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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 - Monday, October 06, 2003
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* SPOTLIGHT: Got Great Photos? Show Them Off with a Deluxe BetterPholio™
* BETTERPHOTO: Jim's Last Minute Picks
* BETTERPHOTO: Sample Course Lessons on Unsharp Masking and Photoshop Actions
* BETTERPHOTO: New and Improved Studio Lighting Course by Vik Orenstein
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Cheaper by the Dozen / The Edge
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: The Versatile Polarizer - Tip by Kerry Drager
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Overseas Member?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: How To Submit Photos For Sale
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Using Studio Flash
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Best Lens for Pro Portrait Photos
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Backgrounds
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Which Meter Reading Should I Use?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Making a Living
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Upon Course Completion
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Lowering Contrast For Sunny Landscapes
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: How To Start Your Own Business?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: Copyright
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 12: A Web Site? Selling My Pics?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 13: Shooting Indoors where Flash and Tripods not used.
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 14: Do You Offer Anything Other Than Online Courses?
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Location Copyright Question


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

Got Great Photos? Show Them Off with a Deluxe BetterPholio™
With a Deluxe BetterPholio™, you can show off up to 1000 of your best images, set up slide shows, and create the look and feel you want! Our Deluxe BetterPholio™ solutions give you a ONE STOP SHOP for getting your portfolio on the Web. What's more, people can search for your photos via a search engine! And if you opt for the Image Sales option, you can sell your images via the Internet! Learn more at:
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 133rd issue of SnapShot!

Hi

Last call for fall courses! With only a couple of days left before the fall courses start, now's your chance! Five of the courses are already full so if you have been considering a course, don't hesitate to sign up. There are still plenty of fun courses to explore this fall.

If you are having a hard time deciding, feel free to email us with the specifics on what you are interested in learning and which classes are standing out the most to you. We will do our best to help you make the most wise choice. After all, there are plenty of courses to choose from - covering everything from wildlife photography to photographing children, we have the perfect course for you.

While we are busy preparing for the Wednesday launch of the fall photo courses, we are also reviewing the 9000 or so entries to the September photo contest. Stay tuned, we hope to have finalists posted by the end of the week.

And here are two additional Q&A threads that were packed full of interesting ideas about photo contest judging criteria. We simply had so many great questions this time around, we did not have enough room to fit these two discussions in. But you can still check them out BetterPhoto.com, if you would like to learn more about judging what makes a great photo:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6870
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6851

Have a great week,
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


*****
Jim's Last Minute Picks
If I were taking a class myself, here would be my top choices:

  • "Digital Black and White Printing" - by George Schaub
  • "Fine Art Flower Photograph" with Tony Sweet
  • "Beyond the Postcard" - Travel Photography with Brenda Tharp
  • "Making Money with Your Photography" - by Jim Zuckerman
Join "Digital Black and White Printing," by George Schaub, to learn how to make the most of classic B&W imagery in the digital darkroom:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/GEO01.asp

In "Fine Art Flower Photography" with Tony Sweet, you will master how to be a Monet behind the camera. Whether you shoot flowers in the wild or arrangements on your table top, you'll learn how to capture impressionist-style flower photography:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/TNS02.asp

Brenda Tharp uses inspiring travel images, excellent writing, and truly helpful critiques in her class on travel photography - "Beyond the Postcard":
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/BRN02.asp

Jim Zuckerman's "Making Money with Your Photography" is an rich and super-informational course on marketing your work:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JZK04.asp

Also, hot off the press! See the outline for Jim Zuckerman's class on making money at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/_outlines/JZK04.asp

The best fit for me, however, may not be the best fit for you. So take a look at each of our course offerings and see which one sounds most inspiring and exciting to you:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp


*****
Sample Course Lessons on Unsharp Masking and Photoshop Actions
If you have not yet seen them, we now have two sample lessons from previous versions of Jim Miotke's online photography courses. Most of Jim's classes are full but these will still give you a good idea of what goes into each of our lessons. One discusses scanners and digital sharpening functions such as Photoshop's Unsharp Mask filter. The other shows you how you can save time by automating routine tasks with Photoshop Actions:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/_samples/sharpening-unsharp-mask.asp
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/_samples/PSautomation.asp


*****
New and Improved Studio Lighting Course by Vik Orenstein
We are adding a lot of new content to Vik's class. Sign up to learn how to control light in the studio environment so you can capture great portraits. Vik will discuss topics such as how to use your hand held light meter and how to evenly or dramatically light various backgrounds:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/VIK02.asp

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
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?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Gadi Eidelheitis:
Frank Gilbreth, Sr., was a pioneer in the field of motion study, so taking the photos was part of his studies...

