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Category: All About Photography

Interested in learning art photography? Want to become a master photographer? The following questions and answers are divided into two main groups - digital imaging and traditional, film-based photography. Learn the techniques of both here. If you want to learn more about how to make great photos take Jed Manwaring's Getting Started: How to Make Great Photographs online photography course.

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Photography Question 
Usman Bajwa
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Usman
Usman's Gallery

member since: 4/11/2006
  51 .  Places to shoot Down Under.
Hi fellow BPers, I will be spending the next four weeks in Australia to meet family and hopefully take sometime out to shoot this wonderful country.

I will be visiting Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart. I would love to hear from the folks who live there or have visited there and can suggest places to visit and shoot images of in or nearby the above-stated five cities.

I would also very much welcome the opportunity if some of you have time and interest to have a photo-shoot together.

Thanks for your time, in advance.


3/7/2013 3:02:58 AM

  Hey Usman,

That's terrific that you are headed 'down under' :) .... Unfortunately I don't live in any of those places but I will be travelling to Melbourne and possibly Sydney in the next 4 weeks and if the timing co-ordinates or we can work it out somehow would love to catch up and shoot with you........

So many awesome places to shoot - I know you have been here before so know your way around a bit but will email you some of my fav places in Melbourne and Sydney.

Travel safe and have fun!!!


3/8/2013 12:27:20 PM

  Have reached Australia a couple days ago, Renee. Am very excited to think of our potential photo shoot together, it will be an honor and I am hoping some of your talent gets dusted off on me. Will let you know as soon as my itinerary gets confirmed for Melbourne and Sydney.

Take care.


3/12/2013 5:11:42 AM

  G'day Usman,
Welcome to Australia!
I will email you some of my favorite places I visit shortly!
I hope you have a marvelous stay in our country!
Enjoy your Stay

3/14/2013 2:44:03 PM

  Thank you so much for your response above, John.
Looking forward to receiving your email.
Have a great day!


3/15/2013 12:43:41 AM

  Got it, thanks John, appreciate your expert feedback.


3/21/2013 3:29:27 PM

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Photography Question 
Gerard Ryan

member since: 2/12/2013
  52 .  Digital Storage
What is considered "best practice" when it comes to storage of images, back up etc. I use Lightroom 4.

3/5/2013 1:08:36 PM

  I'm not sure if it's the best way of doing things, but I can tell you how I do it.

I use LR4 to import my images. I use the handy feature that makes a duplicate copy to a different drive at the same time. This gives me two copies of my files in case a drive fails. Periodically (probably not as often as I should), I manually make a copy of my main drive to a portable drive. This copy is stored at my dad's house in his fireproof safe. This gives me a third copy that is secure should something catastrophic happen at my home.

So far, this seems to work well.

3/5/2013 3:21:01 PM

  Back up every day- I use an outside HD with 6 TB. I am also going to start backing up in the "Cloud," and will purchase a portable 2 TB drive to use while traveling, for pics taken each day I'm gone.

You should go through your pics periodically and weed out the flawed ones that you will never use, and that are taking up too much room, such as RAW photos (or convert them for storage to .dng).

4/14/2013 1:20:49 PM

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Photography Question 
Nancy Marie Ricketts
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Nancy Marie
Nancy Marie's Gallery

member since: 10/27/2010
  53 .  Extreme pro high capacity memory cards
Do high capacity, I.e. 32G Extreme Pro by Sandisk for shooting With a 5DII in RAW have a life span, and what is the average life span for these cards?

2/28/2013 8:52:03 PM

Ed Prasek

member since: 4/29/2013
  Found the following information you may find helpful:

5/7/2013 1:41:30 PM

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Photography Question 
William R. Box

member since: 6/24/2005
  54 .  Portrait of High School Orchestra
I have been asked to take a portrait of a high school orchestra that has 60-70 members. The orchestra will be on a stage with a black background.
I plan to use two AB 800 strobes, placed high and about 1/3 from each end and pointed towards the back of the opposite side. I plan to use 64" soft silver parabolic umbrellas. Alternative is to use the reflectors with no modification. The strobes will be 10-20 feet from the first row. I can also use my Nikon 700 speedlight to fill in the center area, if needed. I plan to shoot from a ladder with Nikon D700 with a 24-85 zoom, using shutter speed 160 or greater, adjusting f-stop and ISO to give good DOF. I will need to check White Balance with the stage lights and the strobes. I might be able to turn down the stage lights just before I shoot. I will ask for an opportunity to test out lighting prior to the event.
My concerns are: if the strobes will give adequate light, shadows in the orchestra and on the background, best position for the strobes, do I need light on the background, etc. I will appreciate any suggestions and comments.
Thanks - Bill

