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Old 03-25-2012, 06:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Can someone tell me what is wrong with my pictures?

Link to Album

This album is comprised of a bunch of pictures I took today on an outing with the car club I'm involved in.

Equipment Used:
- Canon Rebel XSi
- Canon EFS 18-55mm kit lens w/ IS and AF
- Quantaray Polarized Filter
- Generic Lens Hood

Conditions:
- Overcast all day; no periods of sunlight
- Was using "Auto" (was lazy / don't have much time to setup a shot as we constantly stop & go)
- No tripod / all free-handling

Problems:
- A bunch of shots came out not in focus at all
- A really lacking depth-of-field on most shots where I would've preferred more
- General fuzziness

Anyways, none of the shots I took today really came out the way I was hoping. I already screened the photos before I hosted them and tossed the worst ones of the bunch.

Normally I would just attribute the troubles I had with focus today as being because of the combination of a polarized filter (a crappy brand one, at that) and low light conditions. However, I was really unhappy with the depth-of-field of a bunch of the shots (seemed to be extremely limited).

I ask because I plan on going on similar outings multiple times per year as well as car shows / etc, and really need to be able to nail these types of shots. However, I'm merely doing this as a hobby a time or two every month and don't want to spend hundreds on hundreds of dollars for new glass, etc. I'm looking for the best possible results on a fair budget. Also, please keep in mind that I'm fairly a photo noob and while I have taken lots of pictures and took a couple classes on photography, I'd say I'm far from being any sort of photo hobbyist. I don't know the first thing about what lenses create what effects, how I should and shouldn't be setting up for these shots, etc.

Any help or direction that you guys could offer would be outstanding, and I appreciate any of it. Thanks a lot for your time!
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm still very much a beginner, so I can't really offer all that much help, but one thing I did notice is that a lot of them seem to have a slight tilt to the right. A problem I've been working with on my own photos whenever I get the chance to play with a camera.

Personally I find that you either have to use an exaggerated tilt that looks like a clear and deliberate effect, or have it look spot on. Being off just a little has always just made photos feel odd to me. (Even if the camera is actually perfectly level, having things like wind blown trees, or a leaning post on a slight slope can give the visual effect of it.)
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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you can probably attribute most of your out of focus and fuzzy shots to the kit lens...
when you say a lacking DOF do you mean not enough is in focus or too much? if youre shooting in auto, the camera usually doesnt shoot with a very small aperture.

you could probably fix most of your problems by shooting in aperture priority mode and getting a decent polarizer (havent had problems with my best buy brand one...).

also, make sure you are shooting the largest file size. the shots on photobucket are REALLY small.

theres a REALLY great lens you can pick up used for between 50 and 100 off ebay/craigslist that would also be a very good investment.
heres a link for it from canons website: 50mm f/1.8 II
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Luckless View Post
I'm still very much a beginner, so I can't really offer all that much help, but one thing I did notice is that a lot of them seem to have a slight tilt to the right. A problem I've been working with on my own photos whenever I get the chance to play with a camera.
I see what you're pointing out. It's something I've been trying to pay more attention to on my shots with horizontal linear elements (such as the shots with the cars parked alongside the road, and the one where the cars are facing head-on). With the other pictures its more difficult though as that is really the natural composition (such as the pictures with the front ends of the cars, or the ones with the cars parked) for the cars to fall off going diagonally. I'll play around with different compositions though and see what else I can find.

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Originally Posted by 77monteballer View Post
when you say a lacking DOF do you mean not enough is in focus or too much? if youre shooting in auto, the camera usually doesnt shoot with a very small aperture.
I would've liked more in focus on some of the shots. On the original pictures, you notice it more; but on some of the long shots with multiple cars it'd be nice to have more of them in better focus.[quote]

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Originally Posted by 77monteballer View Post
you could probably fix most of your problems by shooting in aperture priority mode and getting a decent polarizer (havent had problems with my best buy brand one...).
Roger. I've keep meaning to get a different polarizer but I never get around to it. After today might be the day

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Originally Posted by 77monteballer View Post
also, make sure you are shooting the largest file size. the shots on photobucket are REALLY small.
My mistake on that; Photobucket's default settings suck and I haven't taken the time to figure it out until now. I also realized that it won't let me retain original sizing unless I upgrade to their paid "Pro" subscription. Are there any recommendations for a different hosting site from anyone? I will mention that an important feature for me is being able to host password-protected albums with things that just anyone shouldn't be able to see

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Originally Posted by 77monteballer View Post
theres a REALLY great lens you can pick up used for between 50 and 100 off ebay/craigslist that would also be a very good investment.
heres a link for it from canons website: 50mm f/1.8 II
Seems promising; what about it is so great if you wouldn't mind explaining more?

And oh hey, nice Monte

Thanks for the responses
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Being "lazy" as you term it. Hence the results.

