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Sunday, January 23, 2011

I will not give up

Guys, I'm totally feeling down today. At the beginning of this project I was all like, awesome. I CAN shoot in manual mode, I (sorta) get it, great! But I'm still realllly struggling. Your pictures are all SO beautiful and SO inspiring, but I still don't know much about lighting (just got Understanding Exposure) or composition (book suggestions?), let alone the factors I don't even know to worry about yet!

My biggest hurdle seems to be getting things in focus. Sigh. Is that so silly?

Melissa, I took your suggestion and try focusing on the closest eye, but still SO many of my shots aren't tack sharp like I want them. Hmmm. I realize that first of all I need to not shoot wide open anymore and bring up my aperture a bit, however then I have trouble with not enough light/having to raise my shutter speed.

Do you all think a flash would help me, lighting wise, or confuse me more?!? If so do you have a good suggestion? Thanks for your input ladies. I'm not giving up, but definitely going though a rough patch.

And for possibly my silliest question yet. . . is my sharpness being affected by my camera? Is that possible? I 'only' have a Rebel XS, and realize it’s very likely my skill level, but, help. :)



Mommy is not digging the haircut. . .next time I'm giving it a go. . .it can't look worse, right?!

14 comments:

Tracy said...

Don't give up...I think we all go through stages where we struggle. I think that only gives us more determination to do better for ourselves. With the information we know now compared to when we were taking photos without the knowledge we probably thought every photo was great!(and they probably were in there own way because they are of our family, right!) Now you know what to look for, I feel your determination. I have my focus set to a setting so that if the subject moves it will adjust a bit to the movement...I will have to see what focus setting that is ;) I am in no way professional and strive to be better as well. It's a challenge to get the focus set before the little ones move so quickly! I myself am not much of a flash girl. Maybe moving to mode A or S would allow you more time to focus on focus and not all the settings together. Keep practicing! It'll all come together. Hope I didn't ramble ;)

Tracy said...

Cute photo, btw!!

Susan said...

I think your photos are awesome, I REALLY like the one you just posted, so cute! I struggle with everything you mentioned too...especially when I'm trying to take a photo quickly (like of the kids). I hope one day it will all come naturally...a hobby isn't supposed to be stessful right? I'm considering saving up and taking a workshop. Keep up the good work! I look forward to checking your blog everyday!

Candi said...

Cute shot and I agree with Tracy

By the way, I'm your contact person for the Mommytography 365 Project. Let me know if you have any questions.

kitten said...

Awww, don't feel down, I really love your photos and think that they are all FANTASTIC!

Keara @ Now I Know What Life Is All About said...

I love your photos too. I too, have problems with this sometimes. I did run into this action last night and it is free. I ran it over one of my older pics and it worked great. Maybe this will help a little.

http://www.mcpactions.com/actions/try-me/high-def-sharpening.html

Melissa said...

If you focused on his eye then yes they should be tack sharp. Moving into a different AF mode like Tracy said might help. I have mine set to Al Servo and that is for moving subjects. Make sure that you are only using that center focus point, the middle red box is the only one lighting up when you focus and none others. Now if you have it in that mode and are placing your center focal point on his eye and it's still out of focus, it could be your lens. Sometimes lens need to calibrated becasue they are front focusing or something along those lines. I've read about this and I don't quite understand but it happens sometimes with lens straight out of the box. You just send it back into Canon and they will calibrate it for you.

All that tech stuff being said, I REALLY enjoy your pictures. Every time I come to your page I am in awe of your lighting! Try to stay away from flashes, I think it would just be one more thing to add to all the learning and it could just overwhelm you. My flash and I don't get a long at the moment. Haha Just keep your chin up, don't get discourage! You're doing amazing! Keep asking questions, if you lived in Washington I would totally come and help you out! I hope this help! :)

Carrie said...

You know I have no advice. Just wanted to give a little 'awwww' Jackson's way. Because he's quite cute, you know. I LOL'd at the haircut line. Gah, I feel the same way about Will's.
And for real, download Noiseware and MCP's FB sharpening. Give em a try.

Trisha said...

Don't feel down (you''ve heard that abt 8 times now). Everybody gets discouraged! Try posting your setting when you post your picture. That way if people see specific things in your settings that could help they will suggest those. I also recommend Scott Kelby's first book (it's yellow - I forgot the title). It's an easy read & I used it along w the UE book you already have.
PS, your picture may not be as sharp as you want but your guy looks great! I promise if you keep at it & keep learning you will be amazed at your pictures in a few months!

knit1kids4 said...

The only lens I self focus on is my 50 mm because it doesn't focus with my camera {Nikon D40}. Otherwise, I let my camera do the work of focusing for me. I do shot in manual {choosing A & S} otherwise unless I just can't get the shot... then I move it to P and take the shot. Then I see what the camera thought I should be at and try again. Trust me, if you looked back at my images the first year I did this {2009} they were not as good... the more you shoot the more you learn!

Kara said...

I love this! And, I love the community of helpers.. you are all so great! Good job on this photo!

Carrie said...

I think it's a beautiful shot! I think we're our own biggest critics!

Dianne - Bunny Trails said...

I am so with you. I also have a Rebel XS. Funny thing is that sometimes I get very clear shots and then I go through phases where it seems they never are as clear as they should be. I haven't figured that out, though. It's just one of those things that you'll improve in with experience. Understanding Exposure is a fantastic book and should help you quite a bit. Like Tracy said, you can always step back and shoot in Aperture Priority so you're only focusing on one aspect at a time. I did that for a time. I've also found that many photographers don't manually focus.

Oh. If you're constantly getting unclear photos with manual focusing, check your diopter. Occasionally it can get moved a notch or so and that will affect your ability to focus correctly.

Hang in there and keep shooting.

Ingrid said...

HOnestly I don't think it's the camera. I know this because I have a friend who has a point & shoot and until I took my camera off auto and learned to really use my dslr, her photos were always better. It's only now I feel like mine are as good as hers. I mentioned in a previous comment but again, you should focus solely with the center focus point. That way you have total control over what the camera is focusing on. With regards to composition I think it is something that comes with practice. You'll start getting a "feel" for what's good versus what's great. I use the "rule of thirds" and when shooting landscapes I make sure to have a beginning, a middle, and an ending in my photo. Did you read your camera manual? I read mine and practiced what it was teaching me. I also carry it around in my purse more than I do my camera and refer back to it constantly. The other thing I did was read lots of photography "tip" articles online. I just googled them. It was reading the same things over and over that made them sink in. I still have a long waaaaaays to go but I've also come a long way. :) Keep at it! Before you know it you'll see the progression you're wanting. I can't wait until adjusting my settings are second nature. Right now it takes me forever to set everything just so and all too often I've missed the light and/or the shot! :( My honey teases me about taking so long. Oh, well!
~ingrid