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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 - Tuesday, July 01, 2003
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* SPOTLIGHT: Summer School Approaching Fast - Take an Online PhotoCourse™
* BETTERPHOTO: Only One Week Left to Sign Up for the Summer Session of Online Courses
* BETTERPHOTO: New Grand Prize - An Online PhotoCourse™!
* BETTERPHOTO: Photographing Fireworks This Week
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Which Came First / Close Enough
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: John's Hat Trick
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Kids At the Beach with Black and White Film
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Two Photo Screw Up
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Lens Quality - Which Should I Buy?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Camera Not Listed
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: How Megapixels Effect Picture Size
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: New Kodak Film
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Image Size and Optimising
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Filters for Portraits
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Slide Film vs. Negatives
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: What Filters Should I Purchase for My New Camera?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: Shooting Wedding Ceremony Without Flash
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 12: Metz FLash
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 13: Wedding and Graduation Pictures
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 14: Fireworks?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 15: Digital Slide Show Software
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Black and White Film


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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Summer School Approaching Fast - Take an Online PhotoCourse™
Make this summer a special adventure by joining a photography course! Improve your picture-taking skills while having a great time enjoying the summer months. Each class is focused on teaching you how to improve your understanding of photography through exciting weekly assignments and helpful critiques direct from the instructor. Learn more about our excellent courses at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 120th issue of SnapShot!

Hi

The big reminder this week is that there is only about a week left before we start the summer session of online photography courses. For everyone already signed up, you should have received your instructions by now... in fact, many of you have already introduced yourself to the class. This is going to be so much fun... each session the classes just gets better and better.

We also are excited to announce a fun new development for our contest goers: the Grand Prize winner now gets to choose either a Deluxe BetterPholio™ or an online photography course.

And as always, we are working hard on improvements in our Equipment Reviews and Galleries sections, as well as developing great enhancements for our upcoming session of photo courses and the Deluxe BetterPholios™. We are having a blast and grateful to be witnessing so much progress at the site. Thanks for your continued support.

Happy Independence Day/Canada Day/Week of Summer Fun - have a wonderful time shooting great pictures!
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


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Only One Week Left to Sign Up for the Summer Session of Online Courses
Sign up quickly if you would like to join us in one of the following exciting online photography courses. The summer session starts July 9th - just one week away!

In "Beyond the Postcard" with Brenda Tharp, you'll learn how to capture memorable travel images - whether you go out for a short day-trip or go abroad:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/BRN02.asp

Kerry Drager's "Beyond Snapshots" shows you how to make the most of your cameras and equipment:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/KRD01.asp

In Jim Zuckerman's "Mastering Light", you'll learn all you need to know about making the most of available light as well as flash photography:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JZK02.asp

Or you might rather enjoy Jim Zuckerman's "Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography" - where Jim takes you from 0 to 60 in Eight Seconds flat:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JZK01.asp

Get fun and creative portraits of kids and others in either "Photographing Children" with Vik Orenstein:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/VIK01.asp
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/VIK02.asp

Select from all of our online courses at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp


*****
New Grand Prize - An Online PhotoCourse™!
How would you like to brush up on your photography skills with a photography course... for free!? As an alternate Grand Prize, you now get your choice of either a Deluxe BetterPholio™ or an enrollment in Brenda Tharp's online photography course - Creating Visual Impact. The contest winner now has the option to join us in the next session for an exciting and inspiring photo course - designed to help you master the art of photography. Learn more about our online photo courses at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp

And if you have had your hopes on winning a Deluxe BetterPholio™, no worries... we are not taking away that option. If you prefer, you can instead win a free one-year subscription to your own individual Web site. With a Deluxe BetterPholio™, you choose the look and feel from a selection of unique, high-quality designs. Your online portfolio can showcase up to 1000 of your favorite images. Promote or sell your images via a Deluxe BetterPholio™. Learn more about Deluxe BetterPholios™ at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/deluxeWebsites.asp


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Photographing Fireworks This Week
If you live in the United States, you will likely be enjoying a spectacular display of fireworks as you celebrate the Fourth of July - the holiday marking the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. In you are a bit north of the States, you might have an opportunity to photograph fireworks even sooner, as Canada Day on July 1 marks the day that the Canadian Government was officially created in 1867.

Either way, you will want to maximize your chances of getting the best fireworks photos by reading our article on the Top Tips for Shooting Fireworks:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/fireworks.asp

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
The first flexible, rolled film for still photographs was introduced about how many years before the first motion picture was made?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotkeis:
Well, this was a tough one and nobody answered it. The answer is that George Eastman and William Walker invented a flexible film layered with gelatin emulsions on paper backing in 1882. The first motion picture films were made on sensitized paper rolls in 1888 by Louis Aime Augustin Le Prince, only six years later.

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

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 - Close Enough - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

Who said, "Anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn't photogenic?"

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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John's Hat Trick
BetterPhoto member John Lind offered this tip to use while shooting fireworks in a recent Q&A:

"One additional trick can be done using a hat (without any vent holes) provided you are shooting from a very dark location. If you want to stop the exposure briefly, you can hold it open with the cable release, and simply cover the front of the lens with the hat. Don't hang the hat on it, or touch the lens with it... just block the exposure with it by holding it over the lens front. Continue exposure by removing the hat from in front of the lens. Helps if the hat is black, or very dark blue or very dark brown. Indeed, during the 1800's few cameras had shutters. Exposures with the extremely slow film emulsions were often 10 seconds or longer... even in bright daylight. What served as a shutter? The lens cover which was more like a leather cup (similar to a dice cup) than the type of lens cap in common use today. Remove cover to start exposure; replace cover to end it."

