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09-03-2011, 02:15 PM   #1
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PLease help me with settings for a shoot!

I have been doing outside shoots with my K-x and well i do not like the results here are some photos unedited

Shot in very direct sunlight and shade

M settings:
ISO 100
1/40 shutter
aperture F10

am not happy with the outcome, can someone please give me some settings to try in this situation?

heres a photo i found online thats more the effect am going for, was it done in the editing?




Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 09-04-2011 at 03:38 PM.
09-03-2011, 02:45 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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actually, maybe you can help me out...I just bought this scalpel and surgical scrubs and tried doing open heart surgery but the guy just died a bloody mess. The outcome I was going for was for him to be fixed and good as new, like how doctors do it. Any ideas?
09-03-2011, 03:02 PM   #3
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Let me share a few comments.

The first shots is not bad IMO. I am not sure what is your concern..

I would try the Hypermode P or even the Green mode for comparison. While I ca understand that you want to use M, there is nothing wrong with letting the camera go full automatic settings to compare your M settings with the camera setting.

I would also suggest some basic PP, for example with Pentax Digital Camera Utility. In PDCU 4.33, there are two useful tools (Dodge and Shadow correction) which may help to correct/enhance the secnd shot. If you shoot in AW, you will get the best PP results, but PP of JPEG can also work fine.

Lastly what lens did you use?

Hope that the comments will hope.
09-03-2011, 03:08 PM   #4
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Yeah I really want to relearn this properly. so I was trying to stick to only M
I used the lens kit for those shots,
some reason I cannot open the raw files In any other program other then Pentax utility , but thats another issue for another day.
I guess I want the colors to look deeper, I tried a few settings to let more light in but It made it too washed out.

09-03-2011, 03:13 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lovemehate Quote
not that I need to explain myself to you but sense you went ahead and attempted to insult me,
here goes

well I have been into photography for awhile now, I took a 4 year break cause of moving.
I used to use a 35mm Kodak rebel.

now am settled in I want to pick up photography again and am having a hard time finding settings I like, am sorry If asking for advice offends yous

sense it's obvious where not raised properly, am not going to argue with you

don't bother replying to peoples posts under HELP and BEGINNERS section if you have no help to offer
My comment was a not so subtle hint that just buying an expensive camera does not automatically make your images as good as someone with years of experience and tons of gear. There is much to be learned and it isn't easy. No one is going to be able to tell you camera settings to reproduce that shot, there is a lot more to it.

The image you posted, that you were going for, was taken with a nice wide angle lens (around 12-14mm if on a crop body) on a cloudy overcast day with expensive studio lighting equipment (600 true w/s with large 3x4ft softbox) and a professional make up artist. You used none of those. I'm not saying you have to have those to make great photos, but if thats the effect you want, I can tell you pretty much exactly how this was shot. It doesn't really have anything to do with on camera settings. This image is about getting your ambient light underexposed, hitting the model with nice soft light from the side.

Remember that photography is the recording of light, and if that light doesn't look good (direct overhead sun) then the recording of it won't look good either.
09-03-2011, 03:17 PM   #6
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Your shutter speed is too low and aperture is too high. The picture you referenced possibly has an external flash or filter involved to get the sky and person properly exposed. Try opening up your aperture and using a faster shutter speed, but to get both person and sky exposed properly is a different matter.
09-03-2011, 03:20 PM   #7
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@enoeske I am just tired of coming to forums asking for help and people just get smart with you, I know buying a nice cam wont give you good pictures, the only reason am asking for help now Is cause my friend wants to do a shoot monday and I dont have time to learn all the settings i may need within that time limit so am asking for people to give me some settings to try , thats It, I learn by doing but not over night. and am pressed for time.
09-03-2011, 03:28 PM   #8
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Is the shoot outdoors? What type of setting? What time of day?

You need to decrease the dynamic range of the scene. In the image with the couch, the model is almost exposed correctly, I'd say just a tad under. But the couch and background look all blown out. This is because the sun is behind her and so her face is in the shade. When the camera exposes for the shade, it can't help but blow out the sunny parts.

There is no settings to make up for that. Its a limitation of the sensor.

If you can get all shade (as in, not sun, even in the background) it would be a lot easier. This will decrease the dynamic range of the scene, meaning the camera can capture everything. Find the north side of a building and pose against a colored wall. Something like that.

Without adding artificial light (like a strobe) there isn't a good way to decrease the dynamic range of the scene.

09-03-2011, 03:55 PM   #9
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well, you asked, so here's why i think your picture doesnt look like the one you saw. hopefully this helps:

1. composition. In your image, limbs are all over the place and there is no real sense of definition. The background seems to be there and doesnt have much sense of purpose. The bricklines do not draw your eyes at the subject and stand out too much. Lines are weak and a tad random in the second image. notice how there is a strong triangular shape in the bottom image, used in conjunction with strong and defined lines (less is more). In comparison, your shots seem to be just snapshots.