2/20/2013 9:50:44 AM

  Hi Bill,
Interesting question! If your umbrellas are truly parabolic, do NOT use them. A parabolic umbrella is designed to throw a big spot, which would be very bad for lighting a large group. I did a test on my silver parabolic umbrella and it really does throw a spot. You might test yours by shooting against a large white wall. A 45-inch standard silver umbrella might work well for you, and you can get them cheaply.
Next, have you successfully synced your Nikon Speedlight with the Alien Bees in the past? If not, you may find that this is difficult to do. Just the reflectors on the Alien Bees will probably work pretty well. I would use the stage lighting with the Bees. Change your shutter speed until you find one long enough to allow the tungsten stage lighting to fill the shadows and warm up the shot just a little; I would guess around a 15th to a 30th, rather than the faster speed you mentioned. Shoot in RAW, then you can adjust for a pleasing color balance when you convert to JPG.
Good Luck!
John Siskin

2/20/2013 10:35:14 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  Consider doing composites of smaller groups of people. Or if lighting the entire area poses too much of a problem, you can light smaller sections and move the lights light other sections. Then put them together. A lot of photos of large areas are done that way.

2/20/2013 1:30:10 PM

William R. Box

member since: 6/24/2005
  Hi John and Gregory - Thanks for your responses. Paul Buff company make standard umbrellas in a white or silver. Would you recommend a shoot through or bounce or will it make much of a difference? If I use the reflectors would you recommend the standard or a wide angle reflector. I had not thought about the falloff of the light using the parabolic umbrellas and what I am wanting is uniform lighting over the whole group. I have been able to sync the speedlight but I find I have to test fire it if there is to much time between shots. I'm hoping I will not need to use the speedlight and the strobes will provide enough light. I would like to shoot at a faster shutter speed to eliminate blur due to either me moving since I am going to be on a ladder or the kids moving. I always shoot in RAW to give me flexibility in post processing. Unfortunately, I'm not very skilled at stitching photos together so I am hoping to get everyone in one shot. Eventually I am going to have to take a photoshop course. Thanks again and any responses will be appreciated. Bill

2/20/2013 7:57:28 PM

  Hi Bill,
Iíve spoken with Paul Buff on a couple of occasions. Great guy and a great company. More to the point: good products. I often recommend them in my classes here at BetterPhoto. Anyway, you can get umbrellas from Paulís company, or a lot of other companies, umbrellas are almost always interchangeable. For this situation I would get a silver umbrella, as it will put more of the light on the subject. I really think shooting through an umbrella is a BAD idea, as it reduces your control over the light. With a silver umbrella you can only bounce light off the umbrella anyway. I would use the regular reflectors, if you can back them up far enough to give you even light over the orchestra.

Keep in mind your Alien Beeís are only making light for 1/1100th of a second at full power, so the strobes will stop the movement. If the shutter is open a little longer to get ambient light this wonít create much blur because it is only a little part of the image. In addition I think you be using a normal or wide-angle lens, so problems with blur should be minimal. Still, I would try to hold still.
Thanks, John Siskin

2/21/2013 8:41:42 AM

William R. Box

member since: 6/24/2005
  Hi John - Thanks for the information and comments. Paul Buff has a reversible white/silver standard umbrella that I will purchase for this project. I may also purchase the wide angle reflector to reduce spill and put all the light into the umbrella. I am fairly new to using strobes and forget that the strobe lights the subject (stops movement as you said) and the shutter can be adjusted for the background. I plan on taking your course on Portrait Photography Lighting - I have some experience with studio and on location portrait work. However, would you recommend starting with you introductory course then followup with the Portrait Lighting course? I also plan to take Ibarionex Perello's courses on portrait photography. Thanks again for your feedback and comments. Bill

2/22/2013 9:40:04 AM

  Hi Bill,
Iím sure the white/silver umbrella will be useful. Any umbrella that doesnít let light through can be more useful than a shoot through. When you have light coming out the front and back of a light source you lose a lot of control. I donít know why you need the wide-angle reflector, as it will give you more spill light rather than less.

