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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We're upon the time of year where most of us will be taking the obligatory Holiday Family Photos.
After too many years of so-so snapshots, learned and sharing a few things that helped get better images. YMMV.
Be prepared to be bossy, this will become self-explanatory.
This first part is about the mandatory group family photo.

Where are you?
Dad was always our photographer. He was rarely in our family photos, he was on the wrong side of the camera. I still miss my Dad.
Your family needs you...in the photos.
1. Get a phone/camera mount or tripod. Or before the event, figure out a way to balance your phone/camera. Or get someone else to take the pic, BUT...be sure to first frame the image and tell them to just trigger the shutter, don't mess with anything or move from the spot.
(At a friend's wedding in Korea, we posed with the bride and groom. Handed my carefully framed close-up camera to someone to take the pic. He thought he'd zoom out to capture the ancient building in the background. We look like ants. :frown)
2. Timer or remote release is essential for the family photo if you're the photographer and you want to be in the picture. You belong in the family group photo.
3. Use a flash. A fill flash will eliminate odd and unflattering shadows on faces. If you can, use a bounce or indirect flash to reduce harsh lighting.
4. You're the director in this production. TELL each person how/where to stand or sit. Position them so no one has their face partially blocked by someone else. (Krakatollah has a very large family. Getting them to pose is like herding cats. They kvetched and moaned first time I made them get posed right. They later received an image where everyone looked great. The next year, they followed instruction.) It's worth the grief, trust me. People want a leader to follow, your camera, you be the leader.
5. Take a practice shot before you gather everyone. No one wants to sit around waiting for you to figure out how to setup.
6. If your camera can do it, set it up to take several shots and tell everyone that there will be 3 or so pics, don't move until it's done.

Opening the gifts
Do you really want to be futzing around with a camera rather than enjoying the moment? Studies prove you're more likely to remember what you saw if you just relax and take it in rather than focus on your screen/viewfinder.
1. Be discreet. If you want the genuine expression of the recipient discovering their gift, don't be obvious about your camera. Think of it like street photography: Capture the expression while they're in their own moment. If they pose, their expression always changes. Spontaneous is far better.
2. If you want a shot of the recipient posing with their gift, then pose them. Tell them how to hold the gift for maximum effect.
3. Do you really need the picture? Put your camera down and just enjoy being with your loved ones.

Hopes this helps folks. Please, please, share your suggestions or experiences.
 

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So for photos I have a large porch w/ four steps down, Framed with concrete pillars facing west so afternoon/evening shots are always good,
usually with half a dozen cameras swapping places on a tripod, all with the timer and me running. by picture 12 I'm winded and visibly out of breath.
we can't do a couple pics from my Canon 7d and email them????


oh and not to mention me and my wise A$$ brothers either playing grab [email protected]@ or slapping each other, or otherwise trying to get the other to break.


my latest setup is a
Canon 7d mark2
Tamaron 70-200 F/2.8


Highschool football was what got me started, poor lighting on high school fields, I was lucky to be able to be on the sidelines for my sons games. but it didn't make me a better photographer.
 

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iratollah,
Just wanted to pipe in and say thank you for these posts. You've shared a lot of information that took a good bit of time for you to put together and it is appreciated.
You get an atta-boy from me!



Happy Holidays!
Ron
 

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here's a tip.

make sure nobody is in the background... or if its a hot girl, make sure the wife never sees the picture.

still paying going on 11 years.

just because the girl was doing a dance (disney world actor) and she looked straight at me... im crucified for this. full disclosure i was on my honeymoon.

ppp
 

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I am very appreciative of the photo section and all the skill here. Hopefully it's ok to ask for how to do something better (or correctly).

Not a good photo....I never got what I was trying for because of the green tint to the porch lights. The green looking ones are LED and the rest are incandescent. I futzed with settings for two evenings and was never able to get the warm white tint of those lights. I also never found any Google hints on what else to try kthough the green is a common problem because of the frequency.

Any thoughts?


Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

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I am very appreciative of the photo section and all the skill here. Hopefully it's ok to ask for how to do something better (or correctly).

Not a good photo....I never got what I was trying for because of the green tint to the porch lights. The green looking ones are LED and the rest are incandescent. I futzed with settings for two evenings and was never able to get the warm white tint of those lights. I also never found any Google hints on what else to try kthough the green is a common problem because of the frequency.