2. lighting. The lighting in your images, while acceptable in some cases, do not compare to the lighting in the image you want. First off is the quaity of light. the light in your images is soft and even all around, which is good, but it fails to give definition to your subject's features. Second, there is no balancing of lighting between the subject and background, which results in your subject not really standing out in the first image and the background becoming a distraction in the second.

3.tone. The tones are rather poor in comparison to what you're aiming for. In the first, the skin tones seem a tad washed out and dull, not to mention that the white balance seems to be a bit blue. In the second, there is way too much detail lost due to being blown out, the shadow detail lacks definition and the skin tones are also a tad blue.

4. retouching. if you want to get professional results, you need to have some basic level of retouching applied. Bit of skin cleanup, evening out skintones, dodging and burning to enhance definition, etc.
09-03-2011, 04:02 PM   #10
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and now for how to improve:

plan out your shots, pose your subjects. Have a little sketch of what you plan to do and ask yourself if the lines in the sketch create a strong composition. (stick pictures will do) If there is too much dynamic range in the surroundings, go find yourself some shade. fix your white balance. if you can, invest in some lighting, a cheap flash/umbrella/stand setup will do. for maximum sharpness, aim for around f5.6-f8 to avoid diffraction. Practice post processing and retouching; a little retouching goes a long way.

hopefully this was helpful!

Last edited by adpo; 09-03-2011 at 06:18 PM.
09-03-2011, 04:14 PM   #11
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Yeah itll be outside, am trying to shoot early to avoid the direct sun, but am sure ill find some shaded areas.
I live In Texas....so the heat/sun here is out of control.
but more then most likely yeah...in some harsh sun
prolly be a building/ downtown, around town look. most of the shots where done in the shade. but sometimes theres something cool you cant move..
I think the bigger problem is I cannot really check how the photos came out till the shoots over...so Its hard to just switch around settings without knowing if i liked the results
09-03-2011, 04:17 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by lovemehate Quote
I think the bigger problem is I cannot really check how the photos came out till the shoots over...so Its hard to just switch around settings without knowing if i liked the results
You are using a Kx (at least the ones you posted were taken with a Kx). Use the large high quality screen to review the composition of your images. Rely on the histogram to tell you about the exposure.
09-03-2011, 06:37 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
large high quality screen
Are you maybe thinking of the K-r? The K-x has a little 230k px screen. That said, he can certainly still use it to review for comp, if not as easily for sharpness/detail.
09-03-2011, 07:21 PM   #14
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I have to say to get these kind of shots takes lots of practice and refining of your skills. you need to know your way around lighting portraits very thoroughly.
Just adding on what others have said.
In your images it appears that you are relying entirely on ambient (or direct) sunlight.. The shot your comparing to has very dull sunlight due to the heavy clouds (just after rain by the look of the dampness on the ground) and the main light source is brought in by a large softbox positioned just outside of frame to the left. Your are trying to compare apples to oranges I would think. Your subject is different (clothing, Make-up and pose) and your light is different. There appears to be huge differences in PP as well. You have very little the example seems to have significant amounts. Having said that, I am not a portrait photographer, nor have I been shooting for very long. lighting portraits is a craft that takes a lot of work so stick with it, Read, practice, review and repeat. Good luck.
09-03-2011, 08:25 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by lovemehate Quote
Yeah I really want to relearn this properly. so I was trying to stick to only M
I used the lens kit for those shots,
some reason I cannot open the raw files In any other program other then Pentax utility , but thats another issue for another day.
I guess I want the colors to look deeper, I tried a few settings to let more light in but It made it too washed out.
Keep in mind that I don't know a lot about this kind of photography. But some basics:

You want contrast, so make sure you maximize it to start with. Use a lens hood. With the kit lens, try to stay between 24 and 40mm, f8-f11, and a low ISO. Be careful of overexposure. The second photo is overexposed, and no processing technique can recover detail in the hands or shoulder. Unimportant parts of the image can be overexposed for effect but usually not the model. Shutter speed should be a little faster to freeze motion, something like 1/125.

Watch the histogram for exposure, don't assume the camera's meter is always right. For subjects with a lot of red or blue, use the RGB histogram to make sure the red or blue channels aren't overexposed individually. Set a white balance, because the histograms are based on the preview, which is based on the JPG, which uses the camera's WB. If the auto WB is really off your histogram can be off too.

The mode is not terribly important. It is just a way to get the camera to use values that work for your photo. If the camera says f10, 1/40, ISO 100, you should be thinking "I can go to f8, ISO 200 and that will allow a shutter speed of 1/125" (I think). You'd have to stare hard to find differences between ISO 100 and 200, and they can be adjusted for in processing, but if the model just sways a bit, 1/40 is too slow to get a sharp shot.

It can be really difficult/impossible to get professional-grade results without controlling the lighting like they do. Even a reflector would be useful. Maybe some advance scouting of the location might help. At least, pay attention to the sun angle and position. Remember the details or even keep notes, so you can learn from the inevitable mistakes.

I think the first shot just needs some curves to boost contrast. Only the silver bracelet is partly overexposed. With a RAW image, you should be able to get that looking better.
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