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Full face-shot of Emily
These are modifications uploaded by other members of the photo above. Download the photo by right clicking Download Photo and clicking Save As.
Hi Marty. I notice you use Manual mode most or all of the time, and images are often underexposed, as this one is.
Most photographers would use manual in a studio setting, and then aperture priority for the vast majority of other shots. Shutter priority for sports and moving birds or animals.
In this shot, the metering and exposure is set for the light behind Emily, whereas it would be best to set it for her face, and not the background; this means increasing exposure.
However, if we assume you retain the 40mm focal length, you have three methods available to increase exposure: Slow shutter speed down to allow more light, - but its way too slow as it is, so thats not an option. You need a faster shutter, AND more light; next is aperture, - and its already completely open wide, so you cant do anything about this; the remaining option is ISO. You would need to increase to around ISO800 to expose Emily's face correctly.
If you didnt retain 40mm, then a wider aperture would allow the slower speed. Keep in mid the rule for minumum hand hell shutter speed; its 1/focal length at 35mm equivalent; your camera is a crop camera, so the 35mm equivalent is always the focal length X 1.5; so at 40mm, you need 1/60; at 18mm you need 1/30, etc.
She is a very pretty girl, - photogenic with those lovely eyes too. I did upload a mod that has exposure increased on her face only.
Try P mode to see what the camera itself does on its own; look at the settings it uses; then you can get an idea of where you would set your manual settings; however, I would strongly advise you try and practice with Aperture priority and get familiar with it.
Hope this helps, and just PM me if you need clarification or more information.
The only thing I disagree with you is having the ISO so high. I've tried that, but it introduced a bunch of noise/grain that I loath in my photographs. If I had Photoshop back, I could burn the background and dodge her face. I'm still learning Lightroom. I'm sure Lightroom can do that, but I don't know how yet. That said however, I 100% agree with you for the rest of your assessment. I need more practice in all areas of DSLR photography. Comments like these, help me learn, vs. Comments like " I love this" or "this sucks". Those tell me nothing about improving. So, thank you for your very good critique.
I wouldnt have the ISO so high either Marty, - Im using the settings you currently have as an example for how to increase get your shutter speed correct and exposure properly.
In this shot theres so little light on her face, higher ISO cannot be avoided at all. Unless you use flash, which has its own problems close in like this.
Better to have her face in better light, turn arounf for example.
You camera can do very well with higher ISO, BUT the main cause of visible and problematic ISO noise at levels of 800 and lower is not the actual ISO, its underexposure. Correctly exposed images, even at very high ISOs will show some, but not a lot of noise.
Printing an image that has ISO noise on screen will show no noise in the print BTW. Unless its 20 feet wide!
Take a look at this review: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond5100
It shows your camera is exceptional at higher ISO.
LR does have a noise reduction adjustment too, - its below the sharpening adjustment on the right in Develop mode. Use it only when you have shot in RAW. If you shoot only JPEG, you can have the camera set to perform noise reduction in the steps indicated in the review. You could have it turned too low, or off?
Heres a link Marty to a D5100 shot using ISO 2800:
I only shoot RAW, due to the fact, it can be improved much better than JPG. The reason I shoot in full manual, is I want to learn (the "hard way"), every setting and their limitations. I've heard various schools of thought on how a beginner should learn DHTML. Some say stick with a priority like aperture, some say first start in full auto and yet some others say the best way to learn anything is total immersion. Because I learn from making mistakes, actually doing something, I'm in the immersion camp. It is all about learning style. Some learn better by shooting in one of the priorities and trying to duplicate it in manual, and others need full automatic mode to ease their way into more "advanced" DSLR comfort modes. This sounds stupid, I know - but mistakes are my friends. Especially when someone comes around and constructively points them out and suggests ways to improve them. Its not enough to point out the mistakes alone. Suggest ways to correct the mistake, like you do. I greatly appreciate your time, spent on this photograph. I've learned a lot. Thank you very much Willie.
In some ways, Marty, it's harder to learn with digital than it was with film. While you can review what you've done (and look at the histogram, too, which tells you a lot about exposure), a lot of people don't.
So using full manual is a throwback - but if you combine it with careful review after at least the first frame of a sequence, it's a good way to go, demanding as it is. It's great to see people prepared to discipline their learning, rather than expecting it all to "just work out"...
I want to add - with the sun behind the model, it would be easy to use a reflector - either purpose-made, form Lastolite, or similar suppliers, or simply a sheet of white paper - to throw more light onto her face. Give it a go - even an open newspaper can help - try different placements and angles to get the best effect. It's always a good move to put the sun behind the model, to avoid squinty eyes.
And there's always the Critique Gallery if you want to be sure of a few focussed comments...
When you upload Marty, make sure you select RAW as the method you used to capture the image.
Personally, I think you are working backwards. Better to understand Aperture, then Shutter, the influence ISO has, and then the combination in Manual.
As I mentioned in the digital world, M is used rarely by anyone other than professional shooters in studio settings, and its used there because it HAS to be used due to studio lighting. Think about it like this: Using A or T, you are effectively using a Manual mode, as you can see, and change any of the other parameters you want. The benefit is that you set the parameter thats most important to you, and then either accept or reject what the camera will suggest to get a good exposure.
You will not only learn more, but you will learn much, much faster.
I've "talked" to several professional photographers, and for all their shoots, in studio and out, they shoot in full manual. Until you mentioned most pros shoot not in full manual, except for studio shoots, I've never heard of that. They all, also suggested to fully learn DSLR photography, shoot in full manual, but start with having all settings set half way, then pick one and shoot various scenes until you fully understand how that one works, then set it at half way and do the same with another, then the last. One such photographer, who has traveled the world, teaching DSLR photography is Jared Polin.
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