How to Improve this shot ? Equipment / Settings or Processing.

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Name
Kell
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#83
According to this list, there are 10 reasons why your images might be soft, but realistically, there are only three reasons why a photo is out of focus/blurry.
  1. The subject is moving (too quickly for your settings)
  2. the camera is moving (too quickly for your settings)
  3. you/the camera missed the focus entirely
1. You can't control this, but you can pick and choose your moments. Clearly, the more static they are, the better your odds. But I'd also argue that you'd end up with a pretty boring set of images.

2. You can't control 1, but you could limit 2 with a tripod/monopod. If you're not using a tripod, then I am surprised that so many people are recommending longer lenses as this will mean you'll have to increase your shutter speed to at least your focal length so it's not camera shake blurring the movement. Move to the long end of your 55-250mm lens for example, and you'd have to shoot at least 1/250th for camera shake not to be an issue. Fine, if there's plenty of light, but if we've already established there isn't, it doesn't seem like sound advice (to me).

That said, with people you shouldn't be shooting under 1/200 anyway (for someone walking and probably over 1/500 if they're running or jogging with the animals). I've no idea what that figure is for dogs and/or horses, but it would be at least as high, probably higher.

3. Multiple reasons for this. Camera chose the wrong points on a multi-focal point setting. Too close for your lens' minimum focal distance (unlikely). Smears on your lens/mirror/sensor.

If you have the liberty of being able to test a few things in this environment, I'd:

  • really look at the available lighting and where it is, then take shots when the owner/dog are at their most illuminated - this should be with the (ceiling) light source between you and them (it may not be the most flattering, but will give you the most light on your subject and the best opportunity to freeze the action and stop the blur)
  • up the shutter speed and ISO and see how that works - the trade off in noise may be too much but you may find that more acceptable than too much blur
  • under expose with a faster shutter speed so it freezes the action and see if you can recover the exposure in Lightroom or A N Other PP programme - again, noise can be a real problem here
  • a version of the above might be to take bracketed shots and see if that works out any better
  • shoot more open (already discussed), use a shallower depth of field and decide upfront if it's more important to get the dog or the handler in focus
  • see how much sharpening your images can take in Lightroom (I'm rubbish at this BTW, but I'm sure that there are plenty of YouTube vids to take you through the processs

The other option, which I can't see that anyone else has mentioned is to actively embrace the limitations and go for shots that deliberately have motion blur in them. Emphasise it to add dynamism to the shots where they're on the move. It may not work, but as Phil mentioned earlier, if the current situation isn't working, you need to change something. If you can't change available light and don't want to change equipment, then maybe think about changing your approach with the limitations as they are.

Albert Einstein is broadly credited with exclaiming “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."
 
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Kell
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#84
Also - would you say this is a blanket criticism of ALL your shots from this show?

If not, what's your hit rate? Do you have shots you're happy with, what was different/particular about those shots that enabled them to work?
 
OP
OP
gothgirl
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#85
Also - would you say this is a blanket criticism of ALL your shots from this show?

If not, what's your hit rate? Do you have shots you're happy with, what was different/particular about those shots that enabled them to work?
I usually have some I'm more happy with (and some less), but I'd say this was about average, and I'd like the average to be better.

In terms of the other shots, I've found it can be hit and miss but that's usually due to circumstance and available light, not settings.

Some rings are a bit closer to the light, or are placed better, some handlers walk slower than others do etc.

For example, a slower moving dog in the better light is obviously going to come out better than a faster moving dog in less light, and the settings don't really have anything to do with it.
 
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#86
up the shutter speed and ISO and see how that works - the trade off in noise may be too much but you may find that more acceptable than too much blur
I note in the original post she's limiting herself to ISO3200. Whilst the 60D doesn't appear to be the best in low light (according to dxomark), I'd certainly give ISO6400 a go and see if the noise is ok for your uses. An extra stop for a faster shutter speed or bigger depth of field can make all the difference.
 
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Graham
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#87
Would that be reputation with the paying client or all stakeholders? If pushing the boundaries of what's permissible from event organisers ends up with a barring from the event in future, is that worth the risk to get the output in the here and now? A difficult tightrope.

I recall a "professional" who, to get the shot wandered onto a pitch to get the desired angle. Ended up being called up to the sport governing body and barred from a number of local pitches and all events organised by the National body. Tried to appeal legally that they were stifling his business by barring him. Suffice to say it didn't get upheld in his favour!
Don't think Phil was suggesting bending the rules. Just might mean asking for permission to do something a bit out of the norm.
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
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Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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#88
I note in the original post she's limiting herself to ISO3200. Whilst the 60D doesn't appear to be the best in low light (according to dxomark), I'd certainly give ISO6400 a go and see if the noise is ok for your uses. An extra stop for a faster shutter speed or bigger depth of field can make all the difference.

This. A decently exposed, motion-blur-free shot at 6400 will be better than a blurry one that's undergone some PP to rescue it. If the 60D is too noisy at 6200, maybe it's time for an upgrade.
 
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Phil
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#89
According to this list, there are 10 reasons why your images might be soft, but realistically, there are only three reasons why a photo is out of focus/blurry.
See my previous post...
the OP said she had ‘focussed’ on the dogs eye.
2 facts we know about autofocus
The AF points are significantly larger than the lines you see in the viewfinder
An AF point works on areas of high contrast

It’s obvious looking at that image that the camera has seen the handlers outfit within the AF point selected which is much higher in contrast than the dogs eye.

