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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, May 31, 2004
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* SPOTLIGHT: Promote Your Portfolio of Photos in a Deluxe BetterPholio™
* BETTERPHOTO: BetterPhoto Online Courses: Summer Session Begins July 7th
* FEATURED GALLERY: Seeing the Light ... In Architecture and Scenery
* FEATURED PLACE: San Francisco: Gateway to Great Photography
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Movie Who-Done-It / Where Is He From?
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Taking One Last Look in Viewfinder... By Kerry Drager
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Outdoor Wedding Film Choice
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Color Correction in Lighting
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Manual or Automatic Focus for Nature Photos?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: How to Blur the Background
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Viewers Who Want Photo Freebies
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: How to Become a Master Photographer
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: SLR Digital Vs. Point and Shoot Dgital
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Are DVD's Permanent for Storage of Images?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Real Estate Photography
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: JPEG Vs. TIFF
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: Fixing Poor-Quality Photos
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 12: Making a Heartfelt Connection with the Subject
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 13: Filter Factors: What About Size?
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Scanning: Prints Vs. Negative
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 2: JPEG Files on CD
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 3: Shooting My First Wedding and I'm Terrified.
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 4: How to Ask Strangers If I Can Take a Photo of Them


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

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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 162nd issue of SnapShot!

Hi

The big news this week involves something that won't even take place for another month: an all-new, all-improved BetterPhoto contest! We are really excited about the pending contest makeover. Again, the changes will not affect the June contest, but will be effective on July 1. Stay tuned for all the details in next week's SnapShot!

Now, for this week's SnapShot. As usual, we have a tremendous rundown of questions and answers, as well as a great lineup of features. Starting things off is Featured Gallery, which focuses on the architectural and scenic beauty of lighthouses. In Featured Place, see how BetterPhoto shooters have profiled San Francisco and the Golden Gate. And, in This Week's Photo Tip, instructor Kerry Drager shares his "taking a last look" shooting advice.

That's it for now. Have an enjoyable week of photography!
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


*****
BetterPhoto Online Courses: Summer Session Begins July 7th
Would you like to learn more about photography? Are you struggling to gain a better understanding of the principles of exposure, composition, digital photography, photographic field techniques, or even Photoshop?

Join us for an inspiring online photo course at BetterPhoto.com. Let us be your guide ... with our online courses, you will become a better photographer. Our summer session of photography courses promises to fill those excellent weeks with creativity and inspiration.

For more information and a complete listing of the latest courses being offered, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Seeing the Light ... In Architecture and Scenery
For a subject that involves a double dose of visual interest - strong architecture and scenic settings - it's hard to beat lighthouses. In fact, BetterPhoto shooters have shot these eye-catching subjects in all sorts of eye-catching ways: different times of the day (including the "magic hour" of twilight) and with different compositions (from grand views to interesting details). For shooting ideas and inspiration, see BetterPhoto's "Lighthouse Pictures" gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=149

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FEATURED PLACE
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San Francisco: Gateway to Great Photography
The City by the Bay offers so much of interest to photographers, from beautiful buildings to striking seascapes. Of course, the Golden Gate Bridge dominates much of San Francisco's scenery ... and, no wonder. This world-class attraction looks terrific any time of the day, although it's downright spectacular at twilight. Best spots to shoot the Golden Gate: There are many wonderful viewpoints, but some of the most dramatic ones are high in the Marin County hills just across the bridge. For inspiration, check out the images of BetterPhoto members and instructors in the "San Francisco Pictures" gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=400

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
There's an Italian film where a photographer discovers a body accidentally when enlarging a photo. What are the names of the film and its director?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Robert Bradshaw is:
"Blowup," directed by Michelangelo Antonioni in 1996 with Vanessa Redgrave.


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 - Where Is He From? - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

Fill in the blank: Pecker is the story of a young photographer from ______ who gets discovered by the New York art scene.

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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Taking One Last Look in Viewfinder... By Kerry Drager
It's easy to get so wrapped up in composing your shot that you miss the extra things that can slip into an image. Assuming fast-changing light or a moving subject doesn't demand quick action, then perform this viewfinder inspection: Scan things from border to border, corner to corner. What to look for:

  • Distractions: These include "hot spots" (sunlit glare or reflections), stray branches or pieces of litter, out-of-focus objects in an otherwise all-sharp picture, and out-of-place bright colors in subdued scenes. Remember: The brightest, lightest, or most colorful part of an image will attract the viewer's eye first - often a problem if that area is NOT your picture's main subject.

  • Merges: The oft-cited example of a merge is a tree or pole sprouting out of someone's head. But a merge also can be any separate subject or same-color object that overlaps another one in a visually distracting way. Check, too, for a key element that touches - or almost touches - the edge of the picture frame; adjust your image to give that item "breathing room."
  • Lastly: Besides a static scene, this process works most efficiently with a tripod!

