Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 28

Thread: Best way to approach a group shot.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Stintopia
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    4,210

    Default Best way to approach a group shot.

    G'day everyone,

    I'm looking for some technical advice on the best way to approach a situation like the one I have here.

    As you can see, nothing seems to be in focus, and the subjects are just a wash of pale colours. What I would like to have achieved is an image where at least the first few rows of birds are more easily distinguishable from one another.

    Canon 400D, 70-300mm @ 300mm, ISO200, f/8, 1/500sec. Cropped approx 20%. Contrast, USM adjusted. Tripod. Taken approx 11:00am. Distance to subject approx 10-15 metres.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    12,866

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    You had a tripod so that makes a big difference. I would have bumped up the ISO to 400, set my camera to Aperture priority, stopped down as far as I could while still keeping a reasonable shutter speed (about 1/250th) and focused on the second or third closest bird.
    By doing this you may have been able to shoot at f22 which would have been pretty suitable for this flock. Looks like they were a bit over exposed too, if you're ever in doubt (and you have the time to do so) I would suggest bracketing your shot by 1/3 of a stop either side of your metered exposure.
    You'll normally find that one shot is better than the others. Also, have you used the DOF preview function on that camera? Sometimes a good tool to have.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Stintopia
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    4,210
    Thread Starter

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by wingsonwire
    You had a tripod so that makes a big difference. I would have bumped up the ISO to 400, set my camera to Aperture priority, stopped down as far as I could while still keeping a reasonable shutter speed (about 1/250th) and focused on the second or third closest bird.
    By doing this you may have been able to shoot at f22 which would have been pretty suitable for this flock. Looks like they were a bit over exposed too, if you're ever in doubt (and you have the time to do so) I would suggest bracketing your shot by 1/3 of a stop either side of your metered exposure.
    You'll normally find that one shot is better than the others. Also, have you used the DOF preview function on that camera? Sometimes a good tool to have.
    Thanks for the advice Paul. If I ever get a chance to do another shot with a flock like this again, I'll remember your suggestions.

    I'm not sure what you mean by, Looks like they were a bit over exposed too, if you're ever in doubt (and you have the time to do so) I would suggest bracketing your shot by 1/3 of a stop either side of your metered exposure. Do you mean to take one shot overexposed by a 1/3, and then another one underexposed by 1/3? Would that be to then have 3 shots of differing exposures and so hopefully one would turn out the better shot?

    I do have a DOF preview button, but the birds move so quickly I've never used it! I'll have to remember it next time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Proserpine, Queensland
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    4,668

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    Thanks for the advice Paul. If I ever get a chance to do another shot with a flock like this again, I'll remember your suggestions.

    I'm not sure what you mean by, Looks like they were a bit over exposed too, if you're ever in doubt (and you have the time to do so) I would suggest bracketing your shot by 1/3 of a stop either side of your metered exposure. Do you mean to take one shot overexposed by a 1/3, and then another one underexposed by 1/3? Would that be to then have 3 shots of differing exposures and so hopefully one would turn out the better shot?

    I do have a DOF preview button, but the birds move so quickly I've never used it! I'll have to remember it next time.

    I am not sure what functions are available on the 400D, but I know on my 50D there is an option for exposure bracketing. What this will do is take a number of consecutive photographs and depending what value you enter, say you entered 1/3, one photograph will be underexposed by 1/3 stop, one will be the normal exposure the camera determined and one will be 1/3 overexposed. That way, it enables you to pick the best photograph exposure-wise. I dont use this feature much, but it can be a valuable tool especially when you do not have the time to check exposure after each photograph. More advanced cameras will have even more bracketing options enabling more photographs to be taken at variable exposures.

    In other words, you dont have to manually change the exposure 1/3 under or over the metered exposure; exposure bracketing will do this for you automatically.
    Aust. Life List (IOC) - 315 (Rufous Owl- 11/09/2014)
    Dale Mengel Photography - a work in progress!
    Follow me on Facebook
    Check out my Birding Blog

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Stintopia
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    4,210
    Thread Starter

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    Thanks Dale, I'll check out the camera when I get home tonight.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    12,866

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    Yeah, have a look at your cameras manual. It may come under AEB or "auto exposure bracketing". I think your model should have this function.
    When turned on it will take one shot on either side of your metered exposure and you can adjust the amount that is bracketed from 1/3 of a stop right up to 2 full stops.
    So if you set it to 1/3 of a stop for example, and your metered shutter speed is 1/500th (this is just an example) then it will take three shots.
    One at your metered speed of 1/500th, one at -1/3 which would be 1/640th and one shot at +1/3 which would be 1/400th.
    Hope this helps mate.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Stintopia
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    4,210
    Thread Starter

