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help - clear, crisp bright photos...before editing!

Kathryn Elliott , Jan 19, 2010; 12:23 a.m.

I use a Nikon D70s SLR with a Nikon SB-600 flash, usually a 55 - 70 lens and I shoot in RAW. Is there something more I can do in order to get Bright, crisp, clear photos when shooting? I try using natural light and I bring basic lights to help fill if needed. Is the average freelance photographer bringing huge lighting systems into everyones home for an hour session, or do I need some kind of metering system or a new lens (fixed 50)???



Dave Quinn , Jan 19, 2010; 02:44 a.m.

I think we need more information and a specific example to look at.
In general though lens quality is everything: a prime (fixed) lens will give you the sharpest results. Even cheap prime lenses offer very good quality. I did a 50mm lens test a while back and was quite surprised just how good an $80 50mm lens was. Easily as good as my $800+ 28-70/f2.8L pro zoom and in a different league to cheaper zooms (I know those are Canon examples, but the principle will be true for Nikon too).

Marc David , Jan 19, 2010; 04:25 a.m.

Window light is always great, you may need fill flash or a reflector though... Otherwise yes, bring in lights. Show us an example of what you shoot and what you'd like to shoot and we can help you more.

Mark Chartrand , Jan 19, 2010; 06:07 a.m.


Yes, an example would help. Make sure you are focusing very carefully on the eyes. If never hurts to use a tripod. Try to shoot so that you don't have to do much, if any, cropping. As you make larger prints any errors will be magnified. Good luck.


Brett Y , Jan 19, 2010; 02:28 p.m.

Along with an example, tell us what settings you used. Shutter, f, iso

Jef Larremore , Jan 20, 2010; 09:57 a.m.

I agree the glass is the way to go. I get much better clarity out of my prime 50mm lens. I hate not having a zoom, but I am getting used to it.
If you want to do something in Photoshop, you can use the High Pass filter ( and use the Multiply setting ). This will clear it a little. ( careful not quite safe for work, but a really good explanation. http://www.better-boudoir-photography.com/photoshop-tips-high-pass-filter.html )
The other thing you can do is play with Curves. I didn't catch on to this until recently, but lowering the RGB curve to make it a little darker makes the colors a little punchier. This is a great tutorial on that. It helps with the clarity.
I'm beginning to believe that clarity and color come more from what you do before you squeeze the shutter release. But Photoshop helps!
And Kathryn is right a tripod or unipod will do wonders.
I hope this helped.


Mark Anthony Kathurima , Jan 25, 2010; 09:22 a.m.

Is it just me, or does someone else have a problem with the word 'clear' as relates to photos? Does it mean sharp? Unobscured? Correctly exposed? All the above?

Kathryn, no photos to gauge from = inaccurate (grope-in-the-dark) advice. Please oblige by posting an example, preferably of your own shots so that we can give specific advice...

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