    Visit kerrydrager.com - Get your own Deluxe BetterPholio™

    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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    PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
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    NEW QUESTION 1: Outdoor Wedding Film Choice
    I will be shooting my first wedding outdoors in July. I need any advice you might have on the best film, speed, filter needed or not and flash outdoors or not. I have a very basic camera (Canon Eos Rebel G) with a 550 EX speedlite. I own 2 lenses (28-80, 75-300 IS USM). Which lens should I use? Then the reception will be indoors. Any suggestions???
    - Kristi Seanor

    ANSWER 1:
    Any film which is balanced for daylight use, or for flash, will work fine outdoors without any lens filters. A film speed of 200 or 400 should handle all scenarios. You should plan on using flash outside to help fill in dark spots and shadows if it will be sunny during the ceremony. For the reception indoors, you can use the same film as long as you are using the 550 EX flash as your illumination. Good luck!
    - Bob Cammarata

    Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=9754

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=9754

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 2: Color Correction in Lighting
    I'm in the process of purchasing lighting equipment, and I read somewhere that it's good to buy a system that is 5500k or 3200k and use a color correction filter. What name or brand do your suggest? Or what color do I use with the 3200k lighting?
    - Monica

    ANSWER 1:
    5500-K, is "daylight balanced" and 3200-K is "tungsten balanced". I cannot recommend specific brands, but I always use tungsten lighting for indoor stuff and either load my camera with a tungsten-balanced film, or use a blue 80-A lens filter to correct the color shift when I'm using daylight film. (Without the filter, there will be a discernable yellow-ish cast.)
    - Bob Cammarata

    Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=9750

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=9750

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 3: Manual or Automatic Focus for Nature Photos?
    This may be a somewhat stupid question, but what is better for nature photography, manual or automatic? I know that automatic is much faster (fps) and it allows the person taking the picture to take pictures faster. I have a manual camera and I am going to switch over to an automatic SLR.
    - Imrahil Dol Amroth

    ANSWER 1:
    You will probably get different opinions about which is better, based upon how comfortable the photographer is with his or her equipment. I like manual focus, because I feel it gives me greater control to critically focus on a specific point within the scene ... such as an eyeball of an animal, or antenna of an insect. For action, I also focus manually, but I'm sure that I could do better with AF since my success ratio is much lower than when shooting a subject at rest. For shooting macro subjects and for landscapes, manual focus is definitely better. (At least in my opinion.)
    - Bob Cammarata

    Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=9743

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=9743

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 4: How to Blur the Background
    Help out there. A mother of 6 kids and a harpist, I love to take pics and bought a Canon Rebel. I am trying to grasp, in what little time I have, how to blur the background like I see everyone else do. I am trying to understand photo basics and not getting very far. Could somebody who owns a Rebel tell me how to accomplish the blur?? I am clueless. I read the manual, but still clueless.
    - Andrea Jawor

    ANSWER 1:
    Hello Andrea. It's quite simple. It's not the camera that matters, but, rather, the lens. You need to open up the f/stops quite a bit. The lower the number on the f/stop the less the depth of field will be. An example would be: f/2.8 will have a shorter depth of field than f/16 and, f/16 will have a shorter depth of field than f/22 ... and so on. If you have a large enough telephoto lens, the effect of the depth of field will be even greater. An example would be: A 50mm lens at f/2.8 will have a greater depth of field than a 200mm lens at f/2.8. The drawback to lenses with large f/stops is money ... they cost more. A lens that has a constant f/2.8 will cost considerably more than a lens with a constant or variable f/3.5. A possible way to circumvent the cost is to buy a used lens. For your situation - i.e., taking photos of your kids with a blurred (out of focus) background as in an outdoor portrait - you'd be better off to use a telephoto of somewhere around 135mm or greater with an f/stop of f/4 or smaller (f/3.5 or f/2.8). I hope this helps and good luck.
    - Terry L. Long

    ANSWER 2:
    Andrea: Yeah, I think you'll want to buy a 70-200mm or similar lens and use it at longer focal lengths at around f/5.6. (f/2.8 is even better for blurring a background but lenses with f/2.8 are very expensive.)

