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Extremely disappointed with myself - didn't know correct settings - HELP PLEASE (4 images)
I am so disappointed with my pictures and I am motivated to take a class so I can avoid this frustration in the future. Please take a look at these pictures and if possible, tell me what I did wrong. Should I have increased my ISO and shutter speed? Stage lighting, dark audience. Soft/out of focus shots. I don't deserve the 40D..

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Thank you..

Comments (20)

Take your time and think about your shots. For example in the first one, you're focused on the black hat in front of the boy. I'd have used a single point for focus and then recomposed. It's extemely fast when your used to it..

In the others, the highlights seem blown a bit. Were you adding to the stage lighting with flash? Learn to use histograms if you don't know how. You'd see the blown highlights and would have corrected for them..

I'll let the better photographers fill you in on some other things. I'm just learning myself...

Comment #1

There are different reasons that cause blurs. This include but not limited to out-of-focus, motion and hand-shake. You should post your setting (e.g. shutter speed, f-stop, ISO and etc.) to get a better recommendation..

I am guessing your shutter speed might be too low for the telephoto and the movement of actors. The 2nd photo looks OK to me. At least the non-moving part is sharp and the motion blur tell me that the actor is moving his/her hand...

Comment #2

Your monitor's probably broken..

Pictures look very good to me, considering the circumstances..

I popped a couple of the shots in Photoshop Elements, sharpened them, use auto levels to fix exposure a bit..

Perhaps your problem is unrealistic expectations..

Anyway, shots look pretty good to me..

Higher ISO gives you your choice of less blur (swinging arm of a girl) or greater depth of field..

BAK..

Comment #3

What lens are you using? For that setting, I would probably have just set it on program, worry about the composition, and let the camera do all the aperture/shutter/ISO settings....

But then of course, I just got my XSi, so I am learning too... Sorry if I didn't offer any helpful advice...

Comment #4

My daughter enjoys acting and this is what I do with my good ol' 20D when I first arrive at an event like this ....

1) Sit down and make a few test shots if the lighting is unlikely to change much as follows ....

2) Try and use the camera on manual (M), once the play starts, the correct exposure will not change if the lighting does not changeand with lot's of bright and dark props on the stage, your camera will not be able to correctly determine what you are trying to achieve as you move the camera around ...

3) to find the correct exposure ... OK .. this is one way of many ;>).

A) since you're indoors, set the ISO to something like 800 .. the 40D is fine at this ISO.

B) set you appature to the largest size (collect most light) = smallest number maybe f5.6 or f4.0 (depending on your lens) and then just turn dial back one click to come off the smallest number .. lens will be sharper ...

C) now adjust your shutter speed whilst zoomed into someones face who will be lit about the same as an actor / singer on stage until the little 'exposure' line in the viewfinder is hovering around the middle of it's scale ....

D) you can now zoom out and compose a picture, focus (auto is fine) and pop a picture ...

E) if your shutter speed is much below about 1/125 (shown as 125) you will either need to be careful about movement or you can up your ISO from 800 (last set in step (a) to something higher .. don't go too high 1600 should be OK ....

What you are aming for here ... is to get as much light in the camera and at a not too slow shutter speed, without going over ... once you have set up as above .. try taking a few shots and look at the picture produced .. if there is any flashing black / white in the picture in an area where you would like detail (actors face / clothes / set detail) ... then increase the shutter speed (faster ..

125->250->500) ... keep doing this one click at a time and taking a test shot until only very bright areas of the image are still flashing .. like bright lights .. ** we're not that interested in a perfect picture of a light bulb ... we're after the actors and stage props etc ....

When you get better at this, look up histogram on google and read up on that ... you have a histogram you can use for this ...

Next ...

Set you white balance to the little bulb picture .. the lights are probably going to be tungsten ... this will make your colours correct ... button is on top right of camera .. read the book ...

Next ...

Check your image type is large JPeg .. you don't want RAW yet ... again as you get better, you may want to read up on RAW ...

Next ...

Flash will probably give you hard shadows and not be too much use depending on size of room and your distance from stage .. I wouldn't use it unless you know what you're doing for now ... if you do .. try pointing it in directions other than straight at the subject .. ceiling or off a wall .. or get a stofen ..



Next ...

Each ime you take a few pictures .. look at the photo you just took .. check that the lighting hasn't changed .. if the scense get brighter .. pick a faster shutter speed ... if it gets darker ..

