Landscape/Portrait/Action Any rule of thumb?

flyby

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When taking a landscape picture, a portrait, an action shot, a close-up, etc. are there any rules of thumb as to what aperture, F stop or ISO that should be used for a particular kind of shot?

I looked at David Clapp's work today and below one of his landscapes taken with the GF1 he states:Taken at f16, 18mm (36mm in 35mm terms) 1/3secs, ISO100 and hyperfocally focused, (yes thats right, f16, not f8 where all other point and shoots stop), its as easy to be artistic with such a small camera, thanks to its uncomplicated DSLR handling.

This pic shows the entire depth of field but blurs or stops the water in the foreground..and what does he mean by hyperfocally focused?

Rather than focus your answer on David Clapp's work..I'd rather have an answer to the rule of thumb if possible.. is there such a thing? And what are some of them?

Thank you in advance!
 

Brian Mosley

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Hi flyby,

this is an excellent subject for discussion, I hope we'll get some tips being shared by the many experienced photographers we have here.

My tips for portrait photography - use face detection and have the camera down in front of you slightly, allowing you to frame up with the LCD but not being a distraction for the subject. Get eye contact with your subject and make a connection... get them chatting so that the camera is not a concern.

This image, of my youngest daughter with my mum was taken this way (with a Panasonic FX01 point and shoot camera) - my mum is incredibly self conscious around cameras... but holding the camera down and talking over the top allowed her to relax.

It's one of my favourite captures.

Panasonic FX01
1/80s f/4.5 at 12.0mm iso80
View attachment 141104

I always try to use natural light for my portraits, and as I said, face detection can help with the focusing, while allowing you to get the framing and timing right.

If you can't use face detection, an articulating screen is very useful too! this image was taken with my favourite portrait lens for 4/3rds... the Hexanon 57mm f1.2 on the Panasonic G1.

View attachment 151755

Finally, I love to use AUTO ISO in Manual Exposure mode, to set my aperture to a low number (for low depth of field) e.g. f2 in this instance (from memory)... and shutter speed at a good value for the subject, to freeze movement in this instance (about 1/80 sec) - and let the camera take care of achieving auto exposure, increasing ISO to the minimum necessary to get good exposure.

View attachment 141105

Hope that helps, at least to kick things off... looking forward to more responses.

Cheers

Brian
 

flyby

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Brian
Thank you! The pics are beautiful! I'm taking your advice and trying a few of these today when my granddaughter gets home from school. I'll try MF while letting the camera adjust the ISO and face detection. I only have the 14-45mm lens right now so I'll see how that goes. Thanks for your help and hope that others will join in here too..this is a great idea to have this place for helping others learn from the more experienced members here.
Karen
 

Iansky

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When taking a landscape picture, a portrait, an action shot, a close-up, etc. are there any rules of thumb as to what aperture, F stop or ISO that should be used for a particular kind of shot?

My personal range of settings are:

I always use aperture priority and base ISO (100) with centre spot focusing and single shot for all my images (lighting permitted).

1. Landscape - I will always shoot with aperture priority and at base ISO with centre spot focussing, if I am trying to maximise depth of field without compromising quality, I will set my aperture to f8 (as David Clapp says you can use f16 but it will require more work to regain the sharpness lost) and always try and use a tripod and self timer to avoid any movement.

2. Portraits - this depends on the type of portrait you are taking (head and shoulders/three quarter/full length) again, I will use aperture priority and if I want to minimise depth of field and concentrate on part of the subject being pin sharp, I will get as close to the subject as possible and only stop the lens down by 1 f stop from wide open - if I want a touch more depth of field but want to maximise the lens at it's sharpest setting, I always stop down 2 full stops from wide open (this is a tip given to me when studying optics as part of my training and it has worked for me ever since, especially with fixed focal length lenses).