    Cheers! Peter Burian
    - Peter K. Burian

    See Peter's Premium BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 3:
    You can also accomplish what you are trying to do by getting closer. Even with a standard to medium-telephoto lens (50 to 100mm), you can get a blurred background by moving forward toward your subject a little. (You will definitely need a wide aperture, though.)
    - Bob Cammarata

    Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=9736

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=9736

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 5: Viewers Who Want Photo Freebies
    I have gotten an increasing number of requests for use of my photos on that are displayed on this site. The problem is that most of them expect for the photos to be free! In one case the request was for use of 20 PHOTOS! Now, I am not a pro (earning 50% or more of my income from photography), but I feel that my time, and talent, are worth something. I also refuse to give unfair competition to pros, some of whom are friends of mine, by allowing free use of my photos. Is it a problem if I mention in my gallery that there may be a charge associated with using my photos? Thank you.
    - Linda G. Yee

    See Linda's Premium BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 1:
    Of course not.
    - Gregory La Grange

    Visit gregorylagrange.org - Gregory's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 2:
    Thanks, Gregory. I am just a little surprised that there are some people who expect a photographer to just give their work away, particularly when it is for a commercial venture like a brochure.
    - Linda G. Yee

    See Linda's Premium BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 3:
    Your time and talent does have value! Anyone should expect to pay at least something to use your photos. For a commercial venture ... this is, pretty much, understood.
    - Bob Cammarata

    Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=9724

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=9724

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 6: How to Become a Master Photographer
    I've often seen numerous letters and credits behind the names of professional photographers. One of them that I'm interested in is that of "master photographer." What must be done to attain that title? What credits would you suggest I receive to become the most marketable? Thanks for your help!
    - Micah Unruh

    ANSWER 1:
    I think what you've seen is actually somebody calling themselves "master photographer". Somebody who's been able to make a successful career can be considered by others to be a "master photographer". But success can be anything from somebody who's been doing weddings in a town for 15 years straight and has built a good local reputation. Or it can mean somebody who's built a career making a good amount of money doing magazine covers, album covers, books, fashion and celebrity shots, like Mark Seliger. Then there are those who attend an actual art school like Brooks Institute, and other places, and gets a degree.
    But I don't feel it's an actual title, like getting a degree in accounting, taking the board for law, getting certified for nursing. It's more of building a niche, actually being good at it, and the market saying that you're a "master of photography" because people keep coming back to you, wanting your stuff.
    - Gregory La Grange

    Visit gregorylagrange.org - Gregory's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=9718

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=9718

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 7: SLR Digital Vs. Point and Shoot Dgital
    I read somewhere that a 6 megapixel digital SLR camera is better then a 8 megapixel digital camera. How does the "SLR" part of a digital SLR camera make it better then a point and shoot digital camera?
    - Tim A. Pierce

    ANSWER 1:
    Hi Tim. First, let's clarify that a "Digital SLR" has a mirror, a pentaprism and interchangeable lenses just like a film SLR. The "pseudo SLRs" with electronic viewfinders do NOT count :-)

    MegaPixels are not everything. Once you get past 4meg or so, the quality of the optical system becomes increasingly important, and the DSLRs use the highly developed, high quality (and often VERY expensive) glass from the film SLR world. What I'm really saying is that a 6 meg DSLR with a decent lens will easily outperform an 8 meg point-n-shoot with a lesser lens. In actual fact, the old EOS D-30 (3 meg) will produce images to rival some of the cheaper 8 meg cameras.

    Another factor to consider is that DSLRs, in order to use film lenses, have MUCH larger sensors than the point-n-shoots. It is a fact that the physically larger pixels of these sensors produce less noise than the small sensors of a P-n-S at the same equivalent ISO setting, leading to cleaner images. It is actually easier to get a higher ISO from the bigger pixel because more light falls on it (bigger area) causing more photo-electrons to whizz about. There are few P-n-S cameras that can come anywhere near an equivalent ISO of 1600 (pretty standard for a modern DSLR) with remotely acceptable image noise.

    That's the basic argument. Any further questions, ask here. There are a lot of very knowledgeable people on this forum. Listen to them, learn, and above all, enjoy your photography. Cheers.
    - Dave Cross

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=9713

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=9713

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 8: Are DVD's Permanent for Storage of Images?
    What is the most permanent way to store images? If CD's fade and it is not possible to save all images on the hard drive, where can preserve them for future use? Are DVD's permanent?
    - Jacqueline McAbery

    ANSWER 1:
    Not really, but they'll do for a while. ... There's a new type of DVD that will replace older ones called Blue Laser DVD - but the new machines will be able to read older DVD's. With constant change, nothing is permanent, but look at it this way: You can still find a means of playing an old 78rpm LP. So you should be able to do the same with the newer DVD technology.
    - Damian Gadal

    Visit gadal-imagery.com - Damian's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 2:
    Hi Jacqueline: The discussions as to the longevity (or otherwise) of CDR/DVDR media are widespread and vary wildly in their predictions. Just try a Google search on "CDR life" to see what I mean. There is no doubt that CDRs (and DVDRs) fade with time, and unlike an old photograph, the data does not get "dimmer," because of its digital nature it works fine for a period and then, one day, it's unreadable.