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    Thanks Paul, I appreciate the advice. I'm not very skilled in the technical side of photography at all so every little bit helps.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    12,866

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    If you have'nt already, I would suggest flicking through your entire camera manual and taking note of features like this that may come in handy at some point in time. It has really helped me with tricky situations like the one you have posted here.
    I know its not the best read but you may come across something you did'nt know you're camera could do.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Weipa, Cape York.
    Image Reposts
    Please ask
    Posts
    214

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    Good thread guys. It's quesions like this that enhance my learning the most. Great technical advice.
    Canon SX10IS P&S, Always handheld and usually too far away!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    5,012

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    Nice thread, Mark. What appears to be a simple task of shooting a group of shorebirds is not always so easy. Would shooting in RAW remove the need to bracket your exposure ? Considering that the advice was to shoot -1/3, 0 and +1/3, couldn't you recover any over- / under-exposure with the exposure slider if you shot in RAW format ? I'm assuming that your camera can shoot RAW and that the exposure manipulation of the RAW file will not adversely affect the final image. Some of the pro's. may offer guidance on RAW exposure manipulation. Thanks for posting and starting the discussion.
    Cheers,

    George

    Life List : 481 (Southern Cassowary, Etty Bay, QLD, Oct., 2016)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Stintopia
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    4,210
    Thread Starter

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    G'day George,

    The shot was taken in RAW. I've had a play around with the exposure within RAW, but it didn't really make do what I wanted it to do.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    12,866

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    Shooting bracketed shots also has an effect on sharpness due to varying shutter speeds. You can also bracket with apertures so this will give you three different depths of field. Always best to get the right exposure "in camera" rather than adjusting the RAW image as well.
    I only really use bracketing when I am unsure of the best settings for the situation (but I'm pretty sure I'm in the right ballpark so to speak ) or when it is a once in a lifetime sort of shot and I want to take out insurance.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sydney
    Image Reposts
    Please ask
    Posts
    12,348

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    Great advice and help guys.
    I must admit i agree with you about the exposure George. You can easily recover 1/3 stop in raw conversion. If you are really unsure of your exposure and how your camera is metering you would be better off bracketing in full stops (ie +1, 0, -1). Doing this will show you quite clearly which way to go and help you to understand what your camera is doing. As Paul said this will also change the shutter speed or aperture so watch out if you are already on a slow shutter speed.
    Sorry to point this out again Mark but i think alot of the problem with the image is your lens. This is why nothing really looks sharp. Unless you really stop down to f22 (as Paul suggested) you are better off focusing on the nearest/most dominant bird so that at least the first thing you look at is sharp.
    (I would think that the exposure could be fixed in the above image fairly easily.)
    Is your intention to try to get all the birds in focus Mark? If so then the smaller the aperture you use the greater the depth of field (eg f22)
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

    Aus Life List IOC= 688 - Carpentarian Grasswren
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Helensburgh
    Image Reposts
    Please ask
    Posts
    4,836

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    I'd say your biggest problem here is the light, looks pretty close to overhead and then ther's the distance to subject, was it a hot day? To get that many birds at 300mm I'd guess you were shooting across a fair bit of ground with potential for heat haze to distort things. I've seen a few people posting saying that even lenses such as 500mm f4's struggle when shooting at long distances.

    Under exposing a bit would help and I agree with Dave 1/3 stop shift in Raw shouldn't be an issue, maybe try moving the blacks up in combination with a slight exposure reduction. Having said that tweaking the exposure doesn't seem likely to rescue this particular shot. I'd say you'd have a better shot at getting it look nice in nice warm sunset/sunrise light.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Stintopia
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    4,210
    Thread Starter

    Default Re: Best way to approach a group shot.

    Thanks guys,

    David, I knew I couldn't get all the birds in focus, but what I was trying to do was to at least get the first couple rows of birds in focus, and hoping they would be a bit more distinct from one another.
    And I'm sure you're right, the lense plays a big part in the frustrating softness I'm always experiencing.

    Chris, I'll have another look at it tonight and see if I can't improve on it a little as you've suggested.

Similar Threads

  1. One approach to macro flash.
    By Trevor Murray in forum Techniques and Educational
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-01-2012, 06:44 PM

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •