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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, January 31, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: Instructor Interview ... with Bryan F. Peterson
* BETTERPHOTO: Spring Courses: Enjoy a Season of Learning and Shooting!
* BETTERPHOTO: Featured Article: Funny Pictures ... How to Capture Humor in Photos
* BETTERPHOTO: BetterPhoto's Deluxe BetterPholios™: Two Great Options
* FEATURED GALLERY: Focus on Hot-Air Ballooning
* FEATURED PLACE: Focus on the Architecture and People of Rome
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Life on the Edge / Cost of Photography
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Bracing for Slow Shutter Speeds ... By Michel J. Paller
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: How to Photograph a Group
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Shooting Family Portraits on a Sunny Day
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Help with Flower Photography
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Scanning Slides
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: How to Get the Copyright Logo
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Flash Bracket: Directional and Fill-in Lighting
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Shooting Light of a Candle?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Canon 10D in Cold Weather
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Using My Digital Camera in Extreme Cold
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Caring for Camera Gear When Traveling
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: How to Photograph My Toddler
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 2: Question About a Stock Agency


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

Instructor Interview ... with Bryan F. Peterson
At BetterPhoto, we are privileged to have so many awesome instructors on our online course team. That's why we launched our Instructor Interviews. First up is master photographer and author Bryan F. Peterson, who discusses how he got his start in photography (preview: It all began with pen and ink drawings) and describes what led to his first book deal ("Learning to See Creatively"), which involved a "desperate trip to New York City". He also shares his advice for breaking into the professional ranks (hint: Do good work, and do it better than most). Read it all at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/interviews/photography-instructor-interviews.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 197th issue of SnapShot!

Hi

Some wonderful news at BetterPhoto this week! Our Spring lineup of online courses has been posted. Check them out at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp

It's so appropriate that Bryan Peterson is the first subject for our new Instructor Interview series ... after all, Bryan was also our first instructor! Read this fascinating interview at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/interviews/photography-instructor-interviews.asp

Also in this issue of SnapShot, don't miss my new article, "Funny Pictures: How to Capture Humor in Photos". Along with tips and techniques, the article includes some BetterPhoto's funniest images. Read more in the item below.

In addition, be sure to check out the Michel J. Paller's Photo Tip (on bracing for slow shutter speeds), the Featured Gallery (hot air balloons), and the Featured Place (Rome). And, as always, we have an awesome collection of questions and answers.

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


*****
Spring Courses: Enjoy a Season of Learning and Shooting!
Would you like to learn more about the principles of exposure, composition, digital photography, photographic field techniques, Photoshop, or the business and marketing aspect of photography? Join us this spring 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 next session promises to fill the season with creativity and inspiration. But with so many great courses to choose from, the decision-making process isn't an easy one. That's why we created our categories page, which can be reviewed at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/categories.asp


*****
Featured Article: Funny Pictures ... How to Capture Humor in Photos
Just when you need a break from the daily grind, says BetterPhoto founder Jim Miotke, a funny photo can give you just the laugh you're looking for. Why wait for another photographer to delight you with these cute or funny pictures? You can easily capture your own humorous images, as long as you keep a few photo tips in mind. Jim's article will show you how to capture your own laugh-producing images. Read all about it at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=35


*****
BetterPhoto's Deluxe BetterPholios™: Two Great Options
Frustrated with the hurdles and hassles of getting your own Web site? BetterPhoto offers two fantastic options for displaying - and even selling - your work! BetterPhoto makes getting your own site hassle-free by taking care of all the technical issues and offering a single, comprehensive package. And we have two exciting plans from which to choose:

1) Deluxe BetterPholio™, in which you can choose the look and feel of your Web site from a selection of unique, high-quality designs. For details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/deluxeWebsites.asp

2) Pro BetterPholio™, which includes ALL of the features of our Deluxe BetterPholios™, PLUS many more powerful extra features. This option is geared especially to professional shooters and aspiring pros. For details:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/deluxeProWebsites.asp

