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Input for sharp close up picture.


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I’m struggling to get super sharp close up picture for print sharpening class. Appreciate if you can provide input on the “least expensive set up to get it done” 

Here is my problem. 

Requirements is “close up, Must be shot in good light and very low ISO settings” 

If i decide to shoot indoor ( winter is here in Chicago and it’s freezing cold). I’d few close ups pictures in stock, nearby passable but that will not fly with Damian (rightfully so) 

I first calculate my depth of filed. Put 200 mm to get full magnification. 

Given our hall, i can shoot from 12 feet distance. If i go for Atleast 7” focal plane i need f/16. 

Then i come to my other settings. For f/16 and ISO 100 on the very good indoor light my calculations bring me to 1 second territory. 

I don’t know how people do it. For 1s, even if you have tripod, you need good model to hold pose steady. 

I don’t have tripod or lighting equipment. On the wishlist but not with me as of now.  

I can buy something in less than $100 but thats all i got for now. 

What are my options?  What would you suggest as sneaky way out in this situation? 

Sorry for my weird font and size of it. Typing from my cell. 

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I found that with my 70-200 VRII it's much sharper and more forgiving using f/4 than f/2.8. So I would use 200mm @ f/4, start there. Then try 70mm. ISO 200-400 should be fine since you have a D750. If the hall isn't bright enough, you will need some sort of external light/flash. Start with one person or one subject. Heck, a large coffee can or stand up vacuum cleaner will work in a pinch. If you do use a tripod, shut off the VR!!! 

Honestly, when I photograph large wedding parties, I'm usually around f5.6, give or take. (f/8 is normal and so is f/11.) I pick someone / something in the front row that is not all the way out front. Could be a black jacket next to white shirt or shoulder or something. Something in the middle and "average" looking sharp focal plane so that everything is acceptable sharp. 

Eyeballs are usually too small to have enough contrast swing for the AF to lock on and you get out of focus group shots. That's the biggest thing that I've learned over the years. Only when you are in close proximity, say around 5 feet away or less, e.g., the 3/4 dreamy bridal portrait, would I pick the eye closest to the lens/me. As soon as you put yourself further back, AND YOU WILL being at 200mm, a person's eyeball will be of NO USE to you in nailing focus. 

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BTW, which tripod you’d recommend if I decide to get? 

My requirement will be One that will support 70-200 on d750 with flash on the side vertical position. (Portrait mode ?)

I tried to research about it but there are so many confusing details (like ball head, plate) which I’ve no clue about. Don’t know which of those details i need to pay attention to. 

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I forgot to provide most important aspect while asking question. My budget is not high on this. I’ve 5-6 shots in mind and although i love night photography and that is not possible without paying good bucks. Looking for something compact quick to carry. not more than $200. 

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The saying with tripods is this,

You can buy a sturdy, lightweight, or cheap tripod. Pick two.

It can be lightweight and cheap, but it won't be sturdy, etc. Or sturdy and lightweight, but not cheap.

I'm going to do some shopping. Your $200 budget it a. It tight. The "cheap" legs that I would recommend are $175 and we need to get a head for it. If you could stretch that to about $250-ish, I can configure a decent one. 

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I can extend it till $350 and just purchase after a paycheck later than I was thinking initially. 

Or hope for some discount on Christmas time  

And If that option is available in my budget, I’ll definitely pick sturdy and lightweight. 

Thanks a ton sir. Much appreciated!!! 

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BTW, i tried f/4 and i got one eye sharp and second eye did not come in focus .. That is fail focus in Damiens book. Pictures are in the post attached. 



I think i've to go stop down. :( and start with 5.6 or 8. i should have purchased 70-200 f/4 and saved that money .. whats point of extra spending ... (although quality of image is pretty good.) 

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Depth of Field on a Full Frame body is not as forgiving as it is on a crop body. That Angle of View change really can bite you. When I shot DX, I was always at f/2.8. I lived at f/2.8 and f/3.2. Then I went to FX and am always at f/4. Maybe f/3.2 and sometimes f/5.6, about one stop down from where I was at when shooting a DX body  

You buy a f/2.8 lens to be really sharp at f/4, a f/1.2 lens to be sharp at f/1.8, etc. 

