Attention to detail is what you do to avoid excessive amounts of post production and as much future image chasing as possible. While working on a macro scale, paying attention to the little details can make or break a photo. While I enjoy spend my photo adventures chasing “that” shot, occasionally, I do like to succeed. Usually I’m forced to ‘chase’ a photo not because I’m seeking the perfect light or location, but because I missed something important. I wasn’t paying attention to the details.
Sometimes I miss flotsam in the water or a bit of tack showing under a mini figures foot. At other times a leaf or blade of grass is a distraction in the frame. And that is just a few of the details that can escape the eye when photographing in the great outdoors. It is these little details that I need to be hyper aware of when setting up my scene. If I’m successful, I can save myself hours of post production work.
But the surroundings aren’t the only details I need to be aware of. If you’re a mini figure photographer you know the hazards of a hair piece askew or hands in the wrong position. Because I tend to play with a very short depth of field, focus and aperture are also important to me. More than one photo has been set aside because the focus on the subject was a little off. Often the background is either too sharp or too blurry and the bokeh doesn’t look right.
The Near Miss
I can’t count the number of photos I’ve take where the eyes are just a hair out of focus. Sometimes I can fudge this detail with the clarity and sharpness tools; more often, I can’t. If I take a little more time during set-up, I can avoid this extra step in post production. I moved over to a Sony A7II body because I love the focusing system. With a dedicated Sony lens I have both focus magnification and focus peaking to help me get my focus right the first time. Another reason I chose the Sony is for the electronic view finder or EVF. With the help of the EVF I can see exactly what my background bokeh will look like. I’m constantly playing with my aperture to see what the final image will look like. But even with these high tech tools, if I’m rushing, I will miss the photo.
Like these examples:
I really wish the lettering on the beer can was more visible. If you live in the United States you can probably recognize the Coors logo, but this wouldn’t necessarily be the case everywhere.
That blade of grass over the elephants trunk drives me crazy. I tried to use Photoshop to remove it, and I only made it worse. I will be attempting this set up again.
The eyes are out of focus! How could I miss the focus, the eyes are huge?
This one has both out of focus eyes and the hair (plus ears) aren’t on straight! I was truly disappointed by this one because I really like the framing and the background. By not paying attention to the details I missed a great opportunity.
The Chase is On!
Whenever I come across an image like the dragon and elf maiden that fulfills my vision but is executed poorly, I know the chase is on. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve chased a photo over several months. 🙂
While chasing photos can be frustrating, it often leads to minor improvements over time. My next attempt at this set-up allowed me a chance to change the outfit on the elf maiden. By switching out her blue outfit for a red one, I was able to simplify the colors in the image. I was also able to position her shield so her face wasn’t obscured. It is these minor adjustments, this attention to detail, that will eventually lead to an image I’m happy with.
I probably sound a little OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) about my photography. But I like the chase, I like creating images I can be proud of. If it takes me a few extra months to nail the right image, then so be it. It’s just one more excuse to get out and practice the hobby I love.
How obsessive do you get about the details in your photos? Have you ever chased the ‘perfect’ photo? If so, how long did it take you before you where happy with your results?