Any thoughts?


Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
If you shoot RAW, you can always adjust the coloring in something like Lightroom.... That's how I would "fix" the tinting issue.

//Brew
 

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If you shoot RAW, you can always adjust the coloring in something like Lightroom.... That's how I would "fix" the tinting issue.

//Brew
While that's true, using Lightroom will alter the color balance of the entire photo, or at best, linear region of the image from one edge (or a circular region of arbitrary size/location). If you're really into it and willing to spend the money, you might want to try Phase One's Capture One Pro. They offer a free demo version.

It's ability to very accurately mask an an arbitrary region of the image based solely upon color should allow you to adjust the color balance of just the green-tinted area. I'm only just getting my feet wet with it, and the learning curve is steeper than I'd expected as the image editing paradigm is completely different from Lightroom and/or Photoshop. But since Adobe is determined to get all of their customers on a never-ending subscription (read: rental) for their software, I will no longer be a customer. Having tried Capture One Pro (they offer subscription-based or purchase-based licensing), I'm probably going to migrate away from Lightroom.

Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I am very appreciative of the photo section and all the skill here. Hopefully it's ok to ask for how to do something better (or correctly).

Not a good photo....I never got what I was trying for because of the green tint to the porch lights. The green looking ones are LED and the rest are incandescent. I futzed with settings for two evenings and was never able to get the warm white tint of those lights. I also never found any Google hints on what else to try kthough the green is a common problem because of the frequency.
@Beatrice, good question. And absolutely this subforum was setup to help people learn and to share tips. I'm no expert by any means but figured maybe others could learn from some of my mistakes, maybe someday I'll learn from my own mistakes.

Good questions don't always have easy answers. Please bear with me on this...no guarantee for success presented here.

A huge challenge with any of the post-processing options is you can go crazy looking at dozens of nuanced variants of the same image trying to figure out which has the best color. If you ask others, no two opinions may be alike. As suggested by @Brewder and @raneil86, Lightroom is pretty good for adjusting color, even in JPG, but it works better with RAW. IDK if Adobe still sells permanent licenses rather than subscription but hey, you didn't come here looking to spend money to fix a few pics.

It's really best to just get it right in the camera when possible. Many cameras have post processing options built in, primarily RGB adjustments or preset filters, but it's more limited and not very intuitive. So what's a soul to do?

A quickand simple fix may be in your autofocus settings. Are you using single point or multi-point AF? If your autofocus is making a poor choice for lighting basis for your Christmas lights image then it may be adjusting white balance incorrectly. Single point focus may make a difference. May not.

Sadly, this all leads to White Balance. I bet your camera White Balance is set to Auto. This means a software engineer in Japan, China, or Korea decided how colors are going to look in your camera. Auto white balance has your camera figuring out what is the color of the ambient light and adjusts the color accordingly. This works okay for most images. Every manufacturer's white balance is a little different. Nikon shoots a bit cooler than Canon. Some photogs prefer manual white balance but it's not for the timid.

How does white balance work? There's an overwhelming amount of info online so not going to try to explain it all here. In a nutshell, your camera white balance (which can be adjusted in post processing software) is based on a Kelvin number that correlates with light source type. It's not the same as the Kelvin temp we commonly associate with absolute zero. A chart with camera white balance Kelvin is shown at bottom of this post along with a few sample contrast pics. Set your camera white balance to match your ambient light source, or flash. Or buy a set of White Balance Test Cards to make adjustments for your particular light source. Prices start at about $6.00 and go up...and up.

So your options boil down to these, unless others have helpful suggestions:
0. Live with it and figure most no one else has your discerning eye for color.
1. Post processing software can salvage some ghastly images, post will present compromising choices. It costs money unless you're willing to futz with GIMP or other freeware. Free usually = less intuitive.
2. Change to single point autofocus.
3. Experiment with various white balance settings.
4. Do your own white balance test shots.
5. Shoot film. Colors show up differently on film. Astrophotographers well understand that the chemistry of film reacts differently to light source. Star colors on film look different that to the eye. Example: Orion's nebula looks sort of green through high-power telescope but appears red on standard 35mm film.
5a. Shoot film and do your own developing...if you're really OCD or dedicated. Otherwise see #1.

Hope this helps. Wish there was something more concise, but you did ask a very good question.

'tollah







 
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