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Author Topic: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.  (Read 6148 times)

lady

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Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« on: July 06, 2012, 01:07:50 PM »
I don't know what's going on here. One of the things I look for when shooting portraits is that the skin has almost a "creamy" look to it. I have shot portraits like this before without issue. However when I went to take some pictures as usual in the mid-afternoon sun yesterday I ended up with terrible skin detail/tone.

This is a shot where I actually managed to achieve something:


It's close to what I want, though not fully up to my standards.

This is one of my best examples, and oddly enough one of my earliest photos with this camera:


However, when I went to shoot yesterday, I got a bunch of really mediocre shots that looked like they could have been shot with my point-and-shoot. Not sure what I did wrong with the settings here.


70mm f/8 1/640

Almost all of my pictures from that day ended up with sub-tier quality.

Do you think I should have shot with a wider aperture instead? Help me out here. I've been considering adding a 5d mk iii to my camera collection so I can have a second body that's better at shots of people, but I know it won't help me take better photos.

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Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« on: July 06, 2012, 01:07:50 PM »

RLPhoto

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2012, 01:12:27 PM »
The final image comes down your RAW Processing. I get great skin tones from any camera by getting the exposure correct and processing in LR3. Shooting at a larger aperture will provide the buttery background but your subject may not still have those nice skin tones.

Switching to FF will not magically fix your skin tones, Its your processing that will do that.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 01:14:24 PM by RLPhoto »

lady

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2012, 01:18:27 PM »
The final image comes down your RAW Processing. I get great skin tones from any camera by getting the exposure correct and processing in LR3. Shooting at a larger aperture will provide the buttery background but your subject may not still have those nice skin tones.

Switching to FF will not magically fix your skin tones, Its your processing that will do that.

Any tips for getting the exposure correct? 

The FF would help with crop factor and IQ moreso than actual skin and individual shots is what I meant. I'll have to download a trial of LR and see what I can accomplish with it...

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2012, 01:21:40 PM »
The final image comes down your RAW Processing. I get great skin tones from any camera by getting the exposure correct and processing in LR3. Shooting at a larger aperture will provide the buttery background but your subject may not still have those nice skin tones.

Switching to FF will not magically fix your skin tones, Its your processing that will do that.

Any tips for getting the exposure correct? 

The FF would help with crop factor and IQ moreso than actual skin and individual shots is what I meant. I'll have to download a trial of LR and see what I can accomplish with it...

Use spot meter on your 7D, and get the metering for your subjects skins tones first. Determine if its accurate by your histogram readings because darker or lighter skin tones will throw your meter off. Use that setting you determine and should be perfect skin tones, and if not, Process the RAWs to correct it in post.

Yes, FF is better than crop in every way but I still keep my 7D for strobist/sports/reach that it provides me. I believe you should reach the limits of your camera before deciding to purchase a much more expensive camera.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 01:23:46 PM by RLPhoto »

briansquibb

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2012, 01:36:28 PM »
I would have used the flash for the third picture - that brings out the colour and contrast of the subject and dampens the ambient in the background

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2012, 04:33:09 PM »
The final image comes down your RAW Processing. I get great skin tones from any camera by getting the exposure correct and processing in LR3. Shooting at a larger aperture will provide the buttery background but your subject may not still have those nice skin tones.

Switching to FF will not magically fix your skin tones, Its your processing that will do that.

Any tips for getting the exposure correct? 

The FF would help with crop factor and IQ moreso than actual skin and individual shots is what I meant. I'll have to download a trial of LR and see what I can accomplish with it...
Are they jpg or raw images?  If you are shooting jpeg, you are letting the camera guess at the right colors, and it might not always come out like what you see.  When you use RAW, you are getting information off the sensor, and its pretty easy to change the color to something you like in DPP or lightroom, aperture, DXO, etc.
If the subject is shaded as in the 3rd image, (it looks like shaded), fill flash will help.
Colors and skin tones are very much a matter of personal preference, and you will want to make them look like what your eye saw.

SandyP

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2012, 05:35:31 PM »
These people aren't really bringing up the only real factor here. Yes, editing helps, but you shouldn't have to do any real serious editing to any great natural light portraits.

The real issue here is light.

