What can I do or could have done

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Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852
What can I do or could have done

to make this photo better?

I know the background isn't great but what can I do to improve future pics! I have just bought a new lens, Canon 70-200.

ISO 800
SS 1/125


AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

Your lighting is very flat. Looks like you've got them facing the lighting source directly on. It's best to get the light at a slight angle so that you have some flattering shadows to give more shape and interest to your subjects. Also, direct light puts the catchlights directly on the pupils instead of on the iris where it is much more interesting and attractive.

OH...and people don't realize how important focal length is to include in the info provided. 125 is a fine shutter speed at 70mm, but at 200mm, it is far too slow.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Ah ok thanks, yes they were directly facing the window, I'll have another go tomorrow with them facing different ways...

The focal length was 100mm.

ChubbieOwl's picture
Joined: 02/04/09
Posts: 191

I am waiting for Amber's response to this, but I believe that she once told me that the best shutter speed would be twice your focal length. So a shutter speed of 1/200 would have produced a better picture...is that right Amber?
Sorry, I am no pro, so I am learning too, hope you don't mind me jumping on your thread.
Also, looks like the kids were a little too close to the backdrop, if you were using a backdrop.
The girl's eyes are focused really well. I am hoping someone well have answer on how you could have gotten both sets of eyes in focus though, because I don't believe I know what would help that.
Thanks for sharing!

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I know, I have one in focus and one slightly out, I would love to know how to get them both sharp and in focus?

Thanks, any input helps no matter how experienced you are!

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3520

They look so sweet together!

My only suggestions were already picked up on above ... angle them to the light and move them away from the backdrop.

I'm a little surprised that at f/4 both sets of eyes are not in focus. Did your son maybe move? If so, then bumping up your shutter speed could fix the problem. Otherwise, I'd say to close your ap up a little more. Maybe f/4.5 would work.

I can't wait to see your re-shoot!


AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

Shutter speed really depends on many factors. I keep my shutter speed at least equal to my focal length. The closer I am to my subject, the more I bump that speed.

So, for a headshot, I shoot at just under 200mm and try to keep the shutter speed around 1/250. That's just where I've found I get the best resut. I can get lots of good pictures at 1/200...but I get almost no OOF images at 1/250.

To get both sets of eyes in focus, you need to close that aperture more. Depth of field is another thing that depends highly on how close you are to your subject and your focal length. Here, you were pretty close, so you need a higher f stop....if you were backed away about a yard or two, your aperture of 4.0 would have been fine.

You can see that his ears are perfectly in focus. The blur is absolutely not caused by motion, but depth of field. His ears are on the same focal plane as her eyes. Also...you should really focus on the closer subject because there is greater fall off in front of the focal point than behind...and we are used to seeing things in front in focus better than things behind.

Going to try to find an example so you can see what I mean.

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

focus examples. SOOC images...no sharpening added.

sharp focus on the front eye. back eye is oof, but the image looks in focus and acceptable.
Maria-550 example web

sharp focus on back eye, makes entire picture look oof:
Maria-548 example web

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Wow thanks, some really helpful information there!! I'll try your ideas tomorrow!

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

Awesome CC - thanks from all of us, Amber!

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

I just learned something new! Thanks Amber!

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

I have nothing to add here, but thanks to Amber for that great info!! Can't wait to see your re-try Smile