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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, June 21, 2004
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* SPOTLIGHT: BetterPhoto's Summer School: A Season of Learning and Shooting!
* BETTERPHOTO: Publish Your Own Articles on Photography
* FEATURED GALLERY: Want a Photogenic Subject? Just Add Water!
* FEATURED PLACE: A Big Land With Big Photo Opportunities
* PHOTO LINK: Emerging Solution for Frustrated Home Printers
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Canada's Prime Photographer / Slave Labor
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Instant Dew for Macro Work ... By Brenda Tharp
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Artificial Light Without a Flash
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Ideas for Shooting Ballerina Photos
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Lens-Buying Advice Sought
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Shadows in Portraits
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Essential Elements of Photography
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Reversing Lenses with a Nikon
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: B&W with Color
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Anyone Using a Canon EOS 1D Mark II
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Grey Card and White Card
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Model Releases - A Discussion
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: Which Digital Camera to Buy?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 12: How to Spot Meter with Nikon N-75
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 13: How to Meter Sunrise and Sunset Scenes
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 14: Too Much Space Above Heads in Portraits
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Shooting Pictures Indoors
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 2: Shooting Outdoor Portraits with Sun Overhead
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 3: Lens Hood: When to Use?


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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BetterPhoto's Summer School: A Season of Learning and Shooting!
Our lineup of online courses has never been better. In fact, there's something for just about any photographer! Would you like to learn more about exposure, composition, digital photography, photographic field techniques, or even Photoshop? Join us for an inspiring - and enjoyable - online photo course. But although the summer session doesn't begin until July 7th, signups are already heating up. - with some classes already full and others filling fast. If you need help in the selection process, be sure to review our course categories page at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/categories.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 165th issue of SnapShot!

Hi

Things are going great at BetterPhoto as we gear up for another exciting session of online classes. We have so many awesome courses on tap - from "Digital Photography" with guest instructor Peter K. Burian to "The Business of Photography" with Vik Orenstein to "Polaroid Image and Emulsion Transfer" with Kathleen T. Carr. Check the link above for details.

But there are more good things going on, too, including this latest issue of SnapShot! In particular, this week's Questions and Answers section hasn't been better, with topics that include model releases, equipment issues, shooting portraits, and exposing for sunsets. In her Photo Tip, instructor Brenda Tharp shares her advice on creating "instant dew" for close-up work. In the Featured Gallery, see how BetterPhoto shooters have captured surfing, kayaking, and other water sports. And for a big land with big picture potential, the Featured Place takes you on a visual tour of China.

Lastly, if you haven't already checked out the winners and finalists of our May contest, you're in for a visual treat! As usual, these photos are incredible - with light, composition, and other techniques turning often ordinary subjects into eye-catching images. See the winners at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/contest/winners/0405.asp

That's it for now. Enjoy this SnapShot ... and happy shooting!
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


*****
Publish Your Own Articles on Photography
BetterPhoto's Deluxe BetterPholios™ feature the ability to publish your own articles. A simple form lets you combine text with photos to create your own tips pages, stories, helpful how-to pages, and more. You enter the material and we stitch it all together for you. In a matter of minutes, you can see your own photo-illustrated work on the Web. Order your Deluxe BetterPholio™ today at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/deluxeWebsites.asp

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Want a Photogenic Subject? Just Add Water!
As BetterPhoto members and instructors have shown, water sports provide all sorts of memorable images. Consider the following: surfers flying through the air, white-water rafters caught in mid-action, and other scenes involving board sailing, parasurfing, scuba diving, and jet skiing. Some close-up shots capture the expression of participants; others show people playing in the rain. But recording the color and character of water sports doesn't just involve catching the peak of the action; also look for pattern, repetition, and other graphic-design images. For picture ideas and inspiration, check out BetterPhoto's "Surfing Pictures, Kayak Pictures, and Water Sports" gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=139

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FEATURED PLACE
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A Big Land With Big Photo Opportunities
China is a wonderfully huge country with equally huge photographic potential, just as BetterPhoto shooters have proved! A gallery review reveals images of such icons as the Great Wall, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, of course. Photos range from big landscapes to intimate scenes, and include such specifics as blazing sunsets, city lights, street scenes, and colorful festivals. And, of course, there are the people, with shots ranging from children to dancers. For shooting ideas and inspiration, check out BetterPhoto's "China Pictures" gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=189