    Manufacturers offer "archival CDRs" with a life purported to be in excess of 100 years (assuming you use a high quality, properly calibrated drive to write them). The question is not whether the data will be readable 100 years down the line, it is whether the equipment to read it will be available. Yes, we can still play 78RPM records and project 1901 movie film, but try to find a working BetaMax VCR (fair chance), when you've got your BetaMax find a V2000 machine (a late '70s VCR format), pretty well no chance, and that is only 30 years old. In the late '80s, the BBC started the "Doomsday Project" in an effort to collect everything that mattered about the modern world, it was all stored on the latest technology (12 inch optical disks). Less than 20 years later millions of dollars have been spent "rescuing" the data because none of the original hardware survives. Look at:-
    http://www.csa.com/hottopics/cyber/oview.html

    There are two ways to guarantee that your pictures will be viewable in 100 years:-
    1. Constantly migrate your data to the newer formats, say every 5 - 10 years.
    OR
    2. Make Silver-Halide prints (real photographs) from your digital masterpiece, stick them in an album like your parents did, and wind up your kids with them when they come round with their kids ...

    Just my 2c ... Cheers.

    By the way, Jacqueline ... make CD backups and renew them every couple of yers :-)
    - Dave Cross

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=9709

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    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=9709

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 9: Real Estate Photography
    I have recently started taking pictures of houses for a realtor, and I am looking to expand to other realtors and grow a nice side-business. Here's my problem: I have no idea what to charge. Do I charge them a flat fee that covers my time and expenses, or should I do it by the hour and have them pay for processing? Any suggestions? Also, do I have them sign a contract? What should be on it? Thanks for your time!
    - Becky Gossett

    ANSWER 1:
    There are a lot of variables that should be considered. Do you shoot the outside, inside, or both? Do you have to deal with the owners of the house? How many shots do you provide? What is your cost for travel, time, film, equipment, etc., etc.

    Is the realtor a good realtor with lots of business? What type of houses are they? What kind of neighborhoods? Is the realtor successful?

    All of these questions (and more) play into how much you should charge (at least IMHO). A lot to think about ...
    - John Wright

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=9705

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    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=9705

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 10: JPEG Vs. TIFF
    Why does my Sony F717 automatically take a pic in JPEG when I choose to shoot in TIFF? Who uses the JPEG and how in this case? Also, if TIFF provides highest quality for storing image, why do higher quality cameras like the Nikon D70 provide only JPEG and RAW as choices? I'm working on learning this stuff, haven't found a clear answer in my books yet, THANK YOU MUCH for helping!! PS And I've gathered that one immediately stores a downloaded JPEG in TIFF and then does innumerable corrections and then submits for a print, yes?
    - Laura J. Smith

    ANSWER 1:
    Hi Laura. I'll go for the simple answers. If you need more information please ask here.

    File Formats 101.
    JPEG: A "lossy" compression system, produces small files but "throws away" data during the process. The amount of detail lost depends on the compression ratio chosen when the file is saved. With low compression, JPEG is very good.

    TIFF: A "non-lossy" format with various compression options (including "none" that can lead to HUGE files). The compressed TIFF files do NOT lose any detail.

    RAW: Various flavours here from the different camera manufacturers. Put simply this is the raw data from the camera sensor with none of the in-camera processing applied (colour correction, sharpening etc.). This is great because it means you can apply the processing after the fact (when you get home).

    To answer your questions:

    1. Your F717 gives you a fast displaying and (fairly) small JPEG as well as the TIFF for your convenience (I expect the camera also uses it on the preview screen). Use the JPEG to quickly screen your pictures to filter out the 'failures'.

    2. The high-end cameras give you a low compression JPEG (small) and RAW (raw data) - TIFF is an in-between format. If you want TIFF, make it from the RAW.

    3. As far as your workflow is concerned, you are correct in NOT re-saving repeatedly in JPEG format. TIFF is just fine although you may get more mileage (and slightly smaller files) using the native PhotoShop .PSD format.

    Personally, I shoot in low-compression JPEG (EOS D-60) under normal conditions and switch to RAW when the lighting is bad (indoors, night etc). Using RAW allows me to do better correction of what could be marginal images.

    Do whatever feels best for you :-) Enjoy the world of digital. Cheers.
    - Dave Cross

    ANSWER 2:
    Dave, thank you so much. That is a major help. Now just tell me, if you shoot in a low compression JPEG, does that mean you convert your stuff to TIFF before you submit it for whatever, or do you keep it in JPEG forever?
    - Laura J. Smith

    ANSWER 3:
    No problem, Laura :- If I am not performing any adjustments to my shots (rare), I just leave it as the original JPEG. Some print shops insist on TIFF "because the quality is better". I just open my JPEG and save it out as TIFF - no one has ever complained about the quality (what they don't know won't hurt them:-).

    Any adjustments at all I load the JPEG into PhotoShop, do the tweaking and save as .PSD (PS native format, preserves layers etc.). Then, if I am going to print I save out as a compressed TIFF. You should avoid making multiple saves in JPEG format because every save recompresses the data (and throws away a little bit more of your detail information).

