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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, March 07, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: March Madness: Sign Up for a Course ... and Get a Gallery!
* BETTERPHOTO: Featured Article by Vik Orenstein: Having Fun Capturing Your Kids!
* BETTERPHOTO: Book of Month: Brenda Tharp's Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography
* BETTERPHOTO: Charlie Borland Announces New Line of Field Workshops
* FEATURED GALLERY: Wedding Bells: Bridal Portraits
* FEATURED PLACE: California Hot Spot: Death Valley
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Behind the Camera / His Camera Is Smokin'!
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Nature Stock Photography: The Realities ... by Charlie Borland
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Selective Focus: Sharp Vs. Blurred
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: What Lighting to Use?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: How to Shoot NASCAR Races?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: UV Filter
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: How to Shoot a Dance Revue with No Flash
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Speed When Shooting Portraits
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Photographing Spider Webs
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Darkroom to Digital
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Copyrights and Royalties
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: How Much to Charge?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: Best Filters for Outdoor Photography
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 12: Flash and White Balance
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Wedding Photography: Digital Shooting
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 2: Shooting Action Shots - Keeping Things Sharp


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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March Madness: Sign Up for a Course ... and Get a Gallery!
To celebrate our new Premium BetterPholios™ and our best-ever course schedule, we offer this special deal: If you sign up for an online photo class any time over the next two weeks, you will receive a free year of our Premium BetterPholio™! Just enter the codewords "March Madness" in the Additional Comments field when you get to the order form. But act quick - this offer expires Monday, March 21st. Gallery limit: one year per member. For a complete list of BetterPhoto's online courses, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/categories.asp

Learn more about our awesome new Premium BetterPholios™ at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/premium-photo-galleries.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 202nd issue of SnapShot!

Hi

Lots of photo advice in this issue of SnapShot! First off, instructor Vik Orenstein outlines some of her techniques for photographing children in her new article: "Having Fun Capturing Your Kids". Read all about it at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=40

Also in this issue of SnapShot, Charlie Borland shares more outstanding advice on stock photography (see This Week's Photo Tip). In addition, don't miss yet another batch of excellent questions and enlightening answers on a variety of equipment and shooting-technique issues.

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 by Vik Orenstein: Having Fun Capturing Your Kids!
When a child photography session is enjoyable, says BetterPhoto instructor Vik Orenstein, both shooter and youngster win! And Vik should know: She operates a nationally recognized studio specializing in child portraits, has written the classic book "Creative Techniques for Photographing Children", and teaches "Photographing Children" right here at BP. So, if you are having difficulty making kids feel comfortable and natural in front of the camera, or if you find yourself wondering how the professionals make their child images so special ... then read Vik's excellent how-to-do-it article at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=40


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Book of Month: Brenda Tharp's Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography
Our online store showcases the fantastic books and DVDs from our staff of BetterPhoto instructors. For March, we put the spotlight on Brenda Tharp's awesome book, "Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography." If you buy this fine book before the end of March, you will receive free U.S. shipping. Best yet, it's autographed by Brenda! Incidentally, Brenda also teaches these excellent BP online courses: Beyond the Postcard, Creating Visual Impact, and Mastering Macro Photography. For book details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetailLg.asp?productID=1171


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Charlie Borland Announces New Line of Field Workshops
BetterPhoto instructor Charlie Borland announces the launch of Aspen Photo Workshops, featuring such subjects as Digital Landscape, Stock Photography, Commercial Photography, and Photo Adventures. Leaders for these in-person programs include Charlie and three other BP instructors: Bryan Peterson, Jim Zuckerman, and Lewis Kemper. For more information, visit:
http://www.aspenphotoworkshops.com/index.htm

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Wedding Bells: Bridal Portraits
One of life's great personal events is also one of the most photographed ones around: the wedding. And BetterPhoto members and instructors have captured so many innovative images. Most bridal shots, of course, focus in on the bride's beautiful face. But other creative shots zero in on the wonderful details: i.e., bouquet, gown, or hands. View BP's bridal gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=1113

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FEATURED PLACE
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California Hot Spot: Death Valley
Temperatures at Death Valley National Park may be scorching in the summertime, but in fall through spring, it's Death Valley's photo potential that heats up. And BetterPhoto members and instructors have captured so many fine subjects in this Southern California desert showplace: sand dunes (catch them in early or late day for great light and shadows), Golden Canyon, Scotty's Castle, Badwater, etc. See BP's Death Valley gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=435

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
In the 1995 movie "Smoke," what sort of photography is done by Auggie Wren (played by Harvey Keitel)?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member David Morris is:
Street Photography - took a single picture every day, at the same time, of his store.

