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shutterspeed
3rd December 2016, 04:17 PM
Hello everyone,

Now that I've got my Olympus E-M10 with it's 14/42mm kit lens and a helios lens, I'd like your help in practising how to make the best of taking photographs.

Can you recommend any ideas of what objects to take photos of? How can I get a cool bokeh effect? How can I make sure the photos are really vibrant?

Looking forward to hear from you all *chr

Graham_of_Rainham
3rd December 2016, 05:19 PM
The subjects you photograph is, and always will be, your choice entirely.

Golden "rule": it's all about the light...

To get an out of focus background you need a shallow depth of field. This can be achieved with very fast lenses or longer focal length lenses. With a 14-42 lens, shooting a subject at 42mm positioned at the minimum focus distance will produce a far more OOF background than if shot with the lens at the wider angle length.

Fortunately all the settings you use for your images are recorded in the files, so you can experiment with different settings and see the results along with the settings that you used.

To really learn quickly, switch to Manual Mode and adjust the settings to get the effects you want. Vibrant subjects can look very dull with insufficient light, so look at using a flash or lamps to give you well illuminated subjects.

Red is by far the most vibrant colour but also look for complimenting colours that create a vibrancy.

Most important of all is have fun.

*chr

shutterspeed
3rd December 2016, 05:24 PM
The subjects you photograph is, and always will be, your choice entirely.

Golden "rule": it's all about the light...

To get an out of focus background you need a shallow depth of field. This can be achieved with very fast lenses or longer focal length lenses. With a 14-42 lens, shooting a subject at 42mm positioned at the minimum focus distance will produce a far more OOF background than if shot with the lens at the wider angle length.

Fortunately all the settings you use for your images are recorded in the files, so you can experiment with different settings and see the results along with the settings that you used.

To really learn quickly, switch to Manual Mode and adjust the settings to get the effects you want. Vibrant subjects can look very dull with insufficient light, so look at using a flash or lamps to give you well illuminated subjects.

Red is by far the most vibrant colour but also look for complimenting colours that create a vibrancy.

Most important of all is have fun.

*chr


That's very helpful, thanks Graham. I try to avoid using flash as it looks too fake or the subjects are too bright. But if I turn flash off, then I get the problem of the image being blurry/shaky. I don't know how to avoid this.

wanderer
3rd December 2016, 06:23 PM
There will be guidance in your handbook about image stabilisation.
Certainly use a higher ISO (I generally use 800 or 1600 if its dull) and don't go for more than F8.
I'm not sure how expert you are but I also find, hold the camera comfortably (either landscape or Portrait), elbows in, left hand supporting the body, right hand operating the shutter. Squeeze the shutter on a gentle breathe out.
If you hold your breath, your body starts to compensate and your pulse rises and starts to pound. That can lead to camera shake. Think zen and relax, after all its a Japanese camera.:D

shutterspeed
4th December 2016, 12:44 AM
Thanks wanderer. I think my olympus camera settings are messed. Is there any guide with a list of what recommended settings to use for beginners?

George Dorn
4th December 2016, 01:35 AM
You might reset the camera to factory settings, then turn on the advanced menu items if they have disappeared (Menu button, Wrench, Gear/Accessory Port Menu Display)

Google 'exposure triangle'

Google 'Turn on Olympus SCP'

There's nothing wrong with the 'P' setting altough iAuto will prevent you from interfering with what the camera thinks is best for you. Coming from an Oly film camera, I was most comfortable starting to branch out with with aperture priority first.

Try bracketing shots (you can set the camera to do this automatically) and check the results against the exif data.

Look through the viewfinder in consideration of what you see, not what is there. I still have trouble because I tend to see what I wanted to be there.

Take more photos than read articles and remember that soon YOU will be the best person to decide if an image works or not! Having said that, consider constructive criticism gracefully.

Don't take what internet 'experts' say as Gospel :D

sdb123
4th December 2016, 08:57 AM
A useful guide for setting up your camera can be found here (https://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/the-robin-wongs-om-d-camera-cheat-sheet.html).

There are many different sources in learning about photography so what may work for others may not be right for you...the internet is full of guides/tips, etc. however as above, use what works for you - not everyone or everything is correct!

For me, when I started out, I read the book Understanding Exposure (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Understanding-Exposure-Fourth-Photographs-Camera/dp/1607748509/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480841828&sr=8-1&keywords=understanding+exposure)and basically went from there.

George Dorn
4th December 2016, 09:47 AM
+1 for Understanding Exposure. It is a very good read.

Ricoh
4th December 2016, 10:33 AM
Hello everyone... Can you recommend any ideas of what objects to take photos of?