    In reality, I OUGHT to use RAW at all times, but lack of CF space in the camera and the additional processing time required really don't warrant it, low-compression JPEG works fine for me. Cheers.
    - Dave Cross

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=9697

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=9697

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 11: Fixing Poor-Quality Photos
    After browsing this site, I have come to the conclusion that most of the photos I consider of poor quality were probably due to having them developed at an el-cheapo place. My question is: Is there any way to salvage these photos? If I take the negatives to a better lab, can they re-develop? Will this fix the problem? Or are these negatives doomed, since I took them to a cheap lab in the first place? Thanks for answering! Lori (not a pro, just a mom who wants good photos).
    - Lori

    ANSWER 1:
    Even most cheapo labs do a pretty good job developing the negatives. The processing is done by fully automated machines, but if they are really sloppy the negatives can be scratched if the operators don't keep the machine clean. It's possible a really bad operator may not replenish the chemicals often enough. Once developed, negatives cannot be re-developed.

    Where the cheap labs tend to fall down is in making prints, where they may not get the color balance right, may over- or mis-compensate for exposure (print too light or too dark), not precisely focus the enlarger, crop too much or indiscriminately, etc.

    Check your negatives with a magnifying glass or loupe for focus and detail in highlights/shadows. Problems in these areas of the negative would not be the lab's fault. Have good negatives reprinted at a different lab.
    - Jon Close

    ANSWER 2:
    Hello Lori. Jon's answer is a good one and explained well. When you take your negs to a different lab, ask the customer service person to show you a normal, overexposed, and an underexposed neg. That way you will be able to see the difference and know if it is you, your camera, the lab or printing that is at fault. Ask them to use one of your own negs (bring in the whole developed roll and the prints you are not happy with). They will help point out possible improvements, and reasons something may have gone wrong, assuming anything did. And never be afraid to go back to a lab that you think has done a bad job - especially if the negs are damaged in some way.

    Good luck and don't let it get you down - just keep shooting ... "Your imagination is your only limitation." <
    - Pamela CM Lammersen

    Visit pcmlphotography.com - Pamela's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=9696

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    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=9696

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 12: Making a Heartfelt Connection with the Subject
    This question is not about film, nor is it about digital. It's about the art of photography regardless of what format or camera you use. It's a simple question, really, yet one which has me stumped. Simply its this: How do you get to that place where you know ... where you feel that you are really and deeply connected to your subject (regardless of what that subject is)? How do you come to that place/space where you feel at one with your subject?
    - Robert Bridges

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    ANSWER 1:
    Interesting question. I feel it when I shoot what I love. I'm in my first photo class, and the assignments have taken me beyond what I normally shoot and I've learned that I love some of the new stuff and some of it I don't - although I'm definitely learning to improve my skills. But when I shoot what I love - be it family, wildlife, nature, candids - that's when I feel connected with my subject - while I'm shooting and while I'm processing. That's when I'm excited about what I'm catching in the moment and to see what I've caught when I process. It may be too simple of an answer to what you're looking for, but that's what came to my mind.
    - K Stevens

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    ANSWER 2:
    Hi Robert! I find it easier to put myself into a "mind-set," so to speak, with the subject that I am going to take photos of. For example, last fall I spent 2 days in Mobile, Alabama, at the U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Park. I put myself in a mind-set as to what it would have been like to stand on her decks during W.W.II. When working with wildlife, I think about the beautiful works of God. I hope this gives you some insight!!
    - Steve McCroskey

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    ANSWER 3:
    Robert: Yes, all too often we get so embroiled into equipment issues, we forget why we got into photography in the first place. I test numerous cameras (from tiny 3 megapixel models to 14MP Kodak SLR's), and I can get beautiful images with any of them. This image, for example, was made with an inexpensive 3 megapixel compact. I would not enlarge it beyond 8.5x11", but I loved the subject and the photographic experience. Cheers!
    - Peter K. Burian

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    ANSWER 4:
    Photography for most of us is a kind of high. That perfect light ... that sunset that seems to go on forever ... or that difficult or elusive subject that just seems to materialize ... as we are about to pack it in for another day.

    When are we "connected"?? In my case, when I start muttering to myself nonsensically while clicking away ... I'm there!
    - Bob Cammarata

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    ANSWER 5:
    Bob: I know exactly what you mean. That's exactly what I was doing during the last hour before the sun set at the dunes in Death Valley. My best image made the cover of my new book. But that's just a bonus. The experience was more important. (This is another image made that evening.)Cheers!
    - Peter K. Burian

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    http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=405608

    ANSWER 6:
    Robert: As usual, an excellent question. I haven't yet really had that experience. I have come close, however. I don't know when it happens, it just does. It's like love. You can't predict or plan it, it just hits you over the head, unexpectedly and there's really nothing you can do about it.