Build quality, lens flare coatings, amongst other things is why you went with a more expensive lens. Also, f/2.8 isn't so much of an issue if you are further back from your subject. (Increasing your DoF.) 

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Thank you Brian .. you actually nailed my issue. The moment i stopped opening lens wide open (.. which i was doing for light ) .. My pictures are coming up much better .. in terms of focus. I find myself constantly using f/6 to f/11 and i don't have this issue any more. (That brings me to light i'm missing for indoor and i'll post separate question in the next equipment .. ) But that brings me to my next planned shoot. 

This is in general question for i'd say both @Brian & @Damien Symonds . I've shoot tomorrow .. to take picture of 2 ladies .. 55 + and they made it pretty clear .. they don't want to see wrinkles in their final pictures. (I've been warned 3 times ) 

If i use that 70-200 E .. that thing, along with f/6 to f/11 ... in order to get focus .. is going to capture each and every wrinkle on their faces ... Knowing that i've to remove those wrinkles later .. should i go for some different strategy ? 

Like purposefully going to wide aperture again to get eye in focus but may to be blur skin on purpose ? or bad idea ? could use some inputs. 

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Worry more about getting things in focus rather than the wrinkles. Those can be smoothed out in PS. Plus, you aren’t shooting with a Macro Lens. Those lenses capture every single wrinkle. 

The biggest challenge that I see is people suffer from the “Microwave Popcorn Button Syndrome;” meaning that if they want popcorn, the but the bag in and hit the “Popcorn” button and they get Popcorn. 

How does that relate to photography? People are told, “...you have 11 sets of eyes, so shoot at f/11.” Or “...you want blurry backgrounds? Shoot at f/1.8.” 

Like like PS actions. People are told do do __________ without knowing why. Depth of Field is more than one thing. It’s a bunch of things:

  • Focal Length
  • Distance between Subject and Sensor / Film Cell
  • Distance between Subject and Background
  • Aperture Setting


Angle of View (Full Frame Sensor vs Crop Sensor)

Now this isn’t part of the “Main” portion of DoF, but does affect the overall look and where you stand in front of your subject or place the subject away from the background. In order to get the “look” that f/2.8 does on a Crop Sensor, you are at f/4 on a Full Frame Sensor. It’s because the Angle of View difference with a smaller Sensor. It forces you to move further back from the subject than you would on a FF Sensor, thereby changing your Depth of Field. 

Now with this in mind, f/5.6 at 135mm will be different at 200mm or at 70mm, though it’s a good place to start, especially if you are within 5-7 feet of your subject. Heck, you could be at f/4 if you are further back. There is no set rule. There is no “Popcorn Button.”

The answer is, “It depends...”

One if the easiest Apertures to learn is f/8. That’s the old “Photo-Journalism Aperture” of “...use f/8 and be there.” It is the most forgiving out of all the Apertures and is the one to use with Focus Checks to see if your lens is sharp. 

So bottom line is this. Get great material to adjust later in PS. Get your exposure and Depth of Field nailed and then adjust in PS.  It sounds like you will be between f/5.6 - f/8. It’s much easier to smooth things / tweak things in PS if you have a properly exposed photograph.

If these two ladies are so obsessed with wrinkles, they need to have their faces done by a professional make-up artist before you even pickup th camera. A little makeup goes a long way. Otherwise it’s just going to be a massive airbrush job. LOL. Which is probably what they are thinking of with “No Wrinkles.”

Damien’s Skin Class is a good one to take. If you don’t have time, Imagenomic Portraiture is also great for smoothing skin, though that’s another thing to learn in addition to editing this session. 

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Thank you Brian, I did shoot and focused on getting everything right (as right as i can get) in camera. 

i'm already in Skin class. Those pictures will be good exercise  for me in that class. Thanks again. 

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