July 30, 2014, 05:46:09 PM

Author Topic: Thin dof posing/shooting advice  (Read 3229 times)

RustyTheGeek

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Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« Reply #45 on: May 08, 2014, 04:31:13 PM »
Sometimes going back to the basics helps.  Maybe whip out a tripod on a sunny day and get a "subject" to focus on with a detailed background some distance behind it.  Then do the good old exposure exercise where you maintain the same exposure but vary the aperture and shutter speeds and work your way through all the f/stops.  When you compare the shots, it might help jog your 'noggin on what will work for you.  You could also toss in some varying distances from the subject at each f/stop to see how that affects the DOF, compression and bokeh.

Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

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Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« Reply #45 on: May 08, 2014, 04:31:13 PM »

Marsu42

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Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2014, 04:36:49 PM »
Here's some additional feedback on your new work

Thanks, feedback from other photogs is most welcome, though please remove the flickr link from your post - I usually try to keep my CR nick and photog work separate and my flickr account unlinked to the rest of the net.

Try to think in 2D and make use of perspective compression.  If you put the pet in front of the person, you need far more DOF than if you put the pet beside the person. For busy backgrounds that you need to blur, try to put the person beside the pet so their eyes are on the same plane, or close to it.

I try to do this all the time :-p ... problem is that it looks very artificial and "posed", esp. with a dog - with cats, people are more prone to hug them next to their face. Personally, I try to avoid micro-directing the scene, so if after 1-2 suggestions from me what might be a nice idea people don't react accordingly I let the matter drop - the pets are exhausted quick enough w/o me putting additional pressure on them. But I'll keep figuring out ways for thin dof posing nevertheless.

If you have plenty of room in front and behind, use a longer focal length, say 135mm and stop down.  The perspective distortion puts them closer together and in practice requires a bit less DOF.

Interesting point, I never used this systematically - though in this case I was to a wall or on the edge of the train platform, so my creativity was rather restricted.

Also, work with the background - if it's part of the story (good or bad) of the photo, don't be afraid to go to f/8 or f/11 and use a wider angle to incorporate the background so it becomes an environmental portrait.

Problem is that with this method, I'm at iso 6400 in no time - not very bad with the 6d, but then shutter speed keeps dropping and creates unwanted blur on the moving pet. I'm often using hss as the 1/180 x-sync on the 6d is so slow.

The photo of the owner with his black Labrador in front of the train (the widest one) is a great example of how to do this and I think that shot came out great.

Thanks :-) ... I'm always hesitant to use this "environmental portrait style" because I keep thinking you can also do this with your smartphone and don't need a €2500€ dslr... but at least I have lighting gear to separate me from the crowd.

Generally, I start with environmental portraits and move in to tighter shots.  The builds comfort with my subject and gives me a good choice of shots later.  Sometimes the background makes the shot, other times the eyes tell the story in a tight headshot.

That's very good advice, I did it the other way round this time and imho your method is really better - I might even get away with using "test shots" while close up shots need some minimal posing.

With wider lenses, again consider perspective distortion.  Don't put a large pet in front or it will look large and far away from the owner.  Use wide lenses to shoot side-by-sides or with the owner tightly holding a smaller pet.

Well, they'll be hesitant to exchange animals :-> but still excellent point I'll keep in mind.

Finally, if you can't get things to work, work on being creative (as you've done in many of your shots), but don't be afraid of some motion blur or creative blurring.  Show a dog licking the owner's face  or wagging its tail with some motion blur, or a dog jumping, cat grooming, etc.

Hmmmyes, I'm rather hesitant on this as a "pro" look on a "snapshot style" scene is extremely hard to manage

Finally, if you can't More than anything, just practice shooting at large apertures as much as you can so get a "feel" for how aperture, DOF, and focal lengths all work together and don't be afraid of some blur, as long as you are the one controlling it.

Problem with pets is that they're quickly exhausted and the "natural" look is gone, after 5-10 min of lighting test and location scouting you've maybe got 20min, and then it might be already to late. That's why getting practice on live subjects is hard to come by, but I ordered rubber heads to pose for me so I can try out different dof and lighting styles @home.

I realize you may be a bit frustrated, but I think you're doing great work and should be proud of the photos you've taken.  Keep shooting, analyzing your own work, and improving each time.

Actually, I'm currently rather happy with my progress esp. as I now know that shooting these scenes is rather difficult... I realize this when I find shooting single models or pets is extremely easy to do in comparison :-) ... thanks for commenting!

Marsu42

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Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« Reply #47 on: May 08, 2014, 04:41:18 PM »
Not much to say that hasn't been said but I want to compliment you on the shots.  I think anyone here would be glad with these results.  You did a great job.  Tweak all you want but you are improving on a very good product already.

Right, that's what I wanted to hear, 4000+ posts on CR have finally paid off :-> ... thanks! Btw this is about the same feedback I'm getting from around here, that's why I currently dare to try to go pro with pet and animal photography.