    There are times when you and a subject just click. I do think that there are photographers who can sort of seduce their subjects, just like men who can "play" women. This seduction takes on a form of its own and the interplay between subject and photographer almost becomes a sexual dance, or certainly flirtatious.

    Photographers are voyeurs, and therefore, some less-experienced photographers take an "arm's length" approach. Or, some really great photographers may move in and out of the session depending on the subject and situation. A keen mind and creative eye can probably turn the drabbest subject into works of art. How do you get to that point? I don't know because I always pull back because I'm afraid of letting go.
    - Jerry Frazier

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    ANSWER 7:
    Peter, you hit it on the head: It's not the equipment, it's the photograph, I've seen some excellent shots taken with pinhole cameras and developed using an egg white emulsion spread on plain white paper
    - Tom Walker

    ANSWER 8:
    Sorry, to get back to the question: When I stand there with my mouth open looking at a perfect sunset, or flower, or small child, and the photograph I capture gives me the same feeling of "awe", then I feel I've connected.
    - Tom Walker

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 13: Filter Factors: What About Size?
    Hi. I know that there has been a ton a questions asked about which filters people should buy. However, my question is, after you know with one you want, how can you tell which size you need? I want one that will fit a 75-300mm lens. Also, is it necessary to buy a step-up or step- down attachment? Thanks for any advice.
    - Jenna M. Anderson

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    ANSWER 1:
    Screw-on filters are sized by the diameter of its ring threads. The lens should have its filter thread diameter marked on the front with the symbol, eg., "55" for 55mm filter threads.

    Step-up/down rings match filters made for one thread size to a lens with another. A step-up ring is common and allows use of a larger filter on a smaller diameter lens. For example, a 62mm filter can be mounted on a lens with 58mm threads by using a 58/62 step up ring - 58mm male threads on one side of the step-up ring screws onto the lens, and on the other side are 62mm female threads onto which the filter is screwed. Using step-up rings one can buy a single set of filters in the largest size they need instead of buying the same filter several times for each sized lens.

    Step-down rings are similar, but are used for attaching filters with smaller diameter threads than the lens. This is less common and is practical in only specialized cases because filters of smaller diameter than the lens will create vignetting - blocking light to the outer portion of the film frame.
    - Jon Close

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

    CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Scanning: Prints Vs. Negative
    I have recently become a digital convert, and would like to start digitizing some of my best 35mm images. Unfortunately, not being the most organized of people, it's not always easy to find the negatives corresponding to the prints. Is there much quality difference (which can't be tweaked by PS) between scanned prints and scanned negatives? Thanks.
    - Steve McCormack

    ANSWER 1:
    You WILL notice a difference between a scanned negative and a scanned print ... particularly if the negative was scanned with a good dedicated film scanner at 4000 DPI. Scanning prints is similar to making a copy of a copy. I doubt that you will be able to capture the quality of the original.
    - Bob Cammarata

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    ANSWER 2:
    Steve: You don't say what type of scanner you will be using. With a low-end scanner, you may be happier with scans from high quality prints. Cheers!
    - Peter K. Burian

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    ANSWER 3:
    I have to agree with Peter. I got a Minolta Dimage Scan Dual III last year and went back through all my images that I had scanned from prints and found out that my images when I first started photography really were not as bad as I thought. LOL ... I get better quality and colors from scanning my own. Hope this helps.
    - Darren K. Fisher

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    ANSWER 4:
    Hi Steve. There is no doubt that you will obtain the best scan quality by using a dedicated film scanner and scanning the negatives ... BUT! There are some plus points to scanning a GOOD, well-balanced print:
    1. Prints are bigger so you can use a lower resolution (read cheaper) scanner to get an equivalent file size.
    2. The print shop may well have performed a lot of colour management when they made the print. If you scan the neg., you will need to do all this management yourself.
    As with all these things, your mileage may vary. Enjoy.
    - Dave Cross

    ANSWER 5:
    Any scan you make from a print will never be any better than the quality of the print. If you're serious about doing your own digi-darkroom work it's best to invest in a film scanner. Buy the highest resolution machine you can afford. Higher resolution means bigger print sizes. Example - a machine with a max res of 2700 will yield a max print size a 300dpi of 8.5x12 or thereabouts. A 4000 machine will allow much larger prints, and enable you to do serious cropping and still have a sizable print.

    I learned this the hard way. I own a Nikon LS-30 (which is a fine machine) with a max resolution of 2700. However, since I nearly always crop my images to get the best composition, and don't like to make prints less than 300dpi, I soon hit the size limitation wall. In order to do an 11x14, I have to go as low as 250dpi. (This is OK, but I still prefer having a min. res. of 300.)I'm considering a Nikon Coolscan V ED with 4000 dpi optical resolution (about $600).

