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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, February 28, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: Demystifying Digital Cameras: We Make the Buying Process Fun!
* BETTERPHOTO: Featured Article: Fine Art Flower Photography ... Creative Techniques
* BETTERPHOTO: Spring Courses: Enjoy a Season of Learning and Shooting!
* BETTERPHOTO: Making Comments: To Notify You Or Not ... That Is the Question!
* FEATURED GALLERY: Going with the Flow: Waterfalls
* FEATURED PLACE: Picturing the Big Apple
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Early Composite / Behind the Camera
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Stock Photography: Specialty Magazines ... by Charlie Borland
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Wedding Photography: Digital Shooting
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Deciphering F-stops
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Shooting a Circus Indoors
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Camera for Shooting Close-ups of Jewelry
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Taking Pics without Eyeglasses
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Shooting Action Shots - Keeping Things Sharp
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Lighting Option
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Blurring the Motion of Water
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Home Prints Versus Lab Prints
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Developing a Personal Style
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: File Browser for Raw Images
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 12: Lighting for Outside.
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 13: Cleaning a Sensor
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 14: Saving Money on Wedding Photography
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Black Backgrounds


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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Demystifying Digital Cameras: We Make the Buying Process Fun!
Do you feel overwhelmed by technical jargon when it comes to buying a digital camera? Would you rather be out taking pictures than doing camera research? Help is here! With our new Digital Camera Calculators, you can quickly find the camera that works best for you. And don't forget: Because BetterPhoto is not affiliated with any particular manufacturers, we can offer you the best, most honest advice. For all the details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/digital/camera-calculator.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 201st issue of SnapShot!

Hi

Lots of awesome news as we enter March! Heading the list is the announcement of our Digital Camera Calculators, which offer a great - and fun - way to obtain guidance in buying a camera. Check out this new page at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/digital/camera-calculator.asp

Also, signups for BetterPhoto's spring online photo courses are well under way, and our schedule has never been better. Stop by our course listings at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp

In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss our regular features, plus instructor Tony Sweet's excellent article on shooting fine art flower images and another expert stock-photo tip from instructor Charlie Borland.

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


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Featured Article: Fine Art Flower Photography ... Creative Techniques
The beauty and infinite patterns of flowers make them a wonderful subject for photographic interpretations, points out master photographer Tony Sweet, who teaches three excellent courses here at BetterPhoto: "Image Design", "Fine Art Flower Photography", and "The Four Essential Filters for Film and Digital Cameras." Photographing flowers, says Tony, is a good way to experiment with lenses and filters, exposure, composition, and special photographic techniques and effects. For some valuable tips and tricks, check out Tony's article at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=54


*****
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. See our schedule at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/categories.asp


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Making Comments: To Notify You Or Not ... That Is the Question!
So many recent enhancements at BetterPhoto! Besides the awesome new Premium BetterPholios™, there's this: We changed the default on the "notify me" checkbox in the Q&A and Photo Discussions. Remember to check it if you want to receive auto-emails when someone responds to your question or comment. Look for the "notify me" box right above the Submit button.


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FEATURED GALLERY
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Going with the Flow: Waterfalls
Water in motion is ever-changing and ever-magical. That's especially true when it comes to slowing down the shutter speed and capturing a beautiful sense of soft movement. BetterPhoto members and instructors have captured waterfalls in such a variety of eye-catching ways. For ideas and inspiration, check out this gallery of beautiful waterfall images at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=495

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FEATURED PLACE
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Picturing the Big Apple
New York City's photo potential extends far beyond its outstanding skyline, as BetterPhoto members and instructors have proved. They have focused on everything from Brooklyn Bridge to street scenes to city lights. Beyond NYC, the state of New York offers even more picture possibilities. View the New York gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=432

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
After he died in 1926, which celebrity was portrayed as ascending up to heaven in a composite photograph?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Ron is:
Actor Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926)

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 - Behind the Camera - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

In the 1995 movie "Smoke," what sort of photography is done by Auggie Wren (played by Harvey Keitel)?

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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Stock Photography: Specialty Magazines ... by Charlie Borland
You love photography and want to start approaching magazines to publish your work. Letís say you are a hot skier and want to break into ski photography. At what point are you ready? Most photographers shooting for specialty magazines specialize in the subject they shoot. They have spent years building a file of images from a variety of ski areas. If you market your work too early to the magazines and without a large file of images on hand, the magazines may view you as an amateur, and then it is hard to get back in later. Whatever your niche, take the time to build an image library, so you appear to the magazines to be an expert in that subject. Remember, you have to be as good or better than your competition.

