Even though we ARE Nikon lovers,we are NOT affiliated with Nikon Corp. in any way.

English German French

Sign up Login
Home Forums Articles Galleries Recent Photos Contest Help Search News Workshops Shop Upgrade Membership Recommended
members
All members Wiki Contests Vouchers Apps Newsletter THE NIKONIAN™ Magazines Podcasts Fundraising

Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography

Pookoo

Houston, US
90 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author
Pookoo Registered since 08th Dec 2010
Mon 24-Sep-12 02:59 AM

What settings do you guys use to obtain ultra sharp outdoor portrait photography in ample lighting? Any tips here?

* Tripod?
* VR off when applicable?
* Spot Metering?

Which lens would be the best combo:


AF-S Nikkor 200mm F/2 VR
AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F/2.8G ED VR
AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm F/2.8G ED
AF-S Nikkor 85mm F/1.4G
AF-S Nikkor 50mm F/1.4G
AF-S Nikkor 24mm F/1.4G ED Wide

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

blw

Richmond, US
28713 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to send message via AOL IM

#1. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 0

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004
Mon 24-Sep-12 02:14 AM

A tripod. Spot metering doesn't help (or hurt) sharpness. VR setting to suit - on where applicable, off where not. As for which lens, whichever one suits the particular image being created. Sorry for the seemingly flip answer, but that's literally what I do.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

Devek

Tucson, US
88 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#2. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 1

Devek Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Jun 2012
Mon 24-Sep-12 02:37 AM


I agree.

The most important thing: Don't move = Tripod. If you can, use a shutter delay, or a remote to fire the shots... but than again, mountains and the sunset don't move much when you click...

---
D800, D7000

My Website: www.DevekMaga.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Hawk Eyes

US
167 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#3. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 0

Hawk Eyes Registered since 09th Jun 2012
Mon 24-Sep-12 03:45 AM

Ample lighting, well with the right shutter speed for portraits, you do not need a tripod and for super sharp photos of people F5 to f8 is the best. ISO 100 to 3200 is great. I use the 24-70 2.8 and the 70-200 2.8 for all my work. All my action stuff in direct sun light is shot at 1/5000...F4...Auto ISO. I only use a tripod when shooting Land scape with a low shutter and low ISO. This is how I shoot with my D800E. If you search Hawk eyes you can see some of my work with natural light and strobes.
Good luck

dsouleles

Great Falls, US
162 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#4. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 0

dsouleles Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Mar 2009
Mon 24-Sep-12 12:33 PM

Hi -

The 85mm is the classic portrait lens - it allows you to get comfortable subject to camera distance and shallow depth of field to separate the subject from the background.

I would shoot at F/2.8 or F/4 depending on how far away the background is - I like it completly soft - just soft color and light.

With the high resolution of the D800 you'll get maximum sharpness with a sturdy tripod and ball head - but with shallow depth of field subject movement of even an inch will move the eye out of focus and make the picture look soft - so you need your subject to hold the pose while you shoot.

You will be shooting at fairly high shutter speeds in good ligt at F/2.8 or 4 so a tripod is not absolutely necessary - but it takes camera movement out of the equation and you'll get more keepers.

Put one of your focus points on the subject's nearest eye. I shoot AF-C and shoot in bursts of 2 or 3. Take a lot of frames - 100 frames is not too many too get one killer shot. If you think you have an image you like - use image review and zoom right in to the eye to check for sharpness - it will be obvious.

Composition is just as important as settings - be very aware of your background - watch out for really bright spots - beware of reds and yellows - they will compete with your subject for the viewer's eye.

To determine exposure you need to decide what kind of look you are going for. If you want high key - position your subject's back to the sun and expose for the skin tones - the background will wash out a give a very cool looking glow. This can be a great look for a female Senior Portrait. If you don't like that look, expose for the background and try an off camera flash or a bounce card to fill shadows (a piece of white matte board or foam core works great).

If you are really serious about portrait photography you need to learn about and be deliberate with your lighting. Consider a book like "Master Lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers" by Christopher Grey.

Good luck - let us see the results!

Dean

Dean Souleles Photography
www.dsoulphoto.com

Pookoo

Houston, US
90 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#5. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 4

Pookoo Registered since 08th Dec 2010
Mon 24-Sep-12 05:59 PM | edited Mon 24-Sep-12 06:02 PM by Pookoo

Thanks for the help.

