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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, September 30, 2003
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* SPOTLIGHT: Got Great Photos? Show Them Off with a Deluxe BetterPholio™
* BETTERPHOTO: A Few Spots Left in Jim's Digital Photography Class
* BETTERPHOTO: And The Next Classes to Fill Up Will Likely Be...
* BETTERPHOTO: Listen to Jim Miotke Discuss BetterPhoto.com on Web Radio
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Photo Libs / Cheaper by the Dozen
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Hate Using Your Tripod? - Tip by Jim Zuckerman
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Digital Camera for Newspaper Archiving
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Canon 10D Red Tint White Balance to Print
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Competitions / Why Bother?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: How Much Time Needed for Online Submittals
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Your Classes
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Help - My First Camera
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Complimentary Colors
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Digital White Balance
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Learning to Take Portraits
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: How To Get More Color Saturation
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Why Won't My Camera Take Pictures in Low Light?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 132nd issue of SnapShot!

Hi

Time is running out! With only 8 days left before the fall courses start, my Beginning Photography course is FULL and several of our other classes are quickly approaching maximum capacity. If you've been thinking about taking one of our exciting online photography courses, now's your chance! And remember, since the prices are going up in January 2004, signing up now will allow you to take advantage of the lower price.

Whether you go for a class or not this fall, you can still enjoy the free resources at BetterPhoto.com - the Photo Contest, the Photo Discussions, the Q&A, the Articles, and more. For one, we have included several excellent Q&A below.

Also, if you are particularly interested in concert photography, here is another great Q&A thread (it was too long to include in the Snapshot newsletter):
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6729

And here are a few other quick reminders for you:

  1. If you did not catch it on Friday, you can still listen to me discussing BetterPhoto.com on Shutterbug Magazine Radio with the Foto Guys, Jack and Howard.
  2. If you have not yet hit the road to shoot fall colors, now's your chance. Look especially for calm rivers and lakes to reflect those gorgeous multi-color patterns. If you look hard enough, they won't let you down. Then, when you get those winning shots, upload them to the contest... which brings us to #3
  3. Today is the last day to enter the September contest. You have until midnight. Pick your one final entry and Go For It! Have a great week,
    Jim Miotke
    http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


    *****
    A Few Spots Left in Jim's Digital Photography Class
    In Jim Miotke's "Digital Photography" course, you'll learn exactly how to use your digital camera. No longer will you have to wonder what all those usual terms mean. You will get great weekly lessons and assignments, and - best of all - you'll receive direct feedback on your digital photographs... Could there possibly be a better way to learn digital photography? Act quick, space is running out:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JCM03.asp


    *****
    And The Next Classes to Fill Up Will Likely Be...
    Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure", as well as Brenda Tharp's "Creating Visual Impact", will likely be the next classes to fill up. Brenda's course will expand your vision, refine your techniques, and get your creative juices flowing. Bryan's course will give you the complete confidence you need to get the most creatively correct exposure every time. Both classes will teach you how to transform your images into striking and memorable photographs. If these are the classes you have been considering, better act quick:

    "Understanding Exposure" with the great Bryan F. Peterson:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/BFP02.asp

    Not to Be Missed: Brenda Tharp's "Creating Visual Impact":
    http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/BRN01.asp


    *****
    Listen to Jim Miotke Discuss BetterPhoto.com on Web Radio
    This past Friday, the founder of BetterPhoto.com, Jim Miotke, joined the Foto Guys Jack & Howard of Shutterbug Magazine Radio to discuss the great Web resource for photographers. We have no problems calling it great because a) it's true, and b) the main reason it is great is the incredibly wonderful members we have here at BetterPhoto. You guys make it great. To hear the interview, visit the BetterPhoto home page. There, you'll find a link to the archived show:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/home.asp

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    PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Last week, we asked:
    Fill in the blanks on this famous quote: "If your pictures aren't ____ enough, you're not ______ enough?" Who said it?

