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02-08-2009, 08:11 PM   #1
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I still suck

It's been over a year since I visited the forums. I have to admit that I put the camera up for a while. I got it out this past week to rekindle my desire to shoot better pics, and I still have trouble. My pics always look dark, but it could be the lighting in my home.

I am going to try to find a local class or photography club to get better.

02-08-2009, 08:23 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by xecutech Quote
It's been over a year since I visited the forums. I have to admit that I put the camera up for a while. I got it out this past week to rekindle my desire to shoot better pics, and I still have trouble. My pics always look dark, but it could be the lighting in my home.

I am going to try to find a local class or photography club to get better.
Sounds like you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself! I find that the times I learn the most are when I make it a point to not try so hard and just have fun with my camera. I usually just go for a drive, look for something interesting, and have fun trying different ways to capture what I see...without any pressure to "get it right" or create a masterpiece. It's amazing how many of these outings have resulted in a tremendous learning experience. They have also rendered some of my most treasured photos.

Make it a point to just go out and have fun. Take an "element" of photography (rule of thirds, using horizontal, vertical, diagonal lines, textures, etc.) and go out and just find fun ways to use that element. Tell yourself you will not keep any of the photos...just have fun. I think you will be surprised with your results!
02-08-2009, 09:15 PM   #3
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I know the feeling
I find shooting indoor harder with digital way more then with my k1000 dont know why? BUT give the k20D some light and you will get magic.

for those darker photos I found that photoshop is the best trick in the book and no body will ever know you used it
and trust me way better photographers then I will ever be are photoshopping their pictures to death there is no shame in that. its just like fixing your film in the lab in the old days
02-08-2009, 10:35 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by xecutech Quote
It's been over a year since I visited the forums. I have to admit that I put the camera up for a while. I got it out this past week to rekindle my desire to shoot better pics, and I still have trouble. My pics always look dark, but it could be the lighting in my home.

I am going to try to find a local class or photography club to get better.
Hmmmm - well, first off, a class would be a great way to get to know your camera and learn more about photography. I took a year of photography in high school, and still don't really know much about it (I learn a ton on this forum though). In fact when out of my element, I still suck too . A club might be good but I can't say because A- I've never been in a photography club (there isn't one around here), and B- I've never liked clubs, they always seem to break into some sort of power-structure/dominance contest rather than being about whatever it is they purport to be interested in...but I digress.

I've now made two starts on explaining exposure in this post, and it is a big can of worms, and redundant as I'm sure it's already explained better somewhere out there on the internet, so I'm gonna give you a checklist to follow to see a way to adjust the brightness of your photos. (I don't really know your experience level so bear with me if I sound like I'm being condescending - I'm not...)
  • Set the mode dial to Av (aperture priority)
  • Set the ISO to auto and use the rear e-dial to set the auto ISO range so it starts at 100 and goes as high as the K10D goes (at least 1600) - so now on the ISO menu page you should have a green bar extending from 100 to 1600+ - hit OK to return to picture taking readiness.
  • Use the rear e-dial to set your aperture to the most wide open setting (turn the dial till the top LCD displays the smallest F number ie. F3.5)
  • Press and hold the EV compensation button (labeled with a +/-) and check what the top LCD shows - use the front e-dial (it's the front on the K20D, so I'm guessing it's the front for you too) to set EV compensation to 0 for now.
  • Take a picture
  • Now press and hold the EV compensation button and turn the appropriate e-dial to set the EV compensation to +0.3 or +0.5
  • Take another picture
  • Now set EV comp. to +1.0
  • Etc...

Each of those photos should be progressively brighter, and you can pick an EV compensation setting which gets you the look you'd like. You'll probably want to set multi-segment or center-weighted metering as spot metering will give very varied results unless used carefully. If it's really dark in your house, Av mode should still give you properly exposed photos but the shutter speeds might get too long to take pictures hand held but that's unlikely.

