Saturday, March 5, 2011

Photoshoot with Cheska

My niece Cheska needed new Head and Full Body shots since she cut her hair short. Rather than spend however much for professional shots, I was able to take some good photos with my Canon SX130. It was a very good experience for me, eg. figuring out where too shoot, how the model should pose and what settings work best for the shot I'm looking for, etc. 

I've been researching a good entry level DSLR to purchase in the future and the Canon T3i is up there for me. The T3i isn't much different than the T2i so I can prolly go for either one. I won't be getting it anytime soon but I will keep it in mind but for now I love trying to get used to the different shooting situations I come across with my camera. 

Here are some of the pictures. I'm glad it was overcast. It made it easier for me. I didn't do much post processing. I only resized and corrected the contrast and level a bit. 

 Notes to myself for future reference:
-Try to limit distractions in the background
-shoot the same shot but w/ different exposures
-using longest focal length comprises image quality so find a "sweet spot" focal length
edit. not so much focal length but more so at smaller apertures like f5.6
-direct model more in specific poses
-make model more comfortable/natural 
-if i'm not too far from subject, try incorporating fill flash to reduce shadows
-invest in 6 in 1 reflector/diffuser thing 

collage of danika


  1. Hey Foo,

    I just saw these shots in the Canon flickr group, too! Don't be too hard on yourself--they're alright! I like the first one the best. Good rule of thirds and you're right--in this one the background isn't too distracting. I suppose you can blur some of the other backgrounds more with post-processing... maybe you can do some shots "studio-like" with a plain background indoors? Or maybe since this is at a park, just let her play and do stuff without actually looking at the camera, so more candid shots?

    I also think the girl with the black-striped shirt solo is sooo cute. Addictive smile! How old is she? Wonder if she's the same age as my son...

  2. Hi Dante's Mom!

    I was pretty much satisfied with how the pics came out. I was fixated on getting shallow depth of field when I should have been paying attention to other elements as well for good composition.

    With the close up picture of Cheska against the tree, I was zoomed all the way optically and I cropped the image to get in even tighter. After doing so, I noticed the picture wasn't as sharp compared to the other close ups that I had also cropped. In fact, sharpness was lost due to being at F5.6 and her being far away from me creating a diffracted image. I noticed it as well with her full body shots(her being even farther away from me). BTW I just learned about diffraction just now after looking over my shots lol.

    On the other end, if I kept the aperture wide at F3.4, the depth of field would be deep and there would have been some lens distortion(not good for portraits) but a sharper image. I could have made that picture a lot better if I didn't crop as much, and just moved my body closer and have the aperture be 4.5 or 5.0 max so at least that way there would be no lens distortion, just enough shallow depth of field, and keep the image sharp as possible or at least sharper than than before.

    I got the right exposures for the background but Cheska was a tad underexposed in some shots. Me using full zoom to achieve shallow DOF, made Cheska too far for the fill flash to reach. Next time I won't be too far away from the subject but just far enough that the flash is usable in order to correctly exposed the subject. I can also get one of those 5 in 1 reflector things on Amazon pretty cheap to light up the subject.

    On a normal day I would have done more candid shots since those are easier or at least what I'm used to but the shots she needed were specific. I tried doing some candid shots with the younger sis Danika. It was difficult. She kept on moving around and couldn't get too many shots except the one with her infectious smile lol. I'll be taking more pix of her in the future. BTW I think she's about the same age as your son. She'll be 2 in August.

    Indoor photo portrait would be fun to do. A plain background would work well and shallow depth of field is not necessarily needed since the plain background will give focus on the subject. The only thing is lighting. I'd be limited to the natural light coming in from outside and my flash. The flash may be too harsh indoors and I gotta soften it up somehow. I've heard using wax paper in front of the flash works as a good diffuser lol. I might try that. Indoor head and full body shots would be fun to do but just needs some planning cos I haven't spent too much time on fill flash and indoor light set ups since I'll need it to keep shutter speed fast to minimize blur and have the correct exposures.

    I'll end it hear cos i wrote too much already hhaha.

  3. Dang, dude, I had to bookmark your reply--it was so long! J/K!! LOL!! I think it just shows how passionate you are about your hobby. You should just get the dSLR and the accessories (light thingy) now since it seems you're headed that way anyway.

    Back to the SX130--have you seen those cool pics on flickr from our same camera?

    Yes! Danika is around the same age as Dante! Dante will be two this June! I see a date (play date, watcha thinking about??) in their future. Ha ha!!

  4. Yeah the way things are going, a DSLR would be really cool but portability and price is a big factor. I like taking my cam everywhere. I could also see myself going the G12 or S95 route instead and that would be totally fine. Only time will tell.

    I have seen a couple Flickr groups with the SX130 and it's pretty cool to see how well the camera performs.

    A play date with Dani n Dante would be cool in the future. We'll play it by ear!

  5. Your posts on canon sx130 is are interesting. Your photos are also great. Right now, I own the cheapest Canon point and shoot camera--the Canon PSA495. I am thinking of buying a superzoom camera, and this one fits as one of my choices. The other is Sony HX5V. I still can't make up my mind.

    Anyway, I love the way you used creativity to compose portrait shots. You really prove that one does not need to own a DSLR camera to come up with great shots.

  6. Hi Peter

    Thanks for the compliments! I really appreciate them. I like taking the time to make the camera work for me than me work for the camera if that makes any sense!

    Anyway, both the SX130 and Sony HX5V are good zoom cameras. Picture quality goes to the SX130 with more accurate colors and sharper images while low light capability goes to the HX5V.

    Both cameras can zoom while recording with the SX130 having a slightly longer zoom. The benefit of the Sony though is that it has more features. It has GPS, sweep panorama and intelligent auto mode works well. Not sure if the Sony has full manual mode like the SX130.

    I think you'll be satisfied with either choice, if not, there should be a SX130 successor in the Fall I hope! I also hope you find what you are looking for and make your camera work for you lol(i sound corny).