    The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Crosiaris:
    "If your pictures aren't good enough, your not close enough". Robert Capa

    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 - Cheaper by the Dozen - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

    Frank Gilbreth, immortalized in the book and movie, Cheaper by the Dozen, made stereographic photos of all sorts of activities including typing, surgery, bricklaying, and even oyster shucking. Why?

    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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    Hate Using Your Tripod? - Tip by Jim Zuckerman
    When shooting in low light, always use a tripod if at all possible. This may seem obvious to you, but too often people who take my workshops always shoot hand holding their camera. If you want total control over your medium, and this includes getting complete depth of field when you need it, a tripod is necessary. Why spend thousands of dollars on camera gear, film, digital equipment and printers if your pictures aren't going to be sharp?

    I strongly recommend getting a ball head for your tripod. Maybe one reason you hate using it is because two or three levers are so awkward and they slow you down. With a smooth ball head, tripod use is much less of a burden.

    For more, consider enrolling in Jim Zuckerman's "Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography":
    http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JZK01.asp

    Or check into one of our other courses at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp

    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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    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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    PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    NEW QUESTION 1: Digital Camera for Newspaper Archiving
    Our local history and railroad museum has a collection of old and crumbling newspapers which we want to photograph and put on CD. We can't afford pros to do this and so plan to turn every page ourselves and photograph them. What kind of digital camera should we buy? We thought we could erect a camera stand at the correct distance to shot a whole newspaper page at a time. What camera can do this and allow the photo to be readable in every corner of the page? Is there such a thing as a shutter extension for digital cameras? Lots more questions, but you get the idea. The person who will actually shell out the money for the camera is leaning to the Canon G5. That kind of price range. Any further advice on this project would be GREATLY appreciated.
    - Ann

    ANSWER 1:
    The Canon G5 comes with the wireless controler so you do not need any shutter extension. Here are some points that you may consider:

    1) Zoom the lens to at least 50mm or 70mm to eliminate extortion on the sides
    2) Make sure the newspaper lies absolutely flat
    3) Make sure the newspaper is evenly lit on all sides
    4) Use the maximum resolution setting
    5) Mark the spot of the first page and put the subsequent pages on the same spot so you don't have to move the camera or refocus (after focusing on the first page, then turn the auto focus off; also you can get the esposure data from the first page and lock in the data in manual mode)

    Hope this helps.
    - Andy Szeto

    ANSWER 2:
    Thanks Andy for replying so quickly! Is the wireless controller like a remote control? I was wondering if such a thing existed. Seems like if we zoom the lens to 50mm or more the camera will have to be up on a ladder to get the whole page! But we can do that.

    Thanks again.
    - Ann

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6864

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6864

    back to top


    *****


    NEW QUESTION 2: Canon 10D Red Tint White Balance to Print
    I recently purchased a Canon 10D and while I am happy with its performance and the the way the images look on screen in photoshop, but when I print them (or print preview) they have a reddish tint, they do not have a tint when viewed on screen. I am shooting in sunny outdoor conditions with auto white balance on. How can I stop this from happening again, and how can I correct the images I have already taken. I have tried adjusting the images in photoshop but still am not happy with the results.
    - Benjamin T. Kottke

    ANSWER 1:
    It sounds like a printer profiling problem to me. When you use print preview what are you previewing? (ie. what profile). If you are not going to change your profile you have to make an adjustment layer that will remove red (pull down on the red channel in curves) and apply it to all images before printing. They willl look too cyan on screen but should print ok. You have to experiment to determine how much red to remove.

