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conamor 03-23-2014 09:19 PM

help with my photography
Good day,

I am having trouble taking good pictures.
I have a nikon 3200, with a sb-200 flash, bought a 10x20 muslin white and black.

I am taking the pictures in the base with a suspended ceiling (white). Muslin is hanged on the wall.
Subject is on the muslin, I aim my flash to the ceiling and the picture is still grainy...
Their is not much light in the basement... Is that why?
Should I get lights?

Any reason why it is doing that?


TattooedMac 03-23-2014 10:57 PM

If your getting grainy subject then that turns to "Low Light" and/or high ISO. Is there anyway you can upload the image ?? If not get the Shot settings off the Camera and post them here please.
But as I said above, low light and a high ISO can cause grain in the shot. If the ISO is high you might have to shoot in Shutter Priority and use a longer shutter speed to get the light into and on the sensor.

But yes if you could post the Exif Data and if your shooting in Auto or manual.


nickyr 03-24-2014 09:01 AM

I don't think the D3200 has a very good rep when it comes to low light / high ISO shooting. Cramming a load of pixels on a small sensor will always compromise image quality when ISO is bumped.

If you're shooting in full auto mode, then it's likely the camera is using the shutter sync speed (probably around 1/250th of a second and bumping the ISO up to compensate for the lack of available light.

If you go full manual and set a wide aperture (small f number), a shutter speed of around 1/60th of a second and ISO of 200 are the results better?

If everything is coming out under exposed then you will need more light in your basement (or a more powerful flash).

Flash is all a bit of a minefield to me with aperture and distance to your subject, etc. all relating to the flash's guide number - so looking for an on line tutorial might be a good bet.

conamor 03-24-2014 12:02 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hi everyone,

I have attached the details of the picture.

The picture is too big to be uploaded, 10MB and 6****x resolution...

I am using the P option on the camera.
18-55 lens
I was at about 6 feet from the subject.

-- oh, and if I can ask another question; The muslin backdrop I bought doesn't come out as pure white and there are wrinkles of course. What would be the best way to put the background completely white? Photoshop and lasso tool? I thought that with the muslin I would have less editing to do.

RavingMac 03-24-2014 12:09 PM

Put your camera on a tripod and use a remote or delay release.

There are other changes you could make, but using a tripod for static images is your best choice.

EDIT: extra lights plus using reflectors and diffusers could help, but without seeing the image it's difficult for us to recommend.

EDIT2: for studio type shooting you are far better off shooting fully manual to include manual focus. Since you don't appear to be under any time constraint you can take a number of test shots to tweak your settings. I would use a lower ISO as well (another reason to use the tripod), just remember to turn VR off.

nickyr 03-24-2014 03:11 PM

To get your background right you need to select the correct white balance setting. Using auto white balance is a bit hit and miss. Alternatively, if you shoot in RAW you can tweak white balance in Lightroom or Photoshop / Elements. The wrinkles - have you ironed the muslin? Is it hung tightly enough?

Looking at the exif data from your shot and the fact you were only 6 feet from your subject, you should be able to go manual and reduce the ISO to 100 - 200 and widen the aperture to f5.6 or f4. Set the shutter at 1/60th and have a go.

I think an ISO of 800 on the D3200 is too high for clean results.

conamor 03-24-2014 03:16 PM

I will definately try that tonight on a tripod instead of keeping my camera in my hands, correct?

Using white balance on the raw file, will it alter the colours of the subject?
I suppose I can do this with aperture without having to use PS and lasso?

nickyr 03-24-2014 03:27 PM

I don't know about editing with Aperture I'm afraid. Adjusting white balance takes place in Adobe Camera Raw if you're using PS and will alter the "temperature" of your pictures and help you to get white things looking white. You could try setting the camera's white balance setting to "flash" and see what results you get.

Shooting at 1/60 with a focal length of 54mm should be fine handheld but a tripod with remote shutter release (or use the camera's timer) will definitely help and will be absolutely necessary if you go any slower.

RavingMac 03-24-2014 08:51 PM

Aperture has a WB temp slider.

And, definitely use the tripod if you have one. If your technique is good you should be able to get decent shots using the 1/focal length rule ie 50mm lens gives 1/50 min shutter speed. But, a tripod will always be steadier than handheld and if you are just starting in photography you may not be steady enough to use 1/focal length.

FWIW ISO 800 isn't terrible on the D3200, but lower ISO will be cleaner.

conamor 03-24-2014 09:21 PM

Hi everyone!

First of all, I want to thank all of you. It did improve the photo by making the iso to 200. I haven't tried the 100, here is a screenshot of the last photo taken.
I tried the WB in aperture but it ain't fixing the background, which I would like to be pure white.
I was not able to change the F#.# on my camera, but I played with the wheel and tried 1/10, 1/25, then I saw that 1/100 or 1/200 was being clearer. Which setting should I change by looking at my picture data?

Thanks again!!

conamor 03-24-2014 09:38 PM

1 Attachment(s)
oops, here is the ss

TattooedMac 03-24-2014 10:52 PM

With the Muslin and trying to get it white, for what your doing, is its like trying to grow grass without any water.

What I mean by this, is your subject is lit up via Flash/Light but its not on the background. You either need to have the SB-200 flash off the hotshot and behind the subject and have that light the Muslin up with the use of another light on the subject for the actual Portrait shot.

No amount of setting change will do what you want, without going into PS and Masking and Adjustments on the Muslin, or using your Lighting better than you are.
The SB-200 isn't the strongest of Flashes, but if you use it correctly, at the back of the subject Wirelessly, and then use the 3200's pop-up flash, then I think you will get markedly better results.

The problem with doing the adjustments you want in any program, is you have the great possibility to blow out the background, while trying to keep the image as perfect as you can.

You can also change the White Balance in camera on the 3200 so instead of using Auto, try and change it around. You can do this by looking on Pge 69 of the Nikon D3200 Manual.

My 2 :)

conamor 03-25-2014 08:15 AM

Thanks again!
I never saw a wireless flash. Do I need something to move my sb-200 away and using it wirelessly? The onboard flash, it will directly flash the subject? I was using the SB-200 aimed at the ceiling.

What kind of light should I buy to light up the muslin or the opposite, light up the subject and sb-200 wirelessly flashing at the muslin?

TattooedMac 03-25-2014 10:14 AM

Your SB-200 is a Wireless Flash. Use that behind the subject OFF the Camera, THEN use the pop up flash on the 3200 to light up the Subject.

Look at the Manual here to work out how to make/use it wirelessly with the 3200. It can be used wirelessly to go off when you hit the Shutter button and your camera flash will go off at the same time too.

conamor 03-25-2014 10:39 AM

my SB-200 is not wireless I think because there is no R in front of the 200.
Should I get myself another flash (wireless) so it can flash at my backdrop? I have tried to search on BestBuy for one but I can't seem to see if it is wireless or not and how it would work. I suppose I need a base on that flash so it communicates with the d3200.

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