Wednesday, June 25, 2008

KL Wedding Expo: Part 2


Side Note: My life has suddenly become so unexpectedly happening these days... not much time to read and catch up with you beautiful people's blogs out there... my apologies !! When things clear up I shall try my best to keep track of whats happening in everyone's blog, and what I have missed out so far.

Here is the second part of the Bridal Fashion Show entry, a continuation from the previous one (click). I shall address the camera settings I have chosen for this particular shooting, and my reasons for the selections.

CHINESE THEMED DANCE PERFORMANCE








Apparently the results were no where near high grade yet, but do take into consideration the lower end equipments I am currently utilizing, but the purpose of all these shutter snapping frenzy I have been doing lately is to push myself further, and explore different categories of photography.

I have always had a special thing for photographing people, either portraits or any random events, and capturing the facial expression and the mood of the moment can be incredibly rewarding in many ways. (I know Brandon is going to suggest Macro 50mm F2.0 lens…this is getting predictable) However, it is not very easy taking pictures of people as subjects, and more often we undesirably fall into the norm conformity and the pictures will come out very, very ordinary.

I mean, come on, there are millions of pictures (thanks, and no thanks to digital photography) taken by anyone out there, and it takes a hell lot of effort and thoughts to produce stunning images that stand out from the rest. It is no simple task, and obviously I am extremely far from accomplishing that kind of level, but we all have to have something to aim for to nudge us towards the right direction, have we not?

FEATHERS












I am fairly new to this sort of sport, hence it is good to share and learn, to improve my control over the camera and gain valuable insights from you beautiful people out there. Any feedback and suggestions are welcomed, but do bear in mind that I am no superman and I cannot just turn pro over the night.

The only way to get where I am seeing myself to be years from now (God knows where that is) is to walk down the hard way, learn by mistakes, trial and error, and eventually I will do better and better. One huge part of learning process is listening to the honest opinions from the others, and I may not be totally open to negative comments (no one deserves to be demoralized), but anything constructive will be very helpful.

Here is the summary of the settings I have chosen for the fashion show:

All photos shot in Aperture Priority mode
ISO fixed to 800, with noise filter set to High
White Balance: In camera customized daylight, some shots Auto
Center focus zone, one point (mid) AutoFocus
Center-weighted metering
Underexposed by –0.3EV to –0.7EV
All photos shot in JPEG

AMBER CHIA !!!! WOO HOOO











First of all, let me start explaining why I was not shooting in RAW. I do not exactly have the most powerful computer in the market, and processing the images shot in RAW format would cripple the whole system so badly that you will think you are running on Intel Pentium 2 with 32Mb SDRAM.

It is an immense pain working with RAW at the moment, and processing hundreds of shots after one event is not exactly something I am looking forward to. In comparison to that, editing in JPEG is more than twice the speed, since the files are much smaller. Plus me having limited memory on compact flash (2Gb only, gotta get more soon) just made the idea of shooting in RAW quite unattractive.

Since I have no Image stabilization on my camera body or lens, I have to employ a few options to achieve blur free pictures. In stark contrast to what others may think, I do not exactly have super steady hands. I wonder who started that myth.. hmmm… One of the alternative would be boosting the ISO up to 800, and I could get shutter speed of more than 1/100s under the given lighting condition during the fashion show. To compensate for the increased noise level, I set the noise filter control to HIGH, hence I did lose some details, but much to my surprise the pictures still turn out reasonably crisp and clear. hah !! noise filter control is something only OLYMPUS dslr has at the moment… sucks to be you non Ollie users

Besides that, I cranked down the exposure compensation value to –0.3EV or even –0.7EV to obtain higher shutter speed. The models are moving constantly, and pausing for a short while for the standard poses, hence getting quicker shutter speed is an added bonus to freeze movements.