    Or you could get an accurate profile for your paper and ink combo and never worry about it again!
    - Lewis Kemper

    See Lewis Kemper's Premium BetterPholio™
    Visit Lewis Kemper's Web Site - LewisKemper.com

    Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Lewis Kemper:
    Large Format Photography
    Photographer's Toolbox for Photoshop®: Toolbox #1

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6855

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6855

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 3: Competitions / Why Bother?
    I have been learning and taking photos with a passion for the last 12 months.
    I feel that I would like to have a go at entering a competition at a very basic level, just to test the water, so to speak!
    However after studying the entries over the past 12 months I cant help but notice that digital enhancement and correction is allowed on images made with a film based SLR via software programs.
    My question is.... how does someone like me who only owns a basic fully manual film camera (pentax K1000)and no software compete with all of this technology?? I am in no postion to run out and buy all this new technology and I'm not sure if I even want to!
    I feel discouraged and disadvantaged if this is the case with all competitions. How do I really know how my skills compare with others if the computer does half of the job?
    If when my time comes to update my gear what do think is the best way to go? Stick with film and
    enhance/correct via computer?
    or go fully digital?
    Will I get even further behind if I dont conform with the trend and stay on the path that I'm already on?
    Please can some one advise a very discouraged and confused shutterbug?
    - Karen Noye

    ANSWER 1:
    Hi Karen: You've raised some excellent questions here!
    You are certainly right that there are some very striking "digital art" shots featured at BetterPhoto.com. On the other hand, there are also many "straight" photos among the contest's winning and finalist entries, too!
    To my eye, all of these photographs - which are so amazingly diverse in subject matter AND in photo technique - share one important characteristic: Strong visual impact! In other words, despite all of the photographic innovations of recent years, BetterPhoto photographers continue to prove that they can come up with great images REGARDLESS of whether they shoot with film or digital, or whether they do a lot of post-shooting computer work or do none at all.
    For myself, film and "conventional" shooting techniques still fit my style and interests. As for my choices in the future? I'm not sure. But one thing I'm sure of right now: I'm having lots of fun shooting and making new images!
    In any case, Karen, my advice: Be open to new things, but try not to be too overly concerned with "trends." Continue to shoot your favorite types of subjects in the way you wish to shoot them. Also, keep striving to improve. And remember: There's always a "market" for creative, eye-catching photos ... regardless of the technology involved!
    Hope this helps, Karen!
    - Kerry A. Drager

    See Kerry Drager's Premium BetterPholio™
    Visit Kerry Drager's Deluxe BetterPholio™ - KerryDrager.com

    Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Kerry Drager:
    Beyond Snapshots
    Field Techniques
    Course Extension

    ANSWER 2:
    Kerry,
    Thank you for having the courage to respond to this curly question.
    I have asked this same question to many photograhers only to get an indirect vauge type of answer, which really isn't an answer at all for me. As I am not really getting a direct straight forward answer I was beginning to get discouraged.
    You raised some very good points.
    Strong visual impact is what makes a good photo work and this is the goal, I'm sure of every photographer, regardless of whether they use digital or film. I guess you have to work harder for that final outcome using film alone,paying greater attention to details eg: lighting, exposure etc etc, knowing once you "click" thats basically it! Surely that must train your eye to see greater detail?
    I will be open minded as I continue to learn and grow and certainly will look at all my options when the time comes to invest in new gear. I do love film and will continue to do so for some time to come.

    I do belive to is a little unfair that in competitions(in general), film based photos are judged together with digital.
    In my mind the two are not the same thing!

    In the business world of selling and marketing photos I think that's fine, but in competitions, I think that's a different thing. I have never entered one so maybe I really don't know what I'm talking about. I am speaking as an observer only, and this is just my opinion.

    One thing is for sure, I love taking photos and I'm not going to get hung up on "trends". And I will continue to strive for that perfect shot using film and when I do, it will be all the more sweeter!

    Thanks again Kerry you have helped me put things into perspective.

