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Thursday
Sep092010

What the heck? Friday - Oh yeah, I am back!!!

Holla!!! Yep, I am going to bring back What the heck? Friday's.  Well until I run out of topics to write about! :)  Soooo, if you ever have any questions at all for me, email or comment them and I will answer 100% to the best of my ability.  :)

A little while back I was asked:

"I have been using my prime lens a lot more lately, but I have problems getting the image in clear focus. I blame my bad eyesight. Right now, I take the shot, look at the preview and zoom in to check. If it's not as clear as I want, I delete and try again. Any tips on that?"

My answer may be winded so I am sorry.. :)  First, have you checked your diopter?  (sounds all fancy right?  It is just the little dial thing on your camera with a plus-minus sign on it near your eye piece - assuming you are shooting with an SLR).  The Pioneer Women just did a GREAT article on this, so I will point you in that direction first.  When I first checked my diopter (say that three times fast) it was off and did make a difference in my photographs!

I will say this though, The diopter setting does not have an affect on your cameras auto focusing.

The diopter helps you to clearly see the focusing screen when you are looking through the viewfinder helping you get the correct sharpness as you focus and shoot.


My second part to this is a blanket response because I am not sure exactly what you are shooting when you are not getting the clarity you want to achieve.  Since I photograph portraits I will give you my rules of thumb that get me by (though I tend to break these rules often).

Always try to keep your shutter speed at at least 1/125 for kids and double the focal length of your lens.  So if you are shooting with your 50mm lens = 1/100 shutter speed, Or with the yummy 85mm = 1/160-1/200, etc.

Now even with that basic rule of thumb I can still get motion blur at those speeds and that will result in a loss of clarity.  I tend to rely now on what kind of light I have, how fast my toddler is dodging me and then take the rule of thumb and adjust. 

And lastly, I love to shoot wide open.  I am still trying to rock shooting at a 1.4 all the time with toddlers, but it is taking longer than I thought (it is HARD to nail that).  With newborns it is easier because well, they don't roll their eyes at me much.  LOL  Just keep in mind the depth of your focal plane is as dependent on distance as aperture. If you are further away from what you are shooting, the wider play you have on your focal plane.   And vise versa.  The closer you are the narrower it gets.

Get to know your camera though because nailing clarity ahs a ton to do with knowing your camera's limitations.  My last camera always over-exposed by what looks like a half a stop so I always had to compensate for that.  My shiney new camera nails it as I see it through the metering but it took time with me playing with it to figure it out. 

Okay, I lied, that was not lastly.  I wanted to share how I keep my camera settings.  I always use spot focus/local metering and I set my camera so that it takes one shot at a time.  And I use back button focusing (I'll explain that in another post if you would like).  I used to custom white balance, and it is super helpful to know, but now I keep it on auto.  Why?  Because I use photoshop and I shoot raw so I can fix any white balance issues I may have while processing the images. 

I hope that helps!  And if you have any questions please ask away!! :)

Happy Shooting!!

Reader Comments (1)

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Mon, December 27 | Unregistered CommenterKoko

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