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

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

Add Your Own Tip:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/login.asp?category=tip&inputType=tip

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

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To order online, visit:
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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
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NEW QUESTION 1: Kids At the Beach with Black and White Film
I just really want some good pictures of my 2 girls at our local beach (Lake Michigan). Can someone tell me what kind of conditions I should be looking for. I have taken black and white before, but some were so bright and not very good.
- Jennifer A. Spencer

ANSWER 1:
Dear Jenifer:
One approach would be to wait for an overcast day, or to arrive early or late in the day when the sun is closer to the horizon.
If you choose the overcast option, you'll be shooting in "soft" light that leaves diffuse shadows. And if it stays overcast that day, you can shoot throughout much of the day, and still have pretty much the same lighting conditions. This light may also give you more choices for composition, i.e., you have more possible angles/points of view, and more backgrounds that are simple.
One other benefit is that the range of brightness you encounter on an overcast day may not be as great as the range of brightness on a sunny day. This can make it easier for the lab to produce a pleasing print without resorting to "custom" services like dodging and burning.

Shooting early in the day or closer to sunset provides light that casts long shadows. Might be nice for a photo of your daughters and their shadows as they walk toward or away from the camera. You may also find there are fewer people in the background at such hours.
I often read that photos taken in direct sunlight during the middle portion of the day lack the "interest" of those taken earlier or later. If you're stuck shooting at midday in sunlight, when shadows are short and subjects may squint, fill-in flash can reduce the "hollow eye" or "owl eye" look.

If you're up for the adventure, yellow, orange, green and red filters are fun to experiment with. They will alter the way certain colors are rendered as shades of gray. Your local camera store should have brochures or photos that illustrate the effects of these filters, or your local library may have titles on photography that include illustrative black and white photos taken with these filters.
I see some images destined for the walls of your home...
- Maynard McKillen

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6109

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6109

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NEW QUESTION 2: Two Photo Screw Up
I just uploaded a photo (10pm) only to discover that I uploaded at 6am this morning ... which seems like another day, I was probably still asleep! I realize the second will be disqualified, can I simply resubmit it tomorrow?
- Lyn Winans

ANSWER 1:
Sure, you can reupload the photo the next day to comply with the "one photo a day" contest rule.
- Jim at BetterPhoto.com

See Jim Miotke's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Jim Miotke's Deluxe BetterPholio™ - Miotke.com

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Jim Miotke's Online Photography Courses

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NEW QUESTION 3: Lens Quality - Which Should I Buy?
I am looking at buying a telephoto lens. The two I am most intersted in are a 70-200mm f/2.8 or an 70-200mm f/4. I am curious as to what the difference is between the f/2.8 and f/4. I have been told it has to do with aperture openings. Is there anything else? Also a few tips on what exactly to look for when buying an excellent quality lens. Thanks
- Paula J. Hoyal

ANSWER 1:
Without knowing the specific models you are comparing (and assuming f/4 is available at all zoom settings rather than a f/4-5.6 lens), the differences between a f/2.8 and f/4 70-200 zoom are:

(1) the larger aperture of the f/2.8 allows shooting with 1 stop faster shutter speed (say 1/125 @ f/2.8 v. 1/60 @ f/4) that may allow handheld shooting in lower light,

(2) the shallower depth of field of f/2.8 v. f/4.

(3) the f/4 will weigh about 1/2 as much as the f/2.8 zoom (~1.5 lb v. ~3 lb) because the smaller maximum aperture allows correspondingly smaller/lighter glass elements.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 2:
P.S.
(4) the f/2.8 zoom when used with a 2x teleconverter will have an effective maximum aperture of f/5.6 and retain autofocus, while the f/4 with 2x TC will be f/8 and AF will become non-functional (except with a limited number of sensors in the most expensive cameras).
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6096

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6096

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NEW QUESTION 4: Camera Not Listed
I want to enter the contest but it will not let me with picking type of camera. Mine is not on the list, so I did the add your camera thing and went back and still it was not on the list. Is there any way to type in mine in the Camera select area?
- Deborah L. King

ANSWER 1:
Hi Deborah,

Your camera has been added. If you still do not see it when you are at the Image Uploader page, click the Refresh button on your browser. Thanks!
- Jim at BetterPhoto.com

See Jim Miotke's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Jim Miotke's Deluxe BetterPholio™ - Miotke.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Jim Miotke:
Jim Miotke's Online Photography Courses

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6095

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6095

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*****


NEW QUESTION 5: How Megapixels Effect Picture Size
I know that the higher the megapixels the better image quality. My question is, if I own a 6 megapixel camera, am I going to be able to print small pictures such as a 4x6 or a wallet? If I am able to, what do I do to ensure that I get a quality print.
- Paula J. Hoyal

ANSWER 1:
The answer is found in your imaging program. With your camera, or with a scanner, maybe, you must have gotten some photoshop-based software, Photoshop LE or Adobe Elements. Maybe you got a propriety software from the camera manufacturer. There will be a screen in there (Image/Image Size in the photoshop-based ones) that lets you size your image for print. I think Elements can even give you multiple small prints on a sheet of paper. If you have Elements or Photshop lE, and you are having trouble, come back.
- Doug Nelson

Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6093

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6093

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NEW QUESTION 6: New Kodak Film
I wanted to know if anyone knew of Kodak's newest film (HD) High Definition and if they used in Wedding Photography. What was the outcome?
- Christine

ANSWER 1:
I've used 400 High Definition. I'm unimpressed. Blues and yellows are unnaturally bold. I used it only for urban scenery, I wouldn't use it for anyone's wedding. The Portra films are too good to use anything else.
- Doug Nelson

Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Christine,
I agree completely with Doug. I've used Kodak Royal Gold 200 for editorial work at public events. It has been very good for that. The types of public events I shoot are amenable to its saturation. The new High Definition used to be called Royal Gold 400 and I'd have some reservations about using film that grainy for the editorial work.