    Most grateful to you.
    - Karen Noye

    ANSWER 3:
    Hi again Karen: I'm pleased my comments helped! Just a couple of more things:
    - You might take another run-through of the August contest winners and finalists ... I see many wonderful NON-digitally-altered photos, along with some very fine digitally-altered images.
    - When it comes to serious photographers, I think everyone must work hard at it! In any case, here's my thought for ALL shooters: Whether you do all of your "creativity" strictly in the viewfinder or whether you also do it in the computer "darkroom," it really pays to pay attention to composition, light, exposure, details, etc. After all, it's so much more efficient to "get it right" in the viewfinder ... at the time of shooting!
    Thanks again, Karen, for raising such interesting AND thoughtful questions!!
    - Kerry A. Drager

    See Kerry Drager's Premium BetterPholio™
    Visit Kerry Drager's Deluxe BetterPholio™ - KerryDrager.com

    Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Kerry Drager:
    Beyond Snapshots
    Field Techniques
    Course Extension

    ANSWER 4:
    Kerry,
    Thank you once again. I feel reassured and inspired after your comments.
    I really appreciate your help!
    THANKS
    :-)
    - Karen Noye

    ANSWER 5:
    Karen,
    Although I have a range of various cameras to choose from for various tasks, half of them have no more "technology" or complexity than your Pentax. The other half have an aperture priority AE mode that still requires manually selecting lens aperture.

    It has been quite some time since I've entered any digital scans of my photographs into any on-line competition. I've opted instead to submit large prints into regional, juried photography and art shows. Minimum size requirements for the prints reveals digital manipulation, and easily reveals any technical flaws as well.

    This question has been raised in different forms on a number of occasions in the past couple of years, usually in the form of "Where does photography stop and digital graphic art begin?" It's not an easy one to answer, becoming nearly impossible to "codify;" similar to the problem the U.S. Supreme Court has with differentiating art from obscenity: "don't know how to define it, but know it when I see it."

    Don't worry about what others are doing. Instead, define for yourself what you want to do and pursue that. Spend your time and energy creating, exploring and perfecting your own style. I agree completely with Kerry's remarks. Getting it "right" in camera saves enormous amounts of time later, whether you're using a digital scan of film with software or working in a wet darkroom. Been there, done that.

    It can be agonizingly difficult to pull the desired print out of a negative (or transparency) that has aspects of it significantly different from what was originally envisioned. Do the work up front by visualizing in your mind what the finished print will look like and your knowledge about how to create it on film with lighting, focus and exposure. It may be difficult, but it's still much easier than doing it during "post processing."

    One last tidbit; something I've come to realize in the past couple of years. The artistic medium for photography is *not* film and print materials. Nor is it the subject material. The medium is light! The film and its resulting print are merely a recording and playback of that light in a particular place at a particular time. Everything else is a light "modifier" used to change its color, intensity and qualities for the recording of it.
    - John A. Lind

    See John's Premium BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6851

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6851

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 4: How Much Time Needed for Online Submittals
    I am interested in some of the courses being offered online, but am worried that since I do not develop my own photos and most of my work is infrared, the time needed to develop, then review a proof sheet, select promising ones for printing (4x6), then enlarge the ones I like the best, I would miss any course deadlines.
    thanks for any answers.
    - Jim Cook

    ANSWER 1:
    Hi Jim,
    Lessons for the BetterPhoto online courses are sent out on Wednesdays and homework is due 12 days later. We have found that for most people having almost 2 weeks for the assignment works well as a time frame.
    - 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 Classes

    ANSWER 2:
    Also, most of the teachers are flexible, if you need a little more time.
    - 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 Classes

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6837

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6837

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 5: Your Classes
    Hello Jim (Zuckerman),
    I wanted to take your class Making Money with your Photography but it starts on Oct 8th the day I am leaving for Aruba. Do you think I would be able to just check into the computers at the hotel to see if there is any work I could do. Will I have a lot of work to do for this class? Also will you be offering it in November again? I would have more time then to take it.

    Thank You for your time.

    Dawn Balaban
    - Dawn M. Balaban

    Visit dawnbalabanphotography.com - Dawn's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 1:
    Hi Dawn,
    I'm sure you'll be able to access the course from a hotel in Aruba. Most of the assignments with respect to uploading photos can consist of photos you've already taken. You could take with you a CD of a few dozen low res jpeg photos and upload some of them per the assignment.
    Yes, I'll be teaching this course again. Betterphoto.com's courses are run every 3 months, so the next course will start in January. I'll look forward to seeing your work.
    Have a great time in Aruba.