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Emerging Solution for Frustrated Home Printers
By next year, researchers estimate that there will be over 150,000 kiosks throughout the US, as well as thousands more throughout Europe. These kiosks allow digital photographers to simply hand in their memory card - or upload photos for local "developing". You can often find a lab near you or your loved ones for easy pick-up, as soon as your digital print order is ready. If you struggle with color calibration, papers, inks, and printing, this will definitely simplify the task of getting your digital images transformed into beautiful, high quality prints.
http://www.digitalcameradeveloping.com/

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
Which prime minister of Canada had a wife who became a professional photographer? (Please give his name and her name.)

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Matt Stevens is:
The Prime Minister was Pierre Elliott Trudeau and his wife was Margaret Sinclair Trudeau. See became a photographer in 1974.

See Matt's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=29128

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 - Slave Labor - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

In the photographic industry, what are people usually referring to when they mention using a "slave"?

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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Instant Dew for Macro Work ... By Brenda Tharp
To create fine water drops like those that dew creates, I bought a trial size bottle of hair spray (non-aerosol type) and emptied the contents of the bottle and filled it with water (after rinsing it thoroughly). The spray nozzle is so fine that it produces a mist that, when built up, appears as real dew on my flowers and leaves. When you live in drier environments, this guarantees you'll have dew!

Check out Brenda Tharp's online courses:
"Creating Visual Impact"
"Beyond the Postcard: Creating Memorable Travel Images"

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
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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: Artificial Light Without a Flash
Hi. I have a Canon EOS 300D digital camera. I've been hired to photograph a medical convention this coming weekend. My one restriction is absolutely no flash pics allowed because of distraction to the speakers. I took some test shots today, and when I downloaded them, I was very disappointed to find the photos very yellow. I'm confused about what the white balance should be set on because of the yellow. It's much too far to drive to for more test shots. I'm being paid very well, and I want to do an exceptional job for them. Any information on how to photograph speakers without using a flash, so the photos have normal skin tone, would be very, very helpful. And should the white balance be changed as I move from room to room? Thanks.
- Cheryl Ralston-Halley

See Cheryl 's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
What white balance setting did you use in your test? I would expect the spot-lit speakers to be under tungsten lighting, and would start with that setting. Otherwise, use the custom white balance (p. 52 of the English language Digital Rebel/300D manual). To set the custom WB, you may need a white object in the same lighting as the speakers (white backdrop? tablecloth? shirt/lab coat? etc.) You may need to bring a large white card to place in the speakers' position to set custom WB before the start of the sessions. Not positive, but I think I've read that if you shoot in RAW you can correct bad color balance in editing.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 2:
Cheryl, I agree with Jon. You might also read up on the 300D's ability to do white balance bracketing.
- John Wright

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=10096

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=10096

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NEW QUESTION 2: Ideas for Shooting Ballerina Photos
I'm looking to take some photos of my daughter after her dance recital and wanted some different poses for her. Could anyone forward me some ideas other than the normal poses? Thanks.
- Maureen V. Droste

ANSWER 1:
Put her in traditional dance poses (I am not sure of all of the names of the poses), or have her do some of the moves from the recital. Try not to photograph her against a busy background. Find something very soft-looking. One other fun thing might be taking a photo of just her feet in the slippers while she is doing a pirouette ... most of all, have fun!! Hope this helps a little.
- Angela K. Wittmer

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=10086

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NEW QUESTION 3: Lens-Buying Advice Sought
Need some advice on buying a Lens for my Canon 300D. I already
have18-55(28-80),55-200(90-320). Will the 75-300 make a big difference in focal length or should I get something else?
- Wayne Oliver

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ANSWER 1:
Wayne, It sounds like you have the basics covered already. Are you not getting the results that you want? For better recommendations on lenses, it always helps to know what you want to photograph, including as much detail as you can (stop action, night shots, portraits, landscapes, etc., etc., etc.). Regards.
- John Wright