However, I wouldn't think of using it for a wedding. Not only is it too saturated, it's also contrastier, not to mention the grain. White dresses would get blown out, black tuxes would look like caverns and enlarging anything would prove to be a challenge. My recommendation is the same as Doug's regarding weddings: Kodak Portra. My clear favorite among the entire line of Portra is 160 NC.
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6089

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6089

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*****


NEW QUESTION 7: Image Size and Optimising
Hi, I have a Pentax Optio 330GS 3.2 megapixel camera, and I want to make a website, which has streetscenes and historical building photos in it. I look at other sites, they have clearer photos, and are only about 30-50 kb in size. I try to get the same quality by reducing an image to 600X450 pixels, using 50% in the unsharp mask, then optimising in Image Ready. It usually ends up being 80+ kb, with slightly less quality. When I save in Photoshop, I put it on high quality. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks
- Joshua J. Geoghegan

ANSWER 1:
Are you shooting at the full resolution of which this fine camera is capable? Are these images starting off as JPEG's right out of the camera? If so, you have to handle them with digital kid gloves. In Photoshop, convert them to TIF's for doing your cropping, contrast/brightness (use Levels for this) and touching out electrical wires and such. Only when you have it ready to convert to JPEG for your web site do you downsize it, choose the degree of compression and save it as a JPEG. BTW, when you downsize, get your 600 x 450, but also don't let your resolution drop below about 72 ppi.

Why go through Image Ready at all?
On a JPEG this size, try 86, .6, and 2 for your Unsharp Mask settings in Photoshop. Don't use Sharpen, as it's a meataxe effect. You can lower your JPEG quality to 7, IF it preserves the integrity of your image. For this site, I do a 10.
- Doug Nelson

Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6086

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NEW QUESTION 8: Filters for Portraits
I'm going to be doing some outdoor black and white portraits and I want to use a filter that will soften the skin tones and hide the imperfections slightly. Should I use a light yellow filter or a red filter?
- Brandon Rude

ANSWER 1:
Brandon,
I recommend getting a roll of B&W, a yellow, green and red filter, and using a friend as a "victim" to try all three in the types of settings where you intend to do this work. Ensure you also shoot without any filters at all to provide a "baseline" for comparison. Record which filters were used for which frame numbers and compare things afterward.

Red will reduce prominence of most skin blemishes greater than any of the others. However, it may also produce some unnatural gray tones in other things . . . most notably anything red or blue, including people's lips.

Green will produce color separation between skin tone and sky, and skin tone and foliage. Whether or not it provides enough of what you're looking for in reducing prominence of skin blemishes is something you'll have to evaluate.

If all you need is some modest to moderate effect, the yellow would likely be the safest in terms of shifting grayscale of other colors around. It can affect gray rendition blonde hair though.
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Dear Brandon:
Have you considered using a soft focus filter? It will reduce contrast slightly, which is an aid to minimizing blemishes and wrinkles, and you can find filters with varying degrees of "softness" from major filter manufacturers like B+W, Heliopan, Tiffen, Hoya, Zeiss and Cokin.
- Maynard McKillen

ANSWER 3:
Some additional information about soft focus filters:

Most will vary in effect with lens aperture. Some designs will also create soft halos around highlights (not necessarily a Bad Thing, simply an effect). The differences are a result of how the soft focus effect is created . . . the shape and pattern of the very minute ripples on the filter.

My advice in selecting one is to go to a camera store and try several different brands and types on your lens. Aim at various objects in the store, and if you can, vary your lens aperture (using the stop-down or depth of field preview) to get an idea of how that changes the effect.
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 4:
Thank you guys very much. I should probably just try out all the different filters and see which one produces the effect I'm looking for. Thanks again.
- Brandon Rude

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6082

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6082

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*****


NEW QUESTION 9: Slide Film vs. Negatives
What are the advantages and disadvantages to using 35mm slide film over negative film?
- KARRIE SMITH

ANSWER 1:
Karrie,
IMO there are no advantages or disadvantages, but there are definitely differences between them. It depends on what you want to create for the photograph.

Prints from negatives are actually "photographs" of the film. All manner of tweaking color balance, contrast (through print material selection) and adjusting for minor exposure error can be performed in making the print.

With "slide film" (also called "chrome," diapositive, transparency and reversal), the transparency is the film that was in the camera. What you shot is what you got. Colors will be bolder and there is a "look" to positive prints made from slides that prints from negatives don't seem to have. Slide film also has a narrower latitude. This is the difference between brightness of something that comes out pure "white" withough any detail and the brightness of something that comes out deep "black" without any detail. Most of the time, exposure is set for proper mid-tones with the highlights and shadows falling where they will (with some exceptions).

Because negative films have a much wider latitude, exposure is often set to preserve details in most of the shadows. (The shadows can be dark, but not so dark that detail is lost on the film.) The negative is printed to preserve details in most of the highlights (exept the specular ones).

I use both transparency and negative films, in B&W and in color. Which film I use depends on who the photograph is for, the subject material, and what I want a print to look like.

-- John
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Dear Karrie:
If you overexpose a slide, you're stuck with an overexposed slide. The same is true if you underexpose a slide. You won't care to put them in a projector and wow your friends, and your lab may be hard pressed to make an acceptable print from such slides. Scanning such slides and, in Photoshop or some similar program, tweaking their levels, contrast, brightness, altering their histograms, making masks and otherwise attempting to correct for less than optimal exposure can be time consuming.

This underlines the importance of metering carefully when you expose slide film, and avoiding compositions that have a greater range of brightness than the film can capture.
If you present your lab with color print film that is underexposed or overexposed, there is a modestly greater chance that (if they use the proper spell or incantation during the printing process) you will receive acceptable prints. As John mentioned above, color negative film has a wider exposure latitude than color slide (transparency) film.

In the old days (I'm getting old enough that I can day that!) you might take slides during a vacation, and wow (yawn) your neighbors with a slide show. The tendency of slide films to render color with better-than-real-life saturation made the Ozarks, Puget Sound, and Monument Valley look even better than they were. Those travel postcards for sale in souvenir shops were largely shot on slide film. If you submitted images to a magazine for publication they preferred them in the form of slides. Notice I use the past tense above. The advent of digital imaging has made this less so.