Check out Charlie Borland's online courses:



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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  • 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: Wedding Photography: Digital Shooting
I know, we've seen this kind of question several times, but just hoping to get some great last-minute wedding photography advice! My main question is, does anyone have any advice on digital wedding photography? I have my first wedding this weekend. I have assisted on other weddings and feel as prepared as can be. I have an idea and a list of all the shots I want to take and what kind of shots I want. I am taking a very talented assistant with me as well! I read that setting the white balance is a must for shooting a wedding with digital. I usually shot in auto white balance with my Digital Rebel, but wonder if maybe I need to custom set it. Also, I just wonder how intrusive to be during the ceremony. The photog. that I assisted with took a lot of shots during the wedding (with flash)and I don't want to be annoying. I know I need to ask the minister about the flash. I hope to use available light as much as possible, but I do know the church is dark with no windows!! Just want to see if anyone has some advice on these matters! Thanks in advance!!
- Tammy L. Odell

See Tammy's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Hi, Tammy,
I would advise you to shoot Raw. I know it takes up a lot of space. If you can't, then just shoot the romantics Raw, because later you can change the AWB to whatever you want. Underexposing a little can also help, because you can turn up the light in Photoshop. If you overexpose too much, detail is lost and you can do nothing about it. Make sure your shutter speed is over your focal length, or you'll have to use a tripod and that's hard when time is limited. Try to have them do all the romantic shots - or, at least, half - before the ceremony, because time flies after the ceremony and the guests try to congratulate them constantly. Have the bride make a list of the family shots, so there is no time wasted.
The Canon 20D does very well in low-light situations.
- Steven M. Florin

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14524

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14524

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NEW QUESTION 2: Deciphering F-stops
There are f-stops and half f-stops on my camera. What are they exactly ? Are they related to shutter speed or aperture? How can I deal with it and calculate it? Thanks.
- Ziad H. Dabash

ANSWER 1:
The aperture ring on your lens is broken down into f-stops. Each whole number represents a full stop (from f-8 to f-11, for example). In between any two numbers is a half-stop.

How you "deal with it and calculate it" depends upon your desired results.
The lower numbers will let in more light but will have less depth of field. The higher numbers will let in less light, but more of the frame will be in focus. Each aperture (f-stop) setting requires a corresponding shutter speed for proper exposure.
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
F-stop numbers are a short and for expressing the diameter of the aperture opening as a ratio of the lens focal length. f/2 means the aperture diameter is 1/2 the focal length.

The "full stops" are a progression of the square root of 2 (~1.414).
1, 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32 are full stops.
Each full stop change lets in 1/2 or 2x as much light as the next. Because the f-number is the denominator of the ratio, larger f-numbers mean smaller apertures and less light let in.

Smaller changes can be made in 1/2 stop (x1.1892) or 1/3 stop (x1.1225) steps. f/4.5 is 1/3 stop smaller than f/4. f/6.7 is 1/2 stop smaller than f/5.6.
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14516

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14516

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NEW QUESTION 3: Shooting a Circus Indoors
I am shooting slide film for a class this week. I am going to be shooting a circus indoors. Should I use daylight or tungsten film? Also, if I use a flash, how do I set the built-in flash for manual mode for a Nikon N80?
Thanks,
Mary
- Mary Guiher

ANSWER 1:
First, you'll need to check whether flash pictures are permitted. (I recently shot some pics at N.Y.'s Big Apple Circus, where flash photography isn't permitted.)
Then, you need to determine how close you'll be sitting to the circus ring(s). This will give you some idea of how effective the spot lights will be relative to you camera. Generally, circuses are very well lit, except for those acts where dimmer lighting is part of the show. I actually used an Olympus Stylus 115, with fixed aperture (probably about f/8) and fixed shutter speed (about 1/40th sec). Got great results.
That being said, I'd use daylight film. There will be many different colored lights. Sure, some will be "incandescent," but daylight film will probably give you more saturated effects with the brighter colors.
On general principles, I'd use ISO 400 film (I like Fujichrome.)