Your letting the camera decide the settings for you and it doesn't know what you want.
You don't need a polarizing filter on an overcast day ...
Take your time, learning curve is a little steep.
The camera equipment is only as good as the one using it. No need to upgrade(yet ).
Enjoy! That's why you took up photography is you feel good doing it, otherwise it's not worth doing it at all.

Do some research about exposure(Blogs, youtube, forums etc.).
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Good light and good location are key. No amount of gear can overcome that. Better lighting and clean backgrounds would make such a huge difference here that talking about anything else is almost a waste of time.

Still, you can achieve better subject isolation by getting closer, using longer focal lengths, and/or using larger apertures (Smaller f-numbers). Remember, you're not lacking depth of field, you have too much of it. Subject isolation utilizes small depth of field.

Shots with people mulling around aren't going to work. Get them out of the way or don't get the shot.

Detail shots can be a great way to salvage otherwise crappy conditions. Rims, badges, lights, etc.

If it were me, I'd see if the two Subarus would be down for a shoot at a better location after the meet.
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Mike Deep View Post
Good light and good location are key. No amount of gear can overcome that. Better lighting and clean backgrounds would make such a huge difference here that talking about anything else is almost a waste of time.
This is by far the most important thing to remember. A health human eye, nervous system, and brain will do a better job interpreting light and objects compared to the vast majority of cameras out there. Because of this your going to need more, cleaner light.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by addbot View Post
Being "lazy" as you term it. Hence the results.

Your letting the camera decide the settings for you and it doesn't know what you want.
Makes sense, and I hate admitting when I use Auto. I'm not going to try to justify it; but I will say that it has given me fair to good results before in similar situations. Time to move on for me though, apparently.


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Originally Posted by addbot View Post
You don't need a polarizing filter on an overcast day ...
Also, makes sense. I guess I figured I would try it since it makes things look so good in decent lighting conditions; didn't work out this time


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Originally Posted by addbot View Post
Take your time, learning curve is a little steep.
The camera equipment is only as good as the one using it. No need to upgrade(yet ).
Enjoy! That's why you took up photography is you feel good doing it, otherwise it's not worth doing it at all.

Do some research about exposure(Blogs, youtube, forums etc.).
I hear you. Its been a while since I was really into it with the classes I took and whatnot; so I should probably brush up on everything and take a step back and enjoy it more.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Deep View Post
Good light and good location are key. No amount of gear can overcome that. Better lighting and clean backgrounds would make such a huge difference here that talking about anything else is almost a waste of time.

Still, you can achieve better subject isolation by getting closer, using longer focal lengths, and/or using larger apertures (Smaller f-numbers). Remember, you're not lacking depth of field, you have too much of it. Subject isolation utilizes small depth of field.

Shots with people mulling around aren't going to work. Get them out of the way or don't get the shot.

Detail shots can be a great way to salvage otherwise crappy conditions. Rims, badges, lights, etc.

If it were me, I'd see if the two Subarus would be down for a shoot at a better location after the meet.
I should clarify; the main purpose of the shots I took was just as much to document the event as the cars in it. We like to remember the places we go and the people we see just as much, if not more, than the cars involved. Hence why I didn't worry too much about the people being in the shot. I understand this comes across cluttered and "ruining the shot" to someone not familiar with the club, but its fun to be able to point out which shots were taken at a member's house, which were taken where we had lunch, who was in the picture, etc.

The club was going to drive out no matter what the light conditions were as their point was to drive, not have pictures of their cars taken; so I'm going to have to figure out better ways to deal with low light and get better pictures in such situations.

I also wasn't overly concerned with subject isolation, because again, it was just as much about documenting the event as the cars involved. While I know what you're saying and traditionally that is the best shot for a typical car photo, it wasn't necessarily what I was looking for. It is something that I will play with more in order to get a few more of those mixed in though, especially on the shots that are supposed to be car oriented. If you would suggest otherwise even given my focus, let me know. Not trying to be abrasive and I'm afraid that the above comes off as such, but I'm just trying to be as clear as possible.

I think one of the ones you're specifically referring to is the one with the black Mustang and everyone around it; and that one in particular I like because they had just brought it back after buying it and everyone was enjoying how 80's awesome it was



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I'll look into it; thanks!


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This is by far the most important thing to remember. A health human eye, nervous system, and brain will do a better job interpreting light and objects compared to the vast majority of cameras out there. Because of this your going to need more, cleaner light.
Again, makes sense, but I have no control of the lighting conditions when getting pictures is merely a secondary objective of the event. I need better light for better pictures and I realize that, but I also need to find ways to cope with low light when I have no control of it in situations like this.


Again, thanks for the responses everyone!
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:45 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Also, if you guys want a better idea of what else I've taken:

Link - Car show; more car-focused shots but also unable to control the crowd into going where I wanted. Good lighting conditions; same equipment as above.

Link - Same type of event as OP, but it was when I first joined up so I was more skiddish about getting up close and personal with strangers' cars, etc so the compositions suck. Also, better lighting conditions than above and same equipment.
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