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SNAPSHOT - PHOTO NEWS FROM BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to SnapShot, the weekly newsletter on
the art of photography from
BetterPhoto.com


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IN THIS ISSUE - Wednesday, November 27, 2002
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* SPOTLIGHT: BetterPhoto.com Featured in Woman's Day Magazine!
* BETTERPHOTO: Spotlight on the BetterPhoto Courses
* BETTERPHOTO: Correction on Upcoming Zuckerman Course
* BETTERPHOTO: Join the BetterPhoto Team!
* PHOTO LINK: Seattle Waterfront 2002-1907
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Photo Op / Famous Fakes
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Keep Warm
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Being a Profressional
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: How to Save Photos to CD's
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Upload New Photos to My Site
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Adjust Flash Output for Higher Camera Synch Speed?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: What is Wrong With This Photo?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Manual Cameras
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Check Prior Upload Times?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Film Scanners
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Transferring Files to the Contest
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Tips For School Portraits
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 2: What is a Teleconverter?


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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BetterPhoto.com Featured in Woman's Day Magazine!
Take a look at the most recent issue of Woman's Day magazine. Right up front, on page 16, you will find an article featuring BetterPhoto.com and Jim Miotke's recent book, "The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Great Photos". Needless to say, this is a big honor and we are thrilled to share a few of the best tips with so many people.

To order "The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Great Photos" (it makes a great gift!), call us toll-free at 1-888-927-9992 or visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetail.asp?productID=1096

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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 99th issue of SnapShot!

Hi

Happy Thanksgiving, BetterPhoto friends! I hope this week is promising to bring you much turkey (or tofurky), many great photo ops, and a good amount of familial harmony :)

This week, we have a special announcement about for anyone looking for right work.

As we bring the current courses to a close, we are also fully engaged in setting up the Winter session of photo courses. This current session has been our best yet! I can't wait to see what the next session brings.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Slap your camera on a tripod and get some especially warm holiday family portraits this time around. Have a fun long weekend!

Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoContact.asp?memberID=124


*****
Spotlight on the BetterPhoto Courses
To learn what others are saying about the online photo courses, visit our newly updated Course Testimonials page:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/testimonials.asp

Or learn more about the particular course that interests you the most:

Beginning Photography by Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JCM01.asp

Beginning Photoshop for Photographers by Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JCM02.asp

Beyond Snapshots with Kerry Drager
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/KRD01.asp

Image Design with Tony Sweet
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/TNS01.asp

Understanding Exposure with Bryan Peterson
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/BFP02.asp

Learning to See Creatively with Bryan Peterson
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/BFP01.asp

Advanced Photo Marketing Course with Bryan Peterson
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/BFP03.asp

Sign up for any of these courses via our secure server or call our toll-free order line at 1-888-927-9992. Sign up quickly - space is filling up fast!
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp


*****
Correction on Upcoming Zuckerman Course
I just wanted to correct a typo from last time. On some of the emails that went out, I left out the names of the books Jim has authored. To clarify, here are a few titles that you might recognize:

* Digital Effects: Jim Zuckerman's Secrets to Great Photographs
* Perfect Exposure: Jim Zuckerman's Secrets to Great Photographs
* Jim Zuckerman's Secrets of Color in Photography
* Techniques of Natural Light Photography
* Capturing Drama of Nature Photography
* The Professional Photographer's Guide to Shooting & Selling Nature & Wildlife Photos

Learn more about Jim's books at:
http://www.jimzuckerman.com/books.html

To join Jim's excellent class, starting January 8th, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JZK01.asp


*****
Join the BetterPhoto Team!
Do you love photography? Do you love BetterPhoto? Then this news is for you!

We are grateful to say that things are growing beyond our bounds here. And so, we are looking for a few good people to join our work force. Ideally, the next BetterPhoto team member will exhibit an entrepreneurial attitude, enjoy making photos, and love interacting with others via BetterPhoto.com. Whether you are a serious photographer or just one who has fun exploring a photographic hobby, we might have a good fit. Currently, we are hoping to find someone to wear one or more of the following hats:

* Promoter - market BetterPhoto to potential customers and partners; secure promotional sponsorships; track down prize sponsors for the monthly photo contest; encourage link exchanges; query for articles in periodicals; spread the good word about BetterPhoto to reviewers and publishers worldwide.