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 - The Edge - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

Who plays the photographer in the movie The Edge? What kind of photography does he specialize in? Why is he, Anthony Hopkins and Elle Macpherson, visiting the Alaskan wild?

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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The Versatile Polarizer - Tip by Kerry Drager
The polarizing filter is best known for its ability to deepen a pale blue sky. But just as important, this filter can beef up colors on many surfaces... by removing unwanted glare or distracting reflections from rocks, water, foliage, windows, painted subjects, etc. And the polarizer can work its visual magic on overcast days, too! (Note: It won't affect a gray or white sky.)

With an SLR camera, you can preview the polarizer's effects if any in the viewfinder. Simply turn the filter in its rotating mount and see for yourself! You can also check things out by holding the polarizer up to your eye and turning it. Such previewing helps you determine how much or how little! polarization you might want.

For more, sign up today for Kerry's "Field Techniques" or "Beyond Snapshots" photo courses. Students walk away from both of these courses praising Kerry for his excellent, friendly teaching style and helpful insight:

Field Techniques: Dynamic Outdoor Photography
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/KRD02.asp

Beyond Snapshots: Making the Most of Your Equipment
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/KRD01.asp

Course Extension
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/KRD03.asp

Or explore 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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ADVERTISEMENT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

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

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


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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
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NEW QUESTION 1: Overseas Member?
Dear Betterphoto
I live in Sydney Australia and may be interested in joining one of your courses. My main Q&A is the time frame of getting my work back to you and also how best to maybe pay for any courses I may submit to do. Also I shoot 35mm and would have to download by a disc. or would I send my work via post.
Hear from you soon,
- Gary Pleasance

ANSWER 1:
Hi Gary,
The great thing about participating in a BetterPhoto course is that it happens completely through the internet - so you can join us from anywhere in the world.

To do the assignments you will need to upload images to BetterPhoto.com. Since you will be using film (as opposed to a digital camera) this can be done by scanning via a film or flatbed scanner, or having your images placed on a Photo CD. No matter how you do it, your images will look best if they are sized to about 500 pixels on the short end.

You will upload your photos to a special area of BetterPhoto that will be accessed by you, your fellow students, and the instructor called the Campus Square. There, your instructor will be able to view your photos and offer his or her advice, tips, and critique.

We accept payment by credit card (Visa, MasterCard) or by Money Order or check in US funds.

If you have more specific questions, you can contact Heather via the Contact Us link at the bottom of any BetterPhoto page - Heather is very helpful and is the head of our order department.
- 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=6918

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6918

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*****


NEW QUESTION 2: How To Submit Photos For Sale
I recently purchased the book Photographer's Market 2004. I am trying to market my photography so that I am able to sell my work. The listings are very brief, I am not familiar with some of the terms. Such as query letter?
- Karri A.

ANSWER 1:
Hi Karri:

It's definitely a good idea to learn the terminology of the business. A query letter is nothing more than a BRIEF letter of introduction, maybe going something like this:

To Whom It May Concern:

By way of introduction, my name is Karri and I'm a professional (landscape, portrait, etc.) photographer.
After reviewing your product line, I feel that my work may fall within (company name's) corporate vision.
Could you please send your submission guidelines for photography, including your various methods for image delivery, at your earliest convenience.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Karri
karri@karri.com

Good luck!
- Tony Sweet

See Tony Sweet's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Tony Sweet's Web Site - TonySweet.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Tony Sweet:
Image Design
Fine Art Flower Photography

ANSWER 2:
Thank you for your response. I am an art student in a BFA degree program. I am eager to get started.

