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04/09/2011 - 3:35 PM

Sail and Rescue

Sail and RescueWelcome to EPZ Brian.

This is a nicely exposed shot, and a good example of what a small compact can do in good light. The whites are handled well, the horizon is straight, the cruise ship impressive beside the lifeboat.

A few points that may improve it. The composition has too much sea at the bottom, - and with those interesting clouds, it might have been better to raise to camera to include more sky that sea, - however, as in the mod, it can be cropped to place the horizon closer to a third, and make a very nice panoramic format shot that enhances the length of the ship. Theres a little hint of a blue tint which can be removed making the whites more white, - this is likely due to how auto wgite balance worked in the camera.

I dont know how proficient you are with Photoshop or other, and if you have some familiarity with PS the hue is not difficult to remove. Depending on which version you have, the method vary, so if you can add some information on this it would be appreciated.

I hope you find this helpful,


03/09/2011 - 3:45 PM

Ladybird on daisy

Ladybird on daisyWhat do you think is wrong with the image?

Looking closely at the image I downloaded, I can speculate that you focused on the front of the flower. Did you use auto or manual focus? Manual would be the best approach using a tripod for this type of shot.

Using f/14 would give a decent depth of field, - assuming you are 10 feet from the flower, its 0.45 ft., with 0.22 ft in front, and 0.23 ft behind. If you are closer, say 6 feet. its a lot smaller, only 0.16ft. with .08ft in front and behind. So using this focal length, the distance from the subject is critical. How far were you from the subject? Your dof appears shallow to me. Read this link: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

Another thing to consider, - may not have been much of a factor here, but sharpness falls off at apertures lower that about f/11 especially on zoom lenses.

Apart from that: the whites of the petals are overexposed quite a bit, while the insect is a little underexposed. You manually exposed, - how did you calculate the exposure? You also used the built in flash, (not a bad thing) - and if you have the opportunity for this shot again, try natural light, close to a window, - it will likely work out better.

The colours appear over saturated to me, and theres the flash reflection on the shell, and if both are addressed, it can perhaps look more as you planned?

The position of the insect, - I know this is picky, would have been better in the flower centre without the head buried in the petals, - but not a lot you could do about it.

However, overall its not a bad shot. You may be comparing this to shots taken with macro lenses, which can give better results, and those shot in natural light, which can also look better. So have a read, and let me know if anything Im rambling on about makes sense, or is at all helpful. And most importantly, what do you dislike about the shot?

Loaded a mod with a crop, toned down whites in petals, reduced saturation, sharpened.


02/09/2011 - 9:44 PM

Hello again Kitty !

Hello again Kitty !A closer and tilted crop of the last shot is a good idea. Its still a little underexposed, and a small amount of cloning would remove the remnants of the blue tag,


01/09/2011 - 11:33 PM

I want to be out there

I want to be out therePartial was the right choice, however its important to make sure you have more window in the frame than child when metering, - what this is doing in effect is forcing the camera to select an exposre more suitable to the light than the dark. THis gives the most dramatic effect.

31/08/2011 - 11:55 PM

Green veined White

Green veined WhiteIts a nice shot, however I think the scales on the white wings have reflected a lot of light, resulting in a slight overexposure.

In CS 4 its easily sorted by using the highlight tool to reduce highlights, as in the mod. If you dont have CS, you can use a layer multiply to darken the wings, adjust opacity to where it looks good, and ten use a layer mask to apply the correction to the wings only, ans the rest is exposed well.

Hope this helps


31/08/2011 - 11:12 PM

I want to be out there

I want to be out thereA question and a suggestion.

Question, - does your camera have the ability to spot meter? If so, use it to meter off the brightest part of the face. You used partial, and I would suggest you should have made sure that partial included more window that shadow.

If not, - set the camera at its lowest ISO, set the aperture you want, point it straight at the face which is facing the light ONLY, - even if you need to move in close. Read what the meter says the shutter speed should be.

Then set the cam to manual mode, input these settings, focus on the area of the face thats lightest, as youve done, and take the shot. You will likely get a fairly dark shot, with the front of the face exposed reasonably well.

If you find that the shot looks too underexposed, then increase the ISO in steps, leaving the settings as they were, until it looks right. You may well find you can get away with a lower ISO.