* Promoter II/Web Developer - market BetterPhoto with SEO, create sister sites, improve keyword placement on existing BetterPhoto pages; author new pages to help placement in the search engines.

* Equipment Specialist - gather information, specifications, and illustrations for various cameras and pieces of photographic equipment; post information in the reviews section or our site.

* Coder/Developer - are you an ASP, SQL, or HTML whiz? Then let's talk about how you might be able to help make BetterPhoto the best photography site on the Web.

Some of the above positions might even be able to be done from home. Contact Us with your a cover letter.


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PHOTO LINKS
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Seattle Waterfront 2002-1907
Anyone who lives or has lived in the Northwest will especially enjoy this interesting panorama. Take a break and see how things have changed around here in the last 95 years:
http://www.kokogiak.com/projects/seawft/reveal_2.html

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
In what year was the term "photo op" coined to describe "a brief, organized, and often staged opportunity to photograph a celebrity or public figure?"

The first, best answer - entered by BettterPhoto member Carlos is:
1972

To see all answers to this question, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/trivia.asp?stat=PRV

And Now... This Week's Photo Trivia Question - Famous Fakes - entered by BettterPhoto member Jason J.

What photo of a famous sea monster was revealed to be a fake on the creator's deathbed? How did the photographer create the convincing photo?

Submit your own answer to this question by visiting:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/trivia.asp

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THIS WEEK'S PHOTO TIP
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Keep Warm
Here is a tip that will come in especially handy if the temperatures have been dropping fast. To keep your camera fully operation in low temperatures, keep your batteries in a pocket close to your body. This will offer the best likelihood of your electronics continuing to operate in cold climates.

Top Ten Tips:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/tips.asp

All Tips:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/allTips.asp

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ADVERTISEMENT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Great Photos
My new book guides you away from the point-and-pray method of taking pictures to shooting with confidence. In this simple and clear how-to book, you will learn:

  • How to compose your picture with a more artful eye
  • The top qualities that winning photos exhibit
  • Tips and secrets for consistently getting better results... and much more.
You can order this book online, call our toll-free order processing number 1-888-927-9992, or simply send a check or money order for USD $16.90 (or USD$18.90 if shipping to Canada or USD$24.90 to other international addresses) to:

BetterPhoto.com
P.O. Box 2781
Redmond, WA 98073-2781 USA

To order online, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetail.asp?productID=1096


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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
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NEW QUESTION 1: Being a Profressional
Many people see the photos I do of my family and ask me to do some for them. When can you be considered a professional and when do know when to begin charging for your photos???
Could you please look at these photos I took and offer some suggestions.

- Katrina W.

ANSWER 1:
sorry, here are the photos (I hope)

- Katrina W.

ANSWER 2:
where are the photos, katrina?

- Ruslan S.

ANSWER 3:
I can't figure out how to get them on there. Each time I try to submit them, it says "page expired"...HELP

- Katrina W.

ANSWER 4:
Katrina,

Regarding your photos, try to upload just one. It may be that the connection from your computer to ours cannot support multiple images. Also make sure you are following the sizing instructions before uploading.

Regarding the idea of being a professional and charging money, you need not wait to consider yourself "professional". That is a very open-ended term - you do not need a degree or anything to start using it. As long as you are shooting often and making money as often as you can, you're a pro. So start charging now. There are a couple of good books on pricing photos and marketing yourself. If you feel really motivated and ready to go for it, you might consider taking Bryan Peterson's Advanced Photo Marketing course

Hope this helps!

- Jim at BetterPhoto.com

See Jim's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=124

Take a photo course with Jim:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4475

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4475

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*****
NEW QUESTION 2: How to Save Photos to CD's
How do you save photo's to cd's?

- Mary A.

ANSWER 1:
Add CD writer capability to your computer if you don't have it already. When you add a CD "burner", the CD writing software comes with it.

