learn what bells and whistles you want from an eventual upgrade. Digital SLRs aren't like your parents' film cameras--they're not going to last 30 years. The lenses should, but the camera bodies are designed to break after a couple hundred thousand shots or so.

One tip for b/w vs color--Black and white relies heavily on shadows to give photos depth. Overcast days (in general) will make b/w images look flat. Contrasty hard light is your friend.

The opposite is true for color. Soft light can make the colors more vivid.

As for critiquing the images themselves:
Your photos show promise--I like 2 and 4, although the focus on 4 seems a bit off. Either the autofocus missed, or I'm guessing it was a longer exposure and you didn't have a tripod. With 2, I like the textures. The varying lines and shapes keep the eye moving around in the frame. It's got no clear subject, which detracts, but I still like it. For 4, the color itself acts as a strong subject.

Photo 1 suffers from technical issues with your camera. It's just way too bright--a program like Lightroom, Photoshop, or GIMP could help with that. Photo 3 has sorta the same thing going on in the lower right. The bright, overblown highlight is distracting.

Digital photography is a two part process. Back in the day, you'd just snap the photo and send the film to the drug store to be developed and printed. Now, you snap the photo and develop the picture yourself. Half of the photography is behind the camera and the other half is in front of the computer. The best thing you can do now is try one of the many free photo-editing software programs and learn how to process your images.
[last edit 9/13/2013 9:33 PM by mrcoolantspray - edited 2 times]

corvettejoe 


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Re: Rather Basic Questions
<Reply # 8 on 9/13/2013 7:47 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by mrcoolantspray
Digital photography is a two part process. Back in the day, you'd just snap the photo and send the film to the drug store to be developed and printed. Now, you snap the photo and develop the picture yourself. Half of the photography is behind the camera and the other half is in front of the computer.


Well said.

FYI: Lightroom 5 is out now, limited time sale price for $130 for the full version. (less for upgrade)


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NotLost 


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Re: Rather Basic Questions
<Reply # 9 on 9/29/2013 6:32 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Seeing a lot of folks using Lightroom . . . and if you can’t afford that :-/

Anyone have opinions on Gimp? Free is pretty inexpensive.


Ghostofthelens 


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Re: Rather Basic Questions
<Reply # 10 on 9/29/2013 7:54 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by NotLost
Seeing a lot of folks using Lightroom . . . and if you can’t afford that :-/

Anyone have opinions on Gimp? Free is pretty inexpensive.



Try corel if you can afford it. Much like Photoshope but more user friendly and does everything as good or better. I have Corel paintpro X4 and need to upgrade it as they are on 6 now.

Futurus partum par fabrica
UER Forum > Archived UE Photo Critiques > Rather Basic Questions (Viewed 485 times)



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