Experiment .. have fun .. learn by your mistakes ....

To all you experts out there ... there are many ways to do this ... I know .. I'm trying to give one method that may work for OP ...

Dave P..

Comment #5

Oh !.

.. and you do deserve a 40D .... the reason is that you want to take better pictures .. otherwise you would be asking questions ...

;>).

Dave P..

Comment #6

I agree with what the others have said..

First picture - Ok except focus is on the girl with the black hat..

Remaining pictures - Looks like the shutter speed was two slow. You probably need a higher ISO to take a shot with a faster shutter speed..

All four of the pictures seem to need a better white balance...

Comment #7

.. for example ....

Hereis apicture I took under difficult lighting ... On auto, the camera may have included the white cloth in the exposure and under exposed .. maybe not .. the point is .. you don;t know what the camera will do on auto ... it will usullay be close ..



So I exposed for skin tones and to some extent forgot the rest .... the lighting never changed for her whole performance .. so I didn't need to change my settings ...

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Dave P..

Comment #8

Matt,.

The 'Properties' of those photos on Flickr show that you were clearly on the right track, and don't really need go back to school - although a good teacher would have made sure you knew how important it is:.

To use a mix of settings during the shoot: take at least some at the ISO 3200 setting - noisy or not!.

To respect the one-over rule, and expect big problems when using a 200mm lens on an APSC camera at 1/50th of a second.

To use as much support as you can (who said, last week, that: "I am looking at getting a monopod to assist with vibration....." ?).

To take some upright shots - with more of the subject in a single plane focusing should be easier (and the performers aren't be cut off at the knees!).

To take your 85mm f/1.8 with you - and use it!.

Stick with it, I'm sure your pictures will be much better next time..

Peter.

Peter - on the green island of Ischiahttp://www.pbase.com/isolaverde..

Comment #9

Skylark_khur wrote:.

There are different reasons that cause blurs. This include but notlimited to out-of-focus, motion and hand-shake. You should post yoursetting (e.g. shutter speed, f-stop, ISO and etc.) to get a betterrecommendation..

I endorse the comment above. The more information you give the more accuarte your answer..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #10

Dparsons wrote:.

My daughter enjoys acting and this is what I do with my good ol' 20Dwhen I first arrive at an event like this ....

1) Sit down and make a few test shots if the lighting is unlikely tochange much as follows ....

2) Try and use the camera on manual (M), once the play starts, thecorrect exposure will not change if the lighting does not change .and with lot's of bright and dark props on the stage, your camerawill not be able to correctly determine what you are trying toachieve as you move the camera around ...

A) your comments suggest that you are not using a tripod.

B) if lighting changes it is often because the director wants to change the mood. That should reflect in your photos.

3) to find the correct exposure ... OK .. this is one way of many ;>)a) since you're indoors, set the ISO to something like 800 .. the 40Dis fine at this ISOb) set you appature to the largest size (collect most light) =smallest number maybe f5.6 or f4.0 (depending on your lens) and thenjust turn dial back one click to come off the smallest number .. lenswill be sharper ...

I have to disagreeYou will never manage ISO 800 at f6.3 on the average stage. F/4 at ISO 1600 and 1/80th or worse is far more likely..

C) now adjust your shutter speed whilst zoomed into someones facewho will be lit about the same as an actor / singer on stage untilthe little 'exposure' line in the viewfinder is hovering around themiddle of it's scale ...d) you can now zoom out and compose a picture, focus (auto is fine)and pop a picture ...

E) if your shutter speed is much below about 1/125 (shown as 125) youwill either need to be careful about movement or you can up your ISOfrom 800 (last set in step (a) to something higher .. don't go toohigh 1600 should be OK ....

Perhaps you essentialy agree with my comment above after all but, if you are not on a tripod your advice on shutter speed is over-simplistic. At 200mm you would need 1/320th just to avoid camera shake. Your advice needs to be focal length specific..

..Next ...

Set you white balance to the little bulb picture .. the lights areprobably going to be tungsten ... this will make your colours correct... button is on top right of camera .. read the book ...

Absolutely vitalBut this is the first thing you do BEFORE you take any pictures at all. Otherwise you will blow RGB highlights that would have been OK and vice vera.

Next ...

Check your image type is large JPeg .. you don't want RAW yet ...again as you get better, you may want to read up on RAW ...

Next ...

