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Thread: Great Photos

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    Great Photos

    The dilemma I currently face is I want to take those GREAT PHOTOS you know the ones where you look at them and say, that is a GREAT photo. I can see them in my head, but don't always achieve this greatness and most of mine look like holiday photos at best. I have a Nikon D7000, it is a great camera in others hands, (I have witnessed this) but I just can't seem to find the most ideal settings or looks for me. Is there one particular setting which is a good one, I am slowly learning the combination of the triangle but the shutter speed is my let down, for me anyway, I just don't seem to understand.

    The combination I have is the D7000 a 18mm to 250mm sigma lens and now a 70mm to 300mm sigma lens and the lens that came with the camera which I rarely seem to use which is an 18mm to 105mm Nikon. So looking at all of this you might say I have got the right gear, but really it is then down to the photographer - or in my case the person with their finger on the button. Is there any other combination I need or do I just need to keep practising?
    D7000, 18mm to 105mm Nikon lens & 18mm to 250mm Sigma lens.

    To know what you know and to know what you don't know...is to know.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    There is no setting that is good. It varies with every shoot. Low ISO vs High ISO, slow shutter speed Vs fast shutter speed, Small aperture vs large aperture. What you need to do is learn how each of ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed work, and what results from using their variations and then apply that to your photography, for a good exposure each time, along with using some compositional tools, like the 'rule of thirds'.

    You want blurry water and a lovely colourful coastal sunset, you need different settings to what you would use to take photos of cyclists racing. You want a portrait with a blurry background, you would use different settings to what you would use for photographing a lovely old building.

    There is no one setting that works, once you learn how ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed work, individually and then in combination with each other, and understand them, then you can start making decisions for each subject based on that knowledge. It is up to you to learn all this, apply it and get a grasp on photography.

    You can take great photos once you understand those three camera functions along with some basic composition guidelines. Take the time to learn it, there is no short-cut. As your last sentence says, 'keep practising' but do so with knowledge. No use just clicking away. The camera is the tool, you are the photographer, you have to have the skills, not the camera.
    Last edited by ricktas; 26-10-2014 at 6:38am.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    the easiest part of photography is pushing the button, the hardest part is getting good composition, i have plenty of time on my hands lately and have been going through a lot of photography books and just looking at all the shots and getting ideas from some of the pros at this type of thing it might be boring just scanning through page after page but there is plenty to offer from gthis type of learning
    cheers macca

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubyKatz View Post
    The dilemma I currently face is I want to take those GREAT PHOTOS you know the ones where you look at them and say, that is a GREAT photo. I can see them in my head, but don't always achieve this greatness and most of mine look like holiday photos at best. I have a Nikon D7000, it is a great camera in others hands, (I have witnessed this) but I just can't seem to find the most ideal settings or looks for me. Is there one particular setting which is a good one, I am slowly learning the combination of the triangle but the shutter speed is my let down, for me anyway, I just don't seem to understand.

    The combination I have is the D7000 a 18mm to 250mm sigma lens and now a 70mm to 300mm sigma lens and the lens that came with the camera which I rarely seem to use which is an 18mm to 105mm Nikon. So looking at all of this you might say I have got the right gear, but really it is then down to the photographer - or in my case the person with their finger on the button. Is there any other combination I need or do I just need to keep practising?
    Hi Rubykatz.
    I will move your thread to Shooting Help, as it is not really about Nikon gear, rather, just that you have it. And so to try to understand your lament.

    You cited "GREAT PHOTOS", "holiday photos", an inability to achieve the former, and "ideal settings".

    You have not given any typical examples of what you don't get, like landscapes, portraits, etc. To give specific answers we would need to ID the problem in the first place.
    How does the shutter speed let you down? Are your images consistently blurry? The Exposure Triangle is just a convenient idea to illustrate the equivalence in
    different settings to achieve the same exposure. It is treated in the Library section.

    Briefly, "great" and "holiday" photos do rely on the viewer's interpretation and appreciation to a certain extent. Are you being too critical of your work?

    Well, if you could present a couple of pictures/descriptions, we could certainly help you in a better way.

