Photo help please....

Discussion in 'Photography / Video' started by Mike Ediger, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. Mike Ediger

    Mike Ediger Active Member

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    I have been a closet photographer wannabe for quite some time, but I just can't seem to get the results that you pros get. I have a Cannon PowerShot 50, 5 megapix camera, with Photoshop Elements. Here is an example of a pic. What do I have to do to get the brilliant colors that some of you get. Is it the camera, the angle of the sun, the software I am not using, all of the above. What do I need to do to make a pic like this pop like others I have seen, especially the colors of the fish.
    Thanks,
    Mike
     

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  2. Scott Keith

    Scott Keith Member

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    Is that an un-edited pic straight from the camera? I see a lot of noise, what are the settings on the camera when you take a picture? Image quality, ISO, aperature? Or are you set on auto? What time of the day is it? To me the photo looks really grainy and washed out. The grain could be from the film speed or ISO being set too high. Are you taking these pictures on "sport" mode?

    Scott
     
  3. halcyon

    halcyon Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!!!

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    You have a PM
     
  4. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

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    The ISO is up high, which is causing the "noise". The scene has too many different exposures in it (some shaded some full sunlight) which is causing the fish to be over exposed.

    Turn down the ISO and try to take your images in either full sun or full shade. Either way, you may have to adjust the exposure a bit because of the water either reflecting a lot of light or looking dark.

    Allow me to humbly suggest spending a few hours searching through the content at my day job, http://photo.net.
     
  5. Mike Ediger

    Mike Ediger Active Member

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    Thanks guys, to answer a few of the questions....the camera is set on auto mode, primarily becuase I haven't known which manual settings to use. This picture is unedited but it is cropped and therefore enlarged, that might account for some of the grainy look.
     
  6. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    After looking at your image I think there are several things that may have conspired to make this shot less than the ideal one you see in your mind's eye.

    First, the light areas on the side of the fish are pretty blown out, or waaaay too white. That could be the result of several things.

    Start by checking the settings in your camera for exposure compensation and contrast. If the exposure compensation has been moved toward the bright end of the scale, adjust it back to the middle. Check the contrast setting as well and make sure it's in the middle of its range.

    From the amount of noise in the image (the tiny confetti-colored dots most noticeable in the dark areas), it appears that the ISO setting for that shot was way too high for the actual conditions.

    When shooting outdoors on a sunny day, your ISO control should be set to Auto or to the lowest numerical setting available on your camera. High ISO settings are intended for low light situations like indoors, at night, and the like.

    Once you've confirmed that those settings are adjusted properly, getting a good picture in similar conditions can still be tricky. Here's why:

    The light meter built in to your camera is set to adjust the exposure so that the overall light and dark balance in the image is about 50%. If you think of pure white as being 0% and pure black as 100%, an overall balance according to your light meter would be 50%, or a medium gray.

    A scene or subject that contained huge areas of dark shadows and huge areas brightly lit by sunlight, would result in a photo containing nearly black areas for the shadows and blown out whites for the brights. Yet according to the camera's meter, the shot was perfectly exposed, even though the difference between darks and lights (contrast) would cause most people to consider the picture unacceptable.

    No matter what kind of software you use, there's no way to add detail into blown out areas that's not there in the first place. Like the missing detail on the side of the fish in your image.

    Fortunately, there are ways to compensate.

    First, try to take shots that don't have large areas of shadow or highlights. If possible, shoot in the shade or on a cloudy or overcast day.

    If that's not possible, then try positioning your subject so that it's either all (or mostly) in the sun or all (or mostly) in the shade. Smaller areas that are either too light or too dark will seem less objectionable that an image that's half too light and half too dark.

    Finally, try fooling your camera's meter by pointing it before you take the picture at an area that's lit most like the subject on the photo you're about to take. If the fish is in bright sunlight, then point the camera so that most of the frame shows sunlit areas and then press the shutter release button halfway down to 'freeze' the exposure. Then turn the camera back to your subject and push the button the rest of the way to take the picture.

    As a last suggestion, taking good photos is a lot like getting spaghetti to stick on a wall. Throwing one piece might not work but tossing an entire plate is almost sure to yield at least one noodle sticking to the wall.

    Whenever you're taking pictures, take LOTS of pictures. Doing so will dramatically improve your odds of having at least one turn out well. You can always throw away the ones you don't like. But if you only take one and it doesn't turn out, you'll just be left with your memories.

