Shooting for the Sharpest Image


Think Like a Photographer


Lesson Info

Shooting for the Sharpest Image

I'm going to start off the day talking about mohr shooting strategies so I'll talk about how am I thinking when I'm in the field and I encounter a particular you know kind of subject matter how do I change the settings that using my camera my thought process all that kind of stuff we'll also talk maura about gear sl she a little bit more of what was in my camera bag that I didn't have time to cover and I'll show you how I customized it s o there's sometimes you'll find that there's you know special little pieces of black tape over certain special things and my gear and I like you know why and and all that coming up we're also going to talk about aps and websites that helped me out a lot when I'm scouting out locations when I'm researching where I'm about to go have never been there before and just also when I'm in the field is there anything I pull out of my pocket as far as my iphone goes and access something to help me while I'm in the field and then we're going to end the day and ph...

oto shop and polishing mohr images getting them so the rock captures just raw material and if we really want himto to sing we wanted you know some special techniques there so we got a pretty good day I think yeah so let's get into it we're starting off with just another group of shooting strategies ideas and so let's uh pop in here uh first thing I want to mention is sometimes what's most important when I'm shooting is to get the sharpest image I can get because I know that this particular image is going to be enlarged and I want to get it to be presentable with largest format I can possibly get out of this camera and I really wanted to be sharp and so just coming in there and pressing the shutter is not enough to ensure that you're going to have the sharpest result so let's look at a few of the ideas first is I'm not going to be shooting hand held if if sharpness is my main thing because any motion of my hands is goingto make it so it's not a sharp so I'll be a sitting on tripod the next thing is with my camera I'm not gonna have my hands on the camera what I'm shooting it because otherwise the movement of my finger hitting the shutter is going to move the camera a little bit and it's going to reduce the sharpness but I don't like having a cable release it's just another thing to carry another thing to lose something to break that kind of stuff so what I end up doing on my camera is if I turn this on on the cannon there's a dr button on the nikon instead there's a I think a little switch that's around the big wheel in the upper left of your camera depends on your camera it'll be many different places but what I would do is I would turn on my self timer a lot of modern cameras will have two different self timers they'll have a ten second self timer and they also have a two second self timer and I turn on the two second self timer so that way if I'm on a tripod aiken walk up there and hit the shutter button and move my hand away and it's gonna wait two seconds before it takes the picture and that should make it so any vibration cost by my finger eyes dissipated by the time the shutter opens that makes sense so we're on tripod we got two second self timer the next thing that I would end up doing is there's a mirror in your camera at least in the bigger cameras and that mirror has to pop out of the way teo so that the sensor can look through the lens instead of it bouncing off that mirror and up into your eye and so that mere the action of it popping out of the way creates movement in your camera if you're not familiar with it try taking a laser pointer if you happen to have one in tape it to the top of your camera pointing at a wall that's across the room and then just do a two second self timer and have the camera flick and just watch the laser pointer on your wall you'll see it move because the mirror flipping and up and down is going to cause motion so what I dio is I turn on a feature notice live you and when I turn on live you you might hear a little sound I just heard it I'll turn off now that's the mirror popping out of the way in because in order to see a view on the back of the screen here which is what live you does it has to get the mirror out of the way so the sensor can see out the lens so just the fact that you turned on live you even if you don't need to see the picture on the back your camera got the mirror out of the way into that vibration isn't gonna happen now so if I take a picture now um actually you know what the sun manual focus okay if I take a picture now it tastes it makes a lot less um noise because the mirror is not flicking out of the way and pop him back down again and so it's something that's going again reduce some vibration and so live you motta end up turning on then I don't use auto focus because auto focus isn't always one hundred percent precise it can be off a little bit and you're not always absolutely sure that the most important partisan focus so what I can do is when I'm in live you mode on the back of my camera there's an icon for move it over here so you might want to see it but there's an icon for zooming and aiken press that to zoom up and if I press it twice I get into what's called ten x zoom where it zoomed up to ten times normal size and now if I manually focused my lens it's much easier to tell if I'm truly getting something and focus or not and I could look at the exact most important part of my image and I can manually focus until it is very precisely focused so then we're gonna have the best dead on focus we have the mirrors out of the way so there is no shaking from that we've dissipated the shaking of my finger hitting the shutter with a two second self timer and then the other thing I'm going to do is think very careful ly about the aperture setting I use the after setting that I use if you look at my screen controls how big of an opening there is in the lens itself how much light is being let in and as it gets to be opened up large amount that's nose wide open that's the lowest f stop number you can get to it's not quite a sharp what happens is on this end of the range and on the absolute other extreme it's not a sharp a zit is when it's somewhere in the middle and so usually depending on what I need in the scene let's say I'm working with a wide angle lens in what I'm shooting it's more than about five feet away meaning that when I focus on it it's going to be at infinity