So in a nutshell, start with ISO 100 and meter for the window, then take multiple shots, increasing ISO as you go.

And now for the shot, - I dont see a whole lot wrong, but I will load a mod or two with comments in the mods. Miptogs mod is very good also.

31/08/2011 - 10:43 PM

El Ultimo

El UltimoPotentially a great shot Joseph.

Looking at the shot settings, - your shutter speed is too slow for the focal length, and cause some movement blur, making the subject appear soft. This speed can only work well with a solid support, - and you havent mentioned using one.

The subject is great, and the mono is a good choice.

Looking at the image, - I see that the hat and space above it takes up 50% of the shot, while the person occupies the remainder. Its a lot better if the person occupies most of the space, and sacrifice some of the hat.

The hat is shading the face so its a little underexposed, and also quite soft, perhaps due to the shutter speed, - or loos of sharpness due to re sizing.

Ive loaded mods which contains a very tight crop, both from the top, and from the right, to place his eye on a third; Ive brightened the face only, sharpened, and added some contrast. Mod2, is the same shot flipped horizontally, with a small amount of sepia toning applied. I hope that this illustrates how the crop now makes the mans face the main feature and focus, rather than sharing the stage with the hat,


30/08/2011 - 3:51 PM

Old Vases

Old VasesLots of great advice Louise.

Apart from reflections, celery, you mentioned you filled in the sides by painting black.

In the suggestions above are ways to get this done better, and Cathr's mod is an excellent example.

So my only contribution here is to walk through the process for adding the same colour to the edges as you have inside the light box.

First, you chose to use black to paint in, and as you can see from the image, the areas painted are very obvious. The goals to is make the painted in areas invisible, - the same as the rest of the background.

Lets first look at painting in. Why did you chose black, when the background is more of a blue-grey rather than blacK? Does the background appear blck to you on your monitor? If the answer is yes, the your monitor needs to be calibrated, as the brightness is too low, - contrast and colour may be off too. So start there.

Staying with painting, and now assuming the background did not look black, the general approach is to use the colour sampler tool sample the background colour, which now becomes the colour you will paint with. This will be closer than your method of selecting black. However, you will run into problems with this also, as there are variations in the tonal range of the background colour that painting in will not catch, - and it will again appear obvious.

So, a better approach, as suggested above, is to make the background as close to black as possible by reducing exposure; this is further supported by the evidence with the celery that its overexposed anyway. This will then allow you to use black to paint in in a way its not noticeable, and not only is the background black,. but the gradation in shade have disappeared, - its all black. There are two methods mentioned above to reduce exposure, and you should experiment with both.

I hope this walk through helps, and I would really like to know about how the image is showing on your monitor, and if it is part of the problem?


28/08/2011 - 10:06 PM


QB RUnUse it a lot, - its a great lens, sharp as a razor at f/2.8.

Just a question about this shot, - may just be me, but it appears a little wider than high, as if you re sized the height without maintaining the aspect ratio of the width or vice versa? Or is is just an optical illusion as his shoulder pads make him so wide?

I made it taller in a mod, - see what you think?

28/08/2011 - 5:27 PM

Thinking Deep

Thinking DeepIts a good shot for the family album Rajesh, - one Im sure your Mother will like.

Better if you could have got the left frame of her glasses in, with a bit more space to the left. If you are inclined you could tone down some of the flash reflected from her face using the burn tool very gently.

I like it as it is, and as a suggestion, - Ive loaded a mod with a lighter frame. Its a personal thing for me, - I find heavy dark frames seem like a box that restricts the image.


26/08/2011 - 10:50 PM

A father's love...

A father's love...The image is soft Steve, due to the large aperture. I dont know if thats how you intended it, - and if it is, its fine. I would guess though that you were after an overall soft look, and not one that has some areas in focus, and some not?

I would liked to have seen a little more depth, - using perhaps f/5.6, depending on the distance; the girls thumb would be better showing over your thumb rather than under; your bottom finger should be in shot; theres quite a large tonal range difference between your hand and your daughter; there should be some difference, but perhaps a little more alike.

If you are going for a soft look, - try using the smaller aperture as I suggested, then in post processing, if you have Phosothop, use a filter under distortions called Diffuse Glow, - it can perhaps get you the effect you are after; or if you are adventurous, apply a very light smear of vaseline on the lens!