    K
     
  7. alpinetrout

    alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    In addition to the other suggestions, make sure the flash is set to always fire. Colors are just reflections of light, so bouncing more light back is going to increase the intensity of the colors. Assuming you're using the correct ISO and exposure settings, you won't have to worry about the flash blowing out the shot either.
     
  8. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

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    That isn't quite right.

    Firing a flash isn't going to inherently make colors brighter. For example, it would have done nothing to help the image above. There are a lot of other factors that go into play. In addition, with a lot of point and shoot cameras, you've got a real chance of overexposing something like a fish if you are firing a flash at it if you are as close as the picture above indicated he was.
     
  9. Daryle Holmstrom

    Daryle Holmstrom retiredfishak

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    Canon is known for blown highlights, try using -1/3 or -2/3 EV on sunny days.
     
  10. alpinetrout

    alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    I agree that it's a problem with a lot of p&s cameras. However, I used to own the camera he's describing and never had any problems with overexposure when using the automatic settings with fill flash.
     
  11. rick matney

    rick matney Active Member

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    Catch brighter colored fish :) j/k

    I would seriously look at a newer higher resolution camera. Cannon rebel xti is sweet. or spring for the SLR.
     
  12. 509

    509 New Member

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    It is a great camera...but you can take great pictures with any camera. It is all about composition and light.

    Getting a DLSR too soon can result in expensive bad pictures.
     
  13. Runejl

    Runejl Josh

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    Cool thread.

    Some of the guys on this page take awesome shots and I know I have often wish that I was skilled enough to match their quality image's unfortunately I am often disappointed.

    I know that most of the pics that I have been happy with when using my point and shoot digital are ones where I got in close to the intended subject. I try to avoid using my zoom when I am able.

    Later,
    Josh
     
  14. Mike Ediger

    Mike Ediger Active Member

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    Good point Josh. The example I have used was taken from a much further distance and I cropped and enlarged the pic. That might also be why it didn't focus on the fish or get the settings right.
    For everyone who has offered suggestions, I will reread them when I get home and have my camera, and manual in front of me.
    Thanks for all the help.
    Mike
     
  15. Corey Kruitbosch

    Corey Kruitbosch Member

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    Here are a couple of quick tips that might help...

    I would check to see if you have an iso setting on the camera and set it low for bright sunlight. Sometimes its hard not to get hotspots, but if there is to much light ... You can try to have the subject in the semi-shadow of a tree, etc. Another option would be to try putting the sun behind the person and use a flash.

    I have taken some of my best pics with my pentax optio ... You should be able to get what you want out of your Canon PowerShot S50! ;)

    Here is a really nice podcast on fly fishing photography... Very good stuff! Its all the way at the bottom of the page... and has a slide show that goes with it.

    The Itinerant Angler Podcast
    Episode One: Improve Your Flyfishing Pictures
    http://www.itinerantangler.com/podcasts/podcasts/
     
  16. yuhina

    yuhina Tropical member

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    Great suggestions! Kent :thumb:
    Except, the light meter is built in 18% gray instead of 50%...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_card in most of the camera, the sensor adjust the "right" exposure by average all the bright spot and dark spot into 18% gray scale... most of time, the camera is right... green grass, blue sky and our skin are all fall into the 18% reflectance... but sometimes the camera can be fooled by the complex scenes.... Your photo is a good expample... there are too many bright spots and dark spots in your photos... so even they are averaged as equal 18% reflectance, they still looks not right...It's almost an impossible task for the camera, too bright trout and too dark backgound... technically, it's a dunting task, even to a pro. The easy fix and answer would be avoid this complex situation as Kent mentioned...

    My suggestions
    1)next time you can place trout in front of more even color backgound without strong shadow.

    2) get your camera close to the object you are interested in... only half fin or half head sometime could form a "artsy" surprise too.

    3) avoid mid-day direct sun light... as we all know most of Pros take a nap in the mid day :clown: the bright sunlight was refer to "Hard light" they create a lot of challenging scenarios.

    4) Take multiple shots, if the fish allow you to do so...or put the fish in the water...

    5) get a simple photography book... you would be surprised how little tricks will save your photo.
     
  17. Itchy Dog

    Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

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    All good suggestions.

    And when you end up with a shot that is less than picture perfect- for example the body of the fish in the photo is overexposed and detail is lost and cannot be retrieved or really corrected- play around with some Photoshop filter effects. Sometimes you can create an interesting image from a less than perfect original photo. However, playing with filter effects can be dangerous in the wrong hands :D
     
  18. Bugthrower

    Bugthrower Willits

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    One simple rule, always shoot with the sun at your back.
     
  19. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

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    You ain't kidding. There is some awful stuff out there.
     

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