Can't help you with respect to setting your Nikon built-in flash as I use Canon equipment. But, as I said at the outset, there's a very good chance you'll not be able to take flash pictures anyway.
- John Sandstedt

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14511

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14511

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NEW QUESTION 4: Camera for Shooting Close-ups of Jewelry
If you have the time to respond, that'd be great ... I sure appreciate this site. I'm looking to buy a digital camera I plan to use for shooting close-ups of jewelry and gems. Some of these photos will be used for sales online, and some will be representational photos of my art for my portfolio. I'm looking in the $300 range. I'm wondering what factors a higher quality photo (sharpness, clarity, detail) - higher megapixals, or brand name for better quality lenses? I've been looking at the Rollei 4200, and the Nikon Coolpix 5200. Any suggestions? Thanks for your time,
Mary
- Mariel Cristofar

ANSWER 1:
You may be able to get by with the little cameras you have suggested, but don't expect professional results (and that may hurt your sales). First, I do jewelry photography for jewelers who set up and sell at juried Fine Art Shows.
Since the intent of these images is to entice customers to buy online, and the intent of your portfolio is to highlight your art at its finest, I presume you want fine quality, professional results. Sorry, not on $300.
You're going to need a lens with extreme close-up capability (up to 1:1 for really small pieces), and for best clarity, one that is optimized optically in the close-up range (called macro or micro lenses).
And equally important, you'll need to have lighting equipment conducive to lighting jewelry, and you'll need to master some jewelry lighting techniques. You can buy one of the cocoon-type light boxes that have proliferated online due to all the Ebay-type product photography. These are catch-all light boxes that make lighting jewelry a lot easier. If you want professional jewelry images of your pieces - that is, images which will sell your jewelry - I'd recommend just holding onto your $300.
Sorry,
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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NEW QUESTION 5: Taking Pics without Eyeglasses
I just got my first roll of film back, and they are all a little out of focus. I think the problem is with my vision not the camera. I know I read something about an adjustment piece that fits on the viewfinder to compensate for less-than-perfect eyesight, but I can't remember what they're called. If anyone knows what I'm talking about any info would be greatly appreciated!
- Dawn

ANSWER 1:
It's called a diopter and is built in to professional cameras. You'll need to go to a camera store to try different ones, if it cannot be set on your camera. If you wear glasses, just wear them when shooting. It should be all right.
- Tony Sweet

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Visit Tony Sweet's Web Site - www.TonySweet.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Tony Sweet:
Image Design: Revealing Your Personal Vision
Fine Art Flower Photography
4-Week Short Course: The Four Essential Filters for Film and Digital Cameras
4-Week Short Course: The Four Essential Filters (2nd Session)

ANSWER 2:
If you focus manually, you can trust what you see through the viewfinder by using the focusing aids incorporated within your camera's design. I too wear glasses, and can critically focus on my primary point of interest by using the split-prism ring in the center of the frame.
The thing about age-related failing eyesight, in most cases, has to do with musculature ... our near-to-far focusing ability tends to deteriorate with age. (Which probably explains why I can actually see better looking through my lenses.)
The diopter-correction lenses Tony referred to come in different strengths and screw into the eyepiece of most cameras.
You can also shoot with your glasses on, but with repeated use, be careful not to scratch your prescription eyeglasses on the viewfinder frame.
By the way, I don't really NEED glasses ... I only wear them for seeing. :)
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Join the club, Bob.
- Kerry L. Walker

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14502

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*****


NEW QUESTION 6: Shooting Action Shots - Keeping Things Sharp
I very recently moved from a Minolta 35MM SLR using film to a Canon 20D. While at a basketball tournament this weekend, I snapped about 100 pictures, and none are really that great due to blurring. I tried several different modes like action, then full mode and even moved into the scary "creative zones" with P and TV (trying to adjust speeds) and still couldn't get very crisp shots. Needless to say, I'm a little frustrated with the way my photos turned out - do I just need more practice or am I doing something wrong? How can I improve my action photos? I'm sort of in a panic mode, because I take a lot of action photos between basketball, cheerleading, and fast-pitch softball with my kids. My Minolta was great for action shots ... but I haven't quite figured out this Canon. Please help!!