Closets across this great nation may still contain countless slide trays full of family vacations and other milestones. Trays used to be the storage method of choice. Consider how you might store slides you've taken, and what will you do to help other people see your slides? Slide projectors work better in darkened rooms, slide viewers might have to get passed around if you care to show slides to several people at once, lupes force you to squint, and light boxes allow you to see and compare many slides at once but do not magnify the image.
Ah, but the color rendition... wow...
- Maynard McKillen

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6080

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6080

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*****


NEW QUESTION 10: What Filters Should I Purchase for My New Camera?
I just purchased a Canon EOS Rebel 2000. I want to purchase some filters, but am not sure which ones to buy. I know that different filters have different results. I just want to know if anyone might know of a website that can explain this to me. Like, what a red filter does, and what a blue filter does, a polarized filter, ect. Thank You!
- Cassandra L. Griffith

ANSWER 1:
Yellow, orange, green, red and blue filters are intended for use with B&W film. Some shades of different colors produce the same grayscale in B&W. They are used to provide "color separation" for greater contrast by shifting some of them to darker or lighter shades of gray. Which color depends on subject, background and desired effect. If used with color film, the effect is quite radical. A common filter with B&W film is the polarizer.

For color film, the three most commonly used filters are a UV, skylight and polarizer. The UV knocks off the UV at and above the visible spectrum. Whether or not this makes a difference in your photographs depends on UV content of the light itself, your lens(es) and the film you are using (its sensitivity to UV). The skylight provides a slight amount of warming by filtering out a small amount of the blue. It's primary, intended use is in "open shade" with a lot of blue sky above. It makes a difference with slide films, but near zero with color negative as the printing process is capable of performing much more color balancing than this filter does in shifting color response.

The polarizer is a more specialized filter for reducing glare from non-conductive smooth surfaces such as glass and water (doesn't work for glare from bare metal). Also can make sky a darker blue . . . but typically only the northern and southern sky at about 90 degrees to the sun.

My advice is to use your camera for a while without any filters and get accustomed to using it. Knowing what things look like without any filters will help determine which ones might be of interest. I do use filters, but not that often with color film; more with B&W for color separation with certain subject material and backgrounds. Use of "special effects" filters is not that often either. Overuse of these in particular can easily make your photographs more "cliche" than artistic. Sparing use of them goes a long way toward greater impact when you do use one (special effects). I only use one when subject and composition truly fit with the special effect.

I do advise getting into the habit of using a lens hood! There should be one for your lens.
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6078

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6078

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*****


NEW QUESTION 11: Shooting Wedding Ceremony Without Flash
I am getting ready to shoot a wedding this weekend for one of my family members. I am concerned about not being about to use flash during the ceremony. What speed film should I use and what kind. Should I use a 80A filter to take care of the yellowish color from the lighting. Any information would be appreciated.
- Glenda

ANSWER 1:
Glenda,
Wow . . . you don't have much time left. Hopefully you can get to a large camera store that carries some professional film.

Forget about the filter! You need all the light you can get and an 80A eats a signficant amount. There's no guarantee the lighting will be close to 3200K studio "hot lights" either.

When flash is prohibited (or the family requests it not be used), I use Fuji Press 1600 during the ceremony for color photographs. The same film is also called Fuji Superia 1600. This is a true ISO 1600 film and even though it's a "daylight" film, it isn't that hostile to shooting under man-made lighting of various types. For best results though, have it printed by a pro lab. They're accustomed to the "more than normal" color balancing that will be required. Don't expect daylight results . . . they will be a little warmer, but if printed by a lab that know's what it's doing, it won't be objectionable.

For B&W, I use Kodak TMax P3200 (TMZ). This is not a true 3200 speed film, although its emulsion was designed to be used at 1600, 3200 and 6400. Whatever speed you choose, you must shoot the *entire* roll at that same film speed. The film's true rated speed is approximately ISO 800 (I don't recommend using it at that speed though). Thus, the film must be "push" processed and this can only be done by a pro lab. There will be an additional fee for this, but it should be modest (less than $5.00). Push processing changes developing times to compensate for the "underexposure" and because of this it must be run separately from other film. This is the reason for the additional "push processing" fee. You must tell the lab what speed you used it at (1600 = Push 1; 3200 = Push 2; 3200 = Push 3) so they know how much to adjust their film developing. Once developed, it can be printed normally like any other B&W negatives. I recommend using it at 1600 if possible (which requires overriding your camera reading the DX coding on the film cannister). The latitude will be a bit wider, it won't be quite as contrasty and it won't be quite as grainy. At 1600 it looks similar to Tri-X Pan used at 400 (Tri-X's rated speed). The more a film is pushed, the less latitude it has, and both contrast and graininess increases. I also DON'T recommend using TMax P3200 outdoors in daylight at 1600 or 3200. For some reason, outdoor daylight seems to be hostile to this film.
- John A. Lind

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ANSWER 2:
Dear Glenda:
Although you may not be allowed to use flash during the ceremony, check and see if you can use flash during the processional and recessional. Often the church policy or the minister permits flash at those times.

Do you have a 50mm lens? And can you approach the bride and groom, discreetly, during the ceremony? If so in both cases, even Kodak's Portra 800 film can work. I still tend to park the camera on a tripod and wait for moments when the bride and groom are not moving much. Fortunately, such is the case when they exchange rings, light the Unity Candle, kiss, and are introduced as newlyweds. You may still get sharp photos by choosing your moments carefully, even if you have only a zoom lens with a maximum aperture like 4.5.

Consider this: can you recreate any important moments after the ceremony, i.e., when most of the people attending the service have left, is there time to step back into the church and take flash photos of the bride and groom posing as if they were in the middle of the ceremony?