where the focus is not all that critical and the depth of field is not all that critical what I would do is I gotta pick and after you're setting to use and I would pick what you might think of is the sweet spot there's a general part of the range where you get them off sharpness most lenses and it varies by the lens it's somewhere between f eight and half eleven now if I need deeper depth of field I'll deviate from that if I have something close to the camera and that's when you it's harder to get deep depth of field I might have to use something different than that but if my app you're setting is not overly critical I'm shooting a picture of a mural that's on a wall over there there's no depth to it at all I gotta pick some aperture setting to use when the death is not critical in the photograph I deviate and I had to f eight or eleven because that's where in that general range your lens is going to end up resolving the most detail and we're going to get the sharpest looking image now but tough don't just shoot a deaf aid or eleven if you have critical depth if there's an object near in the frame in far in the frame sure try it f eight or eleven but yesterday I mentioned you have that depth of field preview button look at the nearest object press that depth of field preview button in and out and see if it kicked became sharp and then look at the near the farthest object and press the depth of field preview button to see if it became sharp and if they're not sharp you're gonna have to stop down your lens and go for a higher number on your f stop and because what's more important having the things in your scene in focus you know sharp or having the absolute sharpest image for the little part that is sharp you know it if the front in the back of a vehicle or something is out of focus it's just not going toe not going to do it so anyway if the depth of field is not critical f eight or eleven that general range and by doing all of that I'm usually going to end up with a very sharp looking image one of the things that I'll do is I'll also before I shoot walk around to the front of the camera and just look at the front element of the lens and see if any lightest falling on it if any light falls on the front element directly like there's a spotlight out there or the sun is out there and it's hitting the front element of your lens it lowers the contrast of what you get and so let's see I think I actually have an image where I can show you visibly the difference okay here I take pictures old stuff so here's uh just a snapshot of this and if you look at this image compared to this image that's the sun hitting the front element of my lens whereas this is me shading the front element of my lens using my hand so what I end up doing is I just raised my hand up like this I think I mentioned a little bit yesterday bring it down until it's actually in the frame so I can see where does it start getting into the frame be just a little bit above that and move it around and tell my hand creates a shadow that falls right on the front element of my lens so that the light is not catching that glass because if it catches the glass I'm going to get lower contrast then if there's no sun hitting the front element so those are the techniques that I use when I need the absolute sharpest looking image I know I'm going to reproduce it really huge and I want you to be able to walk up to it and just not see any softness and each one of those steps ends up giving me a little higher quality with each step that I incorporate incorporate all of them and that's going to be well really one really sharp shot so then let's get into other stuff let's say I have to shoot handheld for some reason I didn't bring my tripod or I'm not allowed to use a tripod wherever it is I am I'm not allowed to use a mono pod either they're doing something to limit me or I just didn't bring that kind of gear what else can I do well part of it is how you hold your camera if you're holding your camera like this where you're just you know kind of your arms are not all that supported its going to moving around a lot more so I end up getting my elbows into my body really tight and getting this really holding the bottom of the lens and then really pushing it up against my face and it creates a much tighter hold on the camera's not going to move as much or a friend of mine joe mcnally's got a great idea which is instead of shooting with your right eye like most people do she will you laugh die which feels kind of weird and then set it on your shoulder and if you set the camera right on your shoulder now you got this which is much more supportive than most of your arm areas are and then use your opposite I takes a little bit of time to get used to that but if you do it makes it so it's a more stable platform so just a few ideas there when it comes to long lenses I'll mention that on long lenses there's a little tripod foot that is so you would attach your camera to the tripod fromthe lens instead of the camera so you don't stress the connection there but I'll show you later on how you can get that out of the way because when your handholding if you're doing the little clot which is what you need to do to hold that little foot in your hand it's nowhere near a stable so we talk about curole mention that all right now let's think about specific kind of things we might encounter when we're in the field and how I might treat those things differently uh one encounter him one would be waterfalls so here's a picture a waterfall and this is an hd our image yesterday I think we spoke a bit about hdr where if I didn't shoot hd are the detail in the waterfall would either be lacking or the detail in the dark areas that are close to the camera either those would go black or the waterfall ago white and I wouldn't be able to get this on one shot but by taking multiple shots that vary in brightness and combining them together that was able to get all that detail throughout and I put my wife karen there I talked to in the moving or if she was actually in my shop but then I was kind of saying karen move to your left move to your left to get her actually perfectly lined up without water fall to get a human element in there which I think gives this much better sense for scale and just is ah I think a nicer presentation than just a waterfall because that's what you're used to seeing but when it comes to waterfalls your shutter speed is going to make a huge difference in the way of waterfall looks and if you