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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    54

    That Look. How is it done?

    OK, I really hope you guys understand what I'm talking about but, my question is, how do good photographers get their pictures looking SO good? I mean it's one thing to be taking pics w/ a family camera of like the sky, but it seems when good photographers do it, it is just on a whole new level. Do u guys understand what I'm talking about?

    Anyway, I'm sure it's not easy what so ever to get them to seem this good, but what are some tips I could use to get them like that? Is it IQ? Angles? I dunno what exactly makes it different, but somehow it is.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    292
    Practice, practice, and more practice. I know you likely want a quick fix sort of answer/tip, but this is the only way to develop your skills.

    A very small portion of "the look" (and I do get what you are saying) is gear. better lenses generally giver sharper results, better detail, better bokeh, etc. but most of it comes down to the skill of the photographer.

    Luckily, with digital you can practice as much as you want, and not bankrupt yourself with processing and printing costs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    343
    Hi jcw122. Here is something you can try. First, read a book about photography, one that focuses on the pictures, not on the techniques. A good example are the books by Freeman Patterson.

    Go to the bargain shelves in your favorite bookstore, and see if there are any photo books there. For example, here in Canada Chapters is currently carrying Persistence of Vision by David Lubbers, stunning photos. Leafvthrough the books, and pick one with pics that appeal to you. Look at them carefully, figure out what you like and what makes them work. Or just look at them, period .

    Visit photo sites on the web and study the pictures there. Here on DC resource is a Photo Gallery forum. Again, study the ones that you think have that "SO good" feel about them.

    Oh, and take lots of photographs. After looking at them on your computer, just delete anything you don't like, but give it one day (at least) after looking at them for the first time. The second time around you may see some unexpected qualities . As far as I can tell, professional photographers are happy if 1 or 2% of what they take turns out well.
    Gerard Stafleu
    Gallery at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gstafleu

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Near St. Louis
    Posts
    3,528
    I would like to echo that some of it is gear, mainly the glass thats collecting the light. But again, most of it is the photographer, I read a book recently that changed the way I look at taking pictures now called understanding exposure by bryan peterson. Some of what "That look" might be is capturing what he calls is the correct exposure, he explains that according the cameras metering system there may be up to 6 "correct exposure" for a certain scene, what he means is that there are 6 different combination of shutter speed and aperature, that will produce a correct exposure at the ISO level you are shooting at, but really only one of those combinations will give you the creatively correct exposure. It really was an eye opener for me... it explained things differently than I was seeing them. an all around useful book...
    Nikon D90 | Sigma 10-20 HSM | DX 18-105 f3.5-5.6 VR | DX 55-200 VR | 35 f/2.0 D | 50 f/1.4 D | 85mm F/1.8 D | SB-800 x 3 | SU-800
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    2,364
    Take a total amatuer, like my wife, and if I put my 135L on my 20D and set it to f/2, under ideal conditions (lighting)there is no doubt, that if she takes a pic of flower, or me, it will look great. The picture would be sharp, bokeh, smooth and beautiful, and the contrast/color amazing.

    The gear has a lot to do with it. Now composition and perspective also are a huge deal. They make pictures into great photographs.

    I wondered for the longest time what it was that made certain pictures and movies, look the way they did. They looked professional. Turns out it was slightly undersaturated, smooth bokeh, and composed properly.
    US Navy--Hooyah!

    Nikon D700/D300|17-35 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, Sigmalux, 80-200 f/2.8, 16 f/2.8 fisheye,

    Lots of flashes and Honl gear.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Derbyshire, UK
    Posts
    2,505
    jcw122 what a good question that has received some very practical answers. Thanks guys, I'm sure the answers will be much appreciated by many others as well. Looks like I have found a couple of books to ask for as birthday presents thanks for the ideas.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    292
    Quote Originally Posted by Phill D
    jcw122 what a good question that has received some very practical answers. Thanks guys, I'm sure the answers will be much appreciated by many others as well. Looks like I have found a couple of books to ask for as birthday presents thanks for the ideas.
    Add this one:

    Phaidon Press' Robert Capa, The Definitive Collection

    I love Capa. Larger than life.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    2,124
    Keep in mind that there is also the "photoshop" effect.

    Tim

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    292
    Quote Originally Posted by timmciglobal
    Keep in mind that there is also the "photoshop" effect.

    Tim
    No matter how many filters you apply, Photoshop cant take a crappy picture and make it brilliant. or, as my granddaddy used to say, "no matter how many coats of gold paint you put on, a turd is still a turd!"

    But yeah, there are some cool techniques in photoshop to make a good picture "pop".

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Near St. Louis
    Posts
    3,528
    I have to add too that there is a method or skill called seeing the light. I can not stress the importance of this enough and the best way to understand what it means is to find it yourself. I read somewhere that a good practice to get into is to give yourself photographic goals. set a side a time to shoot. when you know when your time is then sit down and decide what you want to focus on, insects, churches, strangers taking a break in the park, children at play, sports, etc etc and then go shoot just that, keeping an eye peeled for those "Can't pass up shots as well." So lets say you do this and you choose churches. Lets also say you came home from a productive shoot and you have 100 photographes of churches, review them all ... and if you pay close enough attention there will be a hand full if you are lucky, it takes practice, there will be a handful of pictures that may jump out to you as being heads and shoulders above the rest because the lightening at that give time and or angle was perfect. If you don't already see it then you might not get one that has the perfect light for 500 shots, it took me a while but if you can start seeing the light when it will be most flattering on your subject or what angle exploits the best lightening you will enhance the pictures you take. I will admit I have yet to master it or even get a solid grasp on working to get the light in my favor but I have seen that it just happened in a few of my pictures and it just clicked for me and BAM a wonderful exposure. Of course composition helps too and mostly correct focus. That may seem simple enough but due to different circumstances when you get home you may find a picture or two that you thought was sharp not as sharp due to camera shake and or if you have focused on a point a good distance away, you may have moved the camera enough after locking focus and before tripping the shutter that your focus point was no longer on what you intended to be in sharp focus...
    Nikon D90 | Sigma 10-20 HSM | DX 18-105 f3.5-5.6 VR | DX 55-200 VR | 35 f/2.0 D | 50 f/1.4 D | 85mm F/1.8 D | SB-800 x 3 | SU-800
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