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08-29-2009, 02:58 PM   #31
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Hi Sherwin,

I received your PEF file and had a look at it.

First things I noticed were the following:
  • You shot this image with an aperture of 1.4
  • @ ISO 200 while there seems to be plenty of available light.
  • The WB is completely off.
  • Neither the baby, nor your wife/GF is in focus (focus seems to lie somewhere in between.

Shooting @ F1.4 requires your focus to be absolutely spot on. The DOF is very thin and with these types of photos where ideally you want both to be in focus, you'd be better off to choose something like F5.6

This would also give you some latitude for focussing errors.

With plenty of available light, choose the lowest ISO available. You achieved a shutter speed of 1/2000 which is absolutely unnecessary. Even 1/125 would be more than plenty with a 50mm lens.

I can't see what the WB was set to when you took the shot but it was almost a fluorescent WB. With weather like that you could have easily chosen daylight/sunny WB. Maybe cloudy to make the shot a bit warmer.

The PEF, when I loaded it in Lightroom was slightly clipped both sides. Nothing dramatic and easy to correct with shadow and highlight recovery.

WB was way off and I corrected it mainly in Lightroom with the WB tool. Some more correction was done in Photoshop in levels on the individual R, G and B channels (does it look more like what you saw when you took the photo?)

Removed some noise in Photoshop and did a slight sharpening.

Original Photo:



Corrected photo:



P.S. I have emailed you the full size corrected jpeg. Hope you like it.

08-29-2009, 03:50 PM   #32
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Wow that's great. Focus looks razor sharp too.

About f/1.4: What if I want the bokeh-fied background? I'm not going to be able to achieve that with f/5.6. These days I do shoot more in the f/2 range so that I have a better chance of getting my subjects in focus.

I was in aperture priority mode, which would explain the shutter speed. In fact, you could probably guess that I had a lot of settings on auto, like probably the ISO setting, which I'm puzzled as to why the camera chose 200.

If I remember correctly, the scene as I actually saw it probably looked more like the first picture. The sky was more blue, my wife's skin is pretty fair, and I believe the trees were greener. Yet, I like the look of the second picture much better. That's something I've wondered about: do I leave the picture to recreate the scene as-it-was, or modify it to be better? These days I am leaning quite strongly towards the latter.

In the future, I guess it'd be best for me to be very mindful of the environment and thus the settings on the camera, like ISO.

I hope to be able to achieve better results using GIMP! I have spent no money on any sort of image editing software so far. I'll see what I can do about applying previous tips on this very helpful thread. Thanks to all who have contributed so far.
08-29-2009, 04:14 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChooseAName Quote
Wow that's great. Focus looks razor sharp too.

About f/1.4: What if I want the bokeh-fied background? I'm not going to be able to achieve that with f/5.6. These days I do shoot more in the f/2 range so that I have a better chance of getting my subjects in focus.

I was in aperture priority mode, which would explain the shutter speed. In fact, you could probably guess that I had a lot of settings on auto, like probably the ISO setting, which I'm puzzled as to why the camera chose 200.

If I remember correctly, the scene as I actually saw it probably looked more like the first picture. The sky was more blue, my wife's skin is pretty fair, and I believe the trees were greener. Yet, I like the look of the second picture much better. That's something I've wondered about: do I leave the picture to recreate the scene as-it-was, or modify it to be better? These days I am leaning quite strongly towards the latter.

In the future, I guess it'd be best for me to be very mindful of the environment and thus the settings on the camera, like ISO.

I hope to be able to achieve better results using GIMP! I have spent no money on any sort of image editing software so far. I'll see what I can do about applying previous tips on this very helpful thread. Thanks to all who have contributed so far.
Hi,

Glad you like my effort. It is not tack sharp as that is impossible but it is a lot better.

As far as the colours being correct; I am going by the seperate RGB channels. According to that, the WB is off but of course only you can tell which of the two is closer to the real thing.

I don't know whether your monitor is calibrated as that can have quite an impact on how the image displays on your screen. I only work on calibrated screens.

As for using F4, 5.6... Try it. With the trees that far behind the persons, you will still have a good bokeh. The difference would be that both your wife and the baby would have been in focus. Your DOF will not increase that much.

Next time, take the same shot @ 1.4, 2, 4 and 5.6 and see for yourself that your DOF doesn't change all that much.

