Getting the Most out of my files to impress clients

(John Lambiase) #1

Ok, I am a sports photographer and I have been going at it less then a year. I use a Nikon D7500 paired with a Sigma 70-200 2.8 sport lens, Sigma 50-100 1.8 Art Lens, and my new baby a Sigma 150-600 Pro variable aperture behemoth.

I am having some issues at this point and need to rule a few things out. (I run Linux) so the Sigma Lens Dock does not work with my stand alone system.

There is a gent near me who is a professional sports photographer who has tons of experience. He is using a D500 and a 300mm Nikon 2.8 Pro Lens. (His results are incredible.) I know that without his lens, there is no way I can get as good of results without 2.8 prime glass, but I was thinking I could have gotten a little bit better results with what I am working with.

Is it my Lens, My lack of experience in editing? I am not sure. I am providing a Raw file to see what you guys can do with it.

A link to the gentlemans FB Page who I am trying to achieve is here.

Here is my after raw therapy crop.

Here is the filebin link with the Raw File as well as its RT pp3 file.

Thank you in advance.

John Lambiase

(Mica) #2

I think a similar photo from cut4 is here:

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(John Lambiase) #3

Yes, and it is freaking perfect in my eyes. Look at how sharp and how great the skin tones are. If I could come up looking half as good as this with what I have I would be happy. My camera and his share the Same Image Sensor and processor. So I think at that point it comes down to glass which his is absolutely superior because his is a prime. I did do a little work on the Raw file that I posted and here is what I came up with, which I think looks better then the image I posted.

(Mica) #4

The light in the photo I posted is quite different. You’re clearly in mid-day sun, which is less favorable for shooting people. You shot has a lot more contrast on the subject as well.

(John Lambiase) #5

The Girl is also standing up where the sun is better able to get under the visor. She is also not wearing sunglasses. So there is a slightly different perspective in that shot as well. Believe it or not that sun in my shot was about 6:30 in the afternoon here in Texas. The question is, can I get alittle more sharpness out of this lens.

(John Lambiase) #6

Here is a shot of a different young man. I am almost pretty happy with this.

(Mica) #7

If you’re shooting wide open, stop down 2 or so stops.

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I had a look at this gallery, which is also shot in bright midday light:

I would suggest the following:

  • choose the motive.That guy has managed to always select a backdrop which makes sense and also the light such that there is contrast and good or interesting light on the subjects. (see image in front of blue sky, or the illuminated action in front of the the team members in the shade).
  • I have the feeling that your shots a quite close to the subject. The first one I feel could use some more space around the subject.
  • From a processing point of view I suppose he used Lightroom and I think I can see some Clarity slider work which you can emulate by using the local contrast slider. And I also think I see some raised shadows with details which were originilaly probalby almost black. This you could emulate by either the shadow and highlights slider or by compressing the dynamic range using HDR tone mapping at the start of the processing (this is imho the better way).

Last question could you share one raw file so we can play with it? So at least we could try to help on the processing side (the motives are up to you :slight_smile: )

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(Nick Auskeur) #9

I can’t see a link to a raw file, not sure it that’s just me.

Looking at the second edit you’ve done the boys knee pad looks sharper, maybe, than the badge in his helmet, so we need to see the full file to evaluate it.

Also you might get away with reducing your shutter speed down to 1/1000 to still capture the movement, which means you can half your ISO, should mean more sharpness, especially on a crop frame.

I’m assuming youre on monopod, and that you’ve tuned your lenses by the incamera method?

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(John Lambiase) #10

Thank you for everything. I shared a bin site with a rawfile as well as my pp3 out file from RT.
I thought I copied and pasted the filebin. Here it is. So sorry.

(John Lambiase) #11

Sorry the bin link did not post here it is

Yes, I was on a monopod. The lens is a 150-600 Sigma Pro (weighs about 8 pounds) and I have used it 4 times so far I can pretty much check ear wax on the batter all the way zoomed in. In this shot I was just behind 1st base outside the foul line. I was shooting around 500-800 ISO. On my 70-200 2.8 shooting at 500-800 ISO is not a problem with noise. This is probably the best crop sensor on the market considering Nikon first used it in their D500 Sport camera before filtering it down to the prosumer level the next year (Which is why I love Nikon).