I agree with John: skip the 80A filter. It will cause you to use even slower shutter speeds, and increase the possibility of blur caused by the subjects moving while the shutter is open. And yes, a pro lab can do a very respectable job of color correcting daylight balanced film shot under tungsten lighting.
- Maynard McKillen

ANSWER 3:
Glenda,
Are you the "official" photographer for this wedding? If so, and if you have never done a wedding before, I have a "survival guide" on my web site:
http://johnlind.tripod.com/wedding/

Use what you can and do what you can in the time you have left. Most important is having a PLAN that covers how you will handle the event and mentally walking yourself through what you will do. Attend the rehearsal if at all possible to familiarize yourself with the flow of the ceremony. Don't underestimate how much film or how many batteries a wedding and reception can consume. How much you do use will depend on what their expectations are and how much coverage you want to provide.
- John A. Lind

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ANSWER 4:
Thanks to both of you for responding. I will take all the advise I can get. Yes I do have a 50 mm lens and I will use that also. Wish me luck...
- Glenda

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NEW QUESTION 12: Metz FLash
I have a 60ct-4 Metz flash. I don't feel I am getting good results when I do the bride or the cake. There doesn't seem to be enough detail with white gown or cake. Most of the time I use the flash in TTL setting and I use a fstop on dial of flash of F8 or F5.6. Does anyone have any suggestions? Should I bounce the flash off a card for these shots? Other than that I get great results with this flash.

Thanks
- Maryann Ianniello

ANSWER 1:
MaryAnn,
I'd try the diffusion route. The 60 CT-4 is an incredibly powerful flash. AFIK, it's one of the two most powerful on-camera flashes made; the Sunpak 622 Super Pro is the other and has the same GN. At closer range it can hit the minimum flash duration and start to blow out the highlights (white cake, white gown, etc.). The diffusion will knock down its power some and provide more of an area source of light at closer distances (which makes it softer). Metz makes a "bounce card" diffuser for it. IIRC, the flash also has a wide-angle fresnel lens that can be slid out from under the head and snapped over the flash tube. If you're not using that, you should also try it (while waiting for a diffusion panel). In addition, if you don't mind putting velcro around the flash head, Lumiquest makes a softbox that works very well. It folds up flat for storage. I have two and use them on a Sunpak 544 and Sunpak 555 (these are backup handle mounts in the event my primary flash "takes a dive").

By comparison, I use a Sunpak 120J Pro TTL in TTL mode with a round, flat diffusion panel over the bowl (the Quantum diffuser will fit the Sunpak's bowl, albeit just barely). It has a GN of 150 (with bowl in 50mm position) without the diffuser. That's about one stop less power than your Metz. Most of the time the lens aperture ring is set to f/5.6 and I've never had a problem with too little range. It recycles from full dump in about 2 seconds with a high voltage battery slab.

Electronic flashes do have a minimum range. The amount of light emitted by one is controlled by its duration, not by intensity (brightness). There is a minimum flash duration and that determines minimum distance for a particular flash make/model and film speed. Not that most would have to worry about that, but those of us with mondo power flash units need to keep in mind the fact there is a minimum working distance. Usually we think more about the maximum working distance.

BTW, when shooting close-ups of the cake top and other small objects of interest from close range, I crank the aperture down to at least f/11. Since the photograph won't have any amount of distant background that would go completely black, a very tight aperture doesn't matter, and it increases the depth of field which can get very shallow shooting a small cake top.
- John A. Lind

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ANSWER 2:
John

When you spoke of f/11 for close-ups are you speaking of camera aperture or dial on Metz to f/11?

Thanks John
- Maryann Ianniello

ANSWER 3:
Maryann,

I spoke of camera lens aperture setting as you mentioned you are using the Metz in TTL Mode. If everything is truly in TTL Mode (camera and flash), then only the camera's film speed setting and camera lens aperture will control flash output. TTL Mode uses the camera's internal TTL metering to control flash output. This requires that you have the proper Metz SCA module for your make/model camera (it fits into the hot shoe and should have multiple contacts), and the matching SCA cord to connect the top of the SCA module to the flash handle.

Depending on your make/model camera, the SCA module for it may be a 300 series, 3000 series, or 3002 series. There is a different connecting cord for each series, the difference being the plate that slides onto the top of the module. The plug end for the flash is the same.
- John A. Lind

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ANSWER 4:
Dear Maryann:
Some ideas. Do you bring bring along a Wescott or Larson reflector to provide fill light? If so, when you photograph the cake, you could point the flash head up, have an assistant or willing guest (Ask an amateur photographer. They enjoy helping.) hold the reflector, tilted properly, above the flash head. That may provide a more diffuse "soft" light that makes the cake look more three dimensional. And that diffuse light would be falling on the subject, rather than coming from a place near the lens axis, making the photo look less like it was taken with flash, and more like it was taken with available light.
Lacking a reflector, you could bounce the flash off of a white ceiling. This, too, creates a more diffuse light source.

When I photograph the cake, I put the camera on a tripod, bounce the flash off the ceiling or a reflector above the flash, and slow the shutter speed down to collect more available light. I choose a shutter speed that is one or two stops faster than the one that would provide correct ambient exposure, so the flash is still the dominant light source. You might try it sometime...

Lumiquest makes a bounce diffuser that reflects some light at the subject and also allows some to bounce off the ceiling. This may be useful for photos of the bride, since it can help put catchlights in her eyes while still allowing diffuse light to illuminate her dress.

A small softbox can help, too, as John recommends above.
To take a different tack, are you satisfied your lab is printing those photos as well as they can?
- Maynard McKillen

ANSWER 5:
Maryann,
Don't forget your 60 CT-4 has a small secondary flash tube located at the top of the handle just below the main head. If you use the main head for pure bounce, you can switch this on for a small amount of direct fill. When turned on, the flash diverts some of its power from the main tube to the secondary. IIRC, the ratio is about 80% to the main head and 20% to the direct fill tube.