You should have your photos in a digital file on your hard drive. Open the CD writer software and call up that picture file. Select the whole file or pictures within that file and add them to the software window for the contents of your new CD. Put a blank CD-R (not a CD-RW this time) into the CD drawer on your CD writer. Follow the prompts the software gives you to write your CD. It may ask you to test the CD before you write. For your first one, do that. It will ask you the write speed. For pictures, I use a 2X speed, because I want to be sure all the information gets transferred. Sit down and read the paper, because this will take a while.

- Doug N.

See Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™:
http://www.DougNelsonPhoto.com

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4469

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4469

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*****
NEW QUESTION 3: Upload New Photos to My Site
I would like to add photos and edited photos in my site. How do I upload new photos? How do I edit existing photos?
jeffscol@earthlink.net

- Jeff S.

See Jeff's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=28467

ANSWER 1:
Hi Jeff,

It sounds like you did not get the instructional email. I will send it to you again.

- Jim at BetterPhoto.com

See Jim's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=124

Take a photo course with Jim:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4466

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4466

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*****
NEW QUESTION 4: Adjust Flash Output for Higher Camera Synch Speed?
My cameras have always had a flash synchronization of 1/60 sec, like my Canon F-1 (early). The Canon T90 syncs at 1/250 sec. If I'm cutting the light input to my film two stops by using a faster shutter, do I adjust the aperture recommendation on the flash's scale by two more stops (open up two) to compensate? Or is the flash scale recommendation based on camera-to-subject distance valid regardless of the camera's synch speed?

Sorry if it's a dumb question; synch speeds of cameras vary. I've never read instructions on a flash that said the scale was valid only for 1/60 synch speeds.

- Doug N.

See Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™:
http://www.DougNelsonPhoto.com

ANSWER 1:
No. As long as your shutter speed is at or below the sync speed it is irrelevent to exposure. This is because the duration of the flash is much shorter than 1/250th of a second. It doesn't matter what your shutter speed is because the duration of your flash, in essence, becomes your shutter speed.

- Jeff K.

ANSWER 2:
Ditto what Jeff K. stated. At the same aperture, the faster shutter speed will affect ambient light only (make the background darker) compared to a slower shutter speed. The flash exposure of the near subject is unaffected.

- Jon C.

ANSWER 3:
PS. The advantage of the higher sync speed is in outdoor or bright light fill-flash situations. You have more control over depth of field with the higher sync speed. If you are using fill-flash outdoors, you might have an exposure of 1/60 and f/16. With the higher sync speed you can choose 1/125 & f/11, or 1/250 & f/8.

- Jon C.

ANSWER 4:
Thanks, guys, for a very clear and thorough explanation.

- Doug N.

See Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™:
http://www.DougNelsonPhoto.com

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4440

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4440

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*****
NEW QUESTION 5: What is Wrong With This Photo?
Can anyone tell me what is wrong with this photo? I know thre is something, but I think I am just too new at this to figure it out. Thanks!

- Sandra L.

See Sample Photo - Vacancy:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=54917

ANSWER 1:
2 things that jump out at me.

1. The light is very flat. It looks like you used an on camera or built in flash. My first recommendation would be to use the existing light when possible. If you must use flash then get the flash off the camera and off to one side. Beyond that, it usually helps to increase the size of your flash relative to the subject by bouncing it somehow.

2. Your main subject is very centered. Try not to center your subjects so much.

- Jeff K.

ANSWER 2:
Ok. I can see that now, and yes I did use a built-in flash. The whole thing looks flat! Thanks Jeff. You mentioned 'bouncing' flash... How is that done? Do you mean by bouncing it off mirrors or something? Since I took this in the evening, albeit early, extra light was needed. Does it need to be 'flash', or can I just use extra man made light?

Incidently, I am a night person. Anyone with ANY info on how to take good night pictures would be greatly appreciated!

- Sandra L.

ANSWER 3:
If you use a tripod you won't need a flash when the light gets low. Food for thought.

To bounce the flash you need a flash other than your built in flash. There are many attachments to bounce the flash into. I suggest going to the bookstore and looking for books on artificial lighting and composition.

- Jeff K.

ANSWER 4:
OK. Thanks a bunch. Will do!