I think the noise level in the photos are safely on the tolerable side, and pretty much cleanable if I spend more time editing the pictures. Somehow, I do think that some of the pictures come out very dark, and I should not have underexpose the shots with longer zoom range too much. Lesson learned, and I shall adjust the exposure compensation accordingly to the zoom range in the future. I know I can edit the pictures in a way to enhance the brightness overall but hey, I would prefer to be able shoot a good picture on the spot, and the editing process is utilized not to save a wrongly exposed picture, but to enhance and improve the already good picture.

White balance is another issue. Usually I would capture the light color cast just as what I see naturally whithout much adjustments. I know the professionals would advise against this move, and trying to make everything as “white” as possible. To me, changing what you see into something more accurately white may seem to be a good idea to retain more details, but somehow, you will tend to fail to record the original feel and ambience.

TRADITIONAL WHITE










Looking at my pictures, I may have overdone the tungsten cast of the spotlights, leaving everything overly orangish. I know this can be easily corrected in Photoshop, but I chose to present it this way to remind myself that I must pay more attention on my white balance setting the next time I go out shooting under artificial lighting conditions. For now I prefer to produce warm images.

Autofocus of my Olympus E410 was quite reliable, and very snappy.

I generally would set my focus to the center zone, hence I would lock the autofocus and autoexposure by clicking the shutter halfway and recompose my picture quickly before releasing the shutter button. This is a common practise, and usually more accurate and reliable than the in-camera settings of multi-zone focus system and multi-pattern evaluative metering.

AMBER CHIAAA AGAIN !!








Depending on what kind of pictures you are taking of course, but for this event, the aforementioned settings worked just great, and as the pictures suggested, most of them are accurately focused and properly exposed. I would have tried spot metering, if I was standing at a more auspicious position.

Using my Ollie for a while now, I dare say that as an entry level DSLR, it is quite a capable one. The Olympus lenses I have may be in the lower end category, but the picture output was reasonably good. You would not expect it to out-perform more expensive and newer DSLRs out there, but hey, it does not mean you cannot take great pictures with it.

FINAL GROUP SHOTS








So guys, do give me your thoughts about the pictures I have taken so far (not limited ot this entry) and keep the comments coming. For some of you more experienced DSLR users, your precious opinion on the camera settings would be very, very much appreciated. If you ask me on how I could improve the shots, I can say two very obvious points: white balance, and composition/framing/timing wise (choosing a better spot for shooting would help a great deal). I am putting a lot of effort and thoughts in my phototaking lately, so feel free to say something !!

Man you gotta love Ollie.

19 comments:

  1. hey all i can say is i'm pretty sure u are getting better at what u do cos i don't understand a single thing u said. your entries are getting more and more flooded with geek talk! LOL

    -Marcus

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  2. Why on earth would you go to a wedding fair? U getting married? Make sure u invite me, eh? LOL!!!

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  3. hey marcus,
    thanks !! Oh dear... i think i must have overdone this entry..
    I will try to make things sound a lot simpler from now on...

    hey suituapui...
    u wait long long, im not going to get married anytime soon !! LOL

    Hmmmm, seems like my header is not loading from this end.. will get that fixed when I am home... sometime late tonite LOL...

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  4. My connection is kinda unstable so I didn't manage to view all of the pictures :(

    Some of the photos are too warm to me. Too warm until I feel the heat flowing out from the hot models. You're like, adding oil to the fire. I feel like going to strip the models naked, stop their sufferings from the heat after looking at your photos. Oopssss... what did I just said? LOL.