Here is a shot from this weekend of my 2 year old... Would love your feedback on how to improve.

One of my main issues with him is getting him to be still for more than a split second. He's a non stop busy body...

https://images.nikonians.org/galleries/showphoto.php/photo/393594

https://images.nikonians.org/galleries/showphoto.php/photo/393593

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

dhmiller

US
899 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#6. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 0

dhmiller Silver Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 19th May 2009
Mon 24-Sep-12 09:03 PM

Don't forget Mirror Up - use a remote and lick once to raise the mirror, then about 2 seconds later, click again to trip the shutter.
And weight down the tripod if there is any ind at all.
D

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

JosephK

Seattle, WA, US
7113 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#7. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 5

JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006
Mon 24-Sep-12 10:22 PM | edited Mon 24-Sep-12 10:24 PM by JosephK

Both are great shots. Love the green background in n1.

All the EXIF data is missing, but except for some minor post-processing tweaks, what parts are you looking to improve on? You have the shallow DOF, no motion blur, good focus, nice backgrounds.
(These two shots may not be the best examples of "I need to improve". )

---------+---------+---------+---------+
Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, 50mm f/1.4 D,
17-55mm f/2.8 DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

gpoole

Farmington Hills, US
4133 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#8. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 0

gpoole Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundrasing Campaing 2014 Writer Ribbon awarded for his article contributions for the Articles library and the eZine Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004
Mon 24-Sep-12 10:28 PM

One additional suggestion. Don't go smaller than f/5.6 of f/8. Beyond that diffraction will reduce the sharpness of the image.

Gary in SE Michigan, USA.
Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera.
D4, D810, D300 (720nm IR conversion), D90, F6, FM3a (black), FM2n (chrome)
YashicaMat 124, Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5
My Nikonians Gallery & Our Chapter Gallery

Ray Gerke

winnipeg, CA
633 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#9. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 8

Ray Gerke Registered since 12th Sep 2004
Tue 25-Sep-12 02:34 AM

Hi there
I guess your key point is the subject moves a lot.
Therefore tripod wont work well. I would go for wide open aperture to get max light and therefore fast shutter speed. anything faster than 1/500th should stop any person from moving. and shooting with bursts means you should get some great keepers.
I agree with above that about 80mm or longer is good for portraits. basically if the subject is moving a lot and you want sharp shots the shutter speed is the key variable I think.

Ray Gerke

D800, D5300, D2HS, D700 (sold), D7000(sold), CP520, CP510
Nikkor 24mm f/1.4, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, Nikkor 58mm f/1.4, Nikkor 85mm f/1.4, Nikkor 14-24 F/2.8, Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8, Nikkor 24-120VR, Nikkor Micro 60mm f/2.8, Nikkor Micro 105mm f/2.8VR, Nikkor 10.5 DX
Sigma 30mm f/1.4, Sigma 150-500mm OS

My mapped photos from around the world

dsouleles

Great Falls, US
162 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#10. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 5

dsouleles Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Mar 2009
Tue 25-Sep-12 02:37 AM | edited Tue 25-Sep-12 02:39 AM by dsouleles

Nice job! I like the second image much more. The background is beautiful. Your son has a wonderful expresision and the pose is great. Your technique is good - nice backlit exposure. Good lens choice.

One area to think about is composition. It's easy to put subjects right in the center of the frame. Images composed that way lack energy. In both shots your son is like a bullseye - right in the middle of the frame. If you divide the frame into thirds, like a tic-tac-toe grid, you can think about placing important subject elements, like a face, at one of the intersecting lines. You'll hear this described as the "rule of thirds". Another thing to think about is filling the frame with subject. In a portrait we usually want to see more subject and less background. Here is a crop of your shot showing what I mean. You see how much bigger your son is in the frame? And we don't really lose any context with this crop. Try for that in-camera and you'll be able to print it poster size - no problem.

Click on image to view larger version


I know what you mean about kids jumping around - kids and dogs! Mirror lockup and some of the other suggestions don't really apply to this kind of shooting. You just have to take a lot of frames. If you don't have one, I'd think about getting a speedlight - it will give you much more flexibility for adding fill to shot like this, and will put a great little sparkle (catch light) in your son's eye that would make this picture pop!