There should be a switch with a pair of symbols that look like sideways flower blossoms (on the back of the flash handle ???). This turns the secondary fill tube on and off.

BTW, my Metz 40 MZ flashes (I mount them on G15/G16 handles) have this same feature. I've used it in the past and they work pretty well. One of their primary purposes is creating the catchlights in the eyes that Maynard mentions when using the main head for pure bounce.
- John A. Lind

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NEW QUESTION 13: Wedding and Graduation Pictures
I am taking the pictures for a wedding in September (and one next summer) and recently I was asked to take graduation pictures for a friend. I own a Nikon N80 w/ a Tamron 28-300mm lens. I have a couple questions- please be patient!:)

For the wedding I will be taking indoor and outdoor pictures (the indoors won't be very well lit) and the grad. pics will be outdoors. OK, what should I use for film? I want to test everything out beforehand- any suggestions? I usually just use Kodak Max 400, but I want to try something else. I want them to look as professional as possible!! I know I need another flash- any help there? I'm very confident in my photo-taking abilities- I've done photo sessions with kids and engagement pictures, but nothing really 'formal'. I guess I just want to make the best out of what I have! Does anyone have any creative ideas for poses for both situations? Any advice would be wonderful!! Sorry for the bombardment of questions- I'm just excited to do this! Thanks!
- Kelly Barta

ANSWER 1:
Good choice of a camera. Please get a 50mm lens for it. It will handle 95% of your shots for these events. In a group shot when you don't have room stand back far enough to get them in, use the wide end of that zoom, as long as you don't place people near the very edges of the picture. The wide end of most zooms distorts badly at the edges.

Get a flash that sits off to the side of your camera on a bracket. This should prevent red-eye. Practice with this flash in indoor situations until you get it right. Your film? Kodak portra 160NC.
- Doug Nelson

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ANSWER 2:
Dear Kelly:
I can appreciate your excitement. As a starting point, you might clip candid and formal poses of wedding couples and groups out of both wedding magazines and photography magazines like Professional Photographer, Rangefinder, and Studio Photography and Design. Armed with these, perhaps placed in a binder, you can ask the bride and groom-to-be which poses appeal to them. The couple can also, in anticipation of your visit, clip images that appeal to them from various sources, and talk to their friends and relatives for photo ideas.

You show them some sample poses, they show you some photos they've found, perhaps along with a list of ideas they've collected from friends and relatives, and ta-da, you have something to talk about that everyone can see.

These days engaged couples have seen wedding photos that range from very formal, carefully posed images to seemingly spontaneous "Photojournalistic" images that may be taken with available light only. What does your couple want? If you put the two styles of photos at opposite ends of a line, the couple may point out where on line their interest lies. Do they want a larger number of more formal images, or a larger number of seemingly unposed (notice I keep saying "seemingly") images, or a 50/50 mix?

Knowing their interests will inform your choice of film and equipment.

The 50mm lens Doug suggested will get put to use for some of the available-light- only photojournalistic candids, the pictures you take when people don't even know you're shooting because you've been quiet and blended into the crowd. You may find these photos need a 400 or 800 ISO film if you shoot indoors or outside on an overcast day. You might even shoot a roll of 400 ISO black and white film, since black and white images of the wedding day are increasingly popular.
Doug's recommendation for color print film, Kodak Portra 160NC, is right on the money. Fuji has a comparable film, NPS-135-36. And just in case you take any photos under very diffuse lighting conditions, and maybe even add a diffusion filter, you might want to use a roll of 160 or 400 ISO VC film from Kodak, or the Fuji equivalent, NPC. These films have a bit more snap, or contrast (I use these terms imprecisely.), and may also work well with some shots taken using a star filter, which, like a diffusion filter, can lower image contrast.

You may get posing ideas by assembling images you like for that "idea" binder I mentioned earlier. As you can imagine, it's a challenge to describe a pose in words, but consider this. In the images you find, wedding or graduation, the ones that seem more dynamic or "pleasing" may be the ones where the subject is at a diagonal in the photo. That is, he or she may be leaning forward, backward or sideways slightly, or the camera may actually have been tilted.

Haven't said a thing about equipment yet!...
- Maynard McKillen

ANSWER 3:
I also have s similar problem. I have a Nikon N65 same lens, a Tamron 28-300. I shoot a lot of pictures with the subject under a tree or under a gazebo or a pavilion. I am going to get a 50 mm lens as you suggested and a flash with a mount. But how can I get the pictures under these objects to come out nice? The outside is sunny but under there is darker. I have taken some and they either come out dark or whit faced and blurry. I use the Auto mode, but am learning how to use the manual mode now. Any help would be great. thanks
- Arlene

ANSWER 4:
Maynard and Doug,
Thank you! Both were a great help so far! About a 50mm lens - I have a manual camera that takes decent pictures with a 50 mm lens on it, do you think I should bring both? Or just get the 50 mm lens for my Nikon? Hmmm...thank you for the ideas on the poses - that's a great idea. ok, so should I use the 160 ISO just indoors or can I use that outdoors? Well, anyhow, thanks again for your advice!
- Kelly Barta

ANSWER 5:
Bring both. It's the lens that makes the photo, and your 50 is your better lens. This way, you'll have another camera as a backup.

Forgot: always use a lens shade. Go on eBay and get one for each lens or get a generic one at a photo store.

Arlene, when people are in shade, base your exposure on that shady area, don't let background light or sky freak your light meter.
- Doug Nelson

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ANSWER 6:
Will do, Doug! I plan to bring both cameras... maybe by then I'll buy a 50mm for my Nikon, and I'll still bring both! I have a lens shade (hood?) for my Nikon - I have to get one for my manual! Thanks again!!
- Kelly Barta

ANSWER 7:
Dear Kelly:
You may want to read responses that John Lind and I made to a wedding question posted at this site by Karrie on 6/18/03.