Thanks again!
- Karri A.

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6913

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6913

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*****


NEW QUESTION 3: Using Studio Flash
Is it possible to use studio flash without a flashmeter?
I have a Canon Eos Elan 7e and no flash. I am thinking of buying the Alienbees b800 but if I do I won't have the budget now to acquire a flashmeter.

Does any one use a studio flash without the flashmeter? How do you know how much light you use? I have experience in photographing portraits with available light and continuos light, but have never used a studio flash.

I also need to know what to use to connect the flash to my camera, since there is no "hole" to plug any wire to an external studio flash. What kind of cord should I need with this camera?
Thanks for any help.
- Simone Severo

ANSWER 1:
Hi Simone.
Yes, you need a flash meter. There is no other way to measure for exposure without a flash meter. Why not get the B400 instead of the B800 and then get a basic flash meter from ebay to get started. JTL and Interfit make really cheap ones that aren't the best meters, but they would get you started until you can afford a "real" meter. I think the Interfit sells at warehouse photo for $69.

As for the "wires" you need - you will need a PC/sync cord, but this comes with the ALien Bees lights. If your camera does not have a PC 'hole' for connection, you can search Adorama for an adaptor (dedicated to your specific camera) that fits on your Canon's hotshoe. Check your camera manual for info on which sync adaptor to use with your camera. Another choice is to go with an infrared remote sensor that also fits onto your camera's hotshoe. This device will remotely set off your strobes without needing a sync cord. Be sure to check around for info on voltage limits, if any, for your camera.

Hope this helps.
- Piper Lehman

See Piper's Premium BetterPholio™

Visit pipershots.com - Piper's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Forgot to add that you will use the flash meter to find the aperture needed for the shot. Your camera has a sync speed (check your manual) that you must set (in manual mode) on your camera and then you set the aperture given by the flash meter reading. You will connect the sync cord supplied with your B400/800 to your flash meter, which should be set to your desired ISO and sync speed. (note: you can set any speed lower than the sync speed, but never above/faster). Next, you will take a reading by holding the meter at your subject's face (for instance) and pointed toward your camera. The meter will trip the strobe via the sync cord connection and will display the correct aperture to set on your camera. Take the sync cord out of the meter and connect it to your camera via the hotshoe sync adaptor. Now you are connected to the strobe and can take the picture.

Check out Scott Smith's site for more info on lighting and metering. www.lightingmagic.com
- Piper Lehman

See Piper's Premium BetterPholio™

Visit pipershots.com - Piper's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
The PC adapter for the hot shoe need not be a "dedicated" one for the camera. Any one of the better "generic" types will work just fine. The only thing it needs to connect to is the hot shoe center contact and camera "ground" via the sides of the hot shoe. None of the other hot shoe contacts are needed.

I agree with Piper . . . you really do need a flash meter. Not all come with a trigger socket, especially some of the older ones. I trigger the studio lights by turning on their slaves and using a small hand held flash in a very low power setting aimed straight up and punch its test button when I'm ready to meter the lighting. The light from a hand held flash in a greatly reduced power setting is so low compared to that from the studio lights that it adds nearly zero light . . . especially when aimed upward . . . and it has an equally near zero effect on the metering . . . I'm not certain the difference could even be measured using a practical photographic flash meter.

BTW, even though all my cameras have PC sockets on them I still use the hot shoe adapters. Plugging and unplugging PC cords constantly is hard on the PC sockets. The hot shoe adapter can be left on the end of the cord and simply slid in and out of the hot shoe saving wear and tear on the camera's PC socket and some on the cord plug. It's much, much cheaper to replace one of these adapters than to have a PC socket on a camera body repaired!
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6911

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6911

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*****


NEW QUESTION 4: Best Lens for Pro Portrait Photos
What's the best lens (in general) I should use to take pro quality portrait photos on an indoor type setting. I have a Canon EOS elan7 35mm camera.

Thanks for you input everyone!
- Joe Zappia

ANSWER 1:
Hi Joe!

Most photographer's who photography human portraits (flowers can be portraits, too!), use an 85mm or a 105mm lens. With the great sharpeness of modern zooms, an 80-200mm f/2.8 is probably your best bet!

