New to portrait photography and having trouble getting crisp images in low light. Shooting on a Rebel T5i with the 18-55mm kit lens. AF and stabilier on. Is there something I'm missing or is it time for an upgrade to something with a better sensor or ISO?
f/5, 1/100, ISO-3200
The T5i is not a bad camera, but the kit lenses included in the Rebel camera kits are not Canon's best efforts. Shooting in low light is the bane of all photographers. Your images will never be better than the glass you put in front of the camera.
That is a link to a 50mm prime lens kit, which is basically has a "portrait focal length" on you camera. There is also a genuine Canon Speedlite..
Thanks Waddizzle!! Quick follow up: I've thought about upgrading AND going mirrorless (I shoot residential real estate as my part time day job so an upgrade would actually be mainly for that). Would that move render any lens I buy now useless?? I'd like to buy for the long haul but it would be great to be able to make my Rebel last another year or so while I save for a beast.
The Canon mirrorless cameras have an adapter that will allow you to use EF-S and EF lenses, so you wouldn't be obsoleting your gear. There are some penalties regarding image stabilization capability, but there may be additional "R" bodies in the next year. Maybe the newer bodies wouldn't have those penalties. And if you are doing indoor real estate shoots you should be using a tripod anyway.
Definitely second the usage of a tripod. After all, for indoor real-estate images, nothing is moving*. So you could pick the aperture you want (e.g. f/8), then set the shutter to 1-second or whatever makes sense to drop the ISO to 100 or as close to that as possible.
* Well, a running ceiling fan perhaps, or if windows are open, some blowing curtains/drapes. But I think for the vast majority of images, nothing would be moving.
You're image is being affected by the limited depth of field at an f/5 aperture.
The front of the sweater and your face are sharp. You can see how your ear and the shoulder area of the sweater is not sharp.
A lens is only correctly focused at one distance. Everything in the same plane of that distance will be correctly focused.
The eye-brain connection has the ability to determine sharpness over a limited distance in front of and behind the plane of accurate focus. That region is called depth of field. A smaller aperture creates a larger depth of field. A shorter focal length creates a larger depth of field. A farther subject distance creates a larger depth of field. All the opposites create a smaller depth of field.
All you would need to get a better shot with everything the same is more light. That would allow you to stop down to f/8 or f/11. Yiou would have a depth of field of over 2 1/2 feet at that point. (I was assuming you were about 5 feet from the camera for that shot.)
Here is my opinion.....
Professional photographers don't usually use wide open apertures for portrait photography. This is because wide apertures cause very narrow depth of field, and the customers might not like their portraits being mostly soft with only very narrow areas in focus.
Pros often use apertures like f/5.6 or f/8 and lots of studio lights to get nice sharp photos with acceptable depth of field.
There is a time for using wide apertures, like f/1.2 or f/1.4, but they are usually used for more artistic portraits.
As for aperture, from what I've been reading, portraits need a wide aperture. I've been setting my camera at it's widest (f4) and then focusing on the eye closest. Am I learning wrong? Do I need a smaller aperture for two people like the shot above or smaller in general??
I'm working with a 3MB JPEG and a cropped section, but you got a decent portrait of the adult at f/5. Nose to ears is sharp enough not to be distracting.
But yes, the baby is not sharp and you would need greater depth of field to get both subjects sharp.
A portrait you would take of a person for that person would have different criteria than a photo you were taking for yourself as a creative art. A customer expects the image to be "real". They want it to be sharp.