Introduction and CC, please!

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JDBabyHopes's picture
Joined: 02/16/09
Posts: 1149
Introduction and CC, please!

Hi there! :wavehello: My name is Jen and I'm totally new here! I've been lurking on and off for several months, but never had anything to post! Well, my DH surprised me with a Canon Rebel XT yesterday, so I finally have some things to start out with! I am a COMPLETE newbie and have only had this thing in my hands for less than 24 hours at this point. After reading a few "how to" blogs and whatnot, I decided to put myself out there and try some manual pictures with my DS today.

Anyhow, here are a few that I got today. I apologize, but I don't know the exact specifics on all the pictures (I took over 300 shots today and didn't jot down the info on the ones I'm posting), but they're all roughly the same:

ISO 100
SS 1/200 (I think some may be 400)
f 5.6

I'm being brave and letting you guys CC my very first try at some manual shots in my entire life. I can't WAIT to hear what suggestions you all might have and learn everything to take better pictures of my son! Smile

Sorry if these are too big?






JDBabyHopes's picture
Joined: 02/16/09
Posts: 1149

I wanted to add that I don't have any editing software uploaded as of yet. So these are... as is, I guess? Untouched.

Thanks again!

ButtonsMama's picture
Joined: 12/05/05
Posts: 283

Hi! I know how exciting it is to get your first DSLR! I just got mine in late June. So, I'm a total newb too, but here's my thoughts, for what they're worth.

1. This is a really great shot - those blue eyes really pop

2. looks a little underexposed and the straps on the hat are distracting. I've found that pics of your kiddos look better if you're on the same level as they are - this one looks like you're a little high, if you know what I mean

3. Doesn't do much for me - maybe it's the slant the pic was taken on. There's also a lack of light in the eyes. I'd move him about 90 degrees to his right - the light should be at a 45 degree angle from your subject, I think. Here, the light is behind him. Also, did your flash fire? It looks like it did.

4. Nice bokeh!

Great job in your first 24 hours! Where at in PA are you? I'm near Harrisburg.

JDBabyHopes's picture
Joined: 02/16/09
Posts: 1149

Hi Krista! Thank you so much for your comments!! I already learned something -- the 45 degree angle with lighting in that 3rd picture! Thanks! Biggrin I do think my flash went off in that one. I think that's one of the photos I played around with flash vs. no flash indoors just to see what the difference was. I definitely got a crisper shot with the flash, but that's probably just me being a complete noob with shutter speeds and apertures and the like. So do you mean I needed to turn him 90 degrees to his right? Or I needed to move 90 degrees to his right?

The rule is... faster shutter speed = crisper images with moving subjects (like my 5.5 month old :lol:), right? But then that makes my photos really dark, so I have to make my f/stop number higher, right? This is a completely watered down, brand-new-at-this version in my head. Wink I haven't played around with aperture too much yet. It kind of boggles me. I still have soooo much to learn. Thank you so much for your input! I truly appreciate it! I just want to become the best "mommy photog" I can be for my kids. Smile

I'm from the Harrisburg area, too, btw!

Joined: 10/20/07
Posts: 480

Yahoo for jumping in here to post!!! I got my DSLR for Christmas and didn't even go to manual mode till March, so you should be commended for being so brave. Your images doing pretty good for being sooc (straight out of camera).

#1 has a few blown spots (super bright without color) on his head,but a sweet face and gorgeous baby blues
#2 is a little under exposed (dark) and would be stronger with eye contact
#3 I adore his expression! When using window light, try to get the light on kiddo's face (so you don't need a flash) Also noticed the tilt of the image, which is an easy fix in post processing.
#4 Look at the bokeh here! Poor sad baby.

I hope you don't mind (this is private and I will take it down if you want me to) but I did a quick play to see what some post processing (PP) might do here... I am still learning PP as I go, but it might give you an idea...

Just some quick levels and curves in photoshop (looking at this now I should have masked out some of the red around his mouth)

and a simple black and white

connorsmum's picture
Joined: 11/29/02
Posts: 1160

Did you use a flash on the 1st shot? I see pinlights and the shadow under his chin is distracting. He's adorable though, lol!

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3423

Welcome aboard, Jen! And congrats on your new toy!!!!!

I am SO impressed that you did so well on your first try at manual! GOOD ON YOU!

1. GREAT COMPOSITION! The pin lights in his eyes are a little distracting, but I still like the shot. His left shoulder looks a little "hot", but as the focus is on the eyes, it doesn't bother me at all.

2. What a cutie! Nice use of shade here. I wish he was looking at us, but otherwise this is a great shot!

3. good use of natural light! Focus looks awesome here. If you have an editing program (like photoshop, elements, or paint shop pro), I think a portrait crop of this would be GREAT!

4. I love his expression here ... so sweet (yet sad). Focus looks like it fell on his hat though in this one.

Thanks SO MUCH for sharing! These are great and you have obviously hit the ground running w/ your new camera! I hope we see a lot more of you and Owen!