ANSWER 2:
John, Thanks for helping. I was thinking about a lens for sports, a lens that would get me in closer like in those sports magazines. Example: Some sports magazines shoot a baseball pitcher as if they were on the mound about 4 feet in front of them.
- Wayne Oliver

See Wayne's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
I guess there are a couple of other considerations then ...
1. Wanting to shoot professional sports or local (high school/college)? This goes to how close you can physically get to the action. If it's professional, the opportunity to get physically closer is usually limited, and you may need to get a longer lens (I'd think the Canon 100-400 IS would be the one to go with). If it's local sports, then the 200 may work.
2. Budget? How much do you want to spend? Obviously, the 100-400 IS isn't cheap ($1300 +/-). However, if one of your current lenses will work with the 1.4 or 2x teleconverter, that may open further flexibility (and will be a little cheaper - $350 +/-). The good thing about the teleconverter is that if you get it and need more reach, I know for sure it will work with the 100 - 400. If that combo won't do it for you, I don't know what will ... :-) Hope that helps...
- John Wright

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=10069

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=10069

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NEW QUESTION 4: Shadows in Portraits
During my past 3 months as a beginner of photography, I had a problem. When I take a portrait, usually a horrible shadow comes in the picture, especially in the face or around the eyes. Basically, I have some questions. To avoid this problem, do I need to use a flash during the day time? Or probably take the pictures in a different time of the day? Thanks.
- Gerardo Calderon

ANSWER 1:
Are your portraits outside? And yes, I do use a flash during the day for outside portraits: It fills in the shadows, especially if the subject is wearing a hat. Another thing you might try is having the subject lift their head just a bit, to let the sun light up their face. Most people tend to look down, making the eyebrows cast a shadow on the eyes. Good luck!
- Rhonda L. Tolar

ANSWER 2:
(a) Put more distance between your subjects and the wall/backdrop; (b) Use bounce flash, with a white card on the flash to add fill to the subject's face; (c) Use a flash bracket to raise the flash higher so that the shadow falls below the subject's shoulder; (d) Increase the room's ambient lighting, and if your subject will hold relatively still, drag the shutter (use slower than the top sync speed) to get more background exposure; (e) If these are staged portraits, add 2nd, 3rd lights - studio lights or slaved speedlights.
- Jon Close

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http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=10062

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NEW QUESTION 5: Essential Elements of Photography
I am doing a research paper on the three essential elements of photography. Can you tell me how shape, tone, and color affect a photo. Also how pattern, texture, and form affect a photo. If you have an Web sites that might be helpful that would be great also. Thanks!
- Heather

ANSWER 1:
I think the most important element is composition above/before anything else...
- Damian Gadal

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ANSWER 2:
And let there be ..... LIGHT ....

Bob
- Robert Cournoyer

ANSWER 3:
It seems what you're after are the elements of design: shape, form texture, colour, line and pattern, and their effective use. How you incorporate them in an image and what they are intended to evoke from the viewer. There's much debate as to which is the most important element, but I would argue that line is the most important. Take drawing, for example, without line there is nothing. So the question becomes how is line used and what emotional weight do they bring to the image?
- Damian Gadal

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

ANSWER 4:
Nature is filled with lines, such as curvilinear lines we see in rivers, leaves, sand dunes, hills, rocks, and plants. ... They don't evoke emotions of harshness, but rather seem to be almost soothing. Whereas jagged a mountaintop, twisted trees, or faultlines have the opposite effect. Why?
- Damian Gadal

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

ANSWER 5:
The same can be said about shape, some are soothing, some are harsh - and I'd suggest they are this way for the same reason - some being what the viewer brings to the table (our personal experiences).