    Regards,
    - Jim Zuckerman

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

    Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Jim Zuckerman:
    Eight Steps to Dramatic Photos
    Mastering Light
    Creative Techniques in Photoshop
    Making Money with Your Photography
    Wildlife Photography

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6830

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6830

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 6: Help - My First Camera
    Hi, I am new to photography and I don't know which camera to get. I have signed up for a basic photo class in January so I need a camera.
    I like the way the Minolta Maxxum 5 fits in my hand, but some people say that I should just go with a Nikon N65 or a Canon Rebel 2000.

    Could anyone give me some advice? I don't take sports photograpy so a really fast camera is not really needed. What I want is a simple camera to learn and one that if I decide to grow it will grow with me.
    Thank you all for any and all help.
    - Kenneth DeSiata

    ANSWER 1:
    (a) You might check with the instructor of the class to make sure that the camera/lens you get is suitable. Don't ask specific brand so much as ask for a list of features the camera should have. For example, it might be preferred if your camera has Depth of Field preview - the ability to close the lens aperture down so that you can see in the viewfinder how much of the scene will appear in focus. Not all SLRs have this feature (though the Maxxum 5, Rebel 2000 and Nikon N65 do). The professor may be "old school" and prefer that you start with a 50 f/1.8 lens instead of the standard 28-80 f/3.5-5.6 zooms that most cameras come packaged with.

    (b) All of the major manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Pentax) make terrific entry-level SLRs. There are a few specific models that are not well-suited to your photography class because they do not allow manually setting exposure (example the Minolta QTsi), but the 3 you mention will serve you very well.

    (c) The Maxxum 5 is as good or better than the other two cameras mentioned, so IF YOU LIKE IT, GET IT.

    (d) The main drawback that I see with the Minolta system is that IF you ever want to change to a digital SLR Minolta does not (currently) make one. With Canon/Nikon/Pentax you can use the film camera lenses with their digital SLR bodies. But that's a future consideration. You may not ever want a digital SLR, or Minolta may have a model available when you do, or Olympus's idea of digital SLRs with unique lenses not compromised for sharing with 35mm film cameras may take hold.
    - Jon Close

    ANSWER 2:
    To Jon Close, thank you for your answer. I read through the often asked questions and I have a 50mm 1.7 lens.
    I like the way the Minolta feels so I will go with that. It can be either manual or fully automatic so I can learn both ways in class. Thanks again for your help.
    - Kenneth DeSiata

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6823

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6823

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 7: Complimentary Colors
    What are the three complimentary colors in printing?
    - Seanne C. King

    ANSWER 1:
    The complimentary colors in color printing are: Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow.
    - Lewis Kemper

    See Lewis Kemper's Premium BetterPholio™
    Visit Lewis Kemper's Web Site - LewisKemper.com

    Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Lewis Kemper:
    Large Format Photography
    Photographer's Toolbox for Photoshop®: Toolbox #1

    ANSWER 2:
    Is somebody trying to get the answers for a homework assignment? ;-)
    - 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 Classes

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6821

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6821

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 8: Digital White Balance
    In one of the photo magazines there was some information on the use of "warmcards" to obtain better digital exposures. Warmcards are available from warmcards.com. I would like to know if anyone has used them and are they worth the money. Thanks.
    - Alvin C. Lopinot

    ANSWER 1:
    I'll start by saying I haven't used "Warmcards". However I have used a piece of white cardboard to adjust the white balance of a digital camera for the environment I was shooting in. This gives you a true color balance for the light condition you are in.

    My preference with digital is to capture the image as true as possible and then use Photoshop or whatever program you prefer to manipulate the image (i.e. warm up the color tones). That way you have an accurate original and you can then warm or cool to your hearts content.