Good luck!
- Tony Sweet

See Tony Sweet's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Tony Sweet's Web Site - TonySweet.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Tony Sweet:
Image Design
Fine Art Flower Photography

ANSWER 2:
Unless you want to spend over a thousand dollars for the L series lens, I would recommend the following medium priced lens:
EF 85mm f/1.8 USM ~ $320
EF 100mm f/2 USM ~ $370

and my personal preference:
EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM ~ $450

I use the 100mm Macro for both portrait and catalog shots and this lens is very sharp, not to mention the life size (1:1) magnification ability.

Hope this helps.
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 3:
I shoot studio portraits of kids, alone and with their pets and families, in every format from extremely close-up headshots to full length action shots. I use a 70-200mm zoom -- there is no reason to be afraid of being cnsidered "unprofessional" anymore for using a zoom --today's optics are excellent and the ability to change focal lengths on a dime affords you maximum creativity and spontaneity. While fixed lenses are cheaper, a zoom is, in my opinion, a clearly superior tool.
- Vik Orenstein

See Vik Orenstein's Premium BetterPholio™

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Vik Orenstein:
Photographing Children
Studio Lighting Technique

ANSWER 4:
I also have been using a pair of fast 35-105 f/2.8 zoom lenses for wedding work. If I need longer glass, which isn't that often, I put on a longer prime. BTW, among the primes, one of the "forgotten" focal lengths, the fast 135mm f/2.8, used to be used for some portraiture; the extra length beyond 100mm makes them good for very tight head shots. In nearly all camera systems they were also inexpensive.

I agree with Vik that an 80-200 or 70-210 zoom range can be ideal giving you a wide focal length range to work with, but with one caveat: avoid the cheap glass.

There are an abundance of dirt cheap "slow" consumer 70-210mm zooms on the market. Their build quality leaves me underwhelmed; they won't hold up long to the continuous use professionals dish out to their equipment. I'm even more underwhelmed by their very poor optical qualities. Finally, beacause they're slow, your AF system can get into trouble hunting for focus if you try to use one in low lighting on location somewhere (wedding receptions come to mind as a classic example).

Invest in faster glass with good build quality that will stand up to harder use, and with good optics. They're not inexpensive, but the pain to the pocketbook is much less than the pain of trying to work with something that won't hold up under continuous use and has obvious distortions/aberrations in the optics. It's not that you will necessarily shoot very often with the lens wide open . . . it's the brighter viewfinder image and enabling the camera body's AF system to work easier. I picked mine very carefully for build and optical quality and would recommend them except they're manual focus, no longer in production and won't work on your Canon.
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6909

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6909

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*****


NEW QUESTION 5: Backgrounds
What is a neutral, light-coloured background?
- michael okudolo

ANSWER 1:
Well Michael, "neutral" can mean a couple of things:
1. 18% gray
2. a detailess background with no distracting detail or highlights to take attention away from the main subject.

Hope this helps!
- Tony Sweet

See Tony Sweet's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Tony Sweet's Web Site - TonySweet.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Tony Sweet:
Image Design
Fine Art Flower Photography

ANSWER 2:
Michael,
is it a nuetral background you're after or an all purpose, multi-use, sort of classic, timeless background? If I had to choose just one backdrop, I would pick a mottled canvas, medium tone so I could go lighter or darker by varying the power of the light, in warm colors like taupe, terra cotta, and gold, with a fairly soft (well-blended) paint application so there aren't any hard, discrete areas of color or tone to draw attention away from the subject.
- Vik Orenstein

See Vik Orenstein's Premium BetterPholio™

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Vik Orenstein:
Photographing Children
Studio Lighting Technique

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6908

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6908

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*****


NEW QUESTION 6: Which Meter Reading Should I Use?
Hi,
When using Bowens Studio lights in home studio room 10ft by 15ft, I place Key light 45degs to one side plus fill 45degrees to other. My Key light is set at half power and gives reading of F8 at 100asa, Fill is set to quarter power and gives reading of 5.6. When I take reading with both lights powered on I get reading of F8 plus half. My question is, should I use F8 or F9? Cheers.
- Ray Connolly