And colour: some are soothing, some are harsh and not pleasant to look at for long periods to time. Some advance, some recede. Some complement, while others contrast. Most of all, they evoke emotional responses and bring emotional content to the image.
- Damian Gadal

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

ANSWER 6:
Form and texture? Same thing. Does it look soft or harsh, what does it feel like in your mind? Use all of them or some of them, in any given image in a manner that conveys something to your viewer, that gets them involved or emotionally invested, if even for a moment - then perhaps you've done your job.
- Damian Gadal

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

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=10058

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=10058

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NEW QUESTION 6: Reversing Lenses with a Nikon
I've tried some macro photography and want to get serious with it. My subjects are insects. Does anyone have experience with upwards of 2:1 ratios using the Nikon? Does anyone know of any resources for doing this cheaply? I've considered the Nikon 105mm micro lens, but I don't think I'll be happy with the 1-1.6:1 that I can get with it. How about the availability of reversing rings, and which lenses combinations work well?
- Jim Bennett

ANSWER 1:
The 105mm Nikkor is a good choice. I've read great reviews, but have never used one. I have a 55mm Micro-Nikkor which only achieves 1:2 (1/2 life-size), but I can get much larger images by adding extension tubes between the camera body and the lens. This is probably the most economical way to get greater than life-size images. Since extension tubes are basically hollow tubes with no glass elements, the optical integrity of your prime lens won't be compromised (as it is with those magnifying filters which screw onto the front of the lens).
The tubes are commonly sold as a set of three (usually 12mm, 20mm, and 36mm) and are available in a variety of lens mounts. They can be used singly, or stacked together for getting super-close.

The three enclosed examples were taken with a Nikkor 55mm and a 36mm extension tube. As with all macro photography, the closer you get, the less depth of field you will have. There will also be less workable light to aid in focusing (which should be done manually). When using extension tubes to photograph insects, I've found it best to set my lens to the minimum focus distance, then get into shooting position and move the camera and tripod back and forth to critically focus on an eye or an antennae of the subject. Hope this helps.


- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

See Sample Photo - Emerging:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=429917

See Sample Photo - Dragonfly:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=429915

See Sample Photo - Black-Eyed Susan:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=429914

ANSWER 2:
Thanks for your help, Bob. Your pics are great!
- Jim Bennett

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=10055

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=10055

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NEW QUESTION 7: B&W with Color
I have noticed some interesting pictures that are B/W with a part of the picture being in color. I have noticed the term hand-painted too. I work with PS7. Could someone tell me how this effect is achieved?
- Sarah J. Rogers

ANSWER 1:
It's really not that difficult ... In PS, you can copy the layer to a new layer. Desaturate the copied layer. Then, using the history brush, bring back the color of the items you want to have colored ... I'm reasonably certain that there are other ways to do it, but this seemed to be the easiest to me ...
- John Wright

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=10051

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NEW QUESTION 8: Anyone Using a Canon EOS 1D Mark II
I'm seriously thinking about buying a Canon EOS 1D Mark II as it seems to have all the features I want (Raw capture, variety of white balance settings, good range of ISO settings, lens conversion OK at 1.3), but I would like to know if anyone else has comments on this camera? I have played around with the 10D but didn't like its indecision when auto-focusing. I live in Australia, and they cost over $8,000 Aust $ here. This equates to over $12,000 US. Yes, a big commitment, thus the enquiry.
- Denise Williams

ANSWER 1:
Denise: Two of my friends own the EOS 1Ds Mk II, and you can find lots of comments and images at http://www.birdsasart.com/bn.html

This camera is so loaded with capabilities (designed for pros such as photojournalists) that it's almost overkill for most photo enthusiasts. I tested the EOS 10D and did not find its autofocus imprecise. It's one of the best on the market. But sure, the Mk II is even better, as Arthur Morris confirms. http://www.birdsasart.com/bn.html

But is it worth that kind of money? ($8000 AU is worth about $5000 US.) Perhaps, if you primarily shoot birds or action subjects and do so very frequently. The features of pro cameras eventually work their way down to the more affordable cameras. If you're not in a rush, why not wait for a while? e.g. The new 35mm camera, EOS ELAN 7NE in North America, includes the same AF system as the pro EOS 1v and the new flash metering system developed for the EOS 1D Mk II. So, perhaps one day, Canon will introduce a more affordable DSLR with some Mk II features.

Cheers! Peter Burian, Contributor, Australian Photography magazine (but live in North America)
- Peter K. Burian

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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NEW QUESTION 9: Grey Card and White Card
Can someone please tell me what a grey card and white card are? And how do you utilize them to set your camera? Thanks!
- Stephanie

ANSWER 1:
They are exactly what their name implies...