    Conclusion: Too warm to me lah, you might wanna correct the WB next time. Flash do help too in this kinda situation, I mean in capturing the moving models in low light condition *wink wink*

    So bz lately huh? So now is the best time for me to talk bad things behind you... muahahahahha

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  5. hey hao,
    LOL... fyi, flash is useless, they are like.... so far away LOL... do take note I was using tele lens.
    Plus, NONE of the others were using flash, only one guy with external flash did.
    aahahahaha... i love warm pictures. too bad for you guys LOL

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  6. hey robin, thanks for the quote.. :p

    yes, i would recommend you the 50f2, but for absolute versality and image quality, i'd recommend the 50-200swd... still thinking of stealing my lens? :p

    the 50f2 is exp ..almost rm 2k.. which is one of my complaints.. canon and nikon 50 1.8 is onli rm300!!! the onli other viable option would be the sigma 30mm 1.4 (which is the same price), and its brighter.. my onli gripe is that sigma lenses tend to have poor quality control

    about your settings:

    All photos shot in Aperture Priority mode
    ISO fixed to 800, with noise filter set to High (some websites eg. wrotniak.net recommend that you set it to LOW, and apply noise reduction in photoshop later during post processing)
    White Balance: In camera customized daylight, some shots Auto (custom white balance is very useful too)
    Center focus zone, one point (mid) AutoFocus (good choice, gifts the fastest autofocus speed)
    Center-weighted metering
    Underexposed by –0.3EV to –0.7EV (i usually don't underexpose, but its a good thing too to avoid clipping higlights)

    when shooting ppl, i usu have in on normal instead of vivid.. the colours are too intense for skin tones

    All photos shot in JPEG (i'm learning to shoot more in RAW now, and yes, u do need a good pc for that. i'm using a core 2 duo 2.13, and 4 gigs of RAM, and Lightroom uses lots of processing power. until i get a super large CF card eg 8gb, i'm content with shooting SHQ jpg)

    image stabilisation is very useful in low light photography, and perhaps in the future, u should seriously consider upgrading to the e520 (which is the price of the e3 less usd 1k).

    cheers

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  7. Actually you don't need a powerful system to process RAW. For me, I'm using DPP from Canon and that's all... I dislike using photoshop as sometimes I tend to overedit the picture... making it unusable later. My system is a pentium 4 3GHz with 1GB of RAM... My com doesn't hang when I'm editing RAW pictures.

    Don't underexpose when shooting in RAW. Yusuf Hashim has a useful article of that in Photomalaysia.

    50f2 is a macro lens and can't be compared with nikon or canon's 50mm... 4/3rd systems are different from your usual APS-C stuff. I shall not go into technical details here as it's boring. I really recommend the 50f2... it's a beauty... My Japanese photojournalist friend loves it on his E-3.

    Ahaha.. ah hao is winking when he mentioned flash.. meaning he's asking you to invest in a fl-36 or fl-50 :D Flash is also good. I use it for almost every situation.

    Don't worry about your warm pictures... Compositionally they're good. I've always admired your composition and love stealing ideas from you XD

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  8. hey guys !!!
    Thanks heaps for the feedback and pointers !! you guys rock.

    Hey brandon..
    ahahhaa.. ur tempting me more and more to steal ur lens LOL... since im pretty much cashless at the moment.
    how much difference is the quality difference with the sigma though? Is it like really huge? if it is tolerable I wouldnt mind getting one sigma, considering my budget.
    Thanks for the pointers. Yeah, i should have set the noise filter to low, reduce the sharpness by one or two notch, but I guess I was just lazy to edit much ahahhahaa...

    eh crazy, i no money go get a new dslr liaw lar, gonna be stuck with my E410 for quite some time LOL !!!

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  9. hey eugene !!

    Whoah... getting input from u is really something !! thanks.
    For now, what I have gathered from many professional reviews is that the best compression setting for Olympus dslrs is quite good, and does not differ much in terms of quality in comparison to RAW, and the picture output is still very flexible in editing. You gotta admit 2GB CF card is NOT enough for me to shoot in RAW !!!!

    Whoah, thanks for the note, I shall expose properly the next time i jump into RAW shooting.

    I know the 50mm macro is a beauty... but the price is a killer !!!

    Would love external flash too, many people are getting it... but i shall leave that out for the time being, probably filters and lenses are more necesary for my kind of shooting at this stage.