ANSWER 1:
Ray,
If "f/8 plus half" means a half stop narrower aperture than f/8, then use f/9. Since f/9 is 1/3rd stop tighter than f/8, that's a 1/6th stop overexposure and even with chromes you'd be extremely hard pressed to tell the difference (I'd bet money you wouldn't). With negative films, if I'm within a half-stop, I don't worry about it.
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Hi, Ray!
John's advice is good. I would only add one comment -- if you're shooting black and white film, you generally want to overexpose slightly to clean up your highlights, especially when shooting people. So I'd go with f8. For chromes I like to underexpose a little for maximum richness and color saturation.
- Vik Orenstein

See Vik Orenstein's Premium BetterPholio™

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Vik Orenstein:
Photographing Children
Studio Lighting Technique

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6907

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6907

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*****


NEW QUESTION 7: Making a Living
I just want to know if it is possible for someone to make a living in photography, is being independent freelance the way to go?
- Dean Boyer

ANSWER 1:
Hello Dean!

I'm doing fine as a professional nature photographer, teacher, and lecturer. It's very possible, but be willing to live by your wits and work 18-20 hour days for a long time.

One way to get an idea of even where to begin the process is to take a few workshops with someone who is successful at what you would like to do. After getting to know that person a bit, emulate what they did and, if your "mentor" is willing, get guidance along the way.

There are no short cuts. The sacrifices are great and the rewards, if successful, are equally great.

Good luck!
- Tony Sweet

See Tony Sweet's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Tony Sweet's Web Site - TonySweet.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Tony Sweet:
Image Design
Fine Art Flower Photography

ANSWER 2:
Hey Dean,
I'm a professional portrait photographer specializing in kids and families, and I also teach here at BetterPhoto.com, as well as write books on photography. I'm very happy with my work and with the living I make, and I know a lot of other photographers who say the same. You need to take a look at your marketplace -- is your city large enough to support a studio in your area of specialty? Perhaps your market area is saturated with wedding photogs, but there's room for another commercial shooter. Do a little research in your area -- you'll be happy you did. And here comes a shameless plug for my most recent book, which will be available in april '04 from writer's digest books: THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S GUIDE TO BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS. I'll also be teaching a class here at BetterPhoto.com on pricing and business practices starting winter session. Good luck!
- Vik Orenstein

See Vik Orenstein's Premium BetterPholio™

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Vik Orenstein:
Photographing Children
Studio Lighting Technique

ANSWER 3:
I have been an amatuer for the past 10years and I am wanting to move up to the next step. But I don't know in which direction I want to go. My favorites are pet photography and nature photography but I also enjoy children and wedding portraits. I am thinking about taking the NYIP correspodence course because I would like some kind of certificate or degree behind me before I start calling myself a professional. I took photgraphy in high school but that just wasn't enough for me. I have sold a few of my prints but not many.
- Andrea L. Akin

ANSWER 4:
It is indeed possible to make a living, but it is also a tough and highly competitive business. There's no shortage of people who buy a 35m SLR with lens, a flash to put in its hot shoe, and then put themselves out for hire as a "professional" with pricing below the bargain basement thinking it will be easy. There's also no shortage of potential customers whose overwhelming concern is "the price tag," and they judge the cost of a professional doing a shoot against what they can have a 24 exposure roll of 35mm film developed and printed for at the cheapest one-hour lab in town. Tony's not exaggerating; I've seen a few local professionals go through their business "startup."

To create a viable business that has a good chance of survival also requires a considerable capital investment in proessional equipment; not all you will ultimately need be bought at once, but enough for a "startup" isn't insignificant either. Having backup gear for critical items of equipment is essential.

The mainstream for most independents I know is wedding and portraiture. Even though they do a wide range of other work, it's their "bread and butter" primary source of revenue. Weddings in particular are not for the faint of heart, and it requires good physical condition. They're both physically and mentally demanding; photographers either either love or hate them.

