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I have taken a photo with men dancing in a group. It was rejected by an agency stating:

"The main subject is not in focus and grain noticed in the photo".

Below I am giving the cropped image. Since it was night and light was low, I had to use Auto mode.

When the subject is more than one, for example: here people dancing, a bunch of fruits, more than two animals, in that case how to set the focus on the subject. Which is the main subject in these cases?

Secondly, is it possible to fix grain in post production?

I am surprised, this particular agency is rejecting photos with this comment whereas another bigger agency approved it.

I am using Nikon D5600 with 18-55 mm lens.

Edited: Exif information below:

(RAW)

Filename - DSC_0677.NEF
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DateTime - 2019:09:13 00:10:45
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DateTimeOriginal - 2019:09:13 00:10:45
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DateTimeDigitized - 2019:09:13 00:10:45
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White Balance - Auto
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FocalLengthIn35mmFilm - 34 mm
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GPS information: - 
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Maker Note (Vendor): - 
Data version - 1120 (825307696)
Image Quality - RAW
White Balance - AUTO
Focus Mode - AF-A
Flash Setting - NORMAL
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Flash Used - On camera
Shooting Mode - 0
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Total pictures - 1439
Vari Program - AUTO
AF info 2 - version - 0100
Contrast Detect AF - Off

(After editing with Lightroom)

Model - NIKON D5600
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DateTime - 2019:09:13 10:55:52
ExifOffset - 224
ExposureTime - 1/80 seconds
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ExifVersion - 0231
DateTimeOriginal - 2019:09:13 00:10:45
DateTimeDigitized - 2019:09:13 00:10:45
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ShutterSpeedValue - 1/80 seconds
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ExposureBiasValue - 0.00
MaxApertureValue - F 3.86
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SensingMethod - One-chip color area sensor
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SceneType - A directly photographed image
CustomRendered - Normal process
ExposureMode - Auto
White Balance - Auto
DigitalZoomRatio - 1 x
FocalLengthIn35mmFilm - 34 mm
SceneCaptureType - Standard
GainControl - Low gain up
Contrast - Normal
Saturation - Normal
Sharpness - Normal
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enter image description here

  • All of the men seem equally out of focus to me. If this is a crop from the same file you submitted, and the crop itself was not downsized for uploading here, then the original submission was too low-resolution and lacked detail in the area of the dancing men. It's hard to judge from a crop, but perhaps you should have gotten closer to the people and focused on one individual. – chulster Sep 16 at 20:24
  • It is the same photo which was submitted. Not downsized but cropped. – RKh Sep 17 at 2:14
  • @chulster Edited original post. EXIF details added. – RKh Sep 17 at 3:27
  • 1
    I think they don't just point out the focus itself, but also the position and pose of the main subject. The man in the middle looks away and don't get the attention and is also not the point of interest in the photo. – Horitsu Sep 18 at 5:26
2

Which is the main subject in these cases?

Which did you, the photographer, mean to be the main subject? You need to decide what you're trying to say with your photo and ensure that the photo communicates that. If that means stopping down so that you have a greater depth of field, that's what you need to do.

(I appreciate that with a D5600 and the kit lens, it likely wasn't possible for you to stop down and keep a reasonable ISO. Sometimes photography is about your gear - there is a reason pro photographers shell out for the Holy Trinity of f/2.8 zooms).

On a technical note:

Since it was night and light was low, I had to use Auto mode

There's nothing about low light which means you "had" to use Auto mode - a skilled photographer can take exactly the same photo in full manual mode as the camera can take in Auto mode.

  • Is the gear not suitable for professional photography? Which lens you would recommend? – RKh Sep 16 at 6:52
  • 5
    Without wanting to seem too harsh, I would recommend spending some more time learning how to be a photographer with your current gear before spending any money. – Philip Kendall Sep 16 at 6:56
  • After taking this photo in Auto mode, I used same settings in Manual mode, but it came out under exposed. – RKh Sep 16 at 6:58
  • 5
    By far the most likely explanation is that the photo wasn't taken with the same settings - but that's a different question which you should ask as in a separate post if you want it answered. Please include both photos and their EXIF data if you do. – Philip Kendall Sep 16 at 7:03
  • Edited original post. EXIF details added. – RKh Sep 17 at 3:28
1

I agree with Philip Kendall. That said, the OP asked about setting focus for multiple subjects, i.e., a basic question about controlling DOF.

Depth of field (DOF) is the range of distance from the camera that is in focus. It can be shallow or deep. You control it by adjusting your aperture: a small aperture (like f14) gives greater depth of field than a large one (like f1.4). That's what the comment about "stopping down" referenced. With a greater DOF, you could theoretically get more of the dancers in focus.

It also means less light, so you need a longer shutter speed (which will cause blur for your moving subjects) or a higher ISO (which means more noise). Everything is a trade off. Finding that balance is what most of us enjoy about photography!

Here's a nice introduction to DOF.

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