23/08/2011 - 10:57 PM

Breaking through the line

Breaking through the lineFirst off, spot metering this type of image can mislead your exposure, - use multi segment, centre weighted, or whatever Canon call it.

Then for a fast moving sporting event, use TV, not Av, as you want to ensure youre shutter is fast. I would suggest no lower than 1/1000 if you want to stop action.

next, - point the camera at the action; you will see the Aperture symbol flash, which indicates the camera is not receiving enough light for the shot; then, start increasing IOS in steps, until the Aperture symbol stops flashing, and you camera is happy. Its very likely that the camera will be using max aperture, and if you want to force it to use smaller, then increase your ISO again until it does so. Wgat you are doing, is using the camera to tell you when the exposure is right, - no guesswork, - let the camera do its thing.

So what you will have is a camera set up for fast action, with the right shutter speed, and an adequate aperture, and suitable ISO (good light = lower ISO, pooer light = higher ISO, over which you have NO control, - the weather that is}

Now AI Servo, and using the centre focus spot. First make sure you have selected the centre focus spot ONLY.

Then with AI servo selected, and SINGLE SHOT just until you get used to this, half press the shutter and focus on a player; while keeping the shutter half pressed, - follow this player with the camera, and only press the shutter when you decide you have a good shot. Delve into continuous shooting after you get this technique sorted.

One last note, - ONLY AI Servo works reliably, other AI modes are completely hit and miss. And it drains your battery like theres no tomorrow.

Hope this helps


22/08/2011 - 10:01 PM


CaughtIts quite a nice family shot.

The cameras focus point is not on your Son's eyes, but in front of them, on his hand, - so try selecting a single focus point and placing this on the eye for portraits.

Also try to take a portrait in portrait mode, - it can often look better, - but landscape also works in some cases. For this one, a portrait crop removes a lot on unnecessary background, as in my mod.

I have applied quite a lot of sharpening to the eyes, - its worked out reasonably well.

last point, though difficult with children, try to get him to look at the lens, and not the flash, - the eye contact with the camera and photographer makes the shot work better.

Hope this is helpful, and that you like the mod,


22/08/2011 - 9:44 PM

Little Miss Austin

Little Miss AustinThis is a lovely shot. Why, - because of the lovely wistful expression; the beautiful eyes; the hand under the chin. Its just lovely all round.

Now for the critique part, and some very useful tips you may not be aware of.

First, focusing with your camera. There are a number of focus points, - those red squares that flash when the focus beeps; you can, and should select just ONE of these to be the focus point, ideally the one that will be over the subjects near eye. This is easily selectable, - that button at the top right camera back with the squares on it that you always wondered about, - press it, and move the focus points with multicontroller. This will ensure the critical part of the shot is tack sharp.

Next is prime lenses. You will not get a sharper image, or better contrast than you will with a prime lens, AND it will force you to think about composition, because you have to move around rather than zoom. BUT this lens you have works best at f/5.6, - though the depth of field will be deeper. Give it a try for fun.

For a portrait shot like this, try SPOT metering rather than multi segment, - again, just to explore the camera, and also get the perfect exposure for the skin (This is quite good as it is)

ALWAYS shoot in RAW, - this will give the ability to correct exposure, white balance, and numerous other things before you commit the shot to posterity.

Use this workflow when preparing a shot to upload:

Open original shot which has been sharpened>re size by setting pixels per inch to 72, and then set the longest side to whatever is allowed by the site>save as new file name>during save, adjust file size to that allowed by the site>save>OPEN new file, check sharpness at 50%>add sharpening as needed. This is because file compression can cause loss of sharpness.

I have to ask, - what post processing did you perform with this shot?

It is a little over saturated, and tends a little too much towards RED. Could be you over saturated, could be white balance. Canon cameras tend to favour red by the way, - including the top of the line 1 series.

So, being such a beautiful image, Ive loaded 4 mods.

Mod1 is you original with some colour balance and de saturation; with a small amount of sharpening; mod2, is a cloer crop, no other adjustments; mod3 is mod1 with a diffuse glow filter (Using CS4) applied, just to make it dreamlike; and mod4, - my favourite, is a mono conversion. I used the colour balance tool to reduce red and add more yellow.

I hope all of this is helpful, and that you like the mods.

