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Author Topic: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?  (Read 8903 times)

nightbreath

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Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« on: December 21, 2011, 04:38:11 AM »
I want to get out of my camera everything I can, but I feel that I cannot achieve level of few local photographers right now. I'm not sure whether the camera applies limitations or it is me who needs another way of thinking.

I own 7D, use fixed lenses and some additional tools (flashes, reflectors) to achieve the best results I can.

I've formed an opinion that better color transformation (making the colors richer, extending separate colors' depth) can be achieved only on a new camera. Could you please take a look at images below and say what I'm missing.



Here's how my images normally look like:







« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 04:29:48 PM by nightbreath »
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Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« on: December 21, 2011, 04:38:11 AM »

Freshprince08

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 05:01:56 AM »
I'm sure you'll get different views, but to me your shots look great in terms of colour reproduction and punch. If anything I guess you could push them harder in post if you wanted to, but that's down to personal taste. If anything, on the "other" guy's photos you posted - the shot of the bride next to the window shows some fringing along the left hand edge of the dress. Colours on yours look great to my eyes.
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Narcolepsy

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 05:18:27 AM »
I prefer your photos to all but one of the "other guys" shots.
The golf shot is very cool - but that is composition - not camera equipment
Your colors and punch are great!

briansquibb

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2011, 05:27:20 AM »
Watch out for too shallow DOF ( #3 )

Give them space ( #3)

Avoid taking pictures up the nose ( #2, #5 )

Avoid taking wa pictures - unless they are very wa when it is obvious that is what you are aiming for

The 7D is nore than good enough for weddings but you will have to work on the pp to get the best images

5DII, 1Ds3, 1D4 are the only other options and they will introduce new issues, including a big cost.

Just remember that a wedding albumn is reportage, 90% 'standard' images, 10% 'artistic' images. Keep focussed on the standard images as they wont forgive you if the picture of mum and pop look bad.


nightbreath

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2011, 05:38:34 AM »
Thank you for your comments, I appreciate this. I just started shooting weddings, so budget of my clients does not allow celebrating in an extraordinary place. Here in Ukraine we have no many places good for shooting at – broken roads, lots of garbage all over the streets, people don't care. It's a challenge to find good composition in everyday conditions.

What I want to outline here is that on my photos colors look as close to each other in tone range (they are worm or cold). But what that guy does is playing with color warmth on the same picture.
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KeithR

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2011, 05:45:43 AM »
But what that guy does is playing with color warmth on the same picture.

His skin tones are just plain wrong on my calibrated monitor - they look like they've got Jaundice.

Yours are much, much better. I wouldn't try and emulate him if I were you...

nightbreath

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2011, 06:16:15 AM »
But what that guy does is playing with color warmth on the same picture.

His skin tones are just plain wrong on my calibrated monitor - they look like they've got Jaundice.

Yours are much, much better. I wouldn't try and emulate him if I were you...

I don't like the skin color too, but if I can go that far with color temperature changes I'd be able to look it the way I want.
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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2011, 06:16:15 AM »

JackSw1ss

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2011, 06:33:22 AM »
Hey Nightbreak


well as others said I don't see much problems on your pics, they are nicely made.
If I may though I'll give you my critiques, personal critiques which is what maybe you're looking for.

1) I don't think it's primarily a "tool problem". to me it seems you can use your tools quite efficiently and good.
One point might be: are you sure you're doing everything you could on post?just explore that part of your process, because on the pre-production seems like you're squeezing all you can in a very good product already

2) and to me this is essential...
This might be what you're lookin for and therefore I will not critique this and say u don't have to do so but for me you're shots are too fashion-like...as for weddings I see that the most impact pics are the reportage-style ones.
Means you have to change your style?!nope, abs not, but it could be a frontier to analize and look after if you say you see "problems and limits" on your pictures.

3) the above point brings me to the most important thing: composition.
I would work more on the composition side, seeing that your tools are used well and considering you will analyze the post and picture style. The other thing to consider is composition. As some said above, some shots are cropped thight, maybe too much or are simply uninteresting because of the look you give to them...

Just my personal critique. Sometimes you might not agree with it but it opens windows or makes you think to some stuff you weren't considering. This happens when people critique me harsh...I see things I weren't considering which is deeply important

Cheers

torger

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2011, 06:44:48 AM »
This is so much a matter of taste. I think color rendition of your images is better, more natural. It is more about post-processing than camera. It is only at (very) high ISOs and/or poor artificial lighting color capture can be a bit too poor to tune it well to your liking in post.