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 - His Camera Is Smokin'! - entered by BetterPhoto member Ossain Raggi

Here's another question on "Smoke": What model of camera did Harvey Keitel's character use in that film?

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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Nature Stock Photography: The Realities ... by Charlie Borland
Close to 80 percent of all non-professional photographers are landscape, nature, and wildlife photographers. Most of these photographers hope to sell their imagery to generate income so they can continue their pursuit of "being out there". This makes nature stock photography one of the most difficult and competitive areas of stock photography to make a living. Historically, the large stock photo agencies have tended to shy away from too much coverage of nature and landscape imagery, since it was not the biggest seller. The competition with photographers selling their own work and the physical management of an image file are expensive. With the development of the online photo libraries, these agencies tended to shift back to representing more of this type of imagery as management costs have dropped. These agencies also prefer to handle well-established and, sometimes, well-known photographers with large and extensive file coverage. This is not an area where they tend to nurture new talent, because they donít need to; there are too many good photographers available.

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
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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: Selective Focus: Sharp Vs. Blurred
How do you focus on the main object in the frame and leave everything else out of focus (so the main object/person stands out)? I have seen this in photos before and would like to learn how to do it.
- Emma Clinton

ANSWER 1:
This technique is called Selective Focus and can be done relatively easily with traditional cameras. Setting a wide f/stop will minimize the depth of field. Focus on your subject and shoot. Note: You can check your image if you have a depth of field preview button.

With digital, things aren't so easy. Lenses for less-expensive digital cameras, point-and-shoot digicams are often found to have minimum f/stops in the range of f/8. Sometimes you're stuck with ranges of f/2.8-4.0. As a result, selective focus is often difficult, if not impossible. If you have a digital SLR and can use one of your "old" auto-focus lenses, you should be able to use selective focus.

Be sure to check out your results in the LCD display; don't expect too much unless you've have "lots of camera."
- John Sandstedt

ANSWER 2:
Selective Focus is also called shallow Depth of Field. You limit the range of effective focus in front and behind the in-focus subject by: (a) selecting wide aperture (smaller f-number);(b) using longer focal length lenses; (c) getting closer to the subject; (d) moving the subject farther from background elements.

The problem with digital point-and-shoots isn't that the aperture is limited to f/8. Many/most have lenses with relatively wide maximum aperture of f/2.0. The problem with these cameras is that their lenses are very short focal length. Even though it might be advertised with an "equivalent 28-200mm" lens, it's actual focal length may be only 5.5mm-40mm focal length. Such short focal length lenses have relatively great depth of field, even at f/2.

On the other hand, with digital editing, you can add "Gaussian blur" or other similar techniques to portions of the scene that you do not want in sharp focus. This creates the shallow depth of field effect in the final image that the lens could not capture.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 3:
Hey, guys, thanks for your answers. At the moment, I'm using a Fujifilm Finepix s5500 ... do you have any more tips on selective focus with this camera?
- Emma Clinton

ANSWER 4:
I have a Fuji s7000, and here's how I create blurred background and foregrounds:
Set your lens to the largest aperture you can (my range is f2.8 to f8 digital). Set it to f2.8. Then move back a little, and zoom in on your subject (maximum zoom), making sure the background is a long way away from your subject. This should give you the desired effect. Cloudy overcast days can also help. Alternatively, the "Gaussian Blur" filter inside Photoshop is invaluable.
- Roy Blinston

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14686

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14686

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NEW QUESTION 2: What Lighting to Use?
i was just wondering what kind of lights I should use when taking portraits in a home studio or if I was taking them outside?
- Jody Buckley

ANSWER 1:
Jody,
There are basically two types of supplemental lights that you can use for portrait photography: strobes and hot lights. There are those on both sides that will say one is better then the other. I personally use strobes for everything and feel they are the best. For portraits, the strobes will freeze any movement where hot light are continuous and movement by your subject could show up. The other issue is the mixing of light. If you use strobes, then you can override the ambient light - like a fluorescent fixture in a ceiling - but with hot lights, they mix with the ambient light and could shift the color. You would take your portraits with light umbrellas or light boxes also.
- Charlie Borland