Looking forward to hear from you all *chr
You could go out and take photos of anything that grabs your eye, objects, landscapes, abstracts, even people if you wish. All of which will provide opportunity in using the camera (set to P mode and sit back) to develop the necessary skills, and also to tune your eye. As Graham said, it's all about the light, but then throw in composition and subject interest.
A quick way up the learning curve is to immerse yourself in images from the acknowledged great photographers, available as books from a decent library or on-line browsing. For guidance on composition you can't go far wrong by reading 'The Art of Photography'.

Graham_of_Rainham
4th December 2016, 01:22 PM
I try to avoid using flash as it looks too fake or the subjects are too bright. But if I turn flash off, then I get the problem of the image being blurry/shaky. I don't know how to avoid this.

Flash is one of the best light sources available to you, but you have to learn how to use it. Direct flash straight from the gun, is very harsh and will look "fake". The trick is to modify the light with a diffuser. This can be as simple as layers of tissue paper/cloth through to small soft box attachments. I use milk cartons lined with foil to bounce the flash off, as well as a white card. If there is a ceiling in the room, bouncing off that is often very successful as it mimics overhead sunlight.

Have a look at these sites:

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials.htm

https://luminous-landscape.com/category/understanding-series/

http://petapixel.com/2014/07/03/best-free-online-photography-courses-tutorials/

*chr

shutterspeed
4th December 2016, 01:49 PM
Thanks for the advice guys. Unfortunately I'm very disappointed to say that I've tried following some of yours and robin wong's settings, but the photos seem of very poor quality...they are noisy, no vibrancy and don't look any different from a cheap smartphone photo. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

Ricoh
4th December 2016, 01:58 PM
As a suggestion, post some of your images here for advice.
Are you shooting JPEG or RAW, or both. You will get far more control if you shoot RAW and process in LR (Lightroom) or similar. RAW is the equivalent of negatives, JPEGS are the prints.

sdb123
4th December 2016, 01:59 PM
What mode was the dial in? Have a look at one of the photos and look at the Info, what does it say? ISO, f/stop, shutter speed. Post the photo if necessary.

What light were you trying to take images in? Whilst the kit-lens is okay, you may be expecting too much from it...with the information above, it'd be easier to help you out.

:)

shutterspeed
4th December 2016, 02:23 PM
As requested I've attached 4 unedited photos.

Just to be clear, these photos have been taken indoor, but it's a very bright day and my room has lots of sunshine. There might be a shadow or so, but that's most likely because a person was standing nearby.

The first two are with a kit-lens and other two are with Helios-44 lens. The issues are that the images:-


are very noisy
don't look high-resolution (more like smartphone photos)
blurry
very dull



http://www.tiikoni.com/tis/view/?id=8d9622f
http://www.tiikoni.com/tis/view/?id=2295051
http://www.tiikoni.com/tis/view/?id=b3d591f
http://www.tiikoni.com/tis/view/?id=024cc67

sdb123
4th December 2016, 02:36 PM
Just looking at the images quickly....the last two images are clearly not in focus (particulary the 3rd image of the 4). Did you choose the focus point yourself? The fourth image looks like you were probably past the Minimum Focus Distance (MFD) of the lens (but I could be wrong). EDIT: you would have been manual focusing with the Helios lens...did you input the focal length to tell IBIS what it needed to do? Did you use focus peaking and/or magnification to help you take the shot?

With regards to the first two, both are at ISO1600 and have relatively slow shutter speeds - was IBIS on? Did you select the focus point (and what AF points were you using?).

Graham_of_Rainham
4th December 2016, 02:39 PM
I think you would be well served by popping along to your local Camera Club and asking them for some help.

Have a look at this one:

http://bradfordphoto.org.uk/index.php/2014-09-11-13-48-57/programme/bpsevents-2/meetings-2

*chr

shutterspeed
4th December 2016, 02:45 PM
Thanks sdb123. This is the problem....I simply don't know what each function of the fuji to set it to. I know robin wong's website shows some settings, but these don't work for me.

shutterspeed
4th December 2016, 03:00 PM
I think you would be well served by popping along to your local Camera Club and asking them for some help.

Have a look at this one:

http://bradfordphoto.org.uk/index.php/2014-09-11-13-48-57/programme/bpsevents-2/meetings-2

*chr

Thanks Graham. I've emailed them, but their email address bounces back, so either they've stopped the club or must have a server problem. :(

BTW, how could you tell I'm from bradford? :eek:

Graham_of_Rainham
4th December 2016, 03:34 PM
BTW, how could you tell I'm from bradford? :eek:

IP address. (available only to Admin) ;)

Had you been closer, I'd have offered some tuition.

shutterspeed
4th December 2016, 03:40 PM
lol....I see. Yeah I wish I was closer. I will give them a call on monday.

shutterspeed
5th December 2016, 09:07 AM
Hi,

Just to update....