The Gimp b.t.w. is absolutely fine. For me personally, I find the Gimp's user interface a bit chaotic but it can do all Photoshop can (apart from editing 16 bit images). I use Lightroom 2.4 and Photoshop CS4 but that is quite some investment.
08-29-2009, 04:27 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChooseAName Quote
If I remember correctly, the scene as I actually saw it probably looked more like the first picture. The sky was more blue, my wife's skin is pretty fair, and I believe the trees were greener. Yet, I like the look of the second picture much better. That's something I've wondered about: do I leave the picture to recreate the scene as-it-was, or modify it to be better? These days I am leaning quite strongly towards the latter.
That is one question that will spark a lot of debate and no wrong answers. In the end, the choice is entirely up to you of what you want the end result to be.

08-29-2009, 06:34 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cloggie_UK Quote
With plenty of available light, choose the lowest ISO available. You achieved a shutter speed of 1/2000 which is absolutely unnecessary. Even 1/125 would be more than plenty with a 50mm lens.
Question about this. In bright light, with a wide open aperture, wouldn't a shutter speed of 1/125 get me a really really bright picture?
08-29-2009, 06:40 PM   #36
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Yes you would be right... so says the Sunny 16 rule, too.

Most importantly, you would turn down your ISO right down (I assume you'd already done that), and select the aperture you want, which gives you the Tv necessary for adequate exposure - in full sun it would be in the order of thousandths of a second if shooting with large apertures.

Just depends on the lighting conditions available.
08-29-2009, 07:00 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChooseAName Quote
That's something I've wondered about: do I leave the picture to recreate the scene as-it-was, or modify it to be better? These days I am leaning quite strongly towards the latter.
As Jodokast96 has said, that's always going to be a debate. My own views on that issue seem to change daily! I will say that that longer I've been shooting, the less "processed" my photos have looked. Don't be surprised if you go thru several "periods" of processing angst, trying to find the "looks" that most appeal to you...
08-29-2009, 07:03 PM   #38
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Definitely shoot RAW if you want the best possible results. I wouldn't bother with turning the contrast etc up in-camera - it may give you a skewed view of what the RAW will come out like when you go to open it on the computer.

With my K10D, the DNG RAW files almost always need a big contrast boost for a start. But I'd be careful when playing with with curves, contrast and saturation too much with portraits (unless you use them selectively), as it can easily make the skin tone etc look unnatural. However, almost all human subjects look a lot better with a good warm filter, or by moving the white balance towards the warmer end.

08-29-2009, 07:34 PM   #39
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Great job Cloggie_UK,
I was telling my family today that this forum is really supportive of the noobs (myself included). When I went online I saw that you had corrected Sherwin's photo and explained how you did it. Nicely done!
Peter G.
08-30-2009, 03:23 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChooseAName Quote
Question about this. In bright light, with a wide open aperture, wouldn't a shutter speed of 1/125 get me a really really bright picture?
Yes it would indeed. All I was saying was that to achieve blur free pictures, you could get away with 1/125. I was just questioning why you chose a higher ISO. The base ISO of 100 would still have given you a more than fast enough shutter speed. But you already explained that you had your ISO set to auto.

Sorry about the confusion.
08-30-2009, 03:38 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenhreed Quote
Great job Cloggie_UK,
I was telling my family today that this forum is really supportive of the noobs (myself included). When I went online I saw that you had corrected Sherwin's photo and explained how you did it. Nicely done!
Peter G.
Well, that what this forum and especially this sub forum is for. To learn from eachother and help people who are just starting out. DSLR's can seem quite daunting especially when coming from a P&S and so does RAW processing/PP-ing. Start up a program like Photoshop for the first time and most people wouldn't know where to start.

I have been using Photoshop since version 1 and Lightroom since version 1 so it is easy for me. I slowly got used to all the new features that got added over all those years so my learning curve has not been as steep as someone that opens CS4 for the first time. Mind you, as a photographer you will only use a small % of the features available so it is not all that bad.

Give it a bit of time, read a lot, frequent this forum and/or others and it will eventually all make sense. We all had to learn one time.