Good luck,

Dean
Attachment#1 (jpg file)

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Hawk Eyes

US
167 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#11. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 0

Hawk Eyes Registered since 09th Jun 2012
Tue 25-Sep-12 03:43 AM | edited Tue 25-Sep-12 09:23 AM by Hawk Eyes

Try what I said in my first post. Shutter no lower then 1/800 to 1/5000 for action and moving people hand held. you do not need a tripod for portraits. It is all about how much light you use and is available. If you want me to post photo Examples to help you see what I am talking about let me know.
Nice shots by the way.

richardd300

Dyserth, UK
4578 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#12. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 11

richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009
Tue 25-Sep-12 07:39 AM | edited Tue 25-Sep-12 07:40 AM by richardd300

I take wildlife and landscape images and there are tripods and tripods. Try and buy the sturdiest you can afford. I do a lot of 30sec + images and it makes a world of difference. If the tripod is slightly lightweight, but has a hook for suspending a cradle with a heavy object use that. I always match a tripod to the weight of my kit plus 25%.

Personally for landscapes if I am taking non slow shutter shots I tend to get the highest shutter speed (1/1000 +) at about f16 - f20 to ensure good DOF, that applies handheld or tripod, but in either case never, never with VR on.

Spot metering, yes if you need to bring out eg. foreground rocks etc. But with landscapes it's best to use a ND filter so the sky isn't overexposed. Otherwise use Matrix.

For kids, other portraits and my wildlife high shutter speeds at around f8.

That's just my methodology

Richard


Visit my Nikonians gallery

Visit my website www.pixels4u.co.uk
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Einstein

Pookoo

Houston, US
90 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#13. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 11

Pookoo Registered since 08th Dec 2010
Tue 25-Sep-12 05:10 PM

>Try what I said in my first post. Shutter no lower then 1/800
>to 1/5000 for action and moving people hand held. you do not
>need a tripod for portraits. It is all about how much light
>you use and is available. If you want me to post photo
>Examples to help you see what I am talking about let me know.
>Nice shots by the way.

Hawk Eye - examples would be great. Thank you!

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Hawk Eyes

US
167 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#14. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 13

Hawk Eyes Registered since 09th Jun 2012
Tue 25-Sep-12 11:38 PM | edited Tue 25-Sep-12 11:58 PM by Hawk Eyes

Here are three examples of different lighting techniques I used for two nationally published magazines, all hand held, no tripod:

1. The girl with the green eyes was shot with natural light and a gold reflector at f2.8, shutter 1/160, ISO 100, hand held.

2. The photo with the beach volleyball player was shot in direct sunlight at f4, shutter 1/5000, ISO 200, hand held.

3. The photo of the girl in the dress was shot with 2 strobes and a beauty dish at f8, shutter 1/250, ISO around 400, hand held.

Although the D800/D800E needs to have a higher shutter speed to be hand held to get tack sharp photos, the volleyball player and the girl in the dress were shot with the D800E. The girl with the green eyes was shot with a 5D Mark II. As you can see, all of these were hand held and tack sharp. For getting tack sharp portraits, hand held the most important thing is how you light the subject and the shutter speed. I never meter and I always go by my eye. After the shot, always zoom in to see if your focus points are sharp. Trial and error with lighting and learning what works best for you, IMO, is the way to go, as there are many ways to get great photos. These are techniques that I have learned from photographers that I respect.

Good luck. If you have any more questions, just ask.

Click on image to view larger version



Click on image to view larger version



Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Attachment#2 (jpg file)
Attachment#3 (jpg file)

Pookoo

Houston, US
90 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#15. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 14

Pookoo Registered since 08th Dec 2010
Wed 26-Sep-12 12:48 AM | edited Wed 26-Sep-12 12:49 AM by Pookoo

These are incredible photos and thank you for a very informative post!

Can you also tell me what lenses were used for each photo?

I will try some things out and get back.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Hawk Eyes

US
167 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#16. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 15

Hawk Eyes Registered since 09th Jun 2012
Wed 26-Sep-12 01:36 AM

Thank you very much,

#1 Canon 70-200 2.8 II

#2 Nikon 70-200 2.8 II

#3 Nikon 24-70 2.8

I only shoot with these two lenses, and Tc- convertors for longer shots. I use Light room 4, Cs6 and also use a program called "Pano edit" for a Mac when I want to stitch landscape panoramas for galleries. Both lenses are tack sharp and cover everything I need for my style. !

