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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 28, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: New Course for Spring: Bare Bones Digital Photography!
* BETTERPHOTO: Featured Article by Charlie Borland: Joining a Stock Agency
* BETTERPHOTO: Spring Courses: Enjoy a Season of Learning and Shooting!
* BETTERPHOTO: BetterPhoto Instructor Interview ... with Kerry Drager
* FEATURED GALLERY: Focus on Rivers and Creeks
* FEATURED PLACE: Focusing on the Beauty of Wales
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Photographic Legend / Ansel's First Camera
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Best RAW File Converter? ... by Peter K. Burian
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: What Is a Lens Doubler (Tele-Converter)?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: What Type of Filter Do I Need?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Photographing Action: Sports
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Posing, Background, and Lighting
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Lighting in Photography: How Do Slaves Work?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Baseball Photos: Best Lens?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Portrait Photos: A Shadow Question
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