Flash will probably give you hard shadows and not be too much usedepending on size of room and your distance from stage .. I wouldn'tuse it unless you know what you're doing for now ... if you do .. trypointing it in directions other than straight at the subject ..ceiling or off a wall .. or get a stofen .. google it ...

Flash will destroy the mood of the stage lighting. It is best avoided. It will also be very unpopular with both audience and performers..

Next ...

Each ime you take a few pictures .. look at the photo you just took.. check that the lighting hasn't changed .. if the scense getbrighter .. pick a faster shutter speed ... if it gets darker ..slower shutter ..

Have fun .. learn by your mistakes.

I disagree. Reflect the mood of the lighting with your photos which can be high key or low key just as the set is..

....

To all you experts out there ... there are many ways to do this ... iknow .. I'm trying to give one method that may work for OP ...

Point taken. I have not sort to argue with your method (I would do it differently dragging the shutter a little to keep shutter speed up but there are many ways to skin a cat) but rather only pointed to where your advice is unrealistic. These things are, of course,easier to do in practice than to set out in writing without stage or camera to hand..

P.S. Re your third post (I don't want to get heavy handed and reply to them individually!) "...you don;t know what the camera will do on auto.." We all should know how our metering works (I presume this is what you mean). There is little wrong with your photo so you obviously make things work for yourself. I suggest that where you have concerns about extaneous elements like the white shirt influencing exposure the obvious answer is Spot Metering even if you just use it as a cross check for your evaluative meter reading.

P.P.S. I do appreciate that reducing what you commonly do without much need for thought into writing AND keeping it simple is not easy!.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #11

M Corich wrote:.

I am so disappointed with my pictures and I am motivated to take aclass so I can avoid this frustration in the future. Please take alook at these pictures and if possible, tell me what I did wrong.Should I have increased my ISO and shutter speed? Stage lighting,dark audience. Soft/out of focus shots. I don't deserve the 40D..

Do not get too disheartened. Low available light photography is difficult..

I hope this helps. But first I should tell you I shoot with a Nikon D80 and D50 and have no experience of the 40D so I will keep my comments mostly non-generic. However I do a lot of theatre photography. I will try to give advice in some sort of sensible chronological order!.

1. You might want to consider shooting both RAW and jpeg. That way you can go back and improve shots when you have the time and the experience later. I shoot exclusively RAW..

3. I see you have an 85mm f/1.8 and a 70-200 f/4. Both should be OK and flexible in different directions. At f/1.8 your depth of field will be limited. Check out the figures here:.

Http://www.dofmaster.com/doftable.html.

3. You do not say whether you have a tripod or monopod. I would say one or other is vital but if the 70-200 has IS you might get away without (but that still may leave you with problems with the 85mm.).

4. I suggest you think in terms of one or other and maybe swap at the interval (This is why I have two bodies)..

5. Set your WB on incandescent and ISO to 1600. I use matrix metering. The Canon equivalent is Evaluative..

4. Set your AF to Single shot and try to use the focus points to chose the most important point of focus..

5. I set my cams to shutter priority and a minimum shutter speed of 1/80th most commonly using a tripod for my 80-200mm f/2.8 and a monopod (or tripod on a T bar with the 80-200) for my 50mm f/1.4..

6. With the Nikons when in Shutter Priority you then get an analogue meter in the VF telling you whether you are underexposing or over exposing the shot. I believe your 40D will do the same. Often with the f/2.8 it tellls me I am underexposed by 1 stop when at f/2.8. I just ignore it and drag the shutter i.e deliberately underexpose. When I PP the shot I have two choices a) I can brighten it b) I can leave it low key to match the mood of the stage lighting.

Dave Parson's photo in his 3rd post is a perfect example of what I mean. (If shooting in JPEG to not regulary underexpose by more than 1 stop or you will give yourself big problems).

7. If you are hand holding your 85mm f/1.8 you will need a minimum shutter speed of about 1/125 rather than the 1/80th I suggest above. 1/80th is my minimum shutter speed to stop slow action. If forced to I will reduce to 1/60th and if I have the luxury of lots of light I can dial up 1/125th..

8. Once you get experienced using this technique and you have poured over you photos from the last shoot a few times you quickly get to know when to break these simple rules. Here for example using my 50mm f/1.4 I reduced speed to 1/60th to get f/4 to give me more depth of field and focused on his left knee to try and spread the inadequate depth of field more evenly:.