JDBabyHopes's picture
Joined: 02/16/09
Posts: 1149

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment on my photos! I truly appreciate it. Smile

Beth, that editing looks great! Thanks for showing me what some software can do for you! DH is going to put photoshop on my laptop for me soon, he just hasn't gotten around to it yet! I've never used it, though, so it's going to take a while to learn.

Kerry, yes I think I used the flash there. I was finding my shots looked better (on my LCD, at least) with the flash. But then when they were loaded onto the computer, you could see they looked a little TOO white. The second shot was without the flash, and I thought they looked dark? I think it was just me not knowing how to tweak my camera settings to get the right balance just yet. It's gorgeous out today, so I may take DS out to practice without the flash -- if he lets me. Wink

Gigi, thank you! Smile I'm so thrilled to finally have a camera to play around with. I have a Canon Powershot that we got when I was pregnant, but I've been dying for a DSLR since seeing Steph's photos of her DS (hi Steph! Lol on our BB. I never really pursued buying one, though, so this was a sweet surprise to finally have one!

And yes, I wish he would look at the camera, but he refuses!!! 99% of my shots are profiles or whatever. I'm hoping as he gets older he'll start to actually look at my camera. Wink

I do have a question regarding natural light indoors... Say you have your kid next to a window (like my #3 shot), do you want him parallel to the window light, or facing it?

Jeffininer's picture
Joined: 11/07/07
Posts: 1796


I think you've done amazing for your first go Smile

I don't have anything to add CC wise, I think the ladies have done a good job with covering some areas of improvement. But, I'd like to add some information about your settings. Just some quick views on SS, Aperture, and ISO:

High SS: Higher the shutter, the less light, but less blur
Lower SS: More light, but more chance for blur

(suggestion is to keep your SS above 125 or double the focal length of your lens)

High Aperture: The HIGHER the number, the Less light comes in, less bokeh (background blur)
Lower Aperture: The LOWER the number, the More light comes in, more bokeh, less plane of focus

High ISO: Higher ISO number will capture more light, but will cause noise, or grain, in the photo
Lower ISO: Low ISO number will capture less light, but will cause less noise.

I hope this has been a bit helpful. I know I was confused with the three settings when I first started. I'd lower one number thinking I was doing the right thing, when it actually caused the opposite effect. Good luck and can't wait to see more!!!

ButtonsMama's picture
Joined: 12/05/05
Posts: 283

Regarding light indoors, what I've found is, you don't want your subject looking directly at the light source, because it can cause them to squint. Also, if you happen to capture some catchlights, chances are, they'll be right on the pupil, which is not good.

You also don't want the light source directly behind your subject, because it will cause your subject to become silhouetted.

If your subject is at a 90 degree angle to the light source, it's better, but you'll still get shadowing on half the subject's face (the half that's away from the light).

It seems best to position your subject at a 45 degree angle from the light - so mostly facing it, but turned away enough that the subject won't squint and the catchlights fall on the iris part of the eyes.

We should get together sometime to play with our cameras!

JDBabyHopes's picture
Joined: 02/16/09
Posts: 1149

Jennifer, thank you so much for that brief overview on shutter speed, aperture and ISO! I'm printing it out to keep with my camera as a cheat sheet so I can remember until I get it all straightened out in my head! Lol

Krista, thanks for the lighting tips! Are catchlights the reflection (in their eyes) of the light hitting them? I took a few pics of DS the last few days by the back windows and there was a bright patch of sunlight on the floor that's reflected into his eyes. Is that what you mean by catchlight?

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Hi Jen! I think you're so brave for just jumping into Manual! I've had my camera for almost 2 years now, and have just started playing with manual this summer!

I love the comp in the first one. I think he's just the cutest thing here!

I've found that the easiest way for me to figure all this stuff out is to go outside and take photos instead of trying indoors. It's soooo hard for me to get enough light indoors to get a picture that's not underexposed. I think you'll learn more first starting out if you take it outside and practice more than indoors. Once you get an understanding of it, maybe try inside in front of a nice big window.

And yeah, the catchlights are the reflection of light in the eyes. Makes them bright and stand out more.

EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

Welcome. There is a great sticky tutorial posted on the forum. I highly recommend reading it. I still read it from time to time.

Not sure if this has been mentioned, but there is a free software called GIMP, similar to photoshop that you can download to edit your pictures.

JDBabyHopes's picture
Joined: 02/16/09
Posts: 1149

Thanks, Steph! I'll definitely be doing a lot more outside! It rained today, though, so I couldn't get out there with him. Boo! Hopefully over the weekend I can. But I feel like there is only so much I can do with him at this point since he's not walking yet, but hates to be lying down! Lol

Thanks, El! I actually downloaded Gimp last night! My DH is a computer geek and told me about it. So I downloaded but have NO idea how to use it. DH showed me a little, but I'm still clueless on 95% of the terms and stuff. I can make B&W's and that's about it at this point. I'll be reading up on that, too!