Olympus have declined to cover the camera under their warranty as I don't have a receipt :(

I've requested to join the photography group and they have responded, stating that for the next 2 weeks, they have a speaker and some xmas do. But I plan to join them in January in the hope I can get some help and advise on how to setup and use my camera.


BTW, does anyone else attend/has attended similar groups to these? If so, what should I expect? Will people show me how to best use the camera and how to set it up?

Ricoh
5th December 2016, 09:36 AM
What should you expect from attendance at a Camera Club you ask.

Well, for one, death by sitting in the dark looking at photos of dogs, bridges, flowers etc, whilst a guest judge awards points to each. . I can still hear the judge's voice "I'll give this one '13 1/2' because it's slightly blurred..."
At half time, coffee or tea dispensed in plastic cups by ladies reminiscent of a mothers Union.
Members who at the drop of a hat will bore you rigid talking about their Canon or Nikon hardware, and how their 5D mkiV can take a wicked image of a vase of flowers at 200 yards with their 70-210 f2.8.
I've attended two separate camera clubs, never to return. My first visit was on a competition evening (as if photography can be remotely competitive) and I escaped shortly after half time pretending I was off to the toilet!

shutterspeed
5th December 2016, 09:43 AM
What should you expect from attendance at a Camera Club you ask.

Well, for one, death by sitting in the dark looking at photos of dogs, bridges, flowers etc, whilst a guest judge awards points to each. . I can still hear the judge's voice "I'll give this one '13 1/2' because it's slightly blurred..."
At half time, coffee or tea dispensed in plastic cups by ladies reminiscent of a mothers Union.
Members who at the drop of a hat will bore you rigid talking about their Canon or Nikon hardware, and how their 5D mkiV can take a wicked image of a vase of flowers at 200 yards with their 70-210 f2.8.
I've attended two separate camera clubs, never to return. My first visit was on a competition evening (as if photography can be remotely competitive) and I escaped shortly after half time pretending I was off to the toilet!

Well that's put me off these clubs for life *zzz :D :p

Ricoh
5th December 2016, 10:04 AM
Well that's put me off these clubs for life *zzz :D :p

Glad I could be of service!

And if you turned up with, or talking about, a M4/3 they would pour scorn on you and your equipment, "toy cameras" they would say. "Get yourself a proper man's camera".

AMc
5th December 2016, 12:28 PM
Regarding the first two pictures of the little person - I'm assuming they're bouncing about? Shutter speed needs to be higher to "freeze" the action or you end up with a reasonably sharp background and blurred moving figure.
If you're missing focus with the 14-42mm lens you might want to try using the "touch to focus" and/or "touch to shoot" function on the screen. The square icon on the screen will cycle between disabling touch, touch to set the focus point and touch to focus and shoot.
I usually set my camera to "touch to shoot" when handing it over to others and tell them to hold the camera steady and "touch my face" :) That means the camera will autofocus on my mug and then fire the shutter then it is in focus.
When I'm using my camera I tend to use "touch to focus" to choose where in the image the camera is autofocusing then use the shutter button to actually take the image.

It's worth noting that in the UK at this time of year even on a "bright day" there's not a lot of light indoors. The human eye is miraculous at dealing with variation in lighting and the colour temperature of light, giving you a clear view at most times. Digital cameras are less capable so you have to understand the limitations and work within them.

Crazy Dave
5th December 2016, 02:02 PM
Whoooa!

Steve's description of camera clubs strikes a chord BUT Graham's suggestion should not be dismissed out of hand. I belong to a vibrant club where members are working hard to assist those just starting out on their photographic journey. I've never heard anyone thrust their opinions of different makes on others although naturally people enthuse about their choice of weaponry and why not?

Yes, there can be things you will not enjoy, why not try? Embrace the useful, ignore the dross which is what one does in most things in life.

Learn the craft, move on to the art. When you have mastered the former, plot your own course. Best of luck, you chose good kit to get started, be patient, it's a wonderful journey.

David

Graham_of_Rainham
5th December 2016, 03:31 PM
I visit a lot of clubs both as a judge and to provide tuition.

There is a vast range of clubs, offering everything from the dross as described, to the clubs that are far more interested in the practical side of photography, post processing and image creation.

The most efficient way to learn is from other people's mistakes, and if someone is willing to provide hints and tips, buy them a coffee and listen...

By the way, I leave my camera set to iAuto when it's in the bag. I've got some excellent shots, by just switching it on and shooting without thinking.

*chr

The Technician
5th December 2016, 03:48 PM
By the way, I leave my camera set to iAuto when it's in the bag. I've got some excellent shots, by just switching it on and shooting without thinking.