Here are a few ideas for poses and images:
1) A photo of the ringbearer's hands holding the pillow that bears the rings.
2) A photo of the flower girl peeking out from behind the bride or a bridesmaid, or peeking out from between the balusters of a stairwell or landing.
3) A photo of the parents reacting to the toasts.
4) A closeup photo of the rings resting in a flower from the bride's bouquet. This may require better macro focus capability than your Tamron lens has, so you might borrow/rent a macro lens or buy high quality close-up diopters.
5) A close up of their hands as the bride and groom hold hands and "walk away" from the camera. the background is out of focus. Soft lighting helps this image.
6) If the bride has a dress that laces up the back, or has other details meant to be noticed, have her stand with her back at a 45 degee angle to the camera. She can turn her head toward the camera for some shots, or turn it in profile. Her bouquet, held in one or both hands, can help this image. Soft lighting also helps.
7) In a variation of #6, you can have the bride turn her back to the camera. The groom stands in front of her (from camera viewpoint, he is mostly hidden by her), and puts his arms aound her waist. The photo, composed vertically, shows his hands and some of the dress. To soften the image and lend a dreamy quality, you can drape the veil between the camera and the groom's hands.
8) In open shade in the park, have the bride and groom face each other, his hands on her waist, her hands on his shoulders. Shoot over her shoulder to get his reactions as he looks at her, and vice versa. You may need a stepladder to shoot over his shoulder.
9)If the bride has a long train, have her sit in a chair with arms and lean on one of them. Bridesmaids hold the train up behind her, making it a backdrop, and you position the camera slightly above her eye level and shoot down. Place the chair near a large window, but out of direct sunlight, so you have a diffuse light source. Have the bride try different head tilts and expressions.

Your work is like that of a surgeon, editor or butcher: remove things no longer wanted or needed.

Plan, practice, research, practice, read, practice, revise, practice, practice, practice...

Oh, have fun...
- Maynard McKillen

ANSWER 8:
Hey Kelly... Do you have a light meter on your Nikon? If so, where the heck is it? I have lots of people tell me to check my light before I shoot to be sure it is ok, and to check different spots at a wedding outdoors to get the best light, but how?
- Arlene

ANSWER 9:
Arlene,
I have a Nikon N80, you said you had a Nikon N65 so I don't know what you have for metering. Check this link out: http://www.nikonians.org/html/resources/nikon_articles/body/f80/f80_5.html

It talks about the N80's different metering systems - maybe yours has them - not sure. Maybe I'm not even telling you the right thing! Hope it helps! Neat site though. Maybe someone else has better advice than me!
- Kelly Barta

ANSWER 10:
Maynard- Thank you SO much for your in-depth help! Those are great ideas that I'm going to have fun trying out! Cool close-up ideas- I love to do close-ups!! Thanks for suggesting John Lind's site- boy that's a good resource (thanks John!). I can't thank you enough- it means a lot that someone I don't even know would take the time to type all you did. I really appreciate it. Never thought of a stepladder... I'M SO EXCITED!!!! I'm going to go do more research!!! Thanks again!!!
- Kelly Barta

ANSWER 11:
Kelly,
If you haven't found the other wedding posting, visit my wedding survival guide.

While we're revealing some of our "trade secrets," here are a few special shots I've used:

(a) Variation on one of Maynard's except it's the back of the groom with the bride's arms draped up over his shoulders. Top of frame is base of groom's neck. Arms are crossed left over right with bouquet in right hand so the ring can be seen on the left hand. This one often works as a horizontal close-up with bottom of picture above the groom's waist. BTW, I often shoot both Maynard's version of the groom's hands vertical and this one horizontal.

(b) Bride sitting on steps leading up to altar area. Legs are arranged somewhat like the "cheerleader" pose under the dress. The train is wrapped around to the front and draped over the steps. Bride holds her bouquet; bridesmaids' flowers and flower girls' baskets are arranged in a semicircle on the train like a small garden.

(c) Best man dragging groom up the steps to altar area by the hands; rest of groomsmen behind him pushing, shoulders into his back. Helps if you can get the groom to look at the camera with a "terrified" expression. Variation: can be done outside on the steps leading up to the side door of the church if the foreground and background are decent.

(d) Bride with childen (flower girls and ring bearers). Seat the bride as in (b) above (without all the bridesmaids flower) and position the children around her, also seated on the steps. If there's a particularly small child, take the free hand not holding the bouquet and have her wrap it around the child. Watch for just tips of fingers showing and veil getting in the way (walk up and pull it back behind her if necessary). Seating them reduces the height difference between her and the children, and makes for "warm" pose.

For groom portraiture by himself, get a copy of GQ and look at how they pose men. Notice that arms and legs are positioned with sharp, prominent angles at elbows and knees (if they're bent). Keep men with straight lines and sharper angles. OTOH, use soft curves with women such as the general "S" shape found in the "cheerleader" pose and avoid sharper angles with arms and legs. Last, but not least, as you compose the shot through the viewfinder, do a scan for objects around the altar area sticking straight out the top of a person's head and shift slightly to either hide it or get it to one side or another. If candles are still lit and their flames are showing between or above people, I recommend extinguishing them. They can create distracting, small "hot spots" in the photograph.

A matter of personal taste and style:

I will NOT let men clasp their hands together in front of themselves in a standing pose! To me, it looks like they're hiding a broken zipper . . . and it disconnects them from the rest if it's a grouping. Nor do I let anyone standing directly face the camera; they're always turned at least slightly. For single person portraits, a woman's far shoulder can start to disappear a little behind her neck, but I don't turn a man that far and keep his far shoulder a little more visible. For partial (other than full length) shots, I also do not put the bottom edge of the frame at a joint (waist, knee or ankle) or across a woman's bustline. I put the bottom frame edge at midpoints between them somewhere. With older people, watch for double chins forming if a head is dipped too much. Many women in particular find this very objectionable. Again, these are things of personal taste and style.