I'd prefer a full-frame camera like the 5D, but it is not so much for image quality (although it is indeed a little bit better at high ISOs), but because of very high usefulness a 70-200/2.8 gets (very nice field of view range on the fullframe, a bit too much tele on 7D) and also 50 and 85 gets more practical FoVs I think, and the shorter DoFs and nice "lofi" vignetted look you get with wide open primes, very nice for headshots. But that is also a matter of taste. I really like the short DoF looks on faces, like the bride headshot you have (I'd like to have a little bit more air around it though, and then full-frame is better since you can have more air and still have short DoF - f/2.8 on 5D is like f/2 on 7D for the same FoV), but as you see Brian here above thinks it is too short, so it depends on what you and your customers like.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 06:47:32 AM by torger »

scottkinfw

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2011, 07:19:33 AM »
Imho
Your pics look great.  The difference between them is I think a matter of style.  His look great too, and I wouldn't say one style looks better than another, just different.

I also agree that you can get a different look in post. 

Keep up the great work.
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Jettatore

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2011, 07:58:54 AM »
Nightbreath.  The important thing is to get the exposure more or less correct in camera and then focus on your composition and subject content (DOF, capturing the perfect moment, focal length, lighting, etc.).  Get the colors looking amazing in editing.  Pictures like you've posted don't normally come of the camera like that.  I think this is entirely the reason you are frustrated.

To think about the same thing in other words.  If you can capture the content of those really nice shots you've posted more or less the same and only the colors are off, then you are doing things behind the camera just fine.  If you want to test how well things are going behind the camera for you vs. what you are trying to match, take both your study images and some samples of your own images into an editor and Desaturate (Black and White) them all and you will see if there are other areas that you need to focus on as well.  You also have a decent bit of play room in editing to re-adjust overall exposure as well as highlights and shadow areas, especially if shooting in RAW in case just a bit of curves or RAW sliders will get you the match you are looking for.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 08:05:54 AM by Jettatore »

Maui5150

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2011, 08:52:07 AM »
Over all I think your shots are great.  FF will give you a little more IQ and I find color, but I think for me, your shots are more composition choices like all center focus versus being more rule of 3rds.   I would have cropped more of the right and a little of the top on the 2nd shot, and it gives the bride more sitting in light with shadows to the left and just draws me in more than sort of the tunnel dark to the left and right.  It is a style preference. 

On the other guys shots, I find them too blue.  You may like that, some people prefer cooler to warmer pictures, and all you have to do with that is either add filters post-process or in light room shift the temp up a little higher. 

I don't mind the DOF on the 3rd shot, that is closer to how I probably would have shot it, but I think I would have pulled it back a bit more to give some more space. 

For the shots you are getting, I think you are doing fine

CowGummy

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2011, 08:53:40 AM »
a person is only as good as his equipment...

I think I know what you're trying to say, although personally I've always been more of the impression that the equipment is only ever as good as the person operating it.
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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2011, 08:53:40 AM »

nightbreath

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2011, 08:54:05 AM »
2) This might be what you're lookin for and therefore I will not critique this and say u don't have to do so but for me you're shots are too fashion-like...as for weddings I see that the most impact pics are the reportage-style ones.
It's the only option for now. Many people in my country won't spend more than $2000 on their own wedding (average salary level is $325 a month). Wedding starts from an old-fashioned (soviet union style) registry office, includes a short journey over the city for photo / video shooting and continues in a cafe for 20-25 people. So one good thing I could do is to get some pictures that are different from what people see every day.

3) the above point brings me to the most important thing: composition.
I'm doing my best to get a good composition, but I feel that I'm not always getting the best one out of situation. Are there any recommendation on this? I've read some books about composition, so maybe I need time to practice more? I want full-frame anyway to make angle of view wider (it's a challenge to think about composition in a small room).
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 09:59:58 AM by nightbreath »
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Rampado

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2011, 09:24:14 AM »
I don´t think is a matter of equipment... It´s a different style...

Anyway, your pictures are not bad!

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Re: Do I need a better camera or a better pair of hands?
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2011, 09:24:14 AM »