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Visit Charlie Borland's Web Site - www.borlandphoto.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Charlie Borland:
Lighting for Commercial Photography
Stock Photography

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14671

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14671

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NEW QUESTION 3: How to Shoot NASCAR Races?
I'm fortunate to get trackside at several NASCAR and Motocross events. I'm an intermediate photographer who is used to photographing Bikini and Import Models. I need some quick hints on how to shoot the cars when they are driving by at 120mph. I have a few lenses but have found the best for this are my Canon 17-40L lens and my 100mm 1:2 EF lens. I'm thinking I should buy the Canon 70-200mm L lens. How should I do the settings on my Canon 10D? Right now, it is on AUTO.
- Oliver Anderson

ANSWER 1:
I have pretty good success panning with the cars as they come by. Use Tv, and set 1/60 to 1/125 shutter speed. The closer you are to the track, the faster the shutter speed you'd use. Panning gives a good blur to the background and spinning tires, but the car will be pretty sharp. To freeze action (like a pass in the turn), set 1/500 or higher.
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14646

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14646

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NEW QUESTION 4: UV Filter
I just got a new lens - the Canon EF24-70mm F2.8L USM - and I need to get a UV Filter for it. I primarily want it just to protect the lens. I was reading some reviews that said the type of glass on the filter makes a big difference in quality of pictures, and the filter that the reviewer recommended is about twice the cost of most UV filters I've seen. Is there really that big of a difference in quality to warrant such an increased cost? If there is, then I don't mind shelling out the extra money. But I wanted to get some other opinions first.
Thanks!
- Wendy L. Ellis

See Wendy's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Multicoated filters are much more resistant to flare than cheaper single or uncoated filters. The other thing to look at is the ring material. Brass is generally the best, aluminum or titanium pretty good, and plastic should be avoided. The plastic rings have soft threads that are easily deformed and increase the likelihood of the filter getting stuck on the lens.
Spending more for B+W or Hoya's top-line Super HMC (Hoya Multi Coated) is appropriate for your L lens, but you may not necessarily see a difference in your photos. I'm happy using Tiffen and Hoya's mid-line Standard or HMC filters and using the lens hood to control flare.
The makers also have a more expensive line for use on wide-angle lenses, where using a filter may contribute to vignetting. Called Ultra (Hoya), Slim, Wide, WA (Tiffen Wide-Angle), etc. these usually eliminate the front threads (so filters cannot be stacked). Generally not a problem for your zoom, these are usually more appropriate for use on focal lengths less than 24mm.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 2:
If you feel the need for a UV filter, consider the Singh Ray Hi-Lux. It is a multi-coated UV with an 81A built-in, super high-quality glass. Works especially well when using flash, as the 81A tends to warm the cold light generated from the flash, including the slight blue cast on wedding gowns when using flash. http://singhray.com
- 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=14639

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14639

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NEW QUESTION 5: How to Shoot a Dance Revue with No Flash
I have a Canon Digital Rebel. I was trying to shoot my grand-daughter's first dance revue last year. I used a tripod and no flash, and most of my pictures came out blurred. I really would like to take this year's pictures the right way. I am new to this. Does anyone have any suggestion that would help me out. I really don't want to disappoint my grandbaby this year. Help!!!
- Linda Guidroz

ANSWER 1:
The least expensive way to get action stopping shutter speeds is to shoot at higher ISO, 800 or 1600. On the Digital Rebel, these higher speeds can only be used in the P, Tv, Av, and M modes. P is virtually as fully automatic and easy to use as the green box or the icon modes if you are not confident of using the other exposure modes.
A relatively inexpensive option is to use a "faster" (wider aperture) lens. The EF 50 f/1.8 costs less than $100, is very sharp, and at f/2 can give you 4x-8x faster shutter speed than the EF-S 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. So, instead of 1/15 sec. and f/5.6 with the zoom, you could get 1/125 f/2 with the 50 f/1.8.
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14627

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14627

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NEW QUESTION 6: Speed When Shooting Portraits
I noticed as I look over many portrait pictures that many are taken with a slow speed, 1/60 or less. Is there a reason for that rather than take at a faster speed to ensure you don't get any movement of the subject? Or is it really just based on what f-stop you need. ?
- Joe Jarosz