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Focus on Hot-Air Ballooning
Always exciting to watch, hot-air balloon festivals are exciting to shoot too! And itís no wonder: The balloons are so big, bright, and beautiful. Best yet, BetterPhoto members and instructors have taken advantage of these picture opportunities in so many different and creative ways. Check things out at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=251

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FEATURED PLACE
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Focus on the Architecture and People of Rome
This wonderful Italian city offers world-class subjects to catch a photographer's attention. Check out our gallery and see how BetterPhoto members have captured the ruins, architecture, street scenes, and people. Catch the striking images at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=1327

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
Who plays the photographer in the movie The Edge?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Ken Walker is:
Alex Baldwin played the photographer named Bob Green

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 - Cost of Photography - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

In David Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner, how much does Steve Martin offer Campbell Scott for his camera?

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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Bracing for Slow Shutter Speeds ... By Michel J. Paller
Besides using a tripod, there are several ways to keep steady during long exposures:

  • Photograph like you are shooting a gun: Breathe in and hold your breath until your shot is done.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-length apart and your elbows in toward your ribs, while keeping your left hand flat under the camera while the right hand does the fine motor work.
  • When kneeling for a low shot, put your right knee to the ground and the left knee up to support your left elbow. This position creates stability and allows for freedom of movement as well.
  • When squeezing the shutter, include your whole hand in the action. Avoid "pressing the button" with one finger. Because your whole hand is gripping slightly tighter, you are adding more stability to your camera.
  • Where possible, try leaning on something: Put your back and one foot up against a wall or lean on the hood of a car while placing both elbows down in front of you.
  • Gently resting the camera against your nose and forehead also provides stability because it is the face that becomes the third point in a "tripod" - your feet being the first two.
  • If you have the time and inclination, a good way to train your body to be still while taking a picture is to practice photographing a subject lit by candlelight only. Start with a wide-open aperture and a low shutter speed - 1/30 second. Then work your way down the scale on shutter speed. If you can shoot at 1/2 second without noticeable shake, you have accomplished a great deal. Can it be done? Yes! But it takes practice, calmness, and patience.
  • Be good to yourself. Rest periodically if you feel fatigued. All these things add up to a more confident, relaxed and enjoyable experience.

    View Michel J. Paller's Premium 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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    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ADVERTISEMENT
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

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

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


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    PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
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    NEW QUESTION 1: How to Photograph a Group
    I have a Maxxum 7D Digital Camera! I have some questions regarding photography mainly in a group situation.

    1. If I'm photographing a group of people for like a family portrait or wedding party, what setting would you recommend with my lens? I have a 50mm 1.7 lens. It seems like when I'm taking group photos that it always wants to focus on one person regardless of how I have my focus mode set. If I'm doing an individual, I set the camera to center focus and on their eyes/face? But in a group this doesn't seem to work.

    Also, what aperture would you recommend with this lens for a group? I have heard to use f8 for portraits, but what about groups?
    If anyone can offer just any general advice for a group situation, it would be greatly appreciated.
    - Michelle Ross

    See Michelle's Premium BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 1:
    Remember that the depth of field increases as the size of the aperture decreases. Thus, at f16, you will have greater depth of field than at f8. Use the smallest aperture you can use and still maintain a fairly fast shutter speed. Then focus toward the center of the group, and you should be able to get everyone in focus.
    - Kerry L. Walker

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=13924

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=13924

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 2: Shooting Family Portraits on a Sunny Day
    I was hoping to receive some expert advice: How does a professional photographer (without an assistant) properly photograph a family at the beach on a bright, sunny day? I am talking about a somewhat formal portrait, not candids or free-form. Thanks in advance.
    - Allison E. Petit

    ANSWER 1:
    Non-professionals and professionals would approach it the same way. Have your subjects face away from the sun, and add light for fill with a flash or reflector. Choose a time of day that's more workable. Not high noon, but you don't need it to be late evening.
    Anything used as a reflector or a flash can be propped up with a tripod, or somehow attached to it.
    - 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=13914

