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Just shoot me...or, digital woes in Maine!
Old 08-24-2004, 04:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ok, so there I was, down by the lovely river in my backyard (see picture below) and I'm doing my FIRST senior portrait job with my D70. It's not my first senior portrait session, it's just my first one with the D70. I shot in the sun, in the shade, under the clouds, and my results are all over the *$#%ing place. And yes, I did change my white balance each time.

Is there a way that I can get consistent results with my digital from one lighting scenario to the next? I currently shoot my images in hi res, large file size JPEG format. I have more jobs coming up but am losing my confidence in being able to produce really good, saleable images from my digital (not because IT isn't capable, but because I'M not capable enough yet to get the consistency I need). Any suggestions??

Thanks all.

Good day!

Mike

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Re: Just shoot me...or, digital woes in Maine!
Old 08-24-2004, 04:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Mike, is there a reason you shoot in jpeg? IMHO, there's nothing worse than that. I always shoot RAW and then process with Captue One. I'm starting to sound like an ad for Phase One, but I use it daily and appreciate it what it does for all my workflow.

Second, do you set the white balance before you shoot? I shoot a grey card before each session and then one with the subject.

These two items should help you get recentered and give you a base to feel more comfy. I have shot nikon and other digital for the last 4 years... i don't know everything, but feel free to ask. i'll do my best to help.
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Re: Just shoot me...or, digital woes in Maine!
Old 08-24-2004, 06:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I had the same problem when I got my D-70. Solved it with a digital calibration target I just shoot a picture of the target then read the histogram. Its extremely eassssssy to do AND I NAIL MY EXPOSURES EVERY TIME!
Try it it has saved my but on location several times with changing light.

Michael

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Re: Just shoot me...or, digital woes in Maine!
Old 08-24-2004, 07:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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PS It will help you get perfect White Balance every time also.

Michael [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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Re: Just shoot me...or, digital woes in Maine!
Old 08-24-2004, 08:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi Roger,

I shoot JPEG really for no other reason than a lack of memory and a lack of money to buy more. I have two 256MB Sandisk CF cards and if I shoot RAW with basic JPEG, I only get 21 images per disk. That is unacceptable for me and so I'm finding that the hi-res/large file size JPEGs to work really well. I was shooting some stock for a textbook the other day and had to shoot a couple hundred shots and there is no way I could have done that shooting RAW and I don't want to schlepp my laptop all over God's country and then try to download them to that dinosaur on the fly.

I haven't used any of the software that came with the camera because I am running Linux for an OS on my computer. Does Capture One come with it?

I do the white balance before I shoot, yet. Do you look at the histogram when you shoot the grey card? I'm clueless on how to read that too. I guess I should start doing some more reading and a little less shooting. hehehe

And now I had a guy show up at my door today wanting me to shoot his son's wedding. I thought to myself, "Great", but then remembered that I still suck with this whole digital color balance thing and it would be an absolute frickin' nightmare and disaster for me to try and shoot a wedding with all of the multiple light sources I'd be dealing with. There HAS to be an easier way. I said I'd take the job and he didn't care about price so now I'm thinking of breaking my F100 out and using film but I really want to get this digital color balance/white balance thing down so I can do a wedding and not cower in the corner in fear as I'm about to download the images to make an album.

I'm all ears with this stuff so any insight you have with your years of experience would certainly be well-received. Thanks.

Good day!

Mike

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Re: Just shoot me...or, digital woes in Maine!
Old 08-24-2004, 08:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hmmm...interesting... Yep..... well, I would look at it this way... you happen to have a really nice blue water in your picture... if you were in Milwaukee, you would have MMSD dumping raw sewage into the lake every time it rained..( which wasn't suppose to happen except for the "hundred year flood") and you would be shooting a very brown beach with tons of [censored] that gets flushed down the crapper laying along the shore line.. Oh well, perhaps it's in your WB...hmmm I could really use that,.... could I borrow it? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

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Re: Just shoot me...or, digital woes in Maine!
Old 08-24-2004, 08:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Michael.

Great name by the way! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] I've heard of this calibration target but I'm clueless as to how to read a histogram. I would LOVE to get something like this because I just went through about seventy of the senior photos I shot last night and the color is all over the place. I'm so frustrated and am afraid to get a proof set because they'll all have different skin tones. I used my flash in some instances, a gold reflector in others, shade, sunlight, overcast (welcome to Maine...all this weather in an hour). I had bluish skin tones, gold skin tones, normal skin tones, and God knows what some of the other ones were. EGAD! I may ask her to come back as a "test" subject for me so I can shoot more of her (and actually be doing a reshoot of the portraits). I hate when that happens.

I'll check out the link you posted and see about getting one of these calibration targets. I'm going to make an assumption that it comes with directions on how to read the histogram.

Thanks again for the tip. Have a great week!

Mike

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Re: Just shoot me...or, digital woes in Maine!
Old 08-24-2004, 08:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi JP,

How are you, my friend!? Yes, the water is blue but if truth be known, we've been told that we are only to eat TWO fish per year out of it because of God knows what that's been put into the river from the paper mills up north. You know, I'm thinking that if TWO fish per year is the maximum, then I don't want to eat ANY fish in there. GAWD! I fish in it as it's been said to be the best smallmouth bass fishing in the state (and I'll vouch for that). The fish here are incredible and fiesty! HOWEVER, I won't eat them because I practice catch and release anyway. Be that as it may, I think part of the reason for the "blue" water was because of the reflection from the sky. The water is actually kind of dingy. It IS beautiful to behold though on a nice morning sunrise or sunset. In fact, much of the rock formations here are comprised of different types of rock pressed together due to glacial pressure and whatnot. I'll have to post a couple pics when I get them edited. I was out shooting them just last night, in fact, for a textbook looking for illustrations to support glacial physics as it pertains to striations in rockbeds and things. It's really quite fascinating.

Anywho, I hope you're enjoying your week thus far. Hey, have I ever told you that I grew up in Minnesota? I used to visit WI every Friday night. I lived just over the river north of North St. Paul. We used to pile into a VW bus and go to the drive-in movies all the time. I still don't remember any of the movies that we saw.....imagine that. Yep! hehehe

Good day sir!

Mike
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Re: Just shoot me...or, digital woes in Maine!
Old 08-24-2004, 08:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Reading a histogram is actually very simple and yes I beleive there is a dvd in the package with the target that will show you how to use it. If needed you may call me tomorrow at the studio and I will be glad to try and help you with histograms over the phone.
Michael
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Re: Just shoot me...or, digital woes in Maine!
Old 08-24-2004, 08:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sounds good! I'll try and give you a call between 11 and 1 PM my time. I think you're probably an hour, maybe two, behind me. If I can't get in touch with you, I'll try later in the afternoon.

Thanks a bunch! I look forward to talking with you.

Mike
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