02-09-2009, 10:14 AM   #5
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Good advice from heliphoto. Also remember that digital photography is free, not like film so shoot lots pictures and bracket your exposures and see what works and what doesn't. Shooting more pictures will also improve your skills. Putting you camera away for a year and then coming back will not. I feel rusty if I go more than a week without taking out the camera.
02-09-2009, 10:17 AM   #6
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Posting problem images (with EXIF intact, hopefully) may help yield some more concrete suggestions.
02-09-2009, 10:20 AM   #7
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What priority you choose (Aperature/Shutter) should be determined by what you are shooting. I would recommend setting a solid ISO like 400-800 for indoors then setting your aperature to the bar. Then bracketing the exposure by going a stop higher/lower and seeing what looks right.
All that being said, try to get the camera out of the bag and SHOOT something. If this were film I'd say keep a log of the exposures used and learn from it.
02-09-2009, 12:42 PM   #8
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Original Poster
Thank you all for the advice and encouragment. I went and took some pics last night, and noticed that I had my iso set at 100, which is not good for shooting in dark areas. I feel like a knucklehead, but that was one of the things I was overlooking.

I took some really nice shots. Some were a little yellowish, but that was fixed messing with the white balance settings of course!

I realize that I just need to become more familiar with the camera, and plan on going out and shooting more often. Your right, it is free, so why hold back?!

02-09-2009, 01:02 PM   #9
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My first camera (other than point n shoot) was the K10D. Never having had a class, I joined this forum, read hundreds of posts, set the camera on a tripod and tried just about every setting. Using pen, paper, and comparing notes with photos on K10 display and my computer, I finally got the results I was seeking. The key is to not get discouraged, ask questions and shoot often. This forum has a wealth of excellent photogs with friendly advice and knowledge, take advantage of it by asking and posting often. And I still shoot a ton of pics just to get a few that I like... but I am improving. You will too.

Last edited by ivoire; 02-09-2009 at 01:29 PM.
02-09-2009, 05:48 PM   #10
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And once you get the hang of the shooting part of things, then there's the PP afterwards, the importance of which cannot be downplayed. Most of the great captures required some or even a lot of adjustments after the capture to get them to pop.

Get a workflow happening and you'll find yourself getting better results and taking less time to achieve them, making it more and more enjoyable.
02-09-2009, 06:43 PM   #11
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Not even close to every picture is perfect. I've been taking photos with a DSLR for a year now and I still only get about a third keepers, and apparently even that is a good rate! Just keep trying, and always try out new settings and buttons on your camera, instead of getting mad at it for not doing what you want it to.
02-09-2009, 08:53 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by xecutech Quote
Thank you all for the advice and encouragment. I went and took some pics last night, and noticed that I had my iso set at 100, which is not good for shooting in dark areas. I feel like a knucklehead, but that was one of the things I was overlooking.

I took some really nice shots. Some were a little yellowish, but that was fixed messing with the white balance settings of course!

I realize that I just need to become more familiar with the camera, and plan on going out and shooting more often. Your right, it is free, so why hold back?!
Really cool news - good work. Like everyone said shoot, shoot, shoot - I sold my K200D after six months when I upgraded to a K20D, and the 200 had about 15,000 shots taken with it in those six months (the majority deleted afterword). Have fun...
02-12-2009, 12:35 PM   #13
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Boy, I feel like a salesman for these books, but I have to suggest, yet again, that you try to pick up a Magic Lantern guide for your camera. I loved mine. Even as an experienced photographer I learned about the camera functions and it didn't talk down to me either. Good flow, nice information and some really great tips...

Amazon.com: Pentax Magic Lantern

Jason


QuoteOriginally posted by xecutech Quote
Thank you all for the advice and encouragment. I went and took some pics last night, and noticed that I had my iso set at 100, which is not good for shooting in dark areas. I feel like a knucklehead, but that was one of the things I was overlooking.

I took some really nice shots. Some were a little yellowish, but that was fixed messing with the white balance settings of course!

I realize that I just need to become more familiar with the camera, and plan on going out and shooting more often. Your right, it is free, so why hold back?!
02-13-2009, 01:28 PM   #14
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Thanks for the tip on the Magic Lantern guide....will try that one.
I'm also in the frustrated situation were i feel that my pics are not getting better..

/Jimmy
02-13-2009, 01:34 PM   #15
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Don't give up, you will get better as you focus on the technical necessities, including the way the camera handles. Get used to the camera. Then practice your composition, your angles, distance, etc. Then, once you have experienced all of that, forget half of it, do what you think may work and just keep shooting. After a while, it will all become second nature.

Jason
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