Last edited by Cloggie_UK; 08-30-2009 at 03:48 AM.
08-31-2009, 12:58 PM   #42
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great thread, with great help. very nicely done. just to inforce some of the things already said:

nothing wrong with your gear: great camera, great lens. no excuse there, move on
nothing wrong with gimp. it's a very capabale piece of software. maybe the user interface is a bit "different", but it depends what each person is used to. i am happy with it (ahem.. i don't use it much, though, lately )
lately i use ufraw mostly for raw processing, i try to do the "heavy" stuff (the stuff that could degrade the picture, like white ballance, black/white point setting and so on) in ufraw, but i do the more painstaking stuff in either gimp (lately very rare) or in imagemagick (it's not for everybody, but the reason i use it is that i like shooting more than processing, and, for instance, i hate tweaking an s-curve for every picture, using a laptop touchpad no less , im allows me to apply an s-curve which is defined by two parameters, takes some getting used to, but after getting the hang of it, i barely even bother with doing it manually).

in general, as most have said: make sure you get the basics right first (exposure, white ballance, and so on), start doing other processing steps after, try to not over-do post-processing. be mercyless when selecting your pictures, be patient at the same time. last but not least, do print from time to time (a good photolab, which gives consistent results is a good start), pictures are meant to be printed (some will say projected ), not displayed on a ridiculously-low-resolution electronic display (just print some of your best at 20x30cm or so -- about a4/letter size, and you will see what i mean when i say electronic displays are ridiculous).

most importantly: have fun
08-31-2009, 01:12 PM   #43
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GIMP is the only image editer I have ever used, aside from the very simple glorified picture viewers like IrfanView or Picasa. (no offense intended to either, I love IrfanView), so I have no idea what the interface is "supposed" to look like.

Still trying to get the hang of curve editing or level adjustments. I've noticed that the histogram for my recent pictures tapers down on the white end, and then there is a very thin spike on the very right of the histogram. That indicates that there are a lot of overexposed pixels? But if a picture is going to be overexposed, I didn't think the histogram would be so discontinuous. I will post a screenshot of an example one of these days (probably Tuesday).

Does in-camera white balance make any difference when I am shooting in just RAW mode? Some things that people here have said lead me to believe that it doesn't matter, but when I load up the image into UFraw, it does seem to make a difference if I choose Auto WB or Camera WB.

Anyways, I do take a lot of pictures, so by sheer brute force, I have gotten a number of keepers. If I'm good about backing up the good ones, maybe one day when I'm super-L337 I can go back and touch up some of these to look really nice like the more experienced posters put up.
08-31-2009, 01:55 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChooseAName Quote
GIMP is the only image editer I have ever used, aside from the very simple glorified picture viewers like IrfanView or Picasa. (no offense intended to either, I love IrfanView), so I have no idea what the interface is "supposed" to look like.

Still trying to get the hang of curve editing or level adjustments. I've noticed that the histogram for my recent pictures tapers down on the white end, and then there is a very thin spike on the very right of the histogram. That indicates that there are a lot of overexposed pixels? But if a picture is going to be overexposed, I didn't think the histogram would be so discontinuous. I will post a screenshot of an example one of these days (probably Tuesday).

Does in-camera white balance make any difference when I am shooting in just RAW mode? Some things that people here have said lead me to believe that it doesn't matter, but when I load up the image into UFraw, it does seem to make a difference if I choose Auto WB or Camera WB.

Anyways, I do take a lot of pictures, so by sheer brute force, I have gotten a number of keepers. If I'm good about backing up the good ones, maybe one day when I'm super-L337 I can go back and touch up some of these to look really nice like the more experienced posters put up.
Hi again

Have a look here for understanding how to read and adjust histograms... Quite a few pages but well worth the read:

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO INTERPRETING RGB HISTOGRAMS

As for WB: This is embedded in the RAW file. When you open the RAW file in a RAW converter, the embedded WB profile will be applied to the image (you will see something like "camera default". So it is important that you get the WB correct or as best as you can in camera. I know you can change it afterwards in your RAW converter but the result differs from one converter to another.

All other settings such as brightness, sharpening, contrast etc. do not have any effect on the RAW file, only on the jpeg that is embedded to be able to display a preview of the photo on your LCD display on the back of your camera (or if you shoot jpeg only on the jpeg itself).

As for RAW converters, you might also want to have a look at RAW Therapee which you can download here for free:

Download RT v2.4

IMO a much better RAW converter than UFRaw but I leave that up to you to decide for yourself. As I said, it is free so well worth a try.
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