    Anyway, thanks heaps dude for your compliments. But I do not think my pics are steal-worthy LOL... U should have a blog too so I can STEAL urs !! Now thats something ahahahahaha

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  10. I also think eugene should open a blog or something lor..
    its a sin for not showing good photos to the people XD

    Anyway,..I'm here to curi the comments~~ wahahahaha
    free tips XD

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  11. hey akira miao,
    yaloh thos professionals are so kind to share some tips with us... ahahah we must take advantage of it !!

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  12. Great pics you've got there. :D

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  13. eugene.. i do agree that because of the fact that its a macro lens, its price is somewhat justified. its just that i'm envious of canon and nikon who produce f1.4 lenses at the same price. abt pc systems, i guess it boils down to ur processing preferences. i like lightroom very mch and it needs a heap of power to perform to its best

    robin, some reviews of the sigma lens are here
    http://www.popphoto.com/cameralenses/4269/lens-test-sigma-30mm-f14-ex-dc-hsm-af.html

    http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/176/cat/30

    "Optically, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM performs quite well, albeit not quite up to the level we'd been expecting. That said though, it does deliver very good performance and build quality at a very affordable price: No other lens currently on the market really delivers the bang for the buck that this one does at its price point."

    a great review of the 50 f2 here:
    http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/zd-50m.html

    as i quote:
    "if you feel tempted, do not think much longer; get one now." lol!

    in short..
    if u want a very large aperture for general purpose photog, go for sigma

    for image quality and macro photog, choose the 50 macro..

    if u have too much $.. leica!!!

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  14. check this out too:

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/sigma/30mm-f14.htm

    cheers

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  15. hey ah lost,
    thanks !!!

    hey brandon,
    whoahhhh... thank for the sharing ur thoughts and the direct links too, ur da best !!
    yeah, if sigma is really affordable, and at a decent quality... it might be something i will get next LOL...
    well, for macro pictures i will be sticking to my cheap macro filter at the moment, it does its job, though theres trade off for sharpness and contrast.
    Leica lens.. now thats .....SLURRRRRPPP !!!

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  16. Hahaha... Brandon... LEICA lens... banyak rachun oh... Their 90mm f2 is a killer for portraiture XD Super sharp.

    Yeah brandon, lightroom is very good XD I haven't got myself a copy of it. I will someday :D Need to make a trip to the pirated DVD store. Oh yeah, I'm quite lazy when it comes to post processing RAW. That's why I use Canon's easy to use software XD

    Robin, for the sigma lens... you kinda have to test it with your ollie first so that it doesn't have front and back focusing problems. It's quite common among third party manufacturers although sigma is quite trustworthy. I really recommend the 50f2. Once u get that, you won't use another lens for portraiture and macro XD. For the flash, just get the simple one without the R like FL-50 and not FL-50R...the remote thingy costs extra and i think it's not that necessary since it's cheaper to save for cheaper flashes and wireless triggers for creative lighting :D

    Haha... my pics not so nice ler... I'm just a noob shooter also... I love to shoot candid and kawaii ladies only XD

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  17. hey eugene,
    wah siaw, Leica... if only money falls down from sky, then I will be getting one !!
    Aiyooo the macro lens so expensive lar... have to settle for something cheaper ahahahaha me so cashless at the moment. Hope it rains money soon.
    Wah LAU !!! GOt kawaii girls pictures NEVER SHARE !!!!
    The more reasons u should blog !!

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  18. Thanks for the tips about the sigma firmware compatibility thing. If I do happen to check it out, will take note of that.
    Im afraid wont be getting flash anytime soon also lar, spending quite heavily already, now whats important is to get polarizer (a super cheap one) since i shoot landscape a lot, and a sturdy and NICE LOOKING sexy bag ahahahahahaha... my current bag is quite ugly.

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  19. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Joannah

    http://transcendmemory.net

    ReplyDelete