3. Action shots - action shots need a change of thought process from depth of field to freezing the action so in most cases switching to shutter speed priority is the recommended choice, you may depending on the lighting, depth of field required and speed of subject plus angle of travel in relation to you need to push the ISO to a faster speed.
One of the rules of thumb is that 1/125 is good to freeze someone walking at a fairly brisk pace, 1/250 - 1/500 for someone on a bicycle depending on speed and angle of approach, directly towards/away does not require the same speed as someone approaching/leaving at 45 degrees or 90 degrees from you.
I used to shoot quite a lot of airshows and for propellor aircraft you need a slower shutter speed to avoid freezing the rotating propeller/helicopter blade than for a jet that mostly requires shutter speeds around 1/2000 - 1/4000 depending on light/ISO.

Sorry that is a little long winded but those are essentially my base rules for me - you will find different rules are used by different people so apart from a few basics there are no hard and fast rules.

I will let someone else cover the close ups as it is something I very rarely shoot.

I hope this helps in establishing a thought process to allow you to experiment.
 

flyby

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Iansky

This is exactly what I am looking for..thanks for providing this info. It gives me a base point from which to start off with. I have to get my head around just how to set-up the shot for the type of picture I am trying to take. Working from aperture priority makes sense since this is where you manage depth of field.

And thanks for making sense, at least to me, of the stop action. This is a problem I've been having shooting in either manual or Aperture priority when I want to take a shot of someone or something moving..switching to shutter priority makes sense but what shutter speed? You gave me a nice range to start with on each type of motion..very very helpful!

I've taken notes and am out the door to try some of these steps out..thanks a bazillion!
Karen

You guys are the Best..thanks so much!
 

Iansky

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Glad to have been of help Karen.

If you post some of your results members can all look at them and I am sure you will recive constructive feedback that will help you for future images.

The joy of a like minded forum.
 

Streetshooter

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Karen,
On the subject of Hyperfocal Distance....

What's important to remember is that, Infinity is always the farthest distance in focus.
As you change your f stop, the distance in front of the subject changes.

By using more Depth Of Field, like f11...your focus moves closer to you...
and by going to say f4...your focus moves further away from you....

Infinity is always in with Hyperfocal Distance...
 

silverbullet

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The DOF moves asymmetrical when changed. F.e. when there is a change from, let's say f4 to f11 the increasing sharp area moves more to the back away from the camera as it expands in the direction to the camera.
 

Streetshooter

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The DOF moves asymmetrical when changed. F.e. when there is a change from, let's say f4 to f11 the increasing sharp area moves more to the back away from the camera as it expands in the direction to the camera.
Yes true,
But at Hyperfocal distance, infinity is the farthest point.....
 

BBW

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Exposure questions

Both Brian and Iansky/Ian have given good advice, but I am still having trouble getting my mind around how to expose for difficult lighting situations. I am often finding myself taking pictures where there is an area that is way too bright and thus it will not show up well... I am after learning to use the camera for the control as opposed to the post processing software.

I really feel like I need to review Photo 101. I know that many of the same rules for film come into play with digital, if not all of them. I think I found film easier than digital, though it's been many years since I used 35mm film at all. As I said, I have great difficulty with contrasty scenes - whether it's due to backlighting or just having an object such as a window full of light in the background somewhere...that throws off the lighting. Rather than spend time fooling around with post processing, I'd prefer to get my exposures as close to right as I can.

The more I think about this, the more I feel I might get better results using my old Luna Pro. And at the same time, I feel that I don't have a truly good handle on what the options and capabilities of my E-P2 are and wonder if that's part of the issue.

Any and all remedial help will be greatly appreciated!
 

Iansky

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Hi BBW,

Think back to your film days and expose digital as you would have slide film.

If you are experiencing contrasty lighting you can work three ways:

1. Switch to spot metering, decide on the prime area of the image you want to expose for and take a meter reading from that area.
2. As above but take readings from highlight and shadow areas you want detail in and then average the reading.
3. Use the histogram to make sure you are not clipping (losing) the highlight areas, you can correct the exposure using EV adjustment to get the correct exposure.

For all three, on the GF1 in difficult lighting and time permitting I always use the "depth of field button", this allows me to check the areas of my image in sharp focus and also the image as it will appear with the current shutter speed aperture combination.

I would probably recommend no.3 until you are comfortable with using the EV/histogram combination, you can then have more confidence to try the spot selections (I thought the EP allowed numerous spot readings to calculate the mean average, if so try that).