The first image is shot under much higher sun, it's harder light, and can easily wash colors out because it's on a higher angle and generally looks bad if you don't know how to use it.

The second image, the one you seem to like, was shot indoors, under lower ambient, where it's softer, and coming from "all over" as opposed to from one specific angle up in the sky.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the editing will make the difference, it might HELP fix problems, but if you shoot it really well, you shouldn't have to do much editing at all. If it was all done really well in the camera, then the very minor things will help get an over all better image like white balance.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 05:38:49 PM by SandyP »

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2012, 05:35:31 PM »

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2012, 05:53:49 PM »
These people aren't really bringing up the only real factor here. Yes, editing helps, but you shouldn't have to do any real serious editing to any great natural light portraits.

The real issue here is light.

The first image is shot under much higher sun, it's harder light, and can easily wash colors out because it's on a higher angle and generally looks bad if you don't know how to use it.

The second image, the one you seem to like, was shot indoors, under lower ambient, where it's softer, and coming from "all over" as opposed to from one specific angle up in the sky.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the editing will make the difference, it might HELP fix problems, but if you shoot it really well, you shouldn't have to do much editing at all. If it was all done really well in the camera, then the very minor things will help get an over all better image like white balance.

All the posts + this will help. Buy a scrim also.

+1

risc32

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2012, 08:44:15 PM »
what sandy said. The shots that you aren't pleased with are taken with harder light. Less so the last shot but the sun is lower and casting a different color. Gear doesn't matter here, unless you are just looking to blow out the background. You should do what i did a few years ago, find the strobist blog by david hobby and read everything there. Even if you don't like certain things you will learn the how's and why's of lighting. BTW- that first shot isn't to far off what i've been doing lately, i just dial the ambient back a stop or so with my aperture and add a rim light, camera left.

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2012, 09:21:28 PM »
Also, always be mindful of where your light source is.  Unless you are going for a specific effect with side or back lighting try to keep your back to the sun so that there is even lighting on faces etc...  Even in harsh mid day light you can increase your chances of a decent photo by eliminating harsh shadows over facial features. 

If you are trying to isolate your subject more from the back ground shoot at a wider aperture (smaller f stop number), longer focal length and fill the frame with your subject. 

When your camera is set to AWB it is always trying to figure out what neutral gray is and bases all other colors off of this assumption.  Sometimes a simple WB adjustment in post to "warm" up the scene will help with the harsh lighting and overpower the tones that make skin look pale.

Biggest thing.... shoot, shoot, shoot.  And in a wide variety of light.  Go out at sunrise and sunset, shoot when overcast etc....  You'll figure it out.  Your camera and lens are just fine so have tons of fun learning...  :)

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2012, 10:12:37 PM »
Like others have said, focus on photographing the light. Find good light first. Then put a subject in it.
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lady

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2012, 03:32:55 AM »
The final image comes down your RAW Processing. I get great skin tones from any camera by getting the exposure correct and processing in LR3. Shooting at a larger aperture will provide the buttery background but your subject may not still have those nice skin tones.

Switching to FF will not magically fix your skin tones, Its your processing that will do that.

Any tips for getting the exposure correct? 

The FF would help with crop factor and IQ moreso than actual skin and individual shots is what I meant. I'll have to download a trial of LR and see what I can accomplish with it...

Use spot meter on your 7D, and get the metering for your subjects skins tones first. Determine if its accurate by your histogram readings because darker or lighter skin tones will throw your meter off. Use that setting you determine and should be perfect skin tones, and if not, Process the RAWs to correct it in post.

Yes, FF is better than crop in every way but I still keep my 7D for strobist/sports/reach that it provides me. I believe you should reach the limits of your camera before deciding to purchase a much more expensive camera.

Thanks for the tip. I shoot raw. It's not just skin tone, though. It's the way the lighting falls on the skin.

Also, always be mindful of where your light source is.  Unless you are going for a specific effect with side or back lighting try to keep your back to the sun so that there is even lighting on faces etc...  Even in harsh mid day light you can increase your chances of a decent photo by eliminating harsh shadows over facial features. 

If you are trying to isolate your subject more from the back ground shoot at a wider aperture (smaller f stop number), longer focal length and fill the frame with your subject. 