- Sandra L.

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4439

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4439

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*****
NEW QUESTION 6: Manual Cameras
Ok, I am taking a photography class and I need a manual camera. I have always loved taking pictures and I know this class will make it more enjoyable because I will actually know about photograpgy, but I was wondering what manual camers are good, or if some are better than others. Price doesn't matter too much. Thanks.

- Jen

ANSWER 1:
I hope others will forgive me for jumping in so quickly on this, but it's my favorite subject. I've pretty much dedicated my web page to it.

If you want absolute top of the line, and think that maybe some day you will need the flexibility of autofocus lenses that you can use on both an AF and a manual camera, consider the new Nikon FM3A. The camera WITHOUT a lens, however, is $600. Others will tell you to buy autofocus in the beginning and turn off all the automatic functions.

If money is a consideration, buy a used camera body and a 50-mm lens from ANY major manufacturer. We're talking UNDER $175!

Don't reject Pentax, Minolta and Olympus. In fact, your best buys will come from those brands. Ricoh SLR's are cheap and use Pentax K lenses.

If you must have new, consider the Nikon FM10 or one of the Vivitar/Phoenix/Cosina clones. The most common lens mount for these is the Pentax K, optically superb and cheap. Contact me through my web page if you have specific questions.

- Doug N.

See Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™:
http://www.DougNelsonPhoto.com

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4432

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4432

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*****
NEW QUESTION 7: Check Prior Upload Times?
Is there a way I can check on yesterday's upload time? I can't remember the exact time and assume you stick precisely to a 24 hour period.
(or are we talking a "vague day" here? Thanks for the site, I'm new, but enjoying it. Sorry if this was a dumb question, I checked Q&A and also my photo, but to no avail.
Thanx ..lyn

- Lyn W.

ANSWER 1:
Hi Lyn,

Not a dumb question at all. In fact, another member just yesterday suggested that we post the date the photo was uploaded to help you with this issue.

So I have made it so that the date displays under each photo. You can now use this to make sure you are only entering one photo per day into the contest.

May the best photo win ;)

- Jim at BetterPhoto.com

See Jim's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=124

Take a photo course with Jim:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4417

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4417

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*****
NEW QUESTION 8: Film Scanners
I read on your site about 'film scanners' and noticed that they have a wide range of prices. Can you tell me what they are used for, how they work and if a more expensive one is better than an less expensive one?

- Doreen

ANSWER 1:
Scanning directly from the film is the preferred method of turning film images into digital images. You CAN scan a print with a flatbed scanner, but the range of colors and shades is limited. All film scanners will scan 35-mm negatives easily; the better ones will scan slides of varying density, also. Read more about film scanners at scantips.com, sphoto.com, and on my web page, given below.

- Doug N.

See Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™:
http://www.DougNelsonPhoto.com

ANSWER 2:
Doreen,

Less expensive or more expensive? Good question. Doug answered you correctly, but I would like to add you only need to spend as much as your needs require.

I recently bought an Epson Perfection 2450 scanner. It scans slides and negatives as well as prints. One nice thing about it is it is not limited to 35mm film.

I held out for a year for the prices to come down on The Coolscan models from Nikon. Even the Coolscan IV ED was out of my price range. So was the Minolta Scan Elite II.

When I saw the Epson at Sam's Club for $299, I raced home to check reviews on it. As usual, the "pro's" reviews were mixed. (They have higher demands) The user's reviews, however, were nearly all positive.

With some skepticism. I went back to Sam's a week later and picked one up. I am thoroughly delited with the results.

I have made beautiful 8x10 prints from scanning my old Kodak slides. I was so happy that I am going to return to shooting slides again. Not exclusively, mind you, as before, but just again.

Go to my webshots web page where I have uploaded those slides. "My Travels in Asia" is an all-slides album. Likewise Grand Canyon.

http://community.webshots.com/scripts/controlPanel.fcgi

By the way--The money I save will make a substantial down payment towards the purchase of a Coolpix 4500 or 5700 digital camera.

Also, I will upload with this response a slide scanned with the Epson just to give you a hint of what it will do.