It is possible to also do professional work part-time while holding down a "day job." That is what I'm doing, although I keep a tight lid on how much work I take on . . . particularly with weddings. Although I intend to keep it part-time, some use this method to get a business started and ultimately switch over to full time photography after the business has a reasonable reputation and is on a good financial footing. It's a bit slower path, but it has less financial risk.
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6906

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6906

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*****


NEW QUESTION 8: Upon Course Completion
Once you complete a course, do you get a certificate?
- nancy

ANSWER 1:
If you complete a minimal number of assignments, yes!
- Tony Sweet

See Tony Sweet's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Tony Sweet's Web Site - TonySweet.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Tony Sweet:
Image Design
Fine Art Flower Photography

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=6902

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=6902

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*****


NEW QUESTION 9: Lowering Contrast For Sunny Landscapes
I shot a wad of Kodax Max 400 and 200 film on a recent trip to sunny climes and was disappointed in the print results. On reflection I realized the main problem is high constrast because of bright sun. This is especially true when focusing on a subject in shadows; the subject is too dark to see well. Almost all of my photos are taken on Automatic setting.

It would be easy to say to come up with my own setting with a light meter, but this isn't always possible because of the amount of time to shoot. Also, trying to shoot a photo where there are not shadows is next to impossible at times, especially where buildings and bridges and other structures are concerned.

What would happen if I chose a softer film type perhaps Sensia or equivalent for landscapes? Or is there another film type I could experiment with to maintain a softer image?
Thanks.
- Michael

ANSWER 1:
Well, Michael, unfortunately high contrast = high contrast. The only way that I know of is to shoot lower contrast film, e.g. Fuji Provia 100f, Fuji Provia 400, and that will only minimally reduce high, harsh contrast.

The BEST way to reduce contrast is to get out before the sun comes up and after it goes down or on overcast days, or when the sun is very low on the horizon. These are all low contrast situations, and in general, the best times to photograph.

Good luck!
- Tony Sweet

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NEW QUESTION 10: How To Start Your Own Business?
I have done pictures for years, lots of weddings, senior pictures for family and friends and of course my own kids. I would like to bust into the business but am a little scared to do so. I haven't had any type of training and don't know anything about f stop and metering and lighting and such. I did a $25,000 wedding just two weeks ago and the pictures are just amazing and they are oh so happy. In fact there were two other photographers there doing pictures it was such a big event, and they were stealing my shots that I set up and even told me afterwards I should consider the business. I only have a digital camera (Sony Mavica 300) and a drop-in film camera (Canon EOS lX7 Lite). Can it be done with those and can I find a send-off lab to do that kind of film? Can I learn it all out of a book or do I need to take some classes first? If anyone has any helpful advise or suggestions I would more than grateful. Thanks so much.
- Heather B. Spicer

ANSWER 1:
Hi Heather!

It sounds like you're off to a pretty good start here!

I would suggest to get a business sense to take a class at one of the PPA affiliate schools: http://ppa.com. Better yet, take classes from Bryan Peterson, Jim Zuckerman, and Vik Orenstein, given online here at Betterphoto.com, to hone your business, creative, and people photography skills. It sounds like you've had great, positive experiences so far, but please know that the mark of a professional in any business is "consistency." In other words, to always produce great imagery and to have an acute business sense. But, equally as important, people need to like you and feel safe and secure placing their trust and $$$ with you.
Being good is just step one of many steps in starting and growing a successful business.

Good luck!
- Tony Sweet

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NEW QUESTION 11: Copyright
How do you obtain a Copyright for your work?
- Dean Boyer

ANSWER 1:
Dean,

When you press the shutter, the work is copyrighted. You can also submit a "body of work" to the federal copyright office, but you need to get a form for that. You can have as many images on each form as you like.

The difference between the two is:
1. You can collect "fair market value" monies for illegal use of your image by only clicking the shutter and to be able to proof that you took the picture.
2. By copyrighting, you are able to sue for punitive damages in addition to the "FMV" of the image use.