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You also get to feel when Evaluative metering is being pushed to far and it is time to change to spot metering. I have my D80 set to quickly bring up spot metering if I think Matrix (Evaluative) will blow highlights..

My best guess re your photos is that shutter speed is too low and you are hand holding. Bump up the ISO and you may also need to increase the sharpening settings. I think I would also be tempted to give the Highlight tone priority option a try though it might increase shadow noise..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #12

I want to thank EVERYONE for the feedback. Most of the comments made perfect sense and others I will research and improve my overall knowledge. I thought the properties of the pictures would be available when I embedded the pictures. (my mistake). Here is the link to the set on Flickr..

Http://www.flickr.com/.../photos//photos/23833556@N03/..

Comment #13

Dave,.

I have also been trying to figure this out and have some sucess and some not. I have a question on one of your points..

C) now adjust your shutter speed whilst zoomed into someones face who will be lit about the same as an actor / singer on stage until the little 'exposure' line in the viewfinder is hovering around the middle of it's scale ....

Why set the shutter speed when you are zoomed in if the intent is to zoom out before shooting? I have had my XTi for about 3 months and actually had 3 opportunities for this type of shooting and got about a 30% sucess rate, so I am interested in getting that up higher..

Thanks,..

Comment #14

Duane0524 wrote:.

Dave,.

I have also been trying to figure this out and have some sucess andsome not. I have a question on one of your points..

C) now adjust your shutter speed whilst zoomed into someones face whowill be lit about the same as an actor / singer on stage until thelittle 'exposure' line in the viewfinder is hovering around themiddle of it's scale ....

Why set the shutter speed when you are zoomed in if the intent is tozoom out before shooting? I have had my XTi for about 3 months andactually had 3 opportunities for this type of shooting and got abouta 30% sucess rate, so I am interested in getting that up higher..

I can answer that. Remember he has the camera on Manual. By zooming in you get a light reading exclusively on the feature that is most important in the picture. If you set your shutter speed (& aperture) at this stage with the analogue meter showing you are neither under or overexposed then the main subject will be correctly exposed. Effectively you are using a form of spot metering with a large spot! When you zoom back out the anaolgue meter will likely be off centre indicating under (or over) exposure..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #15

Chris,.

Thanks for the response. Does it matter how far you zoom out after setting the exposure up close? I am just trying to figure out how this would work..

I was also shooting in manual when I took my shots. I did not seem to have much issue with the exposure, it was more the focus for me. I had very sharp backgrounds, but the kids were not all that sharp. It was the first time I used the zoom indoors, so I knew I had to play aorund..

Thanks,..

Comment #16

Chris Elliott wrote:.

I can answer that. Remember he has the camera on Manual. By zoomingin you get a light reading exclusively on the feature that is mostimportant in the picture. If you set your shutter speed (& aperture)at this stage with the analogue meter showing you are neither underor overexposed then the main subject will be correctly exposed.Effectively you are using a form of spot metering with a large spot!When you zoom back out the anaolgue meter will likely be off centreindicating under (or over) exposure..

This make sense to me... Seems like a handy spot metering trick that I have never thought of before. Thanks for the explanation. Is this workable for spot focusing as well?..

Comment #17

Chris,I'd generally agree with what you added to my post ....

I remember when I was learning, and asked for advice, I'd get 20 tips try this try this try this ... rarely without any priority, sequence or reasons why ... which can be very confusing ... and difficult to learn from ...

I was trying to say .. do these 5-6 things in this order and this is why ...

I must admit, I now have Image Stabilized Pro Canon lenses, and was resting my elbow on a comfortble arm rest for stability ....

Your post nicely added a few additional considerations and alternatives that I had not considered ...

Dave P..

Comment #18

One of the above posts indicated that lighting changes to create a certain mood. From my experience I have found that if the light dims it is very difficult to capture this mood without a tripod. Since I never use a tripod my goal is to capture the scene as best I can..

One tool, which I think your camera has, is Auto ISO. This tool is great in situations with changing light..

FINE PRINT: I reserve the right to be wrong. Should you prove me wrong, I reserve the right to change my mind...

Comment #19

Was this shot in the standard picture style? It looks like it to me and the colors are too vivid. I would suggest shooting in Neutral or Faithful mode, which are more muted, and give you the most accurate in camera histograms. If you want them to pop you can more process them on your computer after with more efficiency too...

Comment #20

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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