A grey card is a stiff piece of card board that is colored 18-percent grey (also known as middle grey). Essentially you take your grey card, place it in the scene that you are shooting (if shooting a portrait, have the person you are photographing hold the card in front of their face for a moment). You then fill the frame of your camera with the grey card (which does not need to be focused), take a meter reading to find out what your camera should be set to (f/stop and shutter speed). Remove the card, set your camera to the settings you got, and fire away...

A white card is used to set the white balance. This has to do with color temperature. You use this to set a custom white balance. How you do this varies from camera to camera. Hope that helps...
- John Wright

ANSWER 2:
Even simpler, once you are ready to shoot your image, and are concerned about exposure in higher contrast situations, just point your camera to the grey card and lock the AE, then compose the shot, and take your picture. Cameras best understand the language of grey - that is, even though they capture color, they read light "levels", and try to adjust an image to have a middle grey with an equal amount of lighter and darker shades for a well-balanced image. White, grey and black are values that when the camera recognizes them (via a white card, although you could also use grey or black to set the proper color temp), all the other colors fall into the proper value and hue. Anyway, that's what I've been able to figure out so far...:o)
- Mikki Cowles

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=10035

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=10035

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NEW QUESTION 10: Model Releases - A Discussion
Over the last three or four sessions that I have taught here at BetterPhoto, several students have asked me about model releases. Releases are a funny thing. For any work that will appear in consumer or trade magazines, newspapers, fine art exhibits, or books, you generally do not need a model release. However, photos that will be used in commercial applications - ads, brochures, posters, greeting cards, catalogs, postcards, kiosks, trade shows, websites, etc., you will need a release to be "legal." In the States, people are much "fussier" about it all than in Europe or other countries, but to be safe, it's a good idea to get one when you can. Whenever I think that my picture might be usable for commercial work, I'll ask for a release. If you think that your pictures might be commercially used, make the effort to get a release, and be prepared to give something for that permission - a thank-you print or prints, a small donation or payment, etc., is considered fair price for the permission to use their likeness "forever." It may not be required, but it's only fair if they ask for something in return. Which release? There are some books by Amphoto (some older now) that have model releases printed up in them. The Association of Media Photographers (ASMP) also has a stock photography handbook that has standard forms in it. (I have modified those to be user-friendly and simpler in some cases). Keep your release in simple language and spell out your intentions clearly. If they don't want to sign a release at that moment, get their name/address and send a thank-you print with a release form asking again, if you have something great!
- Brenda Tharp

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Creating Visual Impact
Beyond the Postcard: Travel Photography

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NEW QUESTION 11: Which Digital Camera to Buy?
Hey, I am looking into getting a really really good digital camera, and I found two (one from Minolta, one from Olympus) that are 8 megapixels, and I was wondering, do I need or want a maga pix that high? Or does it just make the camera better and look more "advanced"?
- Fawn S.

ANSWER 1:
Hi Fawn! It depends on what you prefer to use the camera for. Most people can get by with just a 4 or 5 megapixel camera. I suggest you check out the cameras that you are interested in and, if possible, try them out. I presently use a Minolta Maxxum 5 film camera as my camera of choice. I am waiting for the digital Maxxum 7 to be introduced this fall before I make the switch to digital. The lenses and accessories for the Maxxum 5 will be compatible with the digital Maxxum 7!
- Steve McCroskey

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ANSWER 2:
Fawn: That's a tough question and difficult to answer without knowing more about your plans. I recently tested all five 8 megapixel cameras. http://www.edigitalphoto.com/cameras/0407edp_amazing8s/

My best images made for very good 11x15" prints. Do you plan to make prints that large? If not, you may be happy with a 4MP camera.

Cheers!
- Peter K. Burian

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NEW QUESTION 12: How to Spot Meter with Nikon N-75
The built-in Matrix and center-weighted metering systems are effective. However, how do you spot meter a small piece of your scene? Do you recommend purchasing an incident meter separately?
- Frank P. Luongo

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ANSWER 1:
I'm not familiar with the Nikon N75. If it doesn't have a built-in spot meter, then you can't "spot" meter. However, one way you can get pretty close to spot metering is to fill the frame with the area you want to spot. This way your meter (Matrix or center weighted) will see only that one particular spot and will give spot meter readings. It doesn't matter if you're too close and can't focus either.