Hope this helps!
- Tony Sweet

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NEW QUESTION 12: A Web Site? Selling My Pics?
I am very new to the photography world, but I have been told I am very good and to pursue it. I would like to know what is the good thing about having a Web page and also how to maybe sell some of my pics. Thank you.
- Evelyn Wilkerson

ANSWER 1:
Evelyn:
For a short question, there is a lot to answer!
A web page is a very quick and easy way for people see your work and to purchase images.

Here's one way to start: BetterPhoto's Deluxe BetterPholios™ for photographers:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4Photogs.asp

And you might want to check out Jim Zuckerman's class on marketing your images:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JZK04.asp

Good luck!
- Tony Sweet

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NEW QUESTION 13: Shooting Indoors where Flash and Tripods not used.
Hi, I recently went to the Oriental Institute in Chicago. I was told before going that Flash and Tripods weren't allowed. With that in mind I took my light meter, 800 ASA film and shot at 60 speed and most of the appetures settings were 5.6. Now question what film, speed, lens would you chose for such a project. What filter would you use. There wasn't a lot of available light in the museum. I plan to go again next month so any help appreciated. I had thought about 400 film but without a tripod I thought would make it difficult.
- Mike

ANSWER 1:
Mike, these situations are almost unshootable because of the minimal light. You could try using Tmax 3200 rated at 3200 or push to 6400. That will result in a grainy image, which could be nice and different. What I do is ask the public relations person at the Institute if there is any time available, however short, when you can use your flash for a short time. Maybe they will let you in a half hour before opening to get your pictures.

Good luck!
- Tony Sweet

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NEW QUESTION 14: Do You Offer Anything Other Than Online Courses?
I have struggled with the idea of taking some of the online courses since I first found this site and have yet to do so. I really want to take some of the courses but I am someone who has always gotten more out of the classroom environment, I like the up close and personal relationships of real-time people. What has the feedback been from some who have taken the online courses.
I live in the Seattle are; are there any weekend courses that are offered anywhere? Groups of people that get together and go on shootabouts and learn from each other that way?
Thanks for your input.
- Kathy Zinn

ANSWER 1:
Hi Kathy,

I understand your feelings completely and had the same reservations when I first started teaching online classes for Betterphoto. But, after doing this for about a year, I have found this to be an educational and invigorating learning environment. Jim has built an incredible situation here and the instructors are all published authors and well established educators. And, after trying an online class for a couple of lessons, if it doesn't work for you, you can get a full refund. You might want to give it a shot... and you can still take other classes. But, you may be a bit surprised as to how the online classes give you the same communal feeling that you seek.

Hope that this helps.
- Tony Sweet

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Location Copyright Question
I have numerous photos of lighthouses, National Park Scenes etc. I am sure I am not the only who has very similar if not identical shots of these structures (angles, lighting, etc.) Is it copyright infrigment to sell these photos even if they are like others?
- Charles G. Borden

See Charles's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Interesting question! I can't see how anyone could claim copyright if someone else happened to be standing next to him/her and took the same shot at exactly the same time. Each person would have an original slide or neg. and could show this if challenged. I've been at many classic tourist viewpoints along with dozens of others taking the same shot - the trick is to try to be a little different. Or try to find that special place that nobody else knows about (not many of those left in the English Lake District!) Often though it's the 'straight' shots that sell, so I try to get both!
- Vincent Lowe

See Vincent's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
If you took the shot you own the copyright on that shot. You can do with it as you please. The only time you might be infringing that I can think of is if the shot requires a model/property release.
- Jeff S. Kennedy

ANSWER 3:
It is NOT copyright infringement if you took the picture, no matter how many other people have taken the exact same picture. The originality requirement in the copyright law requires only that the work be original to the creator, not that the work itself be unlike any other work ever created. In fact, if two people who never met and never saw each others' work wrote the exact same poem, each would be entitled to copyright protection in that poem, and there would be no infrigement by either of them. The trick of course would be proving that they came up with the poem on their own and never saw the other one. With the photo that is considerably easier since you have the negative to prove that you created the work yourself.

In this way copyright differs from trademark and patent (which it is often confused with) because each of those areas of law require what is protected to be unique. In copyright "originality" does not equate with uniqueness, it solely deals with whether it was originated by the photographer.

Hope this helps.
- Michelle B. Lee

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