    Any white piece of paper will do and it's a lot cheaper. If you really wanted to, you could find some light blue pieces of paper... and make your own set of Warmcards. I'd save my money and buy more memory for my digital camera instead.
    - Sean T. McCready

    ANSWER 2:
    I agree with Sean. The company has a very nice Web site but (even though they might disagree) the product seems more for video production. Most importantly, $45 for the set seems a little excessive - at least to this do-it-yourselfer ;-)
    - 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 Classes

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6818

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6818

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 9: Learning to Take Portraits
    Hi, I have enjoyed taking snapshots for years and would love to learn to take portraits (especially because I have a 14 month old little girl and I spend a fortune on her pictures) and possibly for a p/t business. Where do I start? A friend that works at Ritz said buy a camera and lights and start practicing. He also recommended a digital camera. Do you agree? Thanks so much!
    - Melody Mattison

    ANSWER 1:
    The guy at Ritz wants to sell you a digital camera, perhaps. If I worked at Ritz, I'd try, too.

    Buy an SLR (film or digital). If you go with automatic focus and autoexposure, be sure you can turn these OFF. For what you're proposing, you need control.

    If you are serious about going into business, you'll need lights. For now, photograph your little one in open shade. Also, try soft window light. Put a homemade reflector (piece of foamcore board) opposite the window to open up the shadow a little. You'd be surprised how this works. You can worry about better lenses than the one that comes on the camera later. If you have a choice, though, go for a 50mm over an el cheapo zoom. There are a lot of bad zooms out there, but almost no bad 50's.
    - Doug Nelson

    Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 2:
    Hi Melody,

    I agree with Doug about focusing on outdoor portraiture at first - you will find it much easier to work with natural light outdoors than artifical light indoors.

    I would also recommend that you check out the Kodak book "The Portrait".

    More importantly, since you mentioned photographing your 14-month old, take a look at Vik Orenstein's excellent book, Creative Techniques for Photographing Children.

    Or considering enrolling in Vik's fantastic course here at BetterPhoto, entitled Photographing Children.
    - Jim at BetterPhoto.com

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 10: How To Get More Color Saturation
    I was just wondering how some of the photographs on this website are so colorful. How do I get such saturation? My pictures always seem to be a little dull as far as color is concerned. I am shooting with 100 speed Slide film from Fujifilm that is brand new. Any suggestions? Thanks
    - Ryan Chai

    ANSWER 1:
    The problem, Ryan, may with your lens rather than your choice of film. Some generic brands have inferior optics which are unable to focus certain colors of the spectrum accurately. If your camera accepts inter-changeable lenses, look for descriptive acromyms like "ED" or "APO" in their descriptions. these optics are designed to focus all colors of the spectrum on the same plane and yield more true-to-life results.
    If your camera has a fixed lens and you are able to control exposure, try under-exposing a brightly lit subject by a half-stop... sometimes, this will punch up your colors.
    - Bob Cammarata

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    ANSWER 2:
    Thanks Bob,
    I have a Pentax PZ-1p with a 28-200 lens made by pentax it is not an ED lens. I will try to under-expose those hotter areas. Do you know if Pentax makes any "resonably priced" ED or APO lenses?
    - Ryan Chai

    ANSWER 3:
    I am not too familiar with the Pentax line, but they do make an 80-200 ED lens for @ $1350. Before you decide to go that route, you may want to consider a simple test. If you have access to a standard fixed lens (50mm), try photographing a group of different colors in direct sunlight...then, again, in deep shade. (A box of crayons works great.)
    Then, shoot the same colors with your zoom lens set at 28mm, 50mm, and 200mm.
    Keep track of each exposure in a log, and compare the results. This will determine the ability of you lens to interpret colors. If you notice that some colors are inaccurate, then ED glass may help.
    - Bob Cammarata

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    ANSWER 4:
    How are you converting your slides to digital images? Do the slides themselves look weak, or is the digitized result weak in color saturation? I'd bet there's nothing wrong with your images that some tweaking in a $69 imaging program can't fix. The basic Levels fix for contrast and brightness using Elements 2 or Photoshop LE (very cheap on eBay) does wonders for colors. Like fixing the car, try the cheapest fix first.
    - Doug Nelson

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    ANSWER 5:
    I will do that Bob, thanks again for your time.

