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Thread: Composing correctly?

  1. #1
    Member eloki's Avatar
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    Composing correctly?

    So I've been trying to pre-visualise & compose photos in manual mode, and I must say it will take me quite a while before I am able to casually get a correct exposure out of any given situation. At my current level, it takes some trial & error before I get it right. I start guessing the ISO, then I set my Aperture & Shutter Speed (not too familiar with white balance, so I leave it to auto). From there, I shoot & correct the ISO as necessary.

    Not sure if this is the correct way to do it, but I guess time & experience will reduce my trial & error method. Ultimately, I'd like to be able to judge something on the go, and be able to get it right the first or second time.

    Am I doing this right?

    I've recently found the aperture mode to be quite fun to use, I just need to increase the ISO if the shutter speed gets too slow. And its quite useful when you need to shoot fast. I am just curious about your thought processes before you press the button.

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    Member James T's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're talking about exposing correctly, not composing..

    Using manual will teach you faster so you're right there. ISO you shouldn't really need to change much once you're in a situation, unless it's changing drastically from shot to shot. Say you were shooting at 1/400th @ f/4 you can probably drop to 1/200 without much effect on your image, probably better than upping the ISO a stop.

    Apart from that, it's literally just practice, I can usually have the camera set within half a stop or so of 'correct' exposure before I lift it to my eye. And I'm by no means experienced in the grand scheme of things.

    It gets easy with your average out and about shots, I used to do a lot of street photography, so I got pretty good at picking how bright the sun was. Now I'm doing more events, I'm getting better at picking stage lighting.

    Shoot raw and leave your white balance on auto as you are doing, it's only another thing to worry about. And that is something you can 'fix' on the computer after.

    Stick with it and it shouldn't be long before you're improving quickly. If you do use aperture priority, make sure you're paying attention to what your camera is doing, and why it's doing it, otherwise you won't learn anything.
    Last edited by James T; 24-09-2010 at 2:50pm.

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    a good idea to check your on the write path when learning is to flick your camera to auto and check what settings it has picked and compare with what you thought was good, no good for effects and mood stuff though.
    but yer trial every idea you have if you don't like it erase.

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    eloki, Good post & the answers you have got have helped me to. Thank you

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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser OzzieTraveller's Avatar
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    G'day eloki

    As James has commented, it seems that the issue revolves around exposure rather than image composition

    If you want to run in manual mode, I would suggest that you always keep your eye on the "exposure-bar" sometimes called "EV bar" to always make sure that your exposure settings are accurate

    On the viewing screen, it looks something like ...



    in the above image, the camera is telling me that the exposure is +1EV overexposed, and leaving me to decide whether it's what I want or not - if not, then I need to fix it

    However, as [you seem to be] a beginner
    May I suggest that you make life a bit easier at this stage by running in Av mode with an ISO of 200 - till you have a better handle on things

    I suggest you experiment with apertures of f2.8-f5.6 for those pix where you want shallow Depth of Field, f8 for 'snaps' and f11-f22 for those pix where you want maximum DoF ... and leave the camera to obtain a shutter speed to balance the overall exposure

    Hope this helps a bit
    Regards, Phil
    Of all the stuff in a busy photographers kitbag, the ability to see photographically is the most important
    google me at Travelling School of Photography
    images.: flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/

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    One of the best aids to understanding how to get good exposures (which you are referring to above) is a book called "Understanding Exposure revised edition" by Bryan Peterson. (ISBN 0-8174-6300-3) Get yourself a copy, its the best $50 you will ever spend. I have read my copy many times and still learn little bits from it.
    IMHO it should be called the Photographers Bible.

    For learning to see creatively and learning how to compose good pictures I recommend another Bryan Peterson book called " Learning to see Creatively" (ISBN 0-8174-4181-6)

    I hope the above helps you.
    Cheers
    Darey

    Nikon user, Thick skinned and wanting to improve, genuine C & C welcomed.

    Photographs don't lie ! - Anonymous Liar

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    Member Maud's Avatar
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    Eloki, thank you for your question. I'm also a beginner and find all the answers very helpful and will try it myself. Thank you. Will also look out for the books by Bryan Peterson thank you Darey.

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    Great posts everybody and great information shared as well.

    Darey the "Understanding Exposure revised edition" by Bryan Peterson book you recommended is it the :
    "Understanding Exposure: How To Shoot Great Photographs With Any Camera" or the
    "Understanding Exposure: How To Shoot Great Photographs With A Film Or Digital Camera"
    both books are by Bryan Peterson. l take it's the first title, since second says film?
    Example site > HERE

    cheers

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    Robert,
    Its the "Understanding Exposure: How To Shoot Great Photographs With A Film Or Digital Camera" copy.
    Happy reading.

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    Actually answered my own question haha ... it is the "Understanding Exposure: How To Shoot Great Photographs With Any Camera" which is the 3rd edition. the bookstore computer says it was released 15th Oct 2010. Yesterday! haha, but think its been around for a few monthes.
    found out the other book is from 2004. so quite out dated in this digital age now.


    Now to find a cheap book store in melbourne to pick it up from
    Last edited by PerfectPicture; 16-10-2010 at 7:15pm.

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    The "Book" is just a new release, the "information in it" is never out of date.

  12. #12
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    eloki's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses everyone, I'm reading the book now, and it's really helpful!

    Thanks Phil for the EV meter advice, it helped more than a bit.
    Last edited by eloki; 06-11-2010 at 2:57pm.

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