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=13914

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 3: Help with Flower Photography
    I am looking for helpful hints with holding flowers and shaping them for photography ... other than placing them in a vase, which usually puts them in a position that is not very complimentary for the purpose of photographing them. Thanks in advance!
    - Cathy I. Barrows

    See Cathy's Premium BetterPholio™

    Visit cathybarrowsphotography.com - Cathy's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 1:
    Cathy,
    I've had success positioning flowers, plants ... even mushrooms for close-ups by using those thin metal rods that florists use to position bouquet arrangements. They can be found at any flower shop or craft store.
    You can carry some with you in the field along with a small chunk of styrofoam. The rods will slide up into the stem of most plants, allowing them to be bent and positioned at any angle. (Flowers with tender stems can be secured to the rod with twist-ties.)

    Another method that works is plastic drinking straws. The flower stem goes inside the straw and you can stick it into soft soil (or styrofoam) for positioning. The standard size works well for plants and flowers with thick stems and for the thin, delicate ones ... use round coffee stirrers or sip-sticks.
    During "flower season", I carry a few of each kind in my photo backpack, along with scissors to cut them to size.
    - Bob Cammarata

    Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 2:
    Thanks Bob: Those are wonderful ideas ... I will go gather those ingredients this week
    - Cathy I. Barrows

    See Cathy's Premium BetterPholio™

    Visit cathybarrowsphotography.com - Cathy's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=13908

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=13908

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 4: Scanning Slides
    I have a Nikon SuperCoolscan 5000ED. When I make a scan, the unprocessed version is dark with a bluish tint. The slide, when viewed with a slide viewer, doesn't look this way. Shouldn't the unprocessed version look like the original slide as viewed with a projector or a slide viewer?
    - Eric LaRue

    ANSWER 1:
    Not always. I have a Nikon Coolscan 4000 ED, and some of my slides scan this way as wel l... especially my ice and snow scenics. You should accept that during the transfer to digital, some loss is inevitable ... that's a given fact.
    The slides I've found that scan best have bright colors and are just a little over-exposed on the original. (I will deliberately bracket a half-stop over on critical shots I plan to scan for my Web site).

    There are setting adjustments in the Coolscan software that can get you pretty close to the color and integrity of the original (assuming your 5000ED is similar to mine.)
    If you're interested, you can contact me and I can elaborate further.
    - Bob Cammarata

    Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=13906

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=13906

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 5: How to Get the Copyright Logo
    This is perhaps really dumb but I make/sell photos/cards and haven't figured out how to get the little copyright logo (c inside circle) onto my cards/photos. I hand-write it, but wish to incorporate it into the other identifying info I place on the cards/prints. Thank you!
    - Robin Lynne

    ANSWER 1:
    If you're already adding printed text, hold down your Alt key, and on the number pad (with number lock on) type in 0169 and you'll get ©
    hth
    - Damian Gadal

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

    ANSWER 2:
    I am running MAC OS X and the © is alt,capslock,and G all at the same time
    - George G. Nino

    ANSWER 3:
    Thanks, Damian! I was wondering about this myself.
    © Bob :)
    - Bob Cammarata

    Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 4:
    You can also access other symbols and type by using the character map located in your accessories/system tools.
    - Kip T. Berger

    See Kip's Premium BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=13896

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=13896

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 6: Flash Bracket: Directional and Fill-in Lighting
    I'm looking for a flash-camera bracket that can be used to create directional as well as fill-in lighting, such as something that could be placed on the side of the camera.
    The brackets I used some 35 years ago were side brackets, but I'm having trouble locating one now. Does it make a difference whether or not one shoots film or digital to how the lighting is created?
    - Susan K. Snow

    ANSWER 1:
    Digital or film are just two different medium to store images. I also have used a side bracket a long time ago. I found that there are always shadow on the background behind the subject. Now I switched to the Stroboframe Camera Flip, and the shadow problem is solved. There are different brands of flash bracket. But I found the Stroboframe is the most economical.
    Stroboframe:
    http://www.tiffen.com/Header_page_Stroboframe.htm
    Newton:
    http://www.newtoncamerabrackets.com/newton.html
    - Andy Szeto

    ANSWER 2:
    Thanks, Andy.

