I purchased a Canon EOS 60D digital camera with a Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II SLR Lens and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens – Fixed last December. I spent around $1,000 between the camera and the lenses. I must admit, I was expecting a camera that would take spectacular pictures, but I have been disappointed. Here are some of the issues I have had:
For zoom, I am using the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II SLR Lens. Pictures are dark and gloomy. I need to edit every shot in Photoshop to bright it up. In many cases, I have noticed that the image on the camera’s built-in screen is bright but just after I press the snapshot button halfway down, it gets darkened. The resultant image matches the darkened picture that showed up on the screen.
For portraits, I am using the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens – Fixed. My quality is set to L (18M 5184x34566), with my pictures coming out to be around 4 MB each and my rotator knob was set to no flash.
I have seen others with portrait lenses take photos so crystal clear that you can make out every eyebrow hair. My pictures appear relatively clear when they cover my full screen, but once I zoom in to around 80% in Photoshop (my portraits are about 34” x 42” at 72 dpi), (i.e., when only about 25% of the face shows up on the screen), there is blurriness.
I thought that perhaps the issue is that I am not using the camera correctly. I am an amateur photographer and was hoping I could essentially use this as a point and shoot. After all, my sister also purchased an expensive camera and she basically uses it as a point and shoot and all of her pictures come out beautiful, as though they were taken by a professional.
Then I thought that perhaps the issue is that I did not use a tripod, but at a professional studio I went to recently, the photographer did not use a tripod and the photos came out crystal clear.
Then I thought the problem could be the lighting. Unlike in the studio, where the photographer had a bright umbrella light flash each time a photo was taken, my photo was taken in natural light, outdoors just at the beginning of dusk, just as the sun was beginning to set. There was no direct light on me. However, I had a professional photographer once take family portraits of my family in natural setting at the same time of day—dusk—without light directly falling on us, and the pictures came out very clear.
Finally, I thought that perhaps the issue is that I was not manually focusing the camera. But after the camera would automatically focus, I would then manually focus it to try to make sure that the camera was focused on the eyes. I must concede I did not exactly know what I was doing here. Maybe I was supposed to put the camera on manual mode to focus it manually. However, even when I let the camera automatically focus, more than ½ of the pictures came out fuzzy.
One extra point: I noted that one autofocus point lit up on the subject’s face and one on each of the shoulders. Perhaps the problem is that the camera is confused and fails to focus on the subject’s face? Is it possible to disable the autofocus points that light up on all areas of the composition other than the subject’s face?
Also, is the no-flash setting the wrong setting for portraits? Am I supposed to use the setting with the face or the setting with the flower? I am 5 feet from the subject.
What am I doing wrong and how can I improve my portraits?