As for the 6D AF system and whether a 5D3 would make a difference... rest easy.  That ain't it.  I think you know better than that.  The issues you are dealing with here can't even be much affected with manual focus.  It's definitely NOT the camera

That's very good to know as you know both cameras, it dampens my 5d3 inferiority complex a bit :-p ... the other day, I saw the boss of the homelesss peope street magazine project walk about with the editorial 1dx+24-70L2, I couldn't believe my eyes. He still takes terrible pictures and doesn't even use a single flash :->

The one thing might help just a bit that with the 1dx/5d3 af focus & recompose distance is a bit less than from the center 6d spot, but alas, the af points are rather crowded to the center on the big cameras so it really might not result in any noticeable difference.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 04:43:24 PM by Marsu42 »

RustyTheGeek

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Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2014, 11:44:19 PM »
Not much to say that hasn't been said but I want to compliment you on the shots.  I think anyone here would be glad with these results.  You did a great job.  Tweak all you want but you are improving on a very good product already.

Right, that's what I wanted to hear, 4000+ posts on CR have finally paid off :-> ... thanks! Btw this is about the same feedback I'm getting from around here, that's why I currently dare to try to go pro with pet and animal photography.

As for the 6D AF system and whether a 5D3 would make a difference... rest easy.  That ain't it.  I think you know better than that.  The issues you are dealing with here can't even be much affected with manual focus.  It's definitely NOT the camera

That's very good to know as you know both cameras, it dampens my 5d3 inferiority complex a bit :-p ... the other day, I saw the boss of the homelesss peope street magazine project walk about with the editorial 1dx+24-70L2, I couldn't believe my eyes. He still takes terrible pictures and doesn't even use a single flash :->

The one thing might help just a bit that with the 1dx/5d3 af focus & recompose distance is a bit less than from the center 6d spot, but alas, the af points are rather crowded to the center on the big cameras so it really might not result in any noticeable difference.

Think about the cameras this way... if someone handed you a 30D or a 40D, would you still love shooting with one?  Could you still make great pictures with it?  Heck, would you almost be ready to go find/get another one?  I'm confident that my answer to these questions is YES, I loved both of those bodies and shot 1000's of great images with them.  Obviously my newer cameras are EASIER to shoot with because they have better sensors and the full frame gives me more creative latitude.

Bottom line, it's YOU that takes the picture.  And it sounds like you could shoot the same great shots with a 30D, 40D, 6D or whatever you have in your hand.   (Too bad the guy with the 1Dx can't say that, eh?)  My point here is, don't pine after the 5D3 or 1Dx too much.  I love the 6D, it's a great camera.  Don't sweat it.  Be glad you have the 6D, enjoy using it with confidence and without any remorse!   ;)
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

mackguyver

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Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« Reply #49 on: May 09, 2014, 10:09:56 AM »
I'm sorry about re-posting the link and I removed it last night.  I had "one of those" days yesterday and my eyes were glazing over around the time I wrote the post ;).  I understand what you're saying about posed subjects and personally, I'm rather impressed you're able to hold the pets attention that long! With portraits, the technical side is less important as long as it's good enough.  privatebydesign posted this article recently (Steve McCurry Sharp) and I think that is a pretty good way to look at it.  I'd rather capture a softer photo of the perfect moment/expression than have a dull but technically perfect shot.

Also, you must be shooting in pretty dim light to be at ISO6400 at f/11 & 1/180s.  I agree that 1/180s is pretty marginal for pet movement, but I'm sure it works with lighting.  In terms of smartphone and snapshot style photos and separating your work, that is the challenge we're up against and lighting and a subtle or complete blurring of the background are what you can use to set your work apart.  Even the shallow DOF is under assault, however from the new Google camera app that does this and lots of iPhone and PS plug ins that generate bokeh.  Yes, they suck in comparison to the real thing, but they're getting better each day, and at phone resolution it's hard to tell.  Keeping a step ahead and setting your work apart from others is a challenge, but as Rusty and I have said, you're doing a good job of that! 

Practicing at home is a good idea and I agree with Rusty that the 6D is a nice camera and given what you're shooting, the 5DIII or 1D X are likely to make very little difference.  The higher x-sync speeds are nice if you're trying to overpower the sun, but beyond that, there's nothing too much that would do much for you.  You can always order the grip if you find yourself shooting a lot of photos in the portrait orientation.  Also, as you mention, just because you have great gear doesn't mean the photos will be any good.  For years, I've shot wildlife beside people with 1D__ cameras and 600-800 lenses and they don't understand how I'm getting such good shots with my Rebel XSi and 400 f/5.6 lens.  The same thing used to happen when I shot fashion with cheap gear - I frequently sold dozens of photos at runway shows with a 3MP Kodak DC4800 and a crappy Sunpak flash back in the early days of digital even as I stood next to guys with top of the line film & digital SLRs and 200mm f/1.8 lenses.  My timing, lighting, and PS skills set my work apart as I moved from film SLRs to digital and eventually D-SLRs. 

I'm glad that you're happy with your work (as you should be) and always remember two things that are really the same thing - no one shoots great shots every time and only show your best work.  If you saw the outtakes of many of the best photographers that you admire, you'd think a whole lot less of them :)
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Re: Thin dof posing/shooting advice
« Reply #49 on: May 09, 2014, 10:09:56 AM »