I certainly like it when people start with the introductory course. I try to explain why lighting tools work in certain ways and how to use them. I also go over what gear will work for your particular purposes. The portrait class assumes you know at least some of this stuff. The intro class will help you to light anything, which is a good goal. Iím sure youíd enjoy Ibarionexís class as well. He is a great teacher!
Thanks, John

2/22/2013 12:10:05 PM

William R. Box

member since: 6/24/2005
  Thanks John for your input and comments. Bill

2/24/2013 4:41:27 AM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Hi Bill,
John is right about the umbrellas as well as the Paul Buff Co. With a large group (and I have done as many as 150 on a stage similarly) it is infinitely easier to take advantage of the ambient light and use your umbrellas to fill shadows and balance color. Stage lighting is often uneven so you can't depend on that entirely. That number is very doable.
And when buying equipment you have to consider other uses as well and not just one time. Shooting from a ladder gives a nice angle but unless it is essential to even get the shot, I would prefer the tripod to steady the camera for slower shutter speeds. Black curtains can be tough as they absorb lots of light and if the member on stage are dressed in black, as they often are, that presents another problem. If you can shoot and process raw files that will be a big help. Good luck.

2/27/2013 1:24:21 PM

William R. Box

member since: 6/24/2005
  Hi Bruce - Thanks for your input. The stage is elevated and to get the faces of the back rows I need to be up high- the orchestra does not use risers so they are all on the same level. I always shoot in RAW to give myself flexibility in processing the images. I try to be judicious in purchasing equipment (which my wife greatly appreciates) Thanks again for your comments - Bill

2/27/2013 5:52:06 PM

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Photography Question 
Leanna Slater

member since: 6/2/2012
  55 .  Post Production Software
Any recommendations for photo post production software? Have been using Aperture and am looking for something new...

2/16/2013 11:20:27 AM

  I am totally sold on Photoshop (the full version, not Elements). Photoshop is not easy to learn but you acheive great power once you figure it out.

I like having full control over my work; using masks and layers Photoshop gives me the ability to adjust, edit, enhance just what I want without affecting the entire image.

2/18/2013 5:11:36 PM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 6/11/2005
  I also have Photoshop, but began early on with Elements, which does a fantastic job too. Be sure to get a good book on the version of software you get. And, go to Youtube and then search for "how to" videos using the software you chose.

2/18/2013 6:17:55 PM

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Photography Question 
JoAnne K. Daniels

member since: 3/19/2005
  56 .  Focusing Issues
I am experiencing difficulty getting great focus shots with my 70-200 L series Canon lens. Specifically, I cannot seem to get the crisp shots. I shoot a lot of action rodeo photography and the past weekend I was out on a bright sunny day with my tri-pod, shutter release cable, Canon 7D and 70-200 lens. I tried using both TV and AV and tried to push my camera to F8 or better and no less than 125. But, since they were fast action shots I wanted to up the speed to 250 or 500 or even more but everytime I do this the apperature drops down to 2.8 or 4 which we all know makes blurry shots. I seen a picture of a surfer shot at F.8/1600 on ISO 400 and it was beautiful. But it seems that my lens won't push to the higher speeds. Even when I change the ISO up to as far as 1000. What am I doing wrong? I even tried switching to manual mode and setting to F.8/250 on a bright day and it is too dark. The only way I get adequate light is if the apperature is open to 2.8 to 5.6. My other lens 24-85 is in great focus. Help!

2/12/2013 9:29:52 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  Are you trying to get a close picture of a very dark colored horse?

2/12/2013 5:02:27 PM

JoAnne K. Daniels

member since: 3/19/2005
  No, I'm actually stationed at the back end of the arena shooting pictures of the team ropers as they come out of the box chasing the steers. It is typical outside during the day picture.