For back lighting, you either need fill flash or to get in close and meter off the main part of the subject as in No.1 above.

I hope these suggestions make sense and allow you to get the images you want.

Good luck,
Ian
 

Brian Mosley

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Hi BB,

Ian has some great suggestions there (as I would expect from such an experienced photographer :hail:)

As I suggested in my PM earlier - if you've set your E-P2 using the tutorial videos, the lower rear thumb wheel will adjust EV compensation as you refer to the on-screen histogram.

Good luck! practice makes perfect :biggrin:

Cheers

Brian
 

Iansky

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Thanks Brian,

There you go BBW, tips from an expert on the EP2 and we both concur on the EV/histogram route.

Good look and don't get frustrated, you will get there.

Ian
 

BBW

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...Think back to your film days and expose digital as you would have slide film.

If you are experiencing contrasty lighting you can work three ways:

1. Switch to spot metering, decide on the prime area of the image you want to expose for and take a meter reading from that area.
2. As above but take readings from highlight and shadow areas you want detail in and then average the reading.
3. Use the histogram to make sure you are not clipping (losing) the highlight areas, you can correct the exposure using EV adjustment to get the correct exposure.

For all three, on the GF1 in difficult lighting and time permitting I always use the "depth of field button", this allows me to check the areas of my image in sharp focus and also the image as it will appear with the current shutter speed aperture combination.

I would probably recommend no.3 until you are comfortable with using the EV/histogram combination, you can then have more confidence to try the spot selections (I thought the EP allowed numerous spot readings to calculate the mean average, if so try that).

For back lighting, you either need fill flash or to get in close and meter off the main part of the subject as in No.1 above...

Thanks so much Ian, I appreciate your suggestions. I have been after trying to use the metering options differently and will continue to investigate how to set up the camera appropriately so that I'm not always having to reconfigure. I think this is one of my main stumbling blocks, however I don't want to highjack this thread into my own issues that are more specific to using the E-P2. I'll address them in the appropriate tutorials or someplace else. I've always found that spot metering is often much more useful...

As for backlighting...right, fill in flash or just try a different setting.:wink::biggrin: I do try to move in closer where possible.

I think that learning to set up both the controls properly as well as, learning to use the histogram and exposure values controls will be huge - and I'm hoping that another E-P2 person will lend a hand. Brian, as usual, is offering to post something in regard to this in the Quick Start section, I believe...otherwise I may start a thread there myself that is camera control related.

Thanks so much to both you and Brian for your posts and help - you're very patient!:thumbup:
 

Iansky

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BBW, glad to be of help - we have all been there and had to go through that same learning curve!

The good thing about this site is that everyone here is willing to help and make suggestions - I have picked up a lot of tips from members who have more digital experience than I do and as the old adage goes - you are never too old to learn and you should never stop learning!
 

flyby

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Location
Los Angeles, CA
Hi BBW,

Think back to your film days and expose digital as you would have slide film.

If you are experiencing contrasty lighting you can work three ways:

1. Switch to spot metering, decide on the prime area of the image you want to expose for and take a meter reading from that area.
2. As above but take readings from highlight and shadow areas you want detail in and then average the reading.
3. Use the histogram to make sure you are not clipping (losing) the highlight areas, you can correct the exposure using EV adjustment to get the correct exposure.

For all three, on the GF1 in difficult lighting and time permitting I always use the "depth of field button", this allows me to check the areas of my image in sharp focus and also the image as it will appear with the current shutter speed aperture combination.

I would probably recommend no.3 until you are comfortable with using the EV/histogram combination, you can then have more confidence to try the spot selections (I thought the EP allowed numerous spot readings to calculate the mean average, if so try that).

For back lighting, you either need fill flash or to get in close and meter off the main part of the subject as in No.1 above.

I hope these suggestions make sense and allow you to get the images you want.

Good luck,
Ian
In the above you refer to the depth of field button..what is that? on the GF1? Also you say you'd recco #3 is this referirng to the metering mode in the GF1?

BBW thanks for the great question and as always thank you for all that answered.

Best
Karen :confused:
 
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