An incident meter is not the same thing as spot metering. When you use the built-in meters of cameras, you are reading the light "reflected" off of the subject. An incident meter reads the light falling onto the subject as viewed from the cameras position.

Stay with the meter in your Nikon. You don't need an incident meter. If your subject is too far away to fill the frame with, then get an 18%-percent grey card. If you know how to use the card then, when taking a meter reading, just fill the frame with the card instead of with the subject. I use this method even with my built-in spot meter in my Canon.
- Terry L. Long

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NEW QUESTION 13: How to Meter Sunrise and Sunset Scenes
My Nikon N-75 has a built-in meter system. I often use manual mode which utilizes center-weighted metering when the sun is in the picture for sunrise or sunset. Do you recommend metering a part of the scene away from the sun, i.e., the blue sky? How about a gray card? Is it worth it to buy an external meter?
- Frank P. Luongo

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ANSWER 1:
If you want the sunrise/sunset to appear as it did to the naked eye, I would suggest manually metering on the sky without the sun in the frame. Then, using that setting, you can recompose to include the sun in the frame if you want. Grey cards are beneficial for measuring reflected light. If you use them for sunrises or sunsets, turn around and get a reading off the card of the light illuminating the landscape behind you for the best possible setting. It's always a good idea to bracket this type if exposure to be sure.
- Bob Cammarata

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NEW QUESTION 14: Too Much Space Above Heads in Portraits
It seems that when I take pictures I end up with more space - especially above the head than I wanted. This changes the whole composition. It happens most often when I turn my camera vertical. I'm very new to photography - however, I am a professional artist. I'm sure I am just making some simple mistake. Does anyone know what that mistake is??
- Tracy L. Host

ANSWER 1:
Most 35mm format cameras have a viewfinder that shows about 95 percent of the actual composition. The 5 percent or so which you don't see is on the short end, and will show up in the photo. There are two things you can do to remedy this. Either over-compensate during composition of your verticals by adjusting the camera angle slightly, or turn the camera vertically the other way so the extra space will be at the bottom of the frame where it's less noticeable.
- Bob Cammarata

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ANSWER 2:
What you're most likely doing is just not paying attention to where the subject is in the frame. Pointing the camera straight ahead, and looking straight ahead, when you take a picture of someone you look them in the eye as you're looking through the center of the viewfinder, which is natural.
It's just that since it's rectangular, having the point you are looking at (the eyes) close to the middle of the frame, in a horizontal picture there's less room so the frame is filled more above and below that point. (The forehead above and the shoulders and rest of the body below.) You turn to vertical, you naturally have the eyes towards the center, but you've got extra room so you have space above the head, but the rest of the body just fills in the bottom half of the picture.
- Gregory La Grange

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Shooting Pictures Indoors
Is there any way to take indoor pictures with the absence of a tripod and a flash besides a higher speed film?
- Julie

ANSWER 1:
Hi Julie. You have four variables when you take a photograph: 1) shutter speed; 2) lens aperture; 3) film speed. 4) light level.

To avoid camera shake, you should not use a shutter speed lower than 1/your lens focal length if you are hand-holding (1/50 sec if you have a 50mm lens). If your lens opens wide enough to give you a satisfactory exposure, great. If not (since you don't want to increase the film speed), your only other solution is more light. If you don't want to use flash, you need to get as many ordinary lights on as you can, try putting larger bulbs in the fittings. If you have multiple light sources, watch out for horrible shadows. Cheers, DC
- Dave Cross

ANSWER 2:
I just bought the Nikon 28-120 VR for my Fuji S2 digital. VR stands for vibration reduction. I can now take pictures down to 1/8 second without a tripod and get incredible sharpness. ISO200. I'm very pleased. $535
- Gregg Vieregge