Visit joejaroszphoto.com - Joe's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
It is primarily based on the f-stop needed. 1/60 is plenty fast enough to capture portraits. There is also the fact that many older cameras sync at 1/60 or slower.
- Kerry L. Walker

ANSWER 2:
Joe,
One other thought: If the portrait was taken with strobes, then they freeze the action no matter whether the shutter speed is at 1/60 or 1 second - if you are using just strobes. What matters is how much ambient light is influencing the scene. It is quite common to take a portrait with strobes that also uses some of the ambient light and requires a shutter speed of, say 1/15th, of a second to add detail in areas of the scene that are not lit with the strobes. In those cases, you ask your subjects to remain very still.
- Charlie Borland

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Visit Charlie Borland's Web Site - www.borlandphoto.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Charlie Borland:
Lighting for Commercial Photography
Stock Photography

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14626

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14626

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NEW QUESTION 7: Photographing Spider Webs
I took a photograph of a spider with web. But I feel the web is hard to see (although the spider is very clear ). Why did this happen?
- Vikas Shivanker

ANSWER 1:
What was your f-stop set to? A small f-stop like f2.8 will have a smaller depth of field and will keep the spider in focus, but have everything around the spider blurred out. If you want the web in focus also, you must go to a higher f-stop to get more depth of field.
- Brian Wolter

ANSWER 2:
Very fine things like a spider web show up better when there are highlights from a light angle. Also brighter colors for a background make it harder to see.
- Gregory La Grange

Visit gregorylagrange.org - Gregory's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Both of the above responses are correct.
The best time to accomplish this is early in the morning on a cool fall day. The wind will be minimal ... allowing for the use of a smaller aperture and long shutter speed (with a tripod, of course).
Try to position yourself with the rising sun in front of you, but at a slight angle to the left or right. This will accentuate the web, and create a halo of light around the spider (if he's home).

Also, you can use flash to illuminate the web. This is best when it's cloudy or if the web is in deep shade. Use a small aperture and fast shutter speed to illuminate only the web. Everything else will be black.
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14625

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14625

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*****


NEW QUESTION 8: Darkroom to Digital
Moving from traditional darkroom to computer, the photographer's tools and methodologies have changed, but have the creative possibilities been enhanced?
- Candice

ANSWER 1:
Yes.
- Michael H. Cothran

See Michael's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Candice,
I have emphasized in my classes that photography still comes from your eye and personal vision, while the tools to capture that vision have changed. The computer is a fabulous tool to continue your visual story.
- Charlie Borland

See Charlie Borland's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Charlie Borland's Web Site - www.borlandphoto.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Charlie Borland:
Lighting for Commercial Photography
Stock Photography

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14621

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14621

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*****


NEW QUESTION 9: Copyrights and Royalties
OK, if I know that I am going to use the pictures and I have my models sign a release, is there a possibility that they can come back and ask for royalties or something? I just want to cover all the bases. And does anyone have a release format that they recommend?
- Itta A. Brown

ANSWER 1:
A model release is your contract, and you can stipulate your terms and conditions. Just do a search on "model release" to get an idea of what is typically included in the agreement. But, normally, there is no involvement with the model past the signing of the agreement. In exchange for signing the agreement, it's customary for the model to be given a picture or small portfolio or CD of images, etc.
- 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=14614

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14614

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*****


NEW QUESTION 10: How Much to Charge?
I've been asked to take pictures for a 50th Wedding Anniversary - first the church, then a hall for the party, with photos being taken at both places. About 200 people ... and the amount of hours would be around 6-7. I'm just not sure what to charge ... by the hour ...o r a flat rate for the whole evening, etc. Any suggestions??
Thanks.
- Charlene Bayerle

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Visit PictureThisbyChar.com - Charlene's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Charlene,
Prices usually are based on the market you are in, where you fit into that market based on your skills, the complexity of the assignment, and the amount of time the job takes. So, in a nutshell, that could be anywhere from $25 an hour up to $150.00. It depends on what your client is willing to pay and what you feel is a good rate for your services. That old saying is true: The value of your work depends on what someone is willing to pay for it.
- Charlie Borland

See Charlie Borland's Premium BetterPholio™
Visit Charlie Borland's Web Site - www.borlandphoto.com

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Charlie Borland:
Lighting for Commercial Photography
Stock Photography