    However, I'm curious. When I use studio lights and I have my fill-in to the right/left of the camera, but about 2-3 feet away (with the height about 6-7 feet, or as high as 3 other moonlights which are on stands) I have no problem with the shadow, which drops below my selected focus and cropping area.

    Also, when I have created directional lighting outside (during the time when the ambient light has no direction - heavy overcast), there is no shadow because I'm generally not near a building and the shadow on the ground is irrelevant. Plus, even in open shade to cast catch-lights in my subject's eyes, and the flash is set at 1-2 stops less than the camera, there is no problem. (Now, I'm speaking of past experience using myriad manual TLRs and SLRs, and a variety on non-e-TTL flash units. But, that shouldn't matter.)

    Why then, is there a problem when the flash is on a bracket? Is it due to the height of the bracket and flash in relation to the camera?
    Thanks.
    Bunny
    - Susan K. Snow

    ANSWER 3:
    I think you just answered your question. With the side bracket, you can see the shadow outlining your subject on the opposite side of your flash. If you use the bracket that put the flash above your camera, the shadow will be lower and right behind the subject (if you are not pointing your camera upward, of course).
    - Andy Szeto

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=13887

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=13887

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 7: Shooting Light of a Candle?
    So I am in a photography class in high school. I want to shoot portraits using only the light of a candle. However, whenever I try this, my pictures come out to dark or with lots of motion! How can I fix this and make a beautiful picture? I am using 100 speed film.
    - Tasha N. Graham

    ANSWER 1:
    Use a tripod and with no movement at all from the person. And don't expose for the flame, but for the light level away from the flame - which is going to be very low because the light has a steep fall off after only a few inches away from the flame. So increase you shutter speed.
    - Gregory La Grange

    Visit gregorylagrange.org - Gregory's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 2:
    The tripod is a must, of course, but you may also try using a few candles instead of just one. You'll get the same warm lighting, just a bit more of it. If you decide to include the flame of the candle itself in your portraits, experiment with your f-stop to get anything from "glowing" flames to flames with moderate or even large "stars" radiating from them. Experiment. Experiment. Oh ... and never forget to have fun!!!!
    - Kathy J. Cooper

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=13885

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=13885

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 8: Canon 10D in Cold Weather
    Has anybody had any problems with their Canon 10D not working in below-freezing weather? What I get is an Err 66.
    - David Barns

    ANSWER 1:
    David -
    You are most probably dealing with a cold battery. I realize your camera is digital, but batteries are batteries. I don't think your problem is indigenous to just the Canon 10D. There are only 2 ways I know to work around that problem. First, start by keeping your camera under your coat and close to your body except for when you are shooting and that for only a few minutes at a time. Keeping the camera warm is key.
    You might also try insulating the camera with a thin wool scarf. Read the camera's instruction manual, and check to make sure that you can expose your camera safely to extreme temperatures.
    - Michel J. Paller

    See Michel 's Premium BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 2:
    You should also carry more than one battery with you. Keep the extra battery in a pocket near your body to keep it warm. After the first battery quits, change batteries and put the dead one in that warm pocket. You may find that it will work again for a while after it warms up.
    - George F. Howard

    Visit georgefhoward.com - George's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=13880

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=13880

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 9: Using My Digital Camera in Extreme Cold
    I'm going to Fairbanks, Alaska, in February, where the temperature could be -20 degrees or colder. Can I use my digital camera in those conditions without damaging it and get good photos? If so, what steps do I need to take to protect the camera and get quality photos?
    - Ronald S. Matthew

    ANSWER 1:
    Batteries don't last very long in cold weather. Take some extras, and keep them warm with body heat - in your pocket or something like that. If you are out for a long time in extreme cold weather, protect against condensation when you come inside by putting the camera and your lenses in air-tight plastic bags until they reach near-room temperature.
    - Gregory La Grange

    Visit gregorylagrange.org - Gregory's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 2:
    Does it hurt anything to take the camera straight out into the cold?
    - Sharon D.