ANSWER 3:
Hi Julie. Get as close as you can to the window. Open all the blinds/curtains, turn the lights on and use a reflector. If you don't have one, a bit of white card or even a car window shade (gold, silver or white) can help. Or you could try aluminum foil too. Just watch with the silver foil that you do not get too much light in one area. Ensure you have the reflector on the shadow side reflecting the light back into your subject. If you do not have a tripod, try bracing yourself by leaning on a chair/coffee table for support. Also ensure your subject stays really still. It might be enough to save the day. If the people need to be moving, I think you need to look at a faster lens (something that can open up wider - F1.4 2.8 etc., flash, and/or a tripod). Hope this helps.
- Rhonda Kramer

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CONTINUING QUESTION 2: Shooting Outdoor Portraits with Sun Overhead
Does anyone have any suggestions for shooting portraits (family or singles) with the sun directly over the subjects (pretty much 1 pm). The people want photos taken in that exact spot, so I can't move them into the shade and they don't want shadows on their faces. I appreciate any advice! Thanks in advance for your help!
- Jen Lopes

ANSWER 1:
A couple of suggestions: 1) Pray for clouds; 2) Use a large diffusion panel (rip-stop nylon - will need an assistant); 3) Fill flash. 4) A reflector to help remove the shadows. I hope that helps.
- John Wright

ANSWER 2:
Turn the group so the sun is behind them as much as possible. It should create a pleasing hair light. Shoot at a slight angle so you are not going to get sun glare. Explain the shadow situation so they know what to expect.
- Gregg Vieregge

ANSWER 3:
Ultimately, open shade is the best - however, that doesn't always happen. Do you have a good flash that you can do high sync speeds on? I can press a button on my flash Canon 550EX, and when it is set to ETTL, it then has more output to match the bright sunlight.
- Rhonda Kramer

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CONTINUING QUESTION 3: Lens Hood: When to Use?
I have read all the theory about what a lens hood is for, but what I am looking for are real examples of when it is good to use a lens hood and when not to use a lens hood. Also, if some situations require a lens hood and others don't, do you keep taking the lens hood on and off - not very practical for sports photography. Any help/guidance would be appreciated.
- John Owens

ANSWER 1:
The only time I remove the lens hoods from my lenses is when I'm using direct flash, where the additional width and length of the hood would block the flash light and cause a shadow, or block an in-flash light sensor. For bounce flash and all other situations, the hoods stay on. I can't really think of a situation where the hood would not be beneficial. Each of my zooms have non-rotating fronts and bayonet mounted petal-shaped hood. This design allows me to conveniently manipulate a polarizing filter by reaching a finger into the side cuts. If the hood were a simple bowl shape without the side cuts I'd probably have to do without the hood when using the polarizer, or get a hood that screwed into the polarizer's front threads (using a larger diameter hood and step-up ring to avoid stacked-filter vignetting).
- Jon Close

ANSWER 2:
A real example is when shooting towards the sun, and the sun is just outside the frame. Hoods can block or at least cut down on the glare just like a visor on a hat. For sports, if you have one of the big 300 2.8 or bigger lenses, along with the same reason of shooting towards the sun, if it's raining, the big hood that comes with it can keep some rain off the front element. It can also keep some dust, dirt, grass of the lens if you have to set it down. And it makes it easier to put a trash bag or cover over the lens/camera if it's raining. Makes a good anchoring point. And because 2.8 telephotos have such a large front element and they are shallow, it helps things from making contact with it. Other than shooting towards the sun, or bad weather, they really don't affect anything except for possibly minor protection of the lens.
- Gregory La Grange

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ANSWER 3:
All of the above is correct, but please add this: Consider the lens hood as yet another form of protection for your lens, should you drop it. Lens hoods tend to be fairly sturdy and can take the punishment that would have otherwise been delivered to your camera. Especially given the size of some of today's lens for DSLR's, if you are moving around in closer quarters to buildings, walls, etc., the lens front may scrape the side. But if the lens hood is there instead, it can take the scraping - not your lens. Again, like the protective filter on the front of your lens, the lens hood can act as an inexpensive part to replace instead of the whole lens. You should also read the instructions that come with your lens, it may say something about vignetting at certain settings, when you have your lens hood on. This is mainly an issue for extremely wide zooms. I have a 15-30 zoom, that the instructions warned about vignetting at the wider end with the hood that comes with it.
- Andrew Hart

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