Also, are there any good books out there that I should check out? I don't want to read millions of pages, but I am interested in learning more about photography and how I can get better images, etc. Thank you!!
- Jessica Milligan

ANSWER 1:
Jessica,
What was your shutter speed and type of lens? In order to minimize the blurring, you need a fast shutter speed of at least 1/500 sec or more. You need to bump up your ISO with that high shutter - especially with a poorly lit gym. Try using the Shutter Priority mode if you don't want to go manual - I think it's TV mode with Canon. Also try putting the camera on continuous focusing if you have it. Also, a fast lens might help.
Steve

PS: Try Jim Miotke's Digital Photography Unleashed DVD - it's pretty informative and you don't need to read anything. He covers action shots, panning, etc.
- Steve H. Kajihiro

See Steve 's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Steve, thanks so much for the quick feedback! I will look into each item that you mentioned ... including the DVD! Also, I looked through your gallery and thought your photos were absolutely beautiful! You are a gifted photographer ... I can only hope to be as good as you someday!! Thanks again!
- Jessica Milligan

ANSWER 3:
Yeah, check the manual about a continuous focus mode. You should even be able to just hold the shutter button down halfway and move the camera around a room and watch the focus change pretty quickly as you focus on things close and far from you.
Try using the fastest lens that you have, and I would actually try setting the camera on AV mode as well as previously suggested TV. AV will let you select the largest aperture/smallest number, and that will give you the fastest shutter speed that your camera can take a good picture at. Again, try to use a higher ISO. If you need to, use a -0.5 or -1 exposure compensation, and then maybe you can correct it in Photoshop - similar to push-processing film. Hope this helps!
- Andrew Laverghetta

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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*****


NEW QUESTION 7: Lighting Option
I was told by my photography instructor that you can use the halogen or quartz work lights that you can buy at a home improvement store. Will this work, instead of the real expensive photography lights for a studio? I know there will be some softening of them but was just wondering.
- Paul

ANSWER 1:
Sure, it will work. Just don't expect much in the way of quality light. Build yourself a flat panel with a piece of shower curtain stretched over it, maybe 2x3'. Then place this between the light and the subject for a better quality light.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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*****


NEW QUESTION 8: Blurring the Motion of Water
I understand that to blur the motion of water I need a slow shutter speed. When I slow the speed down I get a much brighter picture. Do I need to take this type of shot in low light to get the correct exposure? Or is there some other settings I need to pay attention to? I am using the Canon EOS 20D SLR.
- Peggy J. Sells

Visit peggysellsphotography.com - Peggy's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Waiting for an overcast or cloudy day is one option. You can use the smaller aperture (larger f number) or lower ISO setting. You can also add filters to your lens. A polarizer or neutral-density filter cuts the amount of light hitting the sensor so a slower shutter speed can be used. Hope this helps.
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 2:
You need to adjust your aperture after you slow down the shutter speed.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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ANSWER 3:
I achieved this effect by setting my camera to these settings. f8.0, 1/15 sec, and ISO 100.
- Brian Wolter

ANSWER 4:
Thanks for the responses. The only thing I haven't tried is the filter. That makes sense that it will cut down the light so I can use a slower shutter speed under daylight situations.
- Peggy J. Sells

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ANSWER 5:
Michael probably had what I would call the best answer. Simply using a longer shutter speed is going to definitely overexpose your image. For each stop you increase the shutter speed, you will need to close down the aperture 1 stop as well, and so on. If you use your camera on P (program mode) and turn the main dial, I'm not sure, but I think it will do this for you, although if you like to use it manually, you'll have to change the settings manually.
- Andrew Laverghetta

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ANSWER 6:
Won't the indicator on your camera let you know that the photo is going to be overexposed? Which is then when you close down the aperture?
- Natalie Howe

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ANSWER 7:
Natalie,
The issue of shutter and aperture is not where I am having a problem. It is getting the desired effect. When I adjust my aperture with my shutter the exposure is good but the effect of the water is not what I am looking for. I am learning that a major part of getting the look I need is it needs to be fairly dark location.
- Peggy J. Sells

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ANSWER 8:
Not necessarily "dark". Overcast/grey/drizzly but not midday.
Bob
- Robert Cournoyer

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ANSWER 9:
I was able to get the effect with the settings as I stated above, and I used my polarized sunglasses as a filter. I am going to try to get something darker than that to see if I can get the effect even better by using a slower shutter speed.
- Brian Wolter

