3 cheers for professionals!

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by christian_stahl, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. 3 cheers for professional photographers!

    As a musician, I'm eager to have a lot of photos for PR uses - pictures of my projects, for the media, or for showing people where we're
    playing, for CD covers, publications about the instruments we play, etc. - so I got a Nikon D40x (with the kit lens) using it in a
    "point-and-
    shoot"-way for picture of/after concerts, the location, and so on (as can be seen here:
    http://web.mac.com/stahlchristian/Duo_La_Vigna/Blog/Blog.html)

    Comparing it to pictures of colleges from Danmark, who had a shooting with a professional, I was shoked at the difference in quality! See
    for yourselves: http://gallery.mac.com/stahlchristian#100152&view=mosaic&bgcolor=black&sel=3 (The "der Weinberg" picture was taken
    with an old analog SLR; "Duo al dente" are the professional's, but do I really have to tell ...)

    (We have a lot of photographers taking pictures for newpapers at concerts/events, so - just to make clear I'm not making professionals
    poor, and I really appreciate their work, but can't afford to have as many pictures taken as I want). I got the Nikon instead of the used
    Hasselblad I favored, because of the 500 タ less in price and the "point-and-shoot" capacity of the Nikon.

    My question: How can I considerably increase the Nikon's image quality?

    I am shooting RAW, using Capture NX 2 for conversion. I shoot the "no black", "Duo La Vigna", "Bitte Lächeln" pics with ISO 800. I have
    learned meanwhile to use automatic ISO and use exporsure compensation to make the picture lighter.
    I was quite surprised at the professional (Anders Bach) using a slow shutter (1/6;1/15) with aperture f/9.0 and with ISO 200 and focal length
    93/98 (obviously a zoom); camera being a Canon EOS-1DS.

    I know a D40 is not an EOS, but just to get that fuzziness out of my pictures and move a little closer to better pictures would be "really
    cool" - suggestions welcome!
     
  2. 1. Lots of practice

    2. Learn all you can about lighting and composition.

    3. Lots more practice

    The D40 is capable of exceptional image quality. Your shot would not have looked any different had you shot
    with a D3 (with a flash) using the same technique.
     
  3. In those pics, the most important aspect to improve is the light. There is a lighting article on this site and several on the net that you can read, plus you can take a look at books and magazines. Try to make the light softer and accentuate the right features. The second thing is to be more careful with composing with regards to the background; make sure that the background is in harmony with the picture.
     
  4. You probably really want to take Elliot's #1,#2 and #3 serious. I looked at your photos and they are not bad. But with
    better light they would be quite good. Think a little more about composition and you you would get much much better
    results.

    OK, let me be frank here about your photos. I am not an "expert", so take this or leave this as you wish.

    Look at the "Duo al Dente" photos. The lighting is nice and even and has a soft character to it. You see no hard
    shadows. The people in both those photos have an interesting pose and relation to each other. The result is a very nice
    photo.

    For the "No Black", you are having a very harsh light from the left, probably a direct on camera flash. It makes for the
    least flattering of light sources. The pose is fine, but not quite as interesting. The "duo la Vigna" has better light and
    somewhat better composition, though I think I would have composed differently. However, the photo misses the clarity
    that you are looking for? Again, I think it is light. Some better light would have made a lot of difference.

    Hope this helps. Seems you are making some very nice music. Too bad there is no audio!
     
  5. the biggest factor IMO is probably patience. pros will take as much time as they need to get 'the shot' which
    includes fussing with lighting rigs, odd angles, and different perspectives, to lend an air of composition to the final
    product rather than a snapshot mentality. non-pros seem to be in a hurry to get the damn thing over with. just
    thinking about photography a bit differently could have a huge difference (in addition to practice and learning more
    technique!)

    IMO the biggest difference between your shot (duo la vigna) and the duo al dente 2 shot is the latter has a much
    more pronounced sense of composition. in the first shot, the musicians are looking at each other against a boring
    white background. in the latter, the background is more interesting and has more depth, and the combination of
    looking directly at the viewer and side profile is a nice touch.

    i'd also consider upgrading from the kit lens to something with a constant (i.e. 2.8) aperture, which will allow you to
    throw backgrounds out of focus with the foreground subject staying sharp. an old trick, but it works.

    d40x is a great learning camera, but you can't get pro results with a P&S mentality. learn to shoot in other modes,
    especially aperture priority, which gives you depth-of-field control.

    good luck!
     
  6. Any DSLR will make decent photos. My D40 makes images that knock my socks off and I really see no difference to them and my
    D200.

    Photography is all about lighting and knowing how the pic will come out before you push the button,. not cameras and lenses.
    You can not buy a machine that thinks for you. That`s why you pay a pro or learn everything about photography.
     
  7. "I have learned meanwhile to use automatic ISO..."

    IMHO, I would try to use the lowest ISO that you reasonably can. You will have less noise and better color.

    You say you want to get the fuzziness out. It's difficult for me to see the quality of the photo. But I'm guessing that if you think your photos are fuzzy, they're either not focused properly (you should be focuing on your subjects' eyes), or since your're shooting RAW and converting in NX 2, you're not using sharpening to your best advantage. What I might suggest is to set your camera's sharpening to "normal," shoot a some JPEG and RAW, then compare your final picture to what the JPEG looks like. Try to match what the JPEG looks like in regard to sharpening.

    The histogram is your friend. Learn how to use it to your advantage.

    I think shooting RAW is the right approach, and NX 2 gives great results, IMO.
     
  8. Wow, thanks for all your answers!
    (I hoped you'd just tell me what lens to buy and that's it ;-)
    I really appreciate all your input. Posing/composition + light seem to be no.1
    The fuzzyness refers to the originals (which can be downloaded)
    Also there's a sound file here:
    http://web.mac.com/stahlchristian/Duo_La_Vigna/Klangbeispiele/Klangbeispiele_files/Allegro.mp3
     

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