Good luck. will be good to see what you come up with

Pookoo

Houston, US
90 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#17. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 16

Pookoo Registered since 08th Dec 2010
Thu 04-Oct-12 12:57 AM

Here's another shot. F2.8, 1/320...

I'm still not there yet. But will keep working. Need to get that swing completely still...

Click on image to view larger version

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

dsouleles

Great Falls, US
162 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#18. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 17

dsouleles Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Mar 2009
Fri 05-Oct-12 11:21 AM

Hi -

This is a really nice portait - I like the framing of the swing focusing my eye on your son's face. The angles are really nice - the triangle formed by the swing and his legs re-inforces the composition. The lighting is spot on. Nice job.

Now to your comment. What you are seeing is not motion blur from the swing, it's the shallow depth of field at F/2.8. Also, your focus is just slightly off - the sharpest part of the image is not the eyes, but the metal bar just behind his head. At 2.8, at around 100mm from this distance you only have about an inch of maximum sharpness - because of the very shallow depth of field - sharpness will fall off quickly as soon as you get out of that plane. With movement of the swing it's going to be difficult to nail focus on the eye - and even when you do the swing will look slightly soft due to the shallow depth of field. Try this again at F/4 and F/5.6 and you'll see a big differrence in apparent sharpness. It will crisp up the background a bit - but every choice you make is a compromise.

Good luck and keep shooting.

Dean


Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Pookoo

Houston, US
90 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#19. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 18

Pookoo Registered since 08th Dec 2010
Fri 05-Oct-12 07:52 PM

Thanks for the comments and informative feedback.

I will try it again at smaller aperture.

I agree, the focus is off. But I'm not sure why, I had the focus spot doing a bulls eye on her eye...

Live and learn....live and learn...

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Benkoop

Amsterdam, NL
122 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#20. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 14

Benkoop Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Sep 2009
Sat 06-Oct-12 09:29 AM | edited Sat 06-Oct-12 09:30 AM by Benkoop

Great shots Pete, I specialy like the portret. Your pictures 'pop'. Would you tell what sharpeningtool(s) you use in pp?


Regards,
Wim

Timeshifte

Dayton, US
206 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#21. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 20

Timeshifte Gold Member Nikonian since 10th May 2012
Sat 06-Oct-12 01:33 PM

Have you calibrated your lens? I used FoCal software and found my D800E was slightly backfocusing on most of my lens. Made a difference.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Pookoo

Houston, US
90 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#22. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 21

Pookoo Registered since 08th Dec 2010
Sat 06-Oct-12 04:40 PM

No I have not calibrated. Will try it out. Thanks.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

dsouleles

Great Falls, US
162 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#23. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 22

dsouleles Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Mar 2009
Sat 06-Oct-12 05:15 PM

Hi -

You probably don't need to calibrate your lens. Again, you are shooting 100mm at F/2.8 which has very shallow depth of field with a moving subject - maybe 1 inch at the distance you are shooting from. If you get good focus on still subjects, you are fine, no lens adjustment needed.

The highest probability is that your son was swinging and you missed focus, it could be focus settings, or it could be you just missed with that shot.

What focus settings are you using?

For most subjects, but especially moving subjects and sports - I use AF-C (continuous auto focus), and 21 or 51 point dynamic area mode - that combination tracks moving subjects really well.

I set AF-priority selection to Release+focus - which favors getting the shot over perfect focus. But I also shoot continuous low or high - and squeeze off three or four frames for each shot. Sometimes the first shot is a little off by by the second frame the AF system has caught up and nailed it.

This will work with AF activiation set to Shutter/AF-ON or AF-ON only. I prefer AF-ON only - if you do this you just need to press and hold the AF-ON button with your thumb while you are shooting.

In any case - with a moving subject it is very difficult for anyone, with any camera, to nail precise focus on an eye when shooting at F/2.8 - you need both good technique and luck which means you need to take a lot of frames.

Good luck!


Dean

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Hawk Eyes

US
167 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author

#24. "RE: Ultra Sharp Outdoor Photography" | In response to Reply # 20

Hawk Eyes Registered since 09th Jun 2012
Mon 08-Oct-12 07:18 AM

Thank you, all of the photos I have posted have been edited in "Light room 4" with the sliders and mask options.
You can pin point sharpen with a mask and use as many options and layers as you would like.
Everything you see in the photos are basic edits. Once you get a little understanding of light room post starts to become fun =)
Thanks Pete

G