How can I shoot this photo better?


SmOcKxY

New Member
Aug 16, 2010
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#1
Hey guys..this is a typical photo that I shoot and the setting is always pretty much the same..indoors with low light(warm cove lighting or mood light)..somehow I'm not that satisfied with the sharpness of the photo..colors and exposure I know can be adjusting in post processing..that I'll be learning..anyway here is the photo and the settings I use..



Canon 550D with kit lens(photo shot at 18mm Focal)
Tv Mode at 1/30
Aperture as dictated by camera is f3.5
ISO is at 400
External Flash used at M mode 1/32 bounced off the ceiling.

If you were shooting this..what setting will you use to get the best photo? Obviously I'm not aiming for studio standard but I think many of you will agree this photo is not that well taken! Which part of my setting is not optimal?

Any comments and suggestions is sincerely appreciated to help me learn to take better photos! TIA!
 

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Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#2
We do have a critique corner for a reason...

Well, I would increase the flash intensity and/or ISO to allow me to stop the aperture down to at least f/5.6 - shooting with your kit lens at it's widest FOV and largest aperture is just a recipe for a thin DOF and poor sharpness.

When in doubt, try a test shot in the same conditions with your camera in AUTO. Examine the EXIF and see what the camera picked. Use that as a starting point.
 

Octarine

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Jan 3, 2008
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#3
If this is typical.. why do you use these settings and modes?
 

haqeel

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Jan 21, 2009
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#4
aperture controls the flash exp. bring up your flash power and im sure you can get atleast f5.6.

i would get in centre with the sign "IMMANUEL" with the group so that the messy table wouldnt be in the picture as i find it distracting.

cheers! :)
 

SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#5
We do have a critique corner for a reason...

Well, I would increase the flash intensity and/or ISO to allow me to stop the aperture down to at least f/5.6 - shooting with your kit lens at it's widest FOV and largest aperture is just a recipe for a thin DOF and poor sharpness.

When in doubt, try a test shot in the same conditions with your camera in AUTO. Examine the EXIF and see what the camera picked. Use that as a starting point.
I'm sorry if I posted this in the wrong section..me being a newbie thot that maybe i can get more help here..

I also realised I forgot to state that the ISO was set at 400..when I set the flash at higher intensity(also tried TTL mode)..the photo looks over exposed..if I take without flash and bump up ISO the photo is too noisy..

Hmm..sorry if I've messed up the terms but I hope I got them correct!
 

SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#6
If this is typical.. why do you use these settings and modes?
I'm sorry but I dun understand your question..by typical I meant that the conditions and scenes I shoot in are basically like this..portraits or group photos with low light..When I'm outdoors I shoot mainly in Av mode but in this when I tried to set the aperture at f5.6/6.5 the shutter speed becomes a little slow and with no tripod plus subject movement..it's not ideal..so I chose to control the shutter and let the camera decide on aperture and this is what I get..

Should I have shot in different modes with different settings?
 

SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#7
aperture controls the flash exp. bring up your flash power and im sure you can get atleast f5.6.

i would get in centre with the sign "IMMANUEL" with the group so that the messy table wouldnt be in the picture as i find it distracting.

cheers! :)
Actually I just got the flash the day b4 so i'm still trying to get flash photography to a acceptable standard :)

Thanks for the tip on the centering though In this case i dunno if i can do anything much becos there was a tv in the way plus the word is off centre from the sofa..but I do understand all this comes into consideration when shooting a very good photo!
 

sweeper

New Member
Mar 25, 2005
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#8
looking at the photo and your setting
Tv Mode at 1/30

seems like camera shake / not properly focus ...
follow the advise given above and try to increase your shutter speed via ISO / flash
F3.5 should enough :)
 

Adrian1987

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Dec 13, 2010
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#9
aperture seems a little low causing the blur the back.. i'm not a canon user but there seem to be abit of hand shake.. any tripod or stabalizer like steadyshot on?
 

Diluted

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Jun 6, 2010
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#10
hmm.. i guess the main problem is some hand-shake, causing the photo to appear soft..
perhaps TS should use a tripod to get a better shot??
 

SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#11
looking at the photo and your setting
Tv Mode at 1/30

seems like camera shake / not properly focus ...
follow the advise given above and try to increase your shutter speed via ISO / flash
F3.5 should enough :)
My 1st deduction was also hand shake and focusing issues but i'm no expert..correct me if I'm wrong but are you suggesting that I shoot in Av mode and adjust the ISO/Flash intensity to get a faster shutter speed?
 

SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#12
aperture seems a little low causing the blur the back.. i'm not a canon user but there seem to be abit of hand shake.. any tripod or stabalizer like steadyshot on?
In this case the aperture was decided by the camera so I didn't have control over it..but now I do understand that changing ISO may change the aperture too..
 