    Cheers.
    Am.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 26-10-2014 at 7:50am.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    My suggest is to find a photo you like and try replicate it. It may seem like copying but it's part of the learning process of understand what makes the photo work and you'd be surprised how hard it is to replicate a photo, even when you have the settings. Once you are able to replicate other people's work, you'll find it easier to get your own artistic style. The challenge with replicating someone else's photo is the settings don't work unless you have exactly the same lighting, so it now challenges you to change them slightly and meet the requirements.

    Maybe post a couple of the photos that concern you and it might be easier to identify what is holding you back.
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    Ausphotography Regular Hawthy's Avatar
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    I think that joining the 2014/52 Members Challenge really helps people who are new to photography by providing a topic each week. For example, one subject was "Show Movement". I researched this on the web and found that one method was to use a rear curtain synch flash, where the shutter is open for a while before the flash goes off. The photo then shows a trail behind the subject but freezes the subject. To cut a long story short, I had a crack at something that I would never previously have attempted and it turned out pretty well, I think.

    So, maybe head over the Member Challenges and use the weekly topic for inspiration and then research how particular shots are done. There are many, many tutorials on every aspect of digital photography on the web. And, I agree with Mission Man. Find a photo that you like and try to replicate it. It is not cheating - it is learning.

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    Thank you for your responses, yes maybe I was a little broad in my frustration. I also didn't think this post should have been where I put it but was not sure which section to go to, so thanks for moving it to the right spot. I have a friend who is learning as much as he can and is keenly interested so buys the books, practices all the settings and then explains different things to me along the way. My problem for one - my memory doesn't hold, no not the camera, the one in my head. Just when I think I have it correct I am let down by my results. However now I am shooting in RAW, takes up a lot of room and Lightroom is a godsend for fixing my errors, but I want to get the photos to the point that Lightroom gets them to without any fiddling. My next problem is I don't seem to understand, I can figure the ISO out, I try to shoot at 100 most times unless inside or in the dark. I am getting better at the F stops, but the shutter speed somehow escapes my understanding. I have got the books, I have researched on line, I have hint cards and I try to practice when I find the time. I am not a natural.

    I even read the instruction on how to upload a photo to AusPhotography without loading one to the site direct to save on cost for you, and didn't even understand that, so will have to try and make that sink in another time. I also suffer debilitating headaches/migraines so don't spend as much time as I would like to in here or out and about shooting. I guess I just want to do better. I will post a photo when I work out how and explain my dilemma, although in saying that I did manage to finally get some fluffy water shots that I even like!

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    Ausphotography Regular bcys1961's Avatar
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    What mode are you shooting in , Manual (M), Aperture (A) or Shutter (S) , or Auto.

    If Manual , which it sounds like as you are adjusting ISO, F values and Shutter speed try shooting in A mode. Then if you keep your ISO on 100 , and change the f-stop you will see the camera decide the shutter speed for you . If it is too low then you need to either go to a lower f-value , or change to a higher ISO ( or use a tripod). On S mode you change shutter speed and the camera will decide f-stop for you . If you want to shoot manual which involves changing all three , shoot one in Auto mode first and see what your camera decided the three key variables should be and then use this as a starting point to shoot in Manual.

    Keep in mind also many of those "Great Photo's" (particularly sunrise and sunsets) are not single photo's out of camera. They are composites , HDR blends etc. and you need to do all that work in post processing with software , other than Lightroom.
    The name is Brad ......

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    Hi Brad,

    I actually do this from time to time, shoot on Auto to see what settings it picks. Often it wants the flash on, but I don't, and often this is also a way to ensure if all my photos don't turn out on the settings I pick, then at least I might get one good one.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubyKatz View Post
    I even read the instruction on how to upload a photo to AusPhotography without loading one to the site direct to save on cost for you,
    There is not cost associated with you uploading photos to the site. I pay a set amount per month for the hosting of the site, bandwidth usage, software licences etc. You could upload 10000 photos and it will not cost me any more than someone who uploads 1.