*chr

I never thought of that, the shots I have missed because the camera was not set up!!

Petrochemist
5th December 2016, 05:17 PM
What should you expect from attendance at a Camera Club you ask.

Well, for one, death by sitting in the dark looking at photos of dogs, bridges, flowers etc, whilst a guest judge awards points to each. . I can still hear the judge's voice "I'll give this one '13 1/2' because it's slightly blurred..."
At half time, coffee or tea dispensed in plastic cups by ladies reminiscent of a mothers Union.
Members who at the drop of a hat will bore you rigid talking about their Canon or Nikon hardware, and how their 5D mkiV can take a wicked image of a vase of flowers at 200 yards with their 70-210 f2.8.
I've attended two separate camera clubs, never to return. My first visit was on a competition evening (as if photography can be remotely competitive) and I escaped shortly after half time pretending I was off to the toilet!

Camera clubs vary hugely. In the last 5 years I've attended a local one and we've only once had an external judge access our images. Even internal judges competitions would average less than 5 a year.
Our half time Tea/coffee is in proper mugs usually with a selection of cakes.
Yes you can get caught by a bore, but it's rare.
At least 3 of the regulars shoot MFT (some still use compacts)
Generally at least half the sessions involve practical work, actually taking photos. In the summer that's often out on location.

I'm probably biased (now being treasurer) but if it was as the one you describe I'm sure I'd not have returned.

I have heard experience of other local clubs where members jealously guard any tips that might help them win the next round. I wouldn't be interested in that sort of thing either!

shutterspeed
5th December 2016, 06:40 PM
Well thank you very much guys for your advice and input. I've spoken to the camera club and they've advised that on this thur they have a speaker attending to talk about photography and then the week after they have a special xmas dinner get-together. I explained what I was after and the suggestion is to start beginning of Jan 2017. So for now my plans to join club are on hold, but certainly not cancelled.

I've continued taking more photos and what I've found is that using the flash, makes a massive difference as the photos aren't blurry or out-of-focus. Why is this the case?

Someone suggested the shutter-speed, but the problem is that if I adjust the shutter-speed to help slow action down, the photo is then too dark. To compensate for this, I can put the iso up, but then the next issue is a very grainy photo.

AMc
6th December 2016, 09:21 AM
I've continued taking more photos and what I've found is that using the flash, makes a massive difference as the photos aren't blurry or out-of-focus. Why is this the case?

It's simply the amount of light hitting the sensor. If you want to shoot with a faster shutter speed to freeze the action then you let less light on to the sensor. You can compensate for this with a wider aperture (lower f number) and/or increasing the ISO which results in more noise.
The flash provides a powerful, quick blast of light which allows the sensor to capture the image more effectively.

If you set your camera to A (aperture priority) and set ISO to auto, then open the aperture as wide as it will go the camera will tell you what shutter speed and ISO it needs to properly expose the image. If the shutter speed is too slow then you need to use the flash or consider using a lens with a wider aperture. To shoot indoors in winter without flash I'm usually using an f2.8 or f1.7 lens with the aperture more or less wide open.

If you set the camera to S (Shutter priority) and ISO on auto and choose a 1/250th speed the camera will try and choose a suitable aperture but indoors with the standard zoom lens it will often indicate the shot will be under exposed. You can compensate a little by turning on lights etc but that's why your camera has a flash.

Harold Gough
7th December 2016, 08:37 AM
If you want more control of flash exposure try shooting in cameras manual mode. Select 1/250 sec and the aperture you want and let the flash metering control the exposure.

For this, and for any lighting regime, be very cared which part of your subject the camera is metering. Don't point it (the metering sector) at very dark or very light areas.

Harold

Beagletorque
7th December 2016, 06:19 PM
Robin Wong spends a lot of time "processing" his shots to give that pop and colour. It helps that he shoots in a very sunny climate and out side. I see you use a version of Photoshop so you can also manipulate the pictures to improve colour and contrast. Just use the sliders on the right hand side to make what you like. There will never be enough light in the house to get good photos of your baby just from the sun (not this time of year anyway!), but you can use any room lights, table lamps, work lights, fairy lights. iPad with white screen or laptop/monitor, (phone flash LED from a distance or you'll blind them) etc (as many as possible) to get the ambient light as high as you can. You can even use mirrors and tin foil to reflect more light. Use a white sheet behind the baby to help keep the exposure up. Get closer to take the photo and fill the frame with the subject. The more pixels that cover the subject the sharper it will look in the final print. Flash light can be very harsh, but you can defuse it with a tissue or white paper/material to make things look more natural. Practice with a baby sized item in your "mini studio" and when you are happy you can swap the baby in and it will still be smiling when you have the right settings!