    If budget is a concern, look around for factory refurbished machines with warranty.
    - James C. Ritchie

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    ANSWER 6:
    Minolta makes some very good film scanners - more affordable than Nikon. Their 2800dpi scanners produce an image file suitable for an excellent 8.5x11" print. This image was a scan from a slide using a Dimage Scan Elite II, an older machine. Cheers!
    - Peter K. Burian

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    *****


    CONTINUING QUESTION 2: JPEG Files on CD
    We all know that JPEG files degrade each time they are compressed and uncompressed. My question is: What happens if I burn them on a CD write and close the CD. My understanding is that once a CD is burned, the content cannot be changed. What happens with JPEGs in this situation? Would they not be like negatives that don't change however many times you open them, or am I wrong on the CD write process?
    - Melinda W.

    ANSWER 1:
    It is my understanding that JPEGs compress only when "saved." You can open/close without saving and will not lose any data - same for copying. Copying the files does not invoke the JPEG compression scheme. With respect to data loss through compression, the storage media on which the file resides does not matter.

    As an aside, however, there is some evidence that CD-Rs may be far less than "permanent" storage media. Depending on the CD-R maker and dye used for recording, some dyes can fade in a few years exposure to light/humidity, with resultant loss of data or files.
    - Jon Close

    ANSWER 2:
    Hi Jon C: I have CD-R's that are 5 years old and have no problems. Buy Verbatim, TDK or Sony and store them like you would your negatives. How long would negatives last if stored in a light humid environment? Not much longer, I suspect, so you don't store them in a light humid place! Same with your CD-R's. Regards.
    - Derek Holyhead

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    *****


    CONTINUING QUESTION 3: Shooting My First Wedding and I'm Terrified.
    I would just like someone to help me with a few questions on my first wedding. Should I have the couple sign a contract? Where am I allowed to be during the ceremony? Do I need to talk to the minister before the wedding? Just any tips anybody can give me to help me through. Thank You.
    - Tamela L. Weese

    ANSWER 1:
    First, take a deep breath. Yes, you should have a contract. You might be able to find a simple one online.
    ALWAYS talk to the minister. He/she will let you know where you can or cannot be during the ceremony. You also need to find out if you can use your flash during the ceremony. Most allow flash photos of at least the processional and recessional. Others don't allow any photos at all during the ceremony. Always check in advance.
    Take at least two cameras, extra batteries, and plenty of film. (I forgot the film once.) Find someone who knows who is who in the families and wedding party. They can be a big help in getting people rounded up for group photos.
    Always stay calm, and be prepared for the unexpected.
    - Kai T. Eiselein

    ANSWER 2:
    You are scared because you have normal common sense. You've taken on a serious responsibility. Having said that, as long as you have practiced with your camera and flash, with the subject matter, places, and distances you will be shooting, and your shots look OK, relax and enjoy the shoot.
    Color negative film has some latitude if you happen to be a stop or two off. Be SURE the flash synchronization speed is set right in your camera's shutter function. Be SURE the film speed is set right. Kai's suggestion on getting a helper to round up people for groups shots is dead-on.
    - Doug Nelson

    Visit DougNelsonPhoto.com - Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 3:
    I've shot hundreds of weddings, Just recall that the wedding party will take their cues from you ... as long as you act in control, where appropriate, you will do fine. Keep your disposition sunny and upbeat, and practice in your head and heart BEFORE the shoot. My own style is photojournalistic, so the posed portion makes up not even a third of the total shots. Plan your splits for black and white and color, if any. Have sound contacts for developing your shots if you will not be doing them yourself. And above all, find out what the couple wants! It has been my experience that the images that are most treasured by my clients are the unposed, "as it happens" moments. These allow you to remain in the background observing the moment while not intruding.

    I would touch base with whomever is performing the ceremony as well as the wedding planner, if any, and make sure they are aware of what the couple's choices are as far as shooting during the ceremony. I use Leica cameras so this too keeps me in the background and the noise level to a minimum.

    Above all, enjoy yourself! You are lucky to cover such an important and blessed event. Open your heart, and your eyes will see what to shoot. Good luck. If I can be of any personal help to you, drop me a line on e-mail and I will reply ASAP.
    - John L. Webb

    See Sample Photo - Lip Gloss:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=404115

    ANSWER 4:
    You should have a contract, IMHO. But it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. I do it a funny way. I check out the couple in my consultation. If the bride is very particular about a lot of things, which is easy to determine, I'll be more definite about things like how many photos they will get, a percentage of black and white vs. color, a percentage of digital, the exact time frame, etc. With other brides, they are more laid-back. With them, my contract is a simple one-pager that describes the general services (photography) and the price for X hours.

    Also, both contracts have things about my right to use anything in any manner I choose. I'm not responsible for improper clothing, closed eyes, etc. And that basically, as long as the photography is good, there is no recourse on their part. In addition, I have a clause that states that if for some reason the photos don't turn out (like one time the lab lost an entire roll - luckily, I had the images scanned, so we had those to go from), that I am only liable for the cost of that, less any expenses incurred. Of course, keep in mind that a contract is really only for a mishap. Mostly, you don't need it, and mostly you should be able to resolve any issues through great customer service.