    See Sharon's Premium BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 3:
    Living in Alaska, I am finding myself outdoors taking photos at just those temperatures, Ron! Gregory has great advice on the bag! I place my camera in a Ziploc freezer bag. You can tell if the seal is air-tight and condensation forms on the inside of the bag rather than the camera. Keep in mind that plastic does not like that cold weather either, so pack it up quickly! Sharon, I found going directly outside has not effected my D70. And yep, I don't use the bag until I come back indoors. I have actually seen plastic break like glass when it gets that cold here. Keep that Ziploc warm until ready to use it, Ron!
    - Phillip L. Sauvey

    See Phillip's Premium BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=13874

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=13874

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    *****


    NEW QUESTION 10: Caring for Camera Gear When Traveling
    I am going to Chicago in April and have heard the security equipment the airports use can be bad for cameras and equipment. What can I do to protect my camera while on my trip? Any advice would be great. Thank you.
    - Meili

    ANSWER 1:
    I don't know of any danger to the equipment itself, but the X-ray equipment can be bad on film, especially fast film (ISO 800 and up). If you have any concerns, just ask them to hand-inspect your camera bag rather than running it through the machine. They are usually cooperative. It might be best not to have your camera loaded with film in case they would like to open it.
    - Kerry L. Walker

    ANSWER 2:
    Keep film with you in your carry-on. The X-rays used on checked luggage is much stronger than the carry-on scanners and will fog any speed film. Rather than asking for hand inspection for the whole camera bag (which is likely to be refused), have the film in a clear Ziploc bag that can easily be inspected and let the camera bag go through the scanner. Sometimes inspectors will insist that ISO 800 and slower film go through the scanner. Have a couple rolls of TMAX 3200P in the bag to tip the scales in your favor for hand inspection. X-rays have no effect on digital cameras and flash memory. Put them through the X-ray scanner.
    - Jon Close

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=13864

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=13864

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

    CONTINUING QUESTION 1: How to Photograph My Toddler
    Could you please provide me with some tips on how best to capture my 2-year-old? Many thanks in advance!
    Sincerely,
    Mom-with-new-Canon EOS 20D
    - Brooke B

    ANSWER 1:
    Brook,
    Get your little one involved in something. Building block, builder bob, whatever. Set it up so you are near a window or sliding glass door. Get down on their level to shoot. Be patient, be patient, and be patient.
    Get dad involved, but set him on the opposite side from your special one. Set a large white foam core board up so it will throw light into the shadow side of your child. Sometimes the best toys are the ones you donít think they will like. Try a balloon, or a peacock feather. If you have a window that is low, let the little one look out. If you have snow, go play in it - but just remember to shoot at their level. Your tummy might be cold but the pictures will be worth it.
    If you do the tub scene, use a bounce flash. Oh, did I say you need to be patient? Have fun, have a dress-up day. Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot ... oh, did I mention you need to be patient and keep shooting?
    Good luck, and good shooting.
    Doug
    - Doug Elliott