If you can, get some friends (couples) to serve as victims, errrr models, to practice this with so you can get accustomed to posing people. Then compose it the same pose from full length to very tight head/shoulders through the viewfinder and even if you don't burn film doing it, imagine what you're seeing as a photograph. Watch for little details; this takes some practice to become efficient at quickly scanning a grouping looking for little things out of place. Might not seem like much when you're there in person, but they often become much more prominent in a photograph. I don't use a tripod (some do) as I've found it too restrictive with composition and too time consuming to move and adjust.

Most important of all, PLAN how you will cover this event and DON'T underestimate how much film and batteries you will need for it.

Good Luck!
- John A. Lind

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ANSWER 12:
Darn! Left out a "ring" composition I've used before . . .

If there's a church bulletin printed for the wedding, snag one. The bride's and groom's names are almost always printed at the top of the left page inside. Fold it open so that page is showing and lay it on a fabric upholstered chair or carpet. Then get both rings. Place the man's on it first, just below the names and the woman's leaning on the side of it. Position yourself at the bottom of the page and turn the camera vertical. Then place critical focus on the bride's/groom's names and shoot a closeup of the page at about a 45 degree angle. The names will be in sharpest focus, the rings, if they're just below the names should be in acceptable focus, and all the printing below the rings should be a soft, illegible blur. If you can get really close (with a macro) you can turn the camera horizontal and put the bottom edge of the frame slightly below the rings. I cannot get close enough to do this with the lens I use; its close-up helical only allows about 1:5 magnification.
- John A. Lind

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ANSWER 13:
John,
Thank you very very much for the tips! All of these ideas are very neat and creative- I can just picture them in my head as I read your descriptions! I can't wait to scrape up some more funds to buy more lens- especially a nice macro (I love to take nature shots- I'm a country girl!). My lens I have right now is a Tamron aspherical XR LD 28-300mm 1:3.5-6.3 Macro. It works for what I do, but I can't wait to expand! As for my victims to practice on- I have a few in mind already! Thanks once again- my questions were answered very thouroughly, but I still actually have one more question about a flash: what do you recommend for a brand and what model with my Nikon n80 and the lens mentioned above? I'm really not sure which kind to buy--I love natural lighting but I realize I need a good flash for this kind of job. Any suggestions? Thanks everyone again- you've all been such a great help!!!
- Kelly Barta

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NEW QUESTION 14: Fireworks?
The Canada Day celebrations are coming up and I am going to try my hand at photographing fireworks, but I need some suggestions on settings.Anything at all would be appreciated. Thanks
- Mike Cascagnette

ANSWER 1:
Check out this discussion link on BetterPhoto
- Andy Szeto

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NEW QUESTION 15: Digital Slide Show Software
Any recommendations for software packages for putting on digital slide shows (with music)? Will be working with original digital images and scanned slides.

I know you can use PowerPoint but was told it really wasn't designed for this.

Thanks
- John Fleming

ANSWER 1:
FlipAlbum CD does this fairly well, the program is not expensive, and the company runs a good forum and Help page. Burn the slide show to a CD with your own CD software. Your recipient needs NO software to play it; he just pops it into his CD player and it self starts.The viewer has the option of letting the pages flip automatically as your music plays, or of seeing your images full screen by clicking on individual slides. The full screen images are better quality than the ones on the flipping pages. Adding commentary by means of text is ingeniously simple.
Your CD plays differently on each individual computer, so it's not possible to coordinate voice narration or songs with certain slides.
- Doug Nelson

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

CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Black and White Film
Can some one tell me what the difference is between the true B/W film and the B/W film (c-41) that you process the same way as colour? Is the quality the same as true B/W?? What are the pros and cons?
Any info would be great. I have never used B/W film and would like to try it.

Thankyou to everyone, past and present who answers my Q's. I'd be lost without you!
- Karen Lewis

ANSWER 1:
I'm told the grain characteristics and tonality of the c-41 black-and-whites is excellent.

If you want to learn the Zone system and will be including your own development as part of the process, you can develop your own silver-based black-and-white, but it's best to leave C-41 processing to the shop.

One big advantage to C-41 B&W is that it scans much better. Silver halide crystals in silver-based film give most film scanners fits.
- Doug Nelson

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ANSWER 2:
Thanks Doug for your response. Greatly appreciated!
- Karen Lewis

ANSWER 3:
I have found that most local labs process B&W C-41 with poor results (muddy looking, very grey tone). I had decided not to use this type of film again until I had seen it correctly processed. Ask your lab to see samples of this type of work before trusting them to your film. You can print your own prints with the negatives, it is mostly the incorrect use of paper. Good Luck
- Sharon

ANSWER 4:
I used to shoot traditional B&W all the time, but now I just use the C-41 because it's so much more convenient. And when printing, the printer machines like it alot better because they can read the DX coding better. I don't have any problems with muddiness. Maybe the place you took it to just wasn't printing them well? Most local labs print everything blah unless they take the time to color correct the pictures. They're too lazy and set the machine to auto and everything comes out a kind of blah. I've seen color pics come back so blue everyone looked like Smurfs! You'd think they'd care...
- Melissa Williams

ANSWER 5:
Thanks for your responses Melissa and Sharon. After getting my first roll just back from the lab I wasn't doing hand stands over the result. Although they were exposed correctly, I found them murky and flat. As I've never used the good old fashion b/w I had nothing to compare with. I'll try a few different labs and see how those come out in comparison. Thanks!
- Karen Lewis

ANSWER 6:
To add to the other responses: when I use c-41 B & W film there seems to be no true black and no true white, there are just various shades of gray, dark, light, etc. However true B & W film almost always has very clear black and white areas. Below is a picture using c-41 B&W film as you can tell there is no true black or white areas.
- Nicole Daniel

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