When your camera is set to AWB it is always trying to figure out what neutral gray is and bases all other colors off of this assumption.  Sometimes a simple WB adjustment in post to "warm" up the scene will help with the harsh lighting and overpower the tones that make skin look pale.

Biggest thing.... shoot, shoot, shoot.  And in a wide variety of light.  Go out at sunrise and sunset, shoot when overcast etc....  You'll figure it out.  Your camera and lens are just fine so have tons of fun learning...  :)

I wish I could control the lighting in those scenarios. Unfortunately we were trying to get shots in front of landmarks and city scapes so I had little control over where to put them. I'm wary of using a flash directly in the face of the subject when doing this, but I see no other way to get good skin smoothness otherwise. I have a 320ex.

The final image comes down your RAW Processing. I get great skin tones from any camera by getting the exposure correct and processing in LR3. Shooting at a larger aperture will provide the buttery background but your subject may not still have those nice skin tones.

Switching to FF will not magically fix your skin tones, Its your processing that will do that.

Any tips for getting the exposure correct? 

The FF would help with crop factor and IQ moreso than actual skin and individual shots is what I meant. I'll have to download a trial of LR and see what I can accomplish with it...
Are they jpg or raw images?  If you are shooting jpeg, you are letting the camera guess at the right colors, and it might not always come out like what you see.  When you use RAW, you are getting information off the sensor, and its pretty easy to change the color to something you like in DPP or lightroom, aperture, DXO, etc.
If the subject is shaded as in the 3rd image, (it looks like shaded), fill flash will help.
Colors and skin tones are very much a matter of personal preference, and you will want to make them look like what your eye saw.

RAW exclusively. The colors aren't what bugs me because I can fix that, it's the smoothness of the skin and how harsh shadows fall on the face. By fill flash, you mean turning the flash power way down to fill up the face just enough to balance with the background? Hmm, I didn't think of that...

These people aren't really bringing up the only real factor here. Yes, editing helps, but you shouldn't have to do any real serious editing to any great natural light portraits.

The real issue here is light.

The first image is shot under much higher sun, it's harder light, and can easily wash colors out because it's on a higher angle and generally looks bad if you don't know how to use it.

The second image, the one you seem to like, was shot indoors, under lower ambient, where it's softer, and coming from "all over" as opposed to from one specific angle up in the sky.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the editing will make the difference, it might HELP fix problems, but if you shoot it really well, you shouldn't have to do much editing at all. If it was all done really well in the camera, then the very minor things will help get an over all better image like white balance.

Reason I asked for advice is I don't want to spend a lot of time post processing, ESPECIALLY in situations like this where I have to use the shots and show them to people (and half of them must be salvaged with more than basic pp). If it was just me goofing around, shooting for fun it wouldn't be as much of an issue.

The first picture was shot around 7:30pm (here the sun doesn't set until 9:45pm). The 3rd shot was done around 3:30PM (both were cloudless days). I agree that lighting is an issue here, but one issue I encountered was when I used exposure alone to light up the foreground the faces just looked washed out.

Like others have said, focus on photographing the light. Find good light first. Then put a subject in it.

Can't control that when the location is picked for you :(

briansquibb

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2012, 06:19:06 AM »

Can't control that when the location is picked for you :(

2 off camera flash is the easiest way to control the light in situations like this. Whilst everyone will tell you about reflectors, scrims and large softboxes these are not practical outdoors unless you have help.

1. Shooting with no diffusers works. Just use -ve FEP for a tickle of flash. Some great movies have been lit in this way - using the raw light to their advantage

2. Shoot with mini softboxes takes the harshness away - again slight -ve FEP

3. Reflector on floor - light bounced upwards works well to remove 'panda eyes' when the sun is high

There are all sorts of things that can be done - even someone wearing a white T works as a soft reflector

Don't be frightened of using flash - it isn't a black art

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2012, 06:19:06 AM »

Coheebuzz

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2012, 09:23:15 AM »
The reason your last photo looks like that is because the red floor is getting reflected on your subjects.

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2012, 09:33:27 AM »
Lighting is bad on 1 and 3... There is no fixing them. Try  positioning your subjects so the kight is better, or the light is less harsh. Mayhap take use of shade...
What is truth?

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Re: Argh! Photos don't look like 7D photos.
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2012, 09:33:27 AM »