    ANSWER 2:
    Hi Brook,
    You're singing my song! I used to photograph toddlers and babies for Sears and JC Penney. One of the most basic rules of thumb I learned was to photograph the child during the time of day when he/she was most content - just after a nap or a meal. Sometimes early in the morning or close to their bed time is fun. I would not recommend using a balloon for a two-year-old. When Dad gets involved in the process, place him directly behind you or in the direction you want your toddler to look and give him a bell, a whistle, a piece of noisy cellophane, and a big hug when it's all over. Let him use his noise makers alternately so as to hold Tod's interest. It will keep him paying close attention. If you don't want to use attraction or distraction, try just keeping your camera close at hand and take candids as the opportunities arise.
    I totally agree with setting up the shots with white reflectors and window light - you can even add lamp light to that as well, but those methods don't always fit in with an active child and a camera and the dog, etc. Try keeping the rooms of the house brightly lit, put white sheer plain curtains on the windows, and let Junior present the candid moments. He'll find something sweet, funny, cute, or touching to do that will delight and intrigue you.
    - Michel J. Paller

    See Michel 's Premium BetterPholio™

    Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=13802

    Answer this question:
    http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=13802

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    *****


    CONTINUING QUESTION 2: Question About a Stock Agency
    Last summer, I signed a non-exclusive contract with a stock agency. I have about 50 images on their site, and with each submission they usually request 10 to 20 percent of the images. My question is, how long does it take to start making any money from stock photography? I understand that 50 images isn't going to buy a Porsche (or the seat cover). Currently, none of the images have been sold. Is this normal? Is it better to place images in Royalty Free sections or Rights Managed? All of my images are in the Rights Managed section.
    Any advice or information from any of the seasoned stock photographers is greatly appreciated.
    - Lori Carpenter

    ANSWER 1:
    Hi Lori-
    I am co-owner of stock photo agency www.fogstock.com and teach the Stock Photo course here at BP. So my answers are from an agency owner and a photographer.

    At our agency, my rough estimate is that our shooters who have about 5000 images online make roughly $1500 per month - but it varies, of course, by subjects that each photographer shoots. Lifestyle and business themes far out-sell landscape, nature, and wildlife. So the corporate/lifestyle shooter may make much more per month than $1500, while the travel photographer makes much less.

    Fifty images are not enough to generate much income in today's market, unless you are shooting something that is incredibly unique and not many similars are on the market. I also added (below) two paragraphs out of one of my lessons from my course: Introduction to Stock Photography, taught here at BP. I hope there is some information that will help answer your RF/RC question.

    ROYALTY FREE vs. RIGHTS CONTROLLED
    Once upon a time, all stock photos were rights controlled, and the price for a photo's usage was negotiated on how it was to be used - how big it was going to be used and how long it was going to be used. Then PhotoDisc was founded, and Royalty Free stock photography was formed, and the world has never been the same. You can choose to shoot for one or the other, and it is imperative that you understand the difference. Many despise the RF model, but I have made more money in RF than in RC. What RF did for the photo industry was to open up markets that couldnít pay traditional prices. The idea was to sell volume.

    Today, RC and RF images are defined by many factors, including how difficult the image was to obtain. RC images command two to three times the usage fees as RF and oftentimes more. RC images might be an image that was difficult to get and as an example, lightning across the Grand Canyon is very difficult to obtain. However, an image of the Grand Canyon taken on an average day, with no special situation is a dime-a-dozen and would do better as an RF image. RC images are still licensed by the usage and if the client wants to use it again, beyond the original negotiated terms, they pay again. Clients pay for RF images once and can use them without any additional compensation going to the photographer.

    RF images account for 80 percent or more of all stock photo sales now. So if you want to tap into that large part of the market, you should place some of your images in RF. My strategy is to place the images that are common within the market into RF. Any image that has a very strong concept, or I have spent considerable time creating in Photoshop, go into RC. If I photographed a tornado while driving across Oklahoma, that goes into RC. If I photograph the storm clouds preceding the tornado, those are very common images and go into RF. How unique and special an image is should be the deciding factor in where you place an image in the market. They are both good sources for income.
    - Charlie Borland

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    ANSWER 2:
    I was hoping you would answer this question! I signed with agefotostock (they don't capitalize it either) ... this was only after looking at a lot of different agencies that I thought would accept my images. I have thought of using Alamy as they have a much higher commission rate, but there's a lot more work with them.