This is not an ‘opinion’, logically the camera did exactly what I’d expect it to, indeed what it was designed to do. The question is, how does @gothgirl override the cameras natural behaviour. How does she stop it misbehaving.
 
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Paul
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#90
For example, a slower moving dog in the better light is obviously going to come out better than a faster moving dog in less light, and the settings don't really have anything to do with it.

This has got to be one of the most comical and misinformed posts I've ever heard from a 'photographer'

'the settings don't really have anything to do with it'
Ever thought about changing settings to achieve whats needed? For that particular shot at that particular moment of time.
 

StewartR

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#91
Ever thought about changing settings to achieve whats needed? For that particular shot at that particular moment of time.
This has got to be one of the most comical and misinformed posts I've ever heard from a 'photographer'.

Let's review the OP's situation. Her ISO is as high as she dare push it without the images being too noisy. Her shutter speed is as slow as she can go before subject movement and/or camera shake becomes an issue. Her aperture is as wide as she can go in order to get enough depth of field.

But no problem - all she needs to do is just change the settings!
 
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Paul
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#92
Let's review the OP's situation. Her ISO is as high as she dare push it without the images being too noisy. Her shutter speed is as slow as she can go before subject movement and/or camera shake becomes an issue. Her aperture is as wide as she can go in order to get enough depth of field.
Do you really think that is an acceptable excuse? If someone is relying on you to shoot images, then you do whatever you need to do.

This goes back to the very first post I posted on this thread. The OP needs better equipment. Quite honestly she has bottom end.
Buy a better body that will handle a high ISO.
Buy a better lens that works in low light, has IS and has the reach with the correct focal length.
And if you sort out the above you can gain an acceptable shutter speed, or otherwise use a tripod or monopod.
Similarly depth of field can be sorted out with the above as well.

And to extend my last post - Ever thought about changing settings to achieve whats needed? And to use the equipment that is needed. For that particular shot at that particular moment of time.
 
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Jamesev
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#93
Do you really think that is an acceptable excuse? If someone is relying on you to shoot images, then you do whatever you need to do.

This goes back to the very first post I posted on this thread. The OP needs better equipment. Quite honestly she has bottom end.
Buy a better body that will handle a high ISO.
Buy a better lens that works in low light, has IS and has the reach with the correct focal length.
And if you sort out the above you can gain an acceptable shutter speed, or otherwise use a tripod or monopod.
Similarly depth of field can be sorted out with the above as well.

And to extend my last post - Ever thought about changing settings to achieve whats needed? And to use the equipment that is needed. For that particular shot at that particular moment of time.
brutal but valid points!
 

StewartR

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#94
Do you really think that is an acceptable excuse? If someone is relying on you to shoot images, then you do whatever you need to do.
Sorry, I must have missed that bit where the OP said someone was relying on her. Could you point it out to me please? ... Oh., no , sorry, you can't, because she never said or even implied that.

The OP needs better equipment.
I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. But last time you said:
Ever thought about changing settings to achieve whats needed?"
Change the settings ... change the equipment ... no real difference there, is there?

Look, everybody including the OP knows that if she had better equipment this would be less problematic. A 200mm f/2 on a 1DX would be fine. The only slight snag is that she doesn't have the budget. So as she explained quite clearly in her opening post, she's trying to find out whether there's anything she can do with her current equipment. Maybe there isn't, and maybe at some point she will reluctantly come to that conclusion. But just sniping smugly from the sidelines saying she needs better equipment isn't helping.
 
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Paul
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#95
Change the settings ... change the equipment ... no real difference there, is there?

Look, everybody including the OP knows that if she had better equipment this would be less problematic. A 200mm f/2 on a 1DX would be fine. The only slight snag is that she doesn't have the budget. So as she explained quite clearly in her opening post, she's trying to find out whether there's anything she can do with her current equipment. Maybe there isn't, and maybe at some point she will reluctantly come to that conclusion. But just sniping smugly from the sidelines saying she needs better equipment isn't helping.
Of course there are huge differences. Whatever equipment you have you will need to keep constantly changing settings and changing equipment from your pool of equipment.

Shooting in one side of the room, one set of settings, shooting in another side, different set of settings, different lens. The back to the same side again, change lens, change settings. Then without moving locations, a larger group of people come out, change settings again to get them all in focus. Then you have a team wearing white, maybe another settings change, then a team wearing black, tweak once more. Then the sun goes behind a cloud, change yet again, then over to the other side of the room and its backlit, change once more, pull out a 3rd lens.

There is no such thing as a set of settings, you need to set whatever you need at that moment for that one particular shot. And you set the best settings possible for that shot.

Now as to purchasing new equipment in my opinion in makes a huge difference if the OP is shooting professionally or not, if she is not, then well that's life if you don't have the budget. Most of us want something better than we can afford for our own pleasure at some point.

If she is shooting professionally then she not only seriously needs to invest in better kit, but also needs to learn more about how to work. You can pick up a used 1dx for a couple of grand and if quoting and earning proper event photographer rates, that's really not a great deal.
 
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Kell
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#96
Also - it would be interesting to see how far away you were and how much you're cropping in.

Using a 200mm lens on an APS-C camera means you'd need to be about 17m away to get a handler completely in frame head to toe.
 
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Name
Henry
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#97
All i can think of is getting a 1.4 lens so you can get more light in and therefore a lower ISO.

or underexposing it alot, shooting in RAW, ISO around 800, and then fixing it in post.
 
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