    Definitely talk to the minister before the event and ask what's allowed. There are usually two issues: Can you take pics during the ceremony (if not, when can you?) and is flash allowed. Also, ask if you can have some time after the ceremony to take photos of the wedding party in the church (sometimes yes, sometimes no).

    To relieve you a little, visit the site beforehand. Take your camera and take a few shots inside and out. Walk the grounds and look at places where you'd like to pose the couple alone, and then good places to take the family. Also, remember, anyone can take nice pictures, the real value of a professional wedding photographer is to capture the moments of the wedding that maybe no one really saw. For instance, everyone saw them standing at the alter ... I mean get those, but remember to turn your camera out to Mom, who's shedding a tear, and Dad, who is a as proud as a dad can be. Remember to shoot all the hugs and kisses. Some family member may be reuniting. I can't tell you how many weddings I shoot where the dad has been out of the picture for a while, or something. Those are precious moments that have to be documented.

    The closer you can get to the couple, the more they will tell you about themselves, the more they tell you, the better sense you get of what's important to them. It's an art and a science all rolled into one hugely stressful, but exhillerating day! Enjoy!
    - Jerry Frazier

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    *****


    CONTINUING QUESTION 4: How to Ask Strangers If I Can Take a Photo of Them
    I love watching strangers, passersby, and believe there are so many opportunities missed - in taking photos I mean. How do I best approach a stranger to ask if I can take a/some photos of them without making it a big fuss or deal (i.e., signing release papers, etc.), and then be allowed to publish the photos???
    - Nicole S. McGrade

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    ANSWER 1:
    Hi Nicole, I love to watch people as well. I am not shy and have never had much trouble walking up to people. I must say it was a little odd at first, even to a chatty gal like myself. What is a shock is how pleased most are to have their picture taken. Just the other day I was driving with my family out in the country and saw an elderly man sitting on the porch of an old cypress wood house. I could not resist. I pulled over and introduced myself, said that I would be honored to photograph him, if I may. He was so cute, he got all excited. Next I thing I knew, a little lady in pink sponge rollers came out, and they were just so sweet. I always ask for their address and mail them a copy. The one I am speaking of I have just listed in the "People" category of the contest for this month titled "The South". It is my understanding that once you gain permission and you take the photo, the copyright is yours.
    - Tonya Autry

    ANSWER 2:
    One thing worth mentioning about issues of copyright. If you are intending to publish the photos (and receive money for them) or use them for any commercial interests, it is necessary to obtain a signed model release form from the subject (spoken permission is not sufficient). For personal photos, there is no need, however. Don't let the issue of model releases stop you from losing out on great photos!
    - Mark Mobley

    ANSWER 3:
    You should always have some model releases in your camera bag. I think there might even be an example lurking around this site. I can't remember exactly where I found the one I use. Also have a notebook for their address. My question: Is it OK to snap first and get permission second?
    - Fax Sinclair

    ANSWER 4:
    I find it easier to approach a person if I have a business type card to hand them. This card has my name and states that I am a free-lance photographer. You can include any other information that you think is important. I make these cards on my computer and can include a background of one of my photos. This lets the person know I am a serious photographer. Good luck.
    - C.J. Williamson

    ANSWER 5:
    For anyone who's interested, there are some good example releases on this site:
    http://www.robinprior.net/info7.html

    Nancy
    nance.c@poboxes.com
    nacespace.com/photos
    - Nancy Grace Chen

    See Nancy's Premium BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 6:
    Hello Nicole. All good points above. I keep model releases in my camera bag at all times, and I am also one of those obnoxious people that won't miss out on a "photo op." I say, go for it - but like Mark said, if the shot is for profit, get the signed release, since there is no point asking for trouble, and it only takes a second. Get some biz cards printed up - that way your subject doesn't have to worry about "where did I put that piece of paper?" Good luck, and keep shooting.
    - Pamela CM Lammersen

    Visit pcmlphotography.com - Pamela's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 7:
    This is great info, thanks to all the contributors. One small question: Does the person being photographed need their own copy of the release? I suppose it would be easiest to just write out another? Also, as a "serious amateur", I'm not expecting to get paid for any of these shots (but one can hope!). But, I presume, releases would still be a good idea for anything that might end up "public", including posting here at BetterPhoto.
    - Larry Lawhead

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    ANSWER 8:
    Regarding your question, Larry, you don't need to give them a copy of the release. However, a good idea is to give them a business card with your details, address etc. on them. Firstly, this lets the subject know that you are serious about photography (making them more likely to sign the release), and it gives them the reassurance that you aren't going to disappear off with their photo and use it for something inappropriate. Accountability is important.
    - Mark Mobley

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