One last thing, - if you are using Internet Explorer as your browser, - dont. Use Firefox or Safari 5 as they will display web colour properly, Explorer will not.


22/08/2011 - 12:59 AM

Palm Leaf

Palm LeafA nice shot, and lovely textures. Good idea to get under and shoot up.

A few comments on your settings, assuming you were reasonable close to the leaf, and filled the frame:

You could reduce the ISO to 100 for better quality, and the aperture to say f/5.6 for sharpness. You would be well within the scale for shutter speed, - miminum hand held for this lens and camera is 1/80

Its better with a little more contrast as in mod1, and can make a wonderful triptych if you simply use the hue adjustment to make two other hues, and combine onto a single baclground.

To do this you make a new white canvas, big enough to fit the three shots on, and open them all, then drag each leaf shot onto the canvas with the move tool, arrange, crop, flatten layers, print and enjoy.

Hope you find this, and the mods helpful.


20/08/2011 - 8:14 PM

Subject Matter

Subject MatterCongratulations on the new cam.

Its a little underexposed, though I understand its a test. Likely due to reflections coming back to the camera as the flash bounced back off some of the surfaces. A little brighter, as in the mod slightly alters white balance also. Get into the habit of looking at your histogram view after you take a shot, - you will see instantly if theres an exposure issue, - you would have seen the histogram for this shot having most of the detail clumped from the middle to the left, indcating underexposure; then you can take the shot again, and use exposure compensation to compensate.

I like you book selection too!

Hope this helps,


18/08/2011 - 10:28 PM

Early morning Venice

Early morning VeniceA really nice shot, great atmosphere.

I personally dont mind the flare, - in fact I added more in my mod rather than removing it, - to me it fits with the time of day and you would never get a shot that includes the Sun without flare.

It benefits with a small amount of cropping and sharpening, and adding a little contrast helps.

Mod loaded.


18/08/2011 - 9:40 PM


A LADY IN REDI liked these a lot in the series you uploaded. This lady has a lot of presence and energy, so makes a good subject for this.

Im not sure the tiles are quite aligned the way I would like to see them; the two at the left should be in the centre line of the larger right image, and overall theres a little more black on the right than the left.

The use of the black border though I think makes the scene unnecessarily dark, and suck the vibrancy from the main shots. I would prefer, and loaded in the mod, a lighter border, and have also brightened and boosted contrast in the individual shots.

Hope this helps,


View of the lake from Chateaux Lake Louise, Alberta, CanadaWelcome to EPZ Robert.

Isnt this a magnificent sight, Lake Louise, and perfectly framed by the restaurant windows!

Ive seen this shot many times, and its a challenging shot to take. Challenging because the outside exposure requirements are very different to those inside the room, and its possible to end up with a compromise, - which this shot is, - and thats not always a bad thing.

Thats because the sky and clouds are overexposed, though the inside of the room is not bad, and neither is most of the outside scene. The shot really calls for two exposures, one for outside, one for either inside, or a compromise as here, and then the two combined using the best of both. Exposure bracketing is a useful method you can program the camera for.

Your metering mode is set to multi segment, which will average the scene, and perhaps you have a spot metering mode you could have used to meter the outside, lock the exposure, then re compose?; or, using multi segmant, go close to the window, meter the outside scene, loch exposure, then come back and recompose and shoot. Either mode would have caused a darker interior, which could have been blended with a shot like this.

Either way, - theres some detail recoverable using the highlight tool in CS4 which Ive loaded in mods, - along with some different possibilities on cropping. I have also applied some sharpening, - you need to check you newly re sized and saved image for sharpness and apply a little more as needed.

A smaller aperture would have provided better front to back sharpness, - though to be honest it looks quite decent. This would have requited a higher ISO to go to say f/11.

A nice first upload, - hope to see more, and hopefully you can get something useful out of this feedback.


17/08/2011 - 5:12 PM

end of a good day

end of a good dayThe very bright area of sun over the houses has caused the image tio be very dark, - which can be brightened a little, - but the bright area was too bright for you sensor, so there no detail there, its simply blown. Best to wait until the sun dips below the house/horizon, or even a clod to get within the dynamic range of the cameras sensor. But a benefit is a silhouette of the tree, which is nice.

Loaded a quick mod, but cant do much about the bright area, - I added a warmer tone to it, but it doesnt solve the issue.