    Doug, I am scaning them in with a $1000 Microtek 8700. I am using iPhoto with my Mac. I could probably import the image to my NLE as a JPG and control saturation there. I was wanting to inhance my saturation without using a digital medium. Thanks
    - Ryan Chai

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

    CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Why Won't My Camera Take Pictures in Low Light?
    I was attending a wedding this past weekend and was asked to take some photos of the reception. The reception was held in a theater and the only light that was available was from the bar (it was pretty dark).

    I know that with my point and shoot camera I could've snapped many pictures and they would have all turned out. With my SLR camera, the camera wouldn't even take a picture. I know it wasn't just my camera because I had a friend there that was also taking pictures with her SLR camera and it didn't work either. We're pretty sure it was because it was pretty dim lighting, but we're not sure how we could have set up the camera to make it work in the low light. We figure if our cheaper point and shoot could do it, so should our expensive SLRs! Please let me know if you have any suggestions.
    - Heather A. Campbell

    ANSWER 1:
    What brand and model SLR were you using? Some models are designed to not fire when in full auto mode if autofocus cannot be confirmed and/or if the meter reads extreme over/under exposure.

    You should be able to shoot if you switch to manual focus or "creative" mode. For example, I think the Canon Rebel 2000 has these fail-safes when you shoot in "green box" or one of the PIC modes (Portrait, Landscape, Sports,...). If you switch to mode P, Av, Tv or M you will be able to shoot in the conditions you described.
    - Jon Close

    ANSWER 2:
    I have a Minolta HTsi and my friend has a Nikon. At first both of us had it on full auto mode, then we both switched it to fully manual - and we still had the same problem. We did not switch to manual focus though - do you think this would solve the problem?
    - Heather A. Campbell

    ANSWER 3:
    Heather, I don't know much about the Minolta HTsi, but I do know that if the Minolta 800si autofocus cannot confirm the focus it will not shot. I have two ways around this. One is to turn off that mode. The other more simple way is to use manual focusing.
    - Craig M. Hicks

    ANSWER 4:
    Hi Heather, I have a Minolta XTsi almost the same camera as the HTsi. Mine will not shoot if focus cannot be confirmed, in which case if you go to manual focus (may have to go to manual exposure too), then it will take a picture.
    - Martin J. May

    ANSWER 5:
    Heather,
    You and your friend undoubtedly encountered one of the most common problems with AF systems at wedding receptions: not enough light for the AF system to function. Many AF bodies will not allow the shutter to fire unless the AF has locked on a focus point.

    Switching to manual focus usually solves that problem but can create another with you manually hunting for a focus if you are using a slower lens. A fast lens gives a brighter viewfinder making manual focus much easier in low light. It's one of the reasons I use a very fast standard lens (50mm f/1.2 or f/1.4) on a manual focus camera body for dimly lit receptions.
    - John A. Lind

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    ANSWER 6:
    As states above some of the camera will not work if it will not focus. Question is did you have the flash turned on. Most Minolta auto focus (newer models which I believe yours is) has a focus asst. on the flash. Turn the flash on and it will put out several burst of light and the camera will then focus and you then can take the picture. Of course this will also make the flash fire. So if you do not want to use flash will have to carry a small light source to shine on the subject till camera focuses.
    - Kennith Wilson

    ANSWER 7:
    Hi in addition to all the above suggestions check your camera manual. HTSI plus has 9 customisable settings out of which one setting is to do with the camera firing the shutter when the focus is not confirmed. Generally this is turned on that means the shuttur won't open until the focus is confirmed you have an option of turning it off.
    - Anand S

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