In response to Post Your Photography, how do you take a great photo
Oct 17, 2008 at 4:15 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5

helicopter34234

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I recently started in the hobby of digital photography and digital editing. I have a Canon Rebel Xti and an ok 17-85 mm Canon lens (not the kit lens) as well as a decent 50 mm prime. I do most of my editing in Photoshop and can do some of the more complicated actions like removing a background and altering it seperately from the foreground. I even started exploring HDR techniques with photomatix. I have read several books on photography technique and I think I really understand the fundamentals of taking a photograph (setting iso, aperture, shutter speed, achieving bokeh with low f#, how perspectives can change with a telephoto versus a wide angle, stuff like that). I think I am starting to know almost all there is to know about, lets call it, the science of taking a photograph (next I think I need to explore the art of taking a photograph). Now I am not saying that I don't already take some pretty decent pictures (which I do), I am just wondering if there is something I am missing in my technique and understanding which could allow me to achieve even better results. I know a large part of achieving a great photograph is the actual setup (deciding what to take a picture, from what angle/perspective, and being there to capture some interesting action), but this I am not worried about because I know I can pick this up with practice. I'm more concerned with fundamental limitation in my understanding and in my equiptment. So my question is what errors in technique can a semi experienced photographer do to prevent a photo from being excellent.

A secondary question would be, what features of your camera do you find useful or even essential to taking a great picture. I'm trying to understand how much cheaper equiptment can really limit the quality of your pictures. My rebel body sells for around $400 these days, what am I really paying for in a $1000 or even more expensive camera body. Yes, you usually get a few more megapixels, maybe a little higher bit depth in your pixels, possibly a slight decrease in pixel noise so you can use a higher iso, and some added features like more autofocus points etc. I'm not saying that these things don't help (they obviously do) but in perspective how much do they really help for the added price (its obviously similar to audio eqiptment with a large diminishing in your returns with price). Oh also you get a more sturdy build quality which helps for people take their camera everywhere but it isn't going affect your image quality (unless you break your camera and miss that once and a lifetime shot). My parents also had a Rebel Xti as well as top of the line Canon L series lenses and decided to upgrade to a Nikon 300D because the guy at the camera store said it had such a better autofocus and thats what everyone was using to photograph birds (which is what my parents mostly do). I thought they were crazy.

Also, I know that lens often limit image before the body can. Correct me if I'm wrong but aside from distortions in perspective (barrel distortion or when your buildings look like they are tapered or leaning) you can't really notice the aberrations of most medium priced lens unless you really zoom in (and often only if you compare images side by side with a better lens). I do notice a little chromatic aberration on my 17-85 mm when im closer to the 17 mm side of zoom and when there is high contrast in the image (purple fringing) but once agian only when you really zoom in. Oh, also with more expensive lens you usually have acess to lower f#'s which can be useful at times but not really essential in most cases for a great photo.

Basically what I am trying to say is that I know better equiptment exists and that there is a measurable difference in quality, what I am trying to grasp is the margin of difference in quality versus price.
 
Oct 17, 2008 at 5:45 AM Post #2 of 5

Towert7

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Best tips I can give:
Since you are using Digital, you may be more keen to just take multiple pictures and hope for the best.
I advise taking more time and composing the picture better.
As you say, developing an 'eye' for a picture is the key.

Aside from developing a photographic eye, the next two things are to: search for times when the lighting is as good as possible, and to capture things that let the viewer connect with the photo (capturing emotion).

In terms of equipment. Your parents were smart to get the D300. ^_^ I'm biased though.
Most lenses built within the past 20 years are pretty decent in terms of image quality, but for the most demanding person you certainly tell differences in image quality among lenses.

"what features of your camera do you find useful or even essential to taking a great picture?"
I love my custom WB setting in my camera. I photograph a grey/white card and the white balance is spot on for that lighting condition. It's so much better than going through a menu and playing with sliders or whatnot (what a waste of time!).
I wish my camera had a virtual horizon feature. I'd use it. I also wish my camera was Full frame (not a 1.5x crop sensor). Heck, I wish I had a nice little mamiya medium format digital, but I'm too poor for that.


Bottom line. Stop worrying about your equipment. You are by far the limiting factor in the photography you take. You'll know when you need a new piece of equipment for a more specialized purpose, so don't worry about that. Improve yourself. Develop a photographic eye, and start being more mindful of lighting situations and human emotions.
Oh, and I should also say that location is important. If nothing else, photography should give you a good reason to want to travel and see things.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 1:15 AM Post #3 of 5

helicopter34234

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What benefit do you get from full frame sensors. I mean other than the fact that you get the same angle of view as you would with 35 mm film. I guess because you have to go to even lower focal lengths to get a wide enough field of view. But then you don't have to go so high in focal length to get a nice telephoto view (lighter, cheaper).
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 4:16 AM Post #4 of 5

MD1032

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You need to visit this website:

KenRockwell.com

This guy has an awesome site. He will prove to you that a good photo is made by a photographer, not a camera. It sounds like you have the right equipment... now get out there and take some pictures!
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 10:41 PM Post #5 of 5

Towert7

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MD1032 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You need to visit this website:

KenRockwell.com

This guy has an awesome site. He will prove to you that a good photo is made by a photographer, not a camera. It sounds like you have the right equipment... now get out there and take some pictures!



x2, stop worrying about the equipment, even if you can afford the best.
 

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