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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NEW QUESTION 9: Home Prints Versus Lab Prints
Are the new photo printers out-performing lab prints today? I may invest in one.
a. I sell enlargements from 8x12 to 20x30; b. My clients are architects, designers, and various contractors; c. My format is 35mm film with tilt-and-shift lenses. (For very critical photos, I use a 4x5,) I use Reala film. d. I can get scans up to 100mb at 300dpi plus.
So, if I print from an Epson 2200 or Canon i9900 and other comparable printers, 8x12 or 11x16's, will they look equal to or better than lab photos? Especially when they are mounted on Gatorboard and laminated?
In other words, would you be comfortable selling home prints to these very, very meticulous and demanding clients? hmmmm ...
Regards to you all, ken
- Ken Henry

ANSWER 1:
No, I wouldn't.
- Diane L. Dupuis-Kallos

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ANSWER 2:
I print and sell 24x36" prints from an Epson 7600 using their Ultrachrome inks, and matte paper. A 100mb scan will produce stunning prints.
BUT ... the printer will only produce a print as good as the file you send it. So you've got to know your way around PS, and understand color management well.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
PS - And mine are also mounted on 3/4" Gatorboard, and laminated with a lustre luminant.
- Michael H. Cothran

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ANSWER 3:
I've been selling prints made in my studio for years to very high-end clients. I use the Epson 2200 and 7600. One caveat, however: There are learning curves involved in using Photoshop, color calibration, color correction, sharpening your image, scanning technique. Also, the initial investment is steep. If money is available, and you have time to learn your hardware and software, you'll ultimately save money, and print production will be completely under your control.
- Tony Sweet

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Visit Tony Sweet's Web Site - www.TonySweet.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Tony Sweet:
Image Design: Revealing Your Personal Vision
Fine Art Flower Photography
4-Week Short Course: The Four Essential Filters for Film and Digital Cameras
4-Week Short Course: The Four Essential Filters (2nd Session)

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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*****


NEW QUESTION 10: Developing a Personal Style
I have interned for a newspaper as a staff photographer since August and have improved a lot. I wonder, though, about style. It seems that shooting good photos is not enough and is also fairly common, but style is where the edge lies and what sets photographers apart. I imagine a certain amount of style is inherent in each photographer's work, but how does one identify it and/or develop it?
Thanks, K
- K Daly

ANSWER 1:
You will be the last person to recognize whatever style you develop. You are too close to see your work in that way. Leave it to others to recognize your style. Trying to develop a style is elusive, to say the least. Your job is to shoot as much as possible and get as good as you possibly can, and others will recognize your style.
- Tony Sweet

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Visit Tony Sweet's Web Site - www.TonySweet.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Tony Sweet:
Image Design: Revealing Your Personal Vision
Fine Art Flower Photography
4-Week Short Course: The Four Essential Filters for Film and Digital Cameras
4-Week Short Course: The Four Essential Filters (2nd Session)

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14492

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NEW QUESTION 11: File Browser for Raw Images
I have just installed Photoshop CS and would like to install another file browser for my Raw images (I do not like Adobe's). Any suggestions?
- MARTHA A. RUMLEY

ANSWER 1:
Try ACDSee 7.0.
- George F. Howard

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ANSWER 2:
I did like ACDSee when I used it for a trial. I might try it just for the browser. Thanks for the response.
- MARTHA A. RUMLEY

ANSWER 3:
Many pros use I-View Media. There is a trial download on their Web site.
- Tony Sweet

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Visit Tony Sweet's Web Site - www.TonySweet.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Tony Sweet:
Image Design: Revealing Your Personal Vision
Fine Art Flower Photography
4-Week Short Course: The Four Essential Filters for Film and Digital Cameras
4-Week Short Course: The Four Essential Filters (2nd Session)

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NEW QUESTION 12: Lighting for Outside.
I will be doing a shoot in the middle of the woods, and I might need extra lighting. What kind of lighting would be the best to use in a situation like this?
- Stephanie Sherwood

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ANSWER 1:
Stephanie
Without knowing specifically what you are planning to shoot, my answer can only be vague. I carry with me on location, where there is no power to run strobes, a Norman 400B battery-powered strobe, stands, umbrellas, etc. I also have a few extra Sunpak flashes that I can place on stands with Radio Slaves so they fire from the camera. This has all worked well.
- Charlie Borland

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NEW QUESTION 13: Cleaning a Sensor
What the best way to clean a digital camera's sensor?
- Steven M. Florin