2/12/2013 8:22:48 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  Go thru and make sure everything is set right. Iso, exposure comp set to zero, no custom functions accidentally set, the camera monitor brightness is set right.
See if you go outside, mid day, sun behind you, have it at the 100mm mark at iso 400 and point at a grassy area or some scene without too much of really dark stuff or bright stuff. And see if the meter reads around 1/400 or 1/500 at f/16.

2/13/2013 5:07:12 PM

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Photography Question 
Dino L. Rovera
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/8/2006
  57 .  Infrared Conversion
I am thinking about having one of my lesser used cameras (Canon 40D or 50D) set off for a Infrared Conversion. Infrared images have always intrigued me. However, there are several companies I could send my camera off to. I would like to know if anyone has a suggestion as to which company is best. Thank you.

2/10/2013 12:23:36 PM

  I had my Canon 50D converted last summer by LifePixel. Just the basic conversion tuned for the 50mm 1.8 lens. I'm really happy with it and the service by LifePixel... :-)

2/11/2013 6:32:02 AM

  Lifepixel - contact Deborah Sandidge, she may have a discount for their conversions and she teaches IR photography here at BP.

2/11/2013 8:40:35 PM

Dino L. Rovera
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/8/2006
  Awesome advise guys, thank you both. LifePixel was the one I had in mind to use...I will drop Deborah an email...thank you again.

2/12/2013 3:04:45 AM

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Photography Question 
RoxAnne E. Franklin

member since: 6/26/2002
  58 .  How to do a quick transfer to Laptop from Canon 5D
I am a seasoned photographer but have never shot photos and immediately transferred them to my laptop for CD burning. I have volunteered to do a pet shoot for Valentines Day to benefit a Breast Cancer patient. All proceeds will go to her. I plan on doing two photos only and then transferring to the laptop to have my assistant burn the cd to give to the pet owners with a limited use release. My question is .. I know there are eye fi cards that can do this but I have been told my camera is not compatible with them???? is this true, what is the quickest way to accomplish what I'm trying to do? I don't want to have to shoot, download, shoot download, it would take forever. As this is the only time I can see myself doing this type of shoot, I'd like to spend as little as possible as well. Thanks for all your help! P.S. The laptop I'll be using is a basic Dell laptop.

1/21/2013 6:40:06 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  Your camera should have come with some software and a cord, either USB or other type, to connect to a computer.
Or, if you connect your camera to your computer, it might recognize it and ask if you want to download some Canon software from the camera.

1/21/2013 5:52:40 PM

RoxAnne E. Franklin

member since: 6/26/2002
  Thank you for your reply. Maybe I should have clarified better. I know how to get the photos to my computer what I need to know now is if there is a quick way to do the following: take two shots, download the pics to the laptop and burn a CD. If I had a compatible camera to an eye first card I could easily achieve this but I've been told my 5D is not compatible with eye first cards.

1/21/2013 6:14:50 PM

  RoxAnne - I found this discussion on the 5D and an eye-fi card. Sounds like it will work, but with some specific equipment:

1/22/2013 7:45:22 AM

RoxAnne E. Franklin

member since: 6/26/2002
  Thanks so much for the link. I was afraid I'd have to make an investment to do this shoot easier. I guess its going to be a situation where I take the CDs back to the location of the shoot for pickup the next day. Thanks everyone for all your help! I appreciate it.

1/22/2013 8:01:36 AM

  There is a wireless file transmitter for the original 5D, it is the wft-e1a. Not sure that you'll be able to find one anymore.

1/22/2013 8:19:02 AM

Luis A. Morales

member since: 8/3/2008
  RoxAnne F....why can't you take the two shots, pop the card into the computer, or card reader, throw a CD into the drive, and burn the photos at the location? First, though, does your Dell have a CD burner? If not, then you will need to go back the next day with the CD.

1/22/2013 10:10:26 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  That's what she want's to avoid, taken the card out each time. Although it may not actually be that hard since she has help there. The assistant could do the card flipping and burning while she gets the people or pets situated. But she may want rapid fire. Click click, next, click click.
But she may have to shoot tethered to the laptop.