    You are so right about what they want. I shoot for stock a lot of times and between my children and all of my nieces, nephews and siblings, we can do a lot with model releases. I still enjoy trying to get those pretty images for my enjoyment, but the fact is that most average stock images aren't that contest worthy.

    I'm going to try the RF a little and see what happens. Thanks again for your reply.


    - Lori Carpenter

    ANSWER 3:
    Hi Charlie, I just wanted to follow up on this question. I know this is a pretty detailed question, but how does someone go about getting accepted to a stock agency? I looked at a few agency Web pages and noticed they ask for a profile, including how many years in photography, number of photo's etc? Does someone who is just getting started, only a few years in taking pictures and not a huge database of pics, etc have a shot at getting into an agency? What do agencies look for on applications to determine if they accept you or not? I know that probably a good idea to take your course (I may for spring) but just wanted to get some initial thoughts. Thanks.
    - Joe Jarosz

    Visit joejaroszphoto.com - Joe's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 4:
    Joe,
    The fastest way to get into an agency is to shoot what not to many others are. Now that is broad and vague, but very true. It really depends on what you shoot. I have said this before when answering QnA here as well as mention in my class, that if nature, flowers, landscapes, and wildlife are a photographer's passion, they won't make much money at it. The supply vastly outnumbers the demand. If you are a people and lifetsyle shooter, you have a much bigger chance of getting - and an even better chance if you shoot business and industry. The big agencies already represent fantastic photographers in all areas and the best of the landscape photographers as well. They have no interest in beginners. Do you like to travel? If you went around the country each year and shot current city skylines, I think you could get in with an agency and do well. You would have to go back and re-shoot each city every two years. Are you a people photographer? Shoot minorities and you will do well. What I recommend is that you shoot like mad and spend your surfing time looking at Getty, Corbis, Brand X, Index, Blend Images, and so on until you have a clear impression of what is in style and current. Feel free to contact me should you have more questions.
    Take care,
    Charlie

    - Charlie Borland

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    ANSWER 5:
    Thank you very much, So from your view, the types and quality/uniqueness of the photos are as, if not more, important than the number of photos? If I have a number of photos that I believe are something a stock agency would like, but basically don't have a large database of pictures or a long time in the industry, would you recommend submitting or waiting until I shoot a lot more and then submit? In a nutshell, I have a small number of pics I think would be saleable ... is it worth giving it a try with the hopes of getting accepted and then continuing to submit if I do?
    Thank you very much for all of the insight.
    - Joe Jarosz

    Visit joejaroszphoto.com - Joe's Deluxe BetterPholio™

    ANSWER 6:
    Joe,
    Without seeing the pictures, it is hard to advise. At Fogstock, we need a minimum of 200 stand-alone fabulous images that show an ability to shoot at the current trends. If these 200 are unique, that will catch our interest. If it is a shot of a sailboat, a rose, a kid eating an ice cream cone, a sunset, etc., this indicates that this photographer wanders around with a camera looking for pretty pictures. If instead, this photographer's 200 includes a business meeting at a sidewalk cafe, a woman with a headset in front of a computer in an office environment, a senior couple in the studio smiling lovingly at the camera, a medical doctor treating a patient, grapes being crushed at a winery, or a couple on a cruise ship at sunset, this indicates to us a photographer who pays attention to the current agency needs and shoots production.

    By shooting production, I am referring to a stock photographer who plans, prepares, and produces a stock shoot. This might include using models, proper wardrobe, and props.

    In answer to your question, uniqueness is essential over quantity, but even more, there should be a clear indication to the agent that you are a good photographer who is planning to produce lots of images. It costs agencies money to scan, retouch, and market your work and most only have interest in high-production photographers with talent. Now, that does not mean you do not have a chance. Rather, carefully review your work and compare to what you see at online agencies. If you think you are there, then go for it!
    - Charlie Borland

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