    If the cost of running the site concerns you, the best thing you can do is buy things from the advertisers on the site.
    Last edited by ricktas; 29-10-2014 at 6:00pm.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    A friend of mine told me of when she went to Amsterdam. She wanted to go to the main gallery to see the Van Gogh paintings, but then had to queue for ages and was only allowed about 20secs for each painting. She cried.
    Fortunately, she discovered another small gallery that had many Van Gogh works so she went there - almost no visitors. This gallery had a room full of bad Van Goghs (plus other rooms with good paintings). The fact that Van Gogh could paint badly taught her that anyone could learn to paint well, and that anyone could learn to paint as well as Van Gogh. The only thing that was needed was the dedication to learn and the willingness to free your artistic talent. The first involves hard work, the second letting go.
    By letting go I don't mean just snapping away (though it could be that at times). I mean forgetting the flavour of the month photography and doing what you want to do. Maybe people will like it, maybe they won't, but just stick to it anyway.

    Of course, making money is an entirely different thing. Just ask Vincent.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Not sure about looking at the settings auto provides. Reckon you already know more than the camera.
    Don't limit yourself to ISO 100. There's many times you'll want higher ISO to get the shutter speed up. Flower in shadow without tripod, birds moving. As Brad said, using Aperture or shutter priority can help you think about what you need to do to achieve the result you want. If you want to use them and take one part of the equation out, put your camera on auto ISO. Then you only need to decide on f/# or shutter speed. AND the all important subject and composition.
    "Enjoy what you can do rather than being frustrated at what you can't." bobt
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubyKatz View Post
    I don't seem to understand, I can figure the ISO out, I try to shoot at 100 most times unless inside or in the dark. I am getting better at the F stops, but the shutter speed somehow escapes my understanding. I have got the books, I have researched on line, I have hint cards and I try to practice when I find the time. I am not a natural.
    Basic photography is not rocket-science. It's a lot like cooking for example, in recepies some things are taken for granted that may escape the pure beginner. You can learn cooking by just following recepies and re-create their exact results, but it takes a lot of time to fill in the blanks. Do you ever watch the show "masterchef"? The people that are in that show already know how to cook. Or do they? Most have been cooking for years - it's their hobby. But to learn making the perfect dish, they need hands-on experience, knowledgeable feedback and workshops. In that process, they stumble, fall deep, make silly mistakes. That's how they learn.

    Books, or any written material in general IMHO, are not the best source to learn from for everyone. You may learn more from a good workshop, given by a good photography teacher.

    I know from first hand how bad migraine and similar things may press on the ability to go out and make great pictures. I've suffered a pretty severe neck-injury that never completely healed. Right now, I'm seeing things through a tunnel, I feel pressure building up in an eyeball. Taking pictures in this condition would be a certain way to shoot mediocre pictures at best. No inspiration, too many things to think about when taking pictures. So I don't... Maybe tomorrow?
    Ciao, Joost

    All feedback is highly appreciated!

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jev View Post
    So I don't... Maybe tomorrow?
    Hope tomorrow or the next day comes. All the best for all that.

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    I am hearing you Steve, this is good advice. Gone are when I just took pics of things I liked and I am now trying to do what others do. Back to basics I guess. Maybe I have been too wrapped up in trying to please others when really I should have just been trying to please myself.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have been leaving it on 100 so I can try and learn the other two. I have done this on good advice from another person who takes magnificent photos (well this is how I see them). I used to only shoot with Aperture Priority but that didn't teach me what I needed to know. So it is Manual I have decided to stay with, unless there is movement then I will go to Shutter Priority. The ISO shifts for me when I am inside, and I think I will be much safer using AP when my granddaughters are around or even SP! They are so fast!

    - - - Updated - - -

    This photo is from a recent trip to Tallangatta valley

    - - - Updated - - -
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    Last edited by ameerat42; 01-11-2014 at 8:31am.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    ^ So where's the focus point in this photo?
    The far side bank? Would it not be better to have the birds in focus?

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    Yes the birds in focus would have been good. This was taken hand held and a fair distance away from me. There is much more room for improvement for me as you now can see.

    - - - Updated - - -

    This is one of my better photos my subject matter was sitting still

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubyKatz View Post
    Yes the birds in focus would have been good. This was taken hand held and a fair distance away from me. There is much more room for improvement for me as you now can see.
    Photography is no different to learning to ride a bike, learning to swim, learning to drive. As long as you are willing to learn ways to improve in anything you learn, you will improve. At present the thing holding you back is you. You need to set yourself some goals. Like understanding aperture. Learn it, ask questions, get it in your head. Once you have that, and only then, move onto learning the next thing. Do not try and learn it all at once.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 07-11-2014 at 7:14am.

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