want to get this silky look where you can't see individual droplets of water and that type of thing then you're going to have to be really thinking about your shutter speed and what I do is I carry a neutral density filter because just using my camera all I can do to get the shutter speed to be slow is a few things what I could do is first I could take the I s o setting on my camera in lower it as low as it can go the lowest this camera usually goes this is a one hundred I can turn on a special setting on the camera that allows it to go even lower toe eso fifty and so I could set it down to the esso fifth t on this particular camera it never says fifty itjust goes toe l for low but that's the lowest I can possibly get it then I could change my aperture setting the aperture setting remembers the opening in your lens and the higher the number is the smaller the opening is and I could set it to the highest it goes to f twenty two on most lenses and that's about all I can do in camera the problem is when you go to f twenty two your image actually gets a little bit softer I would rather shoot at maybe no higher than f sixteen let's say because the image is going to be sharper so how else can I slow down get a longer exposure to make it to the water can look blurred have this motion blur and that would be to put a neutral density filter in the front of the lens and so I usually carry to neutral density filters one of them is a to stop neutral density and that's what I would usually use in a waterfall and then I would experiment with different shutter speeds to see what looks best for that particular waterfall there's not one shutter speed that's best for all of them because the water is going to be traveling different amounts if it's a freefall kind of waterfall it's going to be going faster compared to if it's more of a cascade where it's hitting rocks on its way down that type of thing so you really have to experiment and I would rather take six or seven or eight pictures at various shutter speeds and then judge it when I'm back on my computer than having a judge it on the tiny little screen on the back of my camera also when I'm shooting waterfalls I find it's best if you shoot it when the water falls in the shade if the waterfalls in the full sun the sun is going to create highlights on the waterfall that are overly bright and those overly bright highlights just going to make it very difficult to capture detail in the full brightness range of the scene so I'd like to shoot it in the shade that often means going out either early in the morning or near evening time or even after the sun goes down in order to do it because if you go out after the sun goes down then you're going to get longer exposures anyway there's less light out there so I'll show you how I can figure out for a particular location have never been to before when will that uh waterfall be in the shade if it's middle of the day there's a lot of light out there and your shutter speed is still going to be really fast for most of that shooting you're going to end up with wonderful that might look more like this one here and if you look at it you can see every little bubble in every little ripple in that water and it's quite different than what you might be used to seeing in a lot of photographs of waterfalls so in order to deal with that I usually put a to stop neutral density filter in front of the lens of my camera it's just the kind you screw on the front and that's going to cut down the amount of light going into the camera and is going to allow me to get much slower shutter speed and it's gonna make those waterfalls look a lot more silky so it's also best to shoot the waterfall when it's in the shade because that's also going to cut down the amount of light and it's going to avoid really bright reflections from the sun in the waterfall so I'll show you later on how I go about researching wynn is a waterfall gonna be in the shade or not or if it's ever an overcast day it's a day I want to go shooting waterfalls all day because it's great to shoot them during that time so here's just a sample of waterfalls this one's in iceland this one was a fast shutter speed because you can see the detail in the waterfall with that I'll experiment you never know what's gonna look best this is a stitch panorama again in iceland and I'll shoot these big stitch panoramas then I'll also go in and shoot little details so this is a tiny little part that might have been down over on the think it's right over here on the right side somewhere but I'll not only get the full waterfall but then I'll show you just the interesting parts which is just try to find divide up that waterfall and look at for the most interesting section of it so you might show the detail shot and show the full thing so this is the same waterfall as this issues means focusing in a small portion that when it was in iceland as well but your shutter speed is going to give you a big difference this one here is not as long as of ah exposure is some of the others and I can talk from how silky the waterfall is but I always have that neutral density filter with me so it any time I can change the look of the waterfalls and decide if I want to have the silky long exposure or if I would rather get every little droplet sharpe

Class Description

So you just bought your first DSLR, now what? In this two-day workshop, professional photographer and Photoshop Hall of Famer Ben Willmore will take you inside his award-winning mind. From composition techniques to post-production Photoshop magic, Ben will unpack everything the pros know about taking and editing amazing photos. Ben will reveal his entire thought process when shooting — showing you how simple choices like lens selection can dramatically alter your results. You will also learn what settings you need to capture the right light, how to modify your gear to make it more useful, Photoshop techniques to polish your photos, and how to use apps and software to streamline your workflow. Whether you’re a beginning photographer, or a working photographer interested in a refresher course, this workshop will teach you how to make the most out of your DSLR.


Ashleigh L

AMAZING CLASS! I caught bits and pieces of the live stream, but even in those bits and pieces of it, I learned so much! He's a great teacher, easy to understand and great visuals. He "walks around" the subject to give us different POV, tells us the negative/positive/neutral of the photo, and tips. Thank you, Ben!