ANSWER 1:
I'm not sure about this, but I think you need to buy a special kind of kit to do it. If you can, go to a photo shop. When you get there, ask them for a digital sensor cleaning kit, and then ask if there is somebody there who can demonstrate after you buy the kit? Hope this helps you out a little.
- Andrew Laverghetta

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ANSWER 2:
Steve,
Anything other than a small puff of air should not be attempted. Purchase an air bulb. It's a small plastic needle type tube with a large balloon or bulb at the end. Hold the camera down to direct any dirt out. Squeeze the bulb and it puffs gentle air into the sensor. That is if you have access to the sensor. With a DSLR camera, you should have access. Do not use canned air or any type of high pressure air.
If this does not remove whatever is stuck on the sensor, then I suggest shipping it to a professional repair facility.
Sensors are pretty delicate and should be handled by a professional facility.
Even the guys at the photo shop will tell you how to do it, but they won't attempt it.
Good Luck
- Willie

ANSWER 3:
Steve,
I use the Eclipse sensor cleaning solution and swabs after every two full days of shooting and have had zero problems. I then shoot a white card test and download that test to the computer where I inspect the image at 300 percent to make sure there are no specs. I find that dust gets on the sensor very easily when you are in the field and on location, and change lenses regularly. I have had too many occurances of dust specs show up on images I shot on assignment and spend hours retouching hundreds of images from these jobs. The Eclipse kit works very well, and 10 minutes of cleaning can save hours of retouching.
- Charlie Borland

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ANSWER 4:
Some people have recommended cutting down a small plastic spatula and wrapping those pec pads around it as your swab.
That was still a little too big because of the handle, and the small size of the camera opening. So I found it was easier to use the plastic tube that comes with a can of air and wrap the pec pads around that. Made it easier to get the corners.
- Gregory La Grange

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NEW QUESTION 14: Saving Money on Wedding Photography
I am getting married in June of 2006, and my fiance and I are looking to save money on wedding photography. Does anyone have any advice? Can someone also tell me why it costs so much for wedding photographers?
- Christine

ANSWER 1:
You pay for experience. Equipment isn't cheap (you're always updating). Wedding photographers only work 40-50 days a year. They have to be onsite for 8-10 hrs, go to the photo lab (check the work), and look through about 1000 photographs. Printing is expensive, books are expensive (and a photographer spends about 8 hours making the book). The photographer has to go to all the meetings, expos, and conventions to keep up with the technology. And half the money they make they spend on advertising - Anywhere from $15,000 to $4,0000 a year (I should know). If you want it cheap, get married Mon.-Thur. My cheapest price right now is $500, and you get 2-CDs and the rest is up to you (on Hawaii, Oahu).
- Steven M. Florin

ANSWER 2:
I would suggest you try to save money on other things in the wedding. Do you really need a limo? Do you really need to serve an expensive meal? What will be more important to you in 10-20 years? If you don't get good photographs, you will regret it.
- Kerry L. Walker

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Black Backgrounds
How do you get the background to be a solid black? I take a photo at home with natural light and use a sheet in the background but when I look at the photo on my computer I can see the sheet. I have tried to change from f3.5 to f11 and it seems to always look bad. Help.
- Mike Carpenter

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ANSWER 1:
It's the difference between the light level that's on the subject and what's on the background that makes it black. Block some light from shining on the background if you have to.
- Gregory La Grange

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ANSWER 2:
Stick with the wider aperture setting and get more distance between the subject and the background. This will help to "iron out" the wrinkles in the fabric. As Greg mentioned, angle the light(s) to illuminate only the subject.
- Bob Cammarata

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ANSWER 3:
Go to a fabric store and get a black cloth. Try a real flat black material that doesn't wrinkle. Black sheet paper doesn't work as well.
- Gregg

ANSWER 4:
All good answers. However, I've had the best results with a black Velux blanket. It is cheaper than velvet (a single size can be found for $20) and less apt to attract lint. Also, it can be thrown in the washer and dryer.
- Shirley Cross

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ANSWER 5:
I have been using black velvet, and it has always worked for me. Black velvet absorbs light, so you get a true black when using it as background. Even if it has wrinkles from folding, it still doesn't show in the photograph. It does attract lint but that doesn't seem to be a problem - it doesn't show in my photos.
- Lorraine Jones

ANSWER 6:
Thank you. everyone. I've tried a couple of these tips, and they are working great.
- Mike Carpenter

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ANSWER 7:
I hope you were using black fabric to start out with.
- Gregory La Grange

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