Irvine

Senior Member
Jan 1, 2010
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#13
I'm sorry but I dun understand your question..by typical I meant that the conditions and scenes I shoot in are basically like this..portraits or group photos with low light..When I'm outdoors I shoot mainly in Av mode but in this when I tried to set the aperture at f5.6/6.5 the shutter speed becomes a little slow and with no tripod plus subject movement..it's not ideal..so I chose to control the shutter and let the camera decide on aperture and this is what I get..

Should I have shot in different modes with different settings?
External Flash used at M mode 1/32 bounced off the ceiling.
why did u set ur flash at M mode and at 1/32 power too? why didnt u set the mode to eTTL metering? ur flash can act as a fill-in flash in this situation. get a diffuser also, although bounce flash works but not all the time. ceilings with colours other than white is gonna give u a terrible result, and the diffuser is a gd alternative to soften the light on ur subjects.

furthermore, if u wan the faces to be in focus for group shots, use an aperture of at least f/5.6. slowly experiment with the settings, like if the power isnt enuf, u can at least use a slightly higher iso to increase the range of ur flash. or if the flash's too bright/dark even tho power is sufficient, use flash compensation to adjust the output also. it's all about experimenting at the early stages.
 

SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#14
hmm.. i guess the main problem is some hand-shake, causing the photo to appear soft..
perhaps TS should use a tripod to get a better shot??
This photo I did not use the tripod becos it was quite a spontaneous thing but in the same series there were some that I used tripod and the photos were also not as sharp..that's why i'm confused!
 

SmOcKxY

New Member
Aug 16, 2010
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#15
why did u set ur flash at M mode and at 1/32 power too? why didnt u set the mode to eTTL metering? ur flash can act as a fill-in flash in this situation. get a diffuser also, although bounce flash works but not all the time. ceilings with colours other than white is gonna give u a terrible result, and the diffuser is a gd alternative to soften the light on ur subjects.

furthermore, if u wan the faces to be in focus for group shots, use an aperture of at least f/5.6. slowly experiment with the settings, like if the power isnt enuf, u can at least use a slightly higher iso to increase the range of ur flash. or if the flash's too bright/dark even tho power is sufficient, use flash compensation to adjust the output also. it's all about experimenting at the early stages.
Thanks for the detailed explanation..I was using an older flash model(540EZ) so the eTTL mode was not supported(did I get this correct)..when I set the flash to TTL mode it was too bright..i meant to use it as fill light and not to illuminate the whole room..

The problem is I understand the different terms and effects it has on a photo but just that I do not fully know how to put it to practical usage..

In this case should I have shot in Av mode and set aperture to at least f5.6 and increase flash intensity and/or ISO(in this case frm 400t to maybe 800)..and if i did the camera wuld have selected a faster shutter speed?
 

Irvine

Senior Member
Jan 1, 2010
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#16
Thanks for the detailed explanation..I was using an older flash model(540EZ) so the eTTL mode was not supported(did I get this correct)..when I set the flash to TTL mode it was too bright..i meant to use it as fill light and not to illuminate the whole room..

The problem is I understand the different terms and effects it has on a photo but just that I do not fully know how to put it to practical usage..

In this case should I have shot in Av mode and set aperture to at least f5.6 and increase flash intensity and/or ISO(in this case frm 400t to maybe 800)..and if i did the camera wuld have selected a faster shutter speed?
yup.. ur flash could only be fired in manual mode on ur 550d. perhaps u were too close to them when u fire ur flash.. try to shoot at further distances away, and use a longer focal length too, since wider focal lengths will have distortions, especially at the edges.

try setting ur mode to manual mode. shutter speed determines the amount of ambient light will be captured. so, for me, i will tend to fix it around 1/60ish to 1/100ish dependent on situations. if i wan to capture more of the ambient light without changing my shutter speed, i will tend to up my iso a little bit more, around 400 - 800 max and lower the flash's power. then aperture set to at least f/5.6 for group shots.
 

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Alpina

New Member
May 5, 2010
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#17
shutter speed of 1/30 is abit too slow, you still can capture movement should your subjects move.
 

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SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#18
yup.. ur flash could only be fired in manual mode on ur 550d. perhaps u were too close to them when u fire ur flash.. try to shoot at further distances away, and use a longer focal length too, since wider focal lengths will have distortions, especially at the edges.

try setting ur mode to manual mode. shutter speed determines the amount of ambient light will be captured. so, for me, i will tend to fix it around 1/60ish to 1/100ish dependent on situations. if i wan to capture more of the ambient light without changing my shutter speed, i will tend to up my iso a little bit more, around 400 - 800 max and lower the flash's power. then aperture set to at least f/5.6 for group shots.
I tried playing around with manual mode but somehow the exposure is always at -2..am I missing something here? Can't seem to take anything at all..
 

SmOcKxY

New Member
Aug 16, 2010
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#19
shutter speed of 1/30 is abit too slow, you still can capture movement should your subjects move.
Perhaps I should have set a faster shutter and increase flash due to less light captured..
 

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