Hope I have helped you.


- Michael H.

See Sample Photo - State of Utah Supreme Court:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=53853


ANSWER 3:
Thanks so much to both of you, Doug and Michael. You've helped me out quite a bit. (Beautiful pictures you have, too). Thanks!

- Doreen

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4407

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4407

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*****
NEW QUESTION 9: Transferring Files to the Contest
I found your website in early October. I have tried to enter the contest every day since. I was able to transfer my file only twice. The image is in jpeg. I get to the point that the image is 100% transferred but the pop up part of the program where one categorizes the photo does not appear. What am I doing wrong?

I think your website is excellent and look forward to entering the contest and possibly getting my own website.

Thank you.

- Jane B.

ANSWER 1:
Hi Jane,

I am not sure why your photo is not uploading. Are you confident that it is sized properly, according to the instructions? It could be that the photo is too large, perhaps?

- Jim at BetterPhoto.com

See Jim's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=124

Take a photo course with Jim:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp

ANSWER 2:
And I almost forget, thank you very much for the nice compliment :)

- Jim at BetterPhoto.com

See Jim's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=124

Take a photo course with Jim:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4403

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4403

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Tips For School Portraits
I am very new to this photography thing, but my sister has asked me to do the individual and group photos of her preschool students. I need tips on lighting, backdrop etc. (I have a very low budget, so I am going to have to "cheat" this first time round.) Please help!!
(I am shooting the last week of October 2002, so any prompt reply would be greatly appreciated.)

- Carolyn W.

ANSWER 1:
Can you shoot them outside? For groups, even lighting is the key so if you can shoot them in open shade with natural light you will be best off. For the groups use a tripod and a relatively small aperture to get decent DOF. Something around f16 should be safe. I would do the individuals outside as well. Or near a large window to make use of the natural light. Unless you just can't find a simple background I wouldn't mess with backdrops. Just pick a simple background and use a wider aperture to throw it out of focus.

- Jeff K.

ANSWER 2:
I would love to shoot them outside, however I live on the west coast of BC... it's going to start raining anyday now and won't stop until May, so that won't really work.

Because I will be shooting over two days, my developer has told me my lighting needs to be exactly the same each day, so he can just run them through the machine, otherwise he will have to charge me more to mess with them. I'm a little nervous about using natural light since the weather is so unpredictable here.

- Carolyn W.

ANSWER 3:
Well, overcast days are the best. If you can't shoot outdoors is there a covered area or does the classroom have large windows you could use for light? The reason I'm pushing natural light is that it's much easier to control and if you aren't experienced using artificial light you could be in for some surprises you don't want. Additionally, to use artificial light I would have to suggest that you use umbrellas and stands and that's another thing you will probably have to buy (and you said you were on a low budget). Add to that a flash meter, slaves, background material, etc... you get the point.

- Jeff K.

ANSWER 4:
There is a large south facing window in the preschool. I guess for some reason I was thinking artificial light would give me more control (shows how much I know) but I knew that to go that route I would have to fork out more cash since I don't have a meter, etc. The more I think about it,the more I think I am alot more comfortable with natural lighting, as I have not had any experience with artificial lighting. I would hate to screw this up!
Thanks so much!!

- Carolyn W.

ANSWER 5:
Carolyn,

As I recall, when it starts raining there, you don't have much light with which to work. Even a large window may not provide the even lighting you'll need to do this right. I suggest you move quickly and take your photos out of doors as Jeff suggested. Since arranging students into a pleasing composition is sometimes rather slow and tedious, you might wnt to gather them in a large enough room and set up your composition. Then have have the students practice getting into the right position. That way you won't waste time once you're outside.

Just a thought.

- Jim S.

ANSWER 6:
Carolyn,

Where on the west coast are you? I live in Richmond, and have some experience with this type of work. If you still have questions we could chat on the phone if like... just let me know and I'll email you my phone number.

You say you are on a tight budget (aren't we all?). With this type of shoot, you want to keep the lighting simple, and fairly even. Too often I see pictures of kids that are over lit... Keep it simple and just let them be kids. You also want to have enough light to give you decent DOF, and a fairly high effective shutter speed, since you can't always count on the little darlings staying still. I would use strobes, if you plan to work indoors.