1/22/2013 11:47:04 AM

RoxAnne E. Franklin

member since: 6/26/2002
  Everyone of you are so nice to try to help me. Yes I want the fastest way possible but sounds like I'm just going to have to remove the card after a few shots then burn CDs. At least I have help so it won't be so painful. Thanks everyone. I so appreciate your time.

1/22/2013 5:56:39 PM

Luis A. Morales

member since: 8/3/2008
  Hello again RoxAnne. Here is another alternative: if you have a small enough printer, why not print out 8x10/8x12 images? Your assistant could print them out as you keep shooting. All you would have to do is either tether yourself to the laptop, or swap out cards every 5 or 10 families. Regardless, good luck with your endeavor.

1/22/2013 7:49:01 PM

  The fastest way to transfer from CF card to Laptop is using a firewire cf card reader. I can download an 8gb card is about 6 minutes. The wireless would be cool but thats an expensive piece of equipment. Tethering is the other option.
Warning: If you are going to take a couple of shots then remove the card and insert another - Make Sure you turn your camera OFF, otherwise you run a high risk of frying the card. I learned this the hard way :)
Good Luck,

1/28/2013 6:48:22 PM

Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/3/2005
  I think I would just use the included 5D USB cable - take the 2 shots, leave the card inside the camera, hook up the USB cable between camera & computer, transfer the 2 images to the hard drive, disconnect camera (to continue shooting new images right away, if needed) and have assistant burn those 2 files from hard drive to CD.
No new equipment to buy, and it would take less than 2 minutes to connect, transfer 2 files & disconnect. If that isn't fast enough, the client has some serious impatience issues!! ;)

(This assumes you start with an empty chip; or else one in which all prior files have already been transferred. That way the EOS Utility will let you select "New Images Only" to transfer, so you don't even have to scroll through the whole chip's collection of images.)

2/1/2013 10:27:59 AM

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Photography Question 
Donald R. Curry
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/2/2006
  59 .  Smoky Mountains
I retired 2 years ago and purchased Mountaineer Campground in Townsend, TN in order to pursue my photography passion in the Smokies. I would like to invite my fellow BP members to stop by and visit to share ideas on photo opportunities in the Smokies.

1/7/2013 10:45:44 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  Be careful. I don't think you retired just so you could spend your time picking up empty beer cans.

1/9/2013 8:51:31 PM

  LOL, Gregory! But some of us prefer wine.

1/10/2013 12:31:46 PM

Memoriee G. Sconce
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/30/2008
  Thank you if we get out that way we will stay a night or two.

1/11/2013 9:55:31 AM

  Next time I visit my sister in Nashville, I will see if I have time to stop by. Would love to go out on a hike/shoot with you Donald.

1/13/2013 8:46:35 AM

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Photography Question 
Janice M. Borodezt
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Janice
Janice's Gallery

member since: 1/8/2011
  60 .  Photography Class
I signed up for a class in the spring of 2012. I have not submitted any assignment because I am not motivated. The reason I am not motivated is because no one else is in the class.

My question is can I be put into a different class where there are students and then I will feel motivated.

Thank you so much. Janice Borodezt

1/4/2013 12:58:29 PM

  When does your class start?

1/7/2013 12:50:50 PM

  The class started last year in the Spring.

1/7/2013 3:27:54 PM

  Oh, sorry, I thought maybe the "spring of 2012" was a typo and you meant 2013. You're talking about a BP class, right?
If you didn't cancel the class before the 2nd or 3rd (depending whether it was a 4 or 8 week class)assignment was sent to you, I do believe you are out of luck.

1/7/2013 3:33:44 PM

  That stinks.

It makes the class very difficult and unmotivating without anyone else in the class. There should be some guidelines in place for things like this.

I most likely will not want to take any classes in the future.

1/7/2013 3:35:48 PM

  Classmates or not, the instructors are very supportive, motivational and totally helpful. If you take another class, keep track on the class site of how many students are in the class, then, if there aren't any more signed up, cancel before the class starts?

1/7/2013 4:09:09 PM

  Hi Everyone,
Thanks so much for your input, Bob - much appreciated!

Hi Janice,
Sorry to hear of your frustration. The good folks at Course Support will be in touch with you by email.

Thanks again,

1/8/2013 9:02:54 AM

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