I have not tuned my lenses to the camera. I was really temped to but ran out of time. I have read blogs that say that third party lenses do not do well with on camera calibrating which does not make a whole hell of a lot of sense to me.


Tried playing around with your raw, making it a little warmer, adding a gradient to darken the background and trying to make the black part dark but not “black”, so can still see some details.

DSC_6032_R2.jpg.out.pp3 (12.0 KB)

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(Shreedhar Inamdar) #13, you have not said who are your clients. If they are parents of the sportsperson, then you will have to show their ward in good light. If it is the local newspaper, then you will need to bring some human interest angle to it and if it is the team management, then some kind of team spirit or an uplifting moment has to be captured. In short, it is not the post-processing but the captured moment that will impress your client and the definition of what constitutes an interesting moment changes.
In the picture supplied by you, there is no team involvement nor there is a human interest story. So in the version below, I assumed that the client is the parent and then brought out the determination on the face and eyes in focus. To me, it seems very important to get some detail of the eye for this picture to pop.

DSC_6032.jpg.out.pp3 (12.0 KB)

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(John Lambiase) #14

Oh I agree with you on every aspect talked about. This was just an example of a tight crop where I just could not extrapolate the amount of detail I was hoping I would be able to see from this lens. You are correct, I am shooting for the parents. Still in testing mode with this lens for the most part and just trying to take my game to another level.

(Shreedhar Inamdar) #15

Oh, judging from the example, the lens is fine. It has very good local contrast and is extremely sharp. I suspect that you will see only a fractional improvement due to any lens replacement.
If you are shooting for parents then being technically ultra correct is irrelevant. As long as you get their child in good focus with likeable pose, they will be mightily impressed. Trust me. I am a parent too :wink:


Looking at the “Cut4 Photography” link I think it was lowered the saturation from the backgrounds and raised in the subjects.

DSC_6032.NEF.pp3 (12.9 KB)

And in gimp I’ve lowered the saturation in the background

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(John Lambiase) #17

Mr. McCap, you are very right. The cut4 photographer is very meticulous and well thought out. He puts himself in the best possible scenario to get the images he wants to create. You rarely see him at night events and if he is, the lighting is so good that he does not have to dial up the ISO nearly as much as I would at my football games. He usually shoots championship high school games at night in college stadiums or community stadiums where the lighting is 2 times brighter then me shooting at 6400 ISO at f2.8 in mine.

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(Thomas) #18

There is much detail in the raw image. I think one should take care to make the face bright enough and to darken the background a bit.

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Hi, and welcome!

When I see that kind of photo, I always think of
elsamuko’s National Geographic Script for The Gimp.
I believe that it will give your image much more oompf.

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

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B & W Processing: Where to start?
(Nick Auskeur) #20

I also love Nikon, and shoot them with Sigma primes, which are very sharp as expected. I use Fuji for everyday carry around, but would not give up my Nikons for pro work. The Nikon in camera tuning is relatively useful for primes, but when it comes to zooms, not so much. You can get it bang on at one focal distance and the rest it could be out. Additionally the Sigma dock is available for a reason, both for firmware updates, and the ability to tune exactly to your particular camera is essential.

Is your behemoth a contemporary or sports lens? Does it have OS? I’m guessing it does, so I would probably disable that and test again, especially when shooting such high shutter speeds. I would also maybe test the lens at f8, and no longer than 400mm, and see how the performance is there.

Was it a really hot day?

My opinion is that these images are not very sharp, and that the lens needs to be calibrated. Getting prime like sharpness is not going to happen, but I feel that there is maybe a focusing error here, going by the badge on the front of the boys helmet. It probably just needs a tune. I’ve done a version here and sharpened the image more than I would’ve normally in RT.

The d7500 has no anti-aliasing filter so it should be very sharp. Do you have an image from your 70-200 2.8 Sigma you are happy with we could look at?

And finally, your processing was a little heavy handed with the first image you shared, but I really liked the second one though, although it still feels a little soft to me.

DSC_6032.jpg.out.pp3 (11.9 KB)