So, you could rent a pair of 300ws monolights with stands and umbrellas, and a flash meter for $CA71 from Beau Photo in Vancouver. Buy a roll of 9' wide seamless paper in any colour you like, (also from Beau ~$55) tape it up on one wall in the classroom, let it roll out on to the floor as far as possible. Set up one Umbrella on each side and at about 5 - 6 feet from the floor (little people aren't as tall as adults), and far enough from the back wall so that your subjects will be 5-6 feet in front of the background, and the lights about the same distance or some what farther in front of the kids, Set one light ~ 2/3 of a stop brighter than the other, take one last reading from the subject position(you are looking for f/8-11), call the kids in and have a ball!

The short flash duration will freeze the action if they move a bit, and the quantity of light flying around will ensure you a small aperture for good depth of field. Too sharp and too much DOF isn't an issue because of the use of the seamless paper and the fact that your subject's complexions are likely to be about as perfect as any human ever has.

Don't let the use of the monolights intimidate you; it's really much simpler than you may think, and shops like Beau maintain their gear well.

best

- Mark E.

See Mark's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=18995

ANSWER 7:
Mark, thank you so much for responding!!! I am in the Abbotsford area, so you understand about the weather!!

I have been up nights worrying about how I am going to do this, but you make it sound doable!!! Unfortunetly I am on my way out the door, I will be back with a few questions later. (Thanks again!!)

- Carolyn W.

ANSWER 8:
Carolyn,

Ther's a great book that you can probably find at Chapter's... Vik Orenstein's "Creative Techniques for Photographing Children"; highly recommended.

Also, here are a couple of pictures shot in the style I described above. The beauty of this approach is that it is simple; once you have set it up, you don't really have to worry too much about light direction and exposure... particularly if you are using colour negative film (Fuji Reala... best skin tones, and finest grain by far!). secondly with the technical side taken care of, you can now focus on the image and the subject in front of you. I prefer a looser approach to this type of photography, which may or may not suit your tastes. I like to let the kid, just be a kid... not frozen in fron of the lens, like 99% of all school photography produced today. Tell a joke, or better yet, get the kid to tell you a joke. Ask them the name of their cat, and then feign surprise when they tell you (Goodness! That's my cat's name too!) You'll catch more engaging, natural expressions and have a lot of fun to boot!

- Mark E.

See Sample Photo - Image 2:
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*****
CONTINUING QUESTION 2: What is a Teleconverter?
What does a teleconverter do?

- Sobia

ANSWER 1:
A teleconverter increases the focal length of your lens. It mounts between you lens and the camera body. A 2x teleconverter doubles the length of your lens. Thus a 200mm lens becomes a 400mm lens. Teleconverters will tend to soften images and they all cut the amount of light by whatever their factor is. Therefore, a 2x teleconverter takes 2 stops of light.

- Jeff K.

ANSWER 2:
Thanks alot Jeff K. for your quick response.

- Sobia

ANSWER 3:
Jeff, then what do extension tubes do?

- Stephanie A.

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ANSWER 4:
Stephanie,
While a teleconverter effectively doubles the focal length of the lens using optics, an extension tube merely changes the focus range. It is a hollow tube that attaches to the camera, without any optics. It extends the lens further from the film than can be done with the focusing threads alone, enabling it to focus closer. It is usually matched with a specific macro lens. For example, a 50mm lens may have 25mm of extension using its focusing threads, enabling it to focus close enough for a 1/2 life size image (the image is 1/2 as large on film as in real life). With a 25mm extension tube, it now has up to 50mm of extension (equal to the focal length), so it can now focus close enough to produce a full life-size image (the true definition of macro).

- Tracy K.

ANSWER 5:
Thanks Tracey, I have the extension tubes and have played with them, but don't know exactly what the focal length becomes or anything else. I did one shot of a petal with my macro and 3 extension tubes, LOL, don't know that I really needed 3, but I was playing around trying to see what worked and what didn't. Thanks for your help and hopefully I will get it all soon!

- Stephanie A.

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