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14600

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14600

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*****


NEW QUESTION 11: Best Filters for Outdoor Photography
I have recently purchased a digital SLR and would like to get some filters to improve my outdoor and nature photographs. I currently have a polarizer and UV filters, but I'm wondering what other filters are most useful. I've been considering a graduated neutral density filter, colored filters, etc. Does anyone have recommendations as to what types of filters would be good? Thanks.
- Brooke Peterschmidt

ANSWER 1:
Unless you like to play with special effects, the most commonly used filters for outdoors are the Polarizer, 81A Warming, Enhancer, Graduated Neutral Density, and Neutral Density filters. Personally, I like to travel light and carry the polarizer, 81A warming and 3 stop GND (Soft). I also carry the enhancer only during fall season. I am thinking about replacing the 81A warming and polarizer with the Gold-n-Blue Polarizer (still thinking, because it is very expensive). Hope this helps.
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 2:
You can apply your filter effects digitally with nikMultimedia Classic Filter Efex II. Several effects cannot be replicated digitally. You will need a polarizer, since digital cannot remove glare. You will need a graduated neutral density to preserve detail in bright areas, because once lost, detail cannot be replaced. You will need a straight neutral density filter to achieve longer exposures since most digital cameras' sensitivity (ISO) only goes down to ISO100 or ISO200. Having an 81A or 81B to warm up scenes shot in overcast or in shade is helpful and faster, but not essential since the effect can be applied easily in software.
- 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=14599

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14599

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NEW QUESTION 12: Flash and White Balance
I have been an enthusiastic amateur photographer for years. I have a question about photographing people encompassing a hall or large background at night with natural light. I take a reading of the background, then use a slow shutter speed (say 15 sec.) and pop my flash for the people in the foreground. There is always a difference with the white balance of the background (orange glow) and the flash foreground (natural white). Is this normal, or can it be altered using filters or whatever?
- Roy Blinston

ANSWER 1:
Yes, it is normal. The color temperature of the flash is balanced to match that of daylight, while the lights in your background are probably tungsten. You can balance the flash and background by putting a filter over the flash (85A, B, or C), so that its light matches that of the background. Leave the white balance on daylight so the whole scene has the orange glow, or set the white balance to tungsten (or custom) to get natural colors.
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=14578

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=14578

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING 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 photographer who 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

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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

ANSWER 2:
Thanks Steve ... I appreciate your great advice!! I have the Digital Rebel, but I am confident in its abilities. I hope to take some of the shots in Raw, but I may decide to do more and buy another CF card. I really appreciate your help!! Thanks!
- Tammy L. Odell

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ANSWER 3:
Hi Tammy,
Briefly, a couple of suggestions - try to go to the church beforehand - bring a friend to model for you wearing white (or go to the rehearsal)and take some test shots. And remember that if you set custom white balance it will change as you move from the inside of the church to outside to the reception, etc.
Good luck, I know you'll do great!
- Donna Johnson

ANSWER 4:
I have 27 years of wedding photography experience and the past 4 years shooting weddings digitally with the Fuji S2.

My advice:
Use the default white balance settings (auto). Custom settings have to be metered in each different lighting situation and you don't have the time if you recording images at a fast pace. Should you use a custom setting and the lighting changes, there could be problems. Keep checking that histogram!!!

Shoot in JPEG at the highest setting on your camera before jumping up to a TIFF. Your work flow will be a lot faster.

Do not use the pop-up flash on that Digital Rebel. Get a stroboframe bracket with a dedicated cord for your flash.

Shoot at default settings for ISO from the factory (usually 200). Use flash up to the ceremony when Dad hands her off to the Groom. The rest of the ceremony - up to the kiss - should be no flash. You may have to increase the ISO to 400, but not 800 as you'll get noise. Use a tripod!!!

Have the bride tell the minister at the rehearsal dinner that her photographer will not use flash during the ceremony. During the ceremony, be that quiet little mouse in the back that nobody notices.

Make plenty of backup copies on CD or DVD of the RAW files (at least 4) when you get home and go to bed.
- Gregg

ANSWER 5:
Thanks for all the great info, Gregg!! I have been using the strobo with my Sigma ef 500 super for quite sometime now, so that's covered.
So you're saying don't shoot any in RAW, just the highest JPEG I can?? And I should only use flash during the ceremony when they do the KISS?
I plan to use a tripod and a cable release and work from the back as much as possible. I just wasn't sure of what the "must have" shots of the ceremony. I was worried about shooting the KISS in available light, but wondered if my shutter would be too slow to freeze it. I guess it depends on how long they kiss!!
I always save my images to CD the moment I get home from a shoot!! Even before I open them in PS. I have a fear of losing a file or something. I have heard horror stories that people have had files corrupted and the like. It scares me to death!!

I have gotten some great advice .... thanks to all of you!! Wish me luck and I hope to have some great images to post next week!
- Tammy L. Odell

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ANSWER 6:
I guess you could shoot at the highest JPEG, but I've noticed that when I shoot, so that I record a RAW image and a JPEG my Raw image is cleaner. But I have the M2 and that shoots faster in RAW then most. All I can say is practice it out, that's the good thing about digital. You can practice all day and alls it cost is time.
- Steven M. Florin

ANSWER 7:
Hi, Tammy!
If it's OK to use flash, use it. Here's some general good advice. Don't photograph or move around during any prayers. Take pictures from different angles. Set your camera on a tripod to get a wide-angle shot from the back. Get close-ups of the ring exchange. Capture emotions (laughter, tears, etc.). If there is a videographer, try not to get into any of his shots. Important: If you have longer hair, you'll get more respect if you tie it back. Older folks don't like to see photographers in churches with their hair flopping around (for real). Do you have your altar pictures all planned out to make them go smoothly? Make sure you pose everyone properly. Have fun and good luck!
- Maria

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CONTINUING QUESTION 2: 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.
- JAMK Photography

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ANSWER 2:
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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ANSWER 3:
Jessica - Try AI Servo on the 20D. It's best for moving action shots.
- Luis Curran

ANSWER 4:
The first thing you need to shoot in poorly lit gyms is a "FAST" lens: F2.8 or faster. The cheapest option is a 50mm (normal) f1.8 for about $100. A zoom lens with fixed apertures of f2.8 (35-70 or 80-200) will be a good investment.

A high ISO is essential for gyms (800-1600) to keep your shutter speed at least 1/125 second (for 35-70 zoom) or 1/200 second (for 80-200 zoom). This also helps keep the background from going black.

Fill flash can also help. I usually keep it -1 to -2 stops.

Sometimes none of the above works very well. Then all you can do is set your camera to the fastest shutter speed for flash, the largest aperture, and use flash and let the subject be well-lit but the background will be dark (it looks like you took the picture in the dark). Experiment with the ISO; sometimes 400 ISO with a dark background is better than 1600 ISO with a lighter background if is too grainy.

On the bright side, Baseball Season is coming soon!!!!
- Ron Burgis

ANSWER 5:
Just one more thought, I shoot horses a lot and had some sharpness issues with action shots. The Canon 20D also has a "camera select focus", where it decides your focus point - "selective focus," I believe. I turned this OFF as I was never happy with where it found its focus. I use the center, point focus, center-weighted metering, mostly. And AI servo for my action shots ... usually in TV shutter priority. Or Aperture priority mode with a high shutter speed. Or manual in bad lighting. I have had good luck with 800 and 1600 ISO in indoor arenas. I also have a 70-200 2.8 lens.
- Cookie Serletic

ANSWER 6:
You have two big problems with shooting action indoors. First is the camera's ability to track a moving object in low light. The second is the slow shutter speeds needed. This is especially true when you at full zoom.
One thing you can do is choose where you shoot from. Get as close as you can where you can predict some action. You can prefocus an area and shoot when something enters it. Where the horses enter the arena is usually fairly well lit. I'd start there.
Don't forget the flash. You need an external flash for the extra power you need.
The bottom line is that the conditions will dictate what pictures you can successfully take.
I hope that helps.Ron
- Ron Burgis

ANSWER 7:
I've never shot with a digital SLR before, so I'm not sure if anything I say will help (the newfangled lights outside of the film world are so bright and scary). Anyhow, on your low-light action shots, I'd break out the faster ISOs - like 800 and up - especially with telephoto lenses where the slightest shakes and movements are increased. Flash can be good wherever permitted also.
That's all the advice I can give you I mostly do youth baseball and extreme sports, so the majority of my stuff is outdoors. I've done one basketball game for a friend at work and used fill flash and continuous AF ... with large apertures ... and they came out great (but I was also courtside and close to the action). I've done 2 skating competitions indoors (using the same method as the b-ball game), which is a little harder and only about 50 percent came out satisfactory to me out of four rolls.
- Justin

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