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Photography Question 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
 

I am going CRAZY!!!...please help


I cannot for the life of me figure this out!! Ok, I can expose and compose...why the @*$! can I not FOCUS?! So many times things are spot on, especially in the studio. But bring me outside and put more than one person in the photo and it goes to crap! This has mostly happened since I upgraded from the 17-85mm f/4-5.6 to the 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens. Go figure. OK, I am using a tripod, using the center focus point (20D) and focusing on the eye of one of the people in the group, holding the shutter halfway down, I recompose slightly and shoot. I am using anywhere from f/8 to f/11 and the exposure comes out fabulously. But why oh why are the faces slightly soft? I just want to cry b/c two of the bigger families here locally are having me do their x-mas cards and I just finished the first and the second is tomorrow. Any thoughts, if it would help, I will post some of the pics....
thanks to anyone that can help me solve this.

Lisa


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11/24/2005 8:09:29 AM

 
Connie J. Bagot
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/6/2005
  Lisa, I don't know what the problem is (unless maybe your focus mode has accidentally been set to servo) but I feel for you. Something to try: focus the camera (on a face or an eye) and then while still holding the focus button down flip the lever on the lens from auto to manual. This works well for me on macro shots where the focus is critical---just might be a pain in the keester (switching the focus back and forth from auto to manual to auto if you need to refocus) if your subjects are moving around very much.


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11/24/2005 8:37:17 AM

 
Craig  Paulsen   what your shutter speed?


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11/24/2005 8:41:02 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  The shutter speed on these were anywhere from 1/30 to 1/60 and on a tripod. I was afraid to go any higher than an ISO of 400...Also, here is my other beef that is going to make me sick too...Ok, inside I am using the lightsphere II on my 580EX and pointing upward to bounce off ceiling. Lighting is so beautiful. But I couldn't get it to work with aperture priority b/c the shutter was so slow even when the flash was on....so I force a shutter speed of 1/80 or 1/100 and it went to f/2.8!!!!!!!! I think I want to scream...ok, I will calm down a bit...
would you mind looking at my images, I will upload a couple to my gallery, they will be the first ones, and let me know if you think they will be happy.thank you.


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11/24/2005 9:56:41 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Ok, so I posted more than just a couple....please tell me if you think they will like these and if not what I should do...thanks


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11/24/2005 10:08:02 AM

 
Craig  Paulsen   Buy yourself a 50mm (prime lens) and you will get tac sharp photos. I always focus on the furthest person foward. The lens has a hard time focusing on people because we don't have sharp lines. So don't focus on the eyes, focus on the eyebrow. Tape measure the distance or have an assistant hold up a book with big letter and lock the focus. Bracket the shot, because the light spilling around can throw focus off a little


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11/24/2005 10:16:08 AM

 
Craig  Paulsen   B&W hides an out of focus shot a little, vignette to draw attention to the middle and sharpen a tad


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11/24/2005 10:18:27 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Craig, are they bad enough to tell them and just say that they aren't good? I don't know what to do.


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11/24/2005 10:22:10 AM

 
Craig  Paulsen   no way


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11/24/2005 10:44:49 AM

 
Craig  Paulsen   just tell them that the lighting outside wasn't optimal and you'd like to do some more photos.


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11/24/2005 10:49:00 AM

 
Craig  Paulsen   remember what you see on the screen isn't exactly what prints. Print a few and then we will discuss this further. Now go get some turkey and relax( don't dwell)


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11/24/2005 10:51:21 AM

 
Daniel Diaz
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2005
  Lisa, try this, choose manual mode, use a Shutter Speed of 125, Aperature of F7-F9, use your flash the same way as above. Now in PS use these settings for Unsharpmask
Amount 500%, Radius .04, and Threshold at between 0-50. This should do the trick for you.


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11/24/2005 11:50:51 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  500% ?
Seems better to just get it in focus.


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11/24/2005 1:28:06 PM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Hi Gregory....I see your point, but again, this seems to be my pitfall outside in groups and it seems to happen more now with my new lens. I swear I think I have tried it all....but then again....

Thanks to all the tips...I am trying my best not to dwell....but I have more to shoot in the a.m. and I am nervous for those!!!!!


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11/24/2005 1:37:26 PM

 
Daniel Diaz
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2005
  LOL Gregory, It is an aggressive form of sharpning and you have to be careful with it but I learned it from a pro and it works. Lisa Relax and just practice on your family members tonight, you'll be fine.


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11/24/2005 1:41:07 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Mostly a tree picture with a family in the middle in that first picture. Is it soft because of out of focus, or soft because of a small image?


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11/24/2005 1:42:11 PM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  Lisa. . . I have heard many people comment about the softness of their digital images. . . Mine also tend to be soft despite using a 50mm lens and having the focus locked. Especially with groups. .. they all seem a bit softer than I want them to be. Have you done any sharpening at all to these. . .if not I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. .. I think you could even start at say 100% and radius 3.0 and threshold 2 and start there.. . the 500% as mentioned above might be what it takes .. . but don't give up because I really don't think they are as bad as you are making them sound. ..


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11/24/2005 1:45:29 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  A pro what? That word gets thrown around like adding technician to every title. It still seems like a cover up to what you didn't get at first.


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11/24/2005 1:52:49 PM

 
Daniel Diaz
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2005
  Not true Gregory, you can't make an OOF shot in focus, I'm sure you know this.

Lisa, I know what your problem is, I tested some of your pictures out and it's your post processing, send me an e-mail and I'll show you what I did and teach you how to fix it.


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11/24/2005 1:59:57 PM

 
Pat Wimpee   Hey Daniel, Would you mind posting the answer here? I'm sure there are several of us that would love to know the answer to this??


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11/24/2005 8:00:23 PM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Ok, I have posted several re-fixed photos....do these look better? They are the first ones in the gallery..


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11/24/2005 8:02:54 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Already know out of focus still looks out of focus with sharpening. But if you need 500%, then there's something that needs to be done better.
You need some sharpening because of that noire or moire, but in the 100s or 200s. For slightly blurred I wouldn't see doing 500%. Unless you'd have threshold so high that it's the same as keeping it in the 100s.
To combat the slight fuzz from putting on the site, I still only use the 200s.


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11/25/2005 12:58:29 AM

 
Daniel Diaz
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2005
  I to was a non-believer like you Gregory until I tried it out and was floored by the results. Remember the 500% is offset by the .4 radius. Threshold is determined by the initial quality of the shot. What I do alot of times is actually have Threshold set to 0, then I go to Edit-fade unsharpmask and bring it to around 60-70% Try it out I think you'll be impressed.

Pat just try out the above settings I mentioned and e-mail me if you have any questions.


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11/25/2005 4:35:35 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Fading unsharp mask by 70%, as it sounds with all the other things, looks like you're back at unsharp in the 100s.


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11/25/2005 12:48:35 PM

 
Daniel Diaz
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2005
  This is true Gregory, but your edges and outlines are a tad sharper due to the 500%. the only drawback is that you can introduce noise into your image, this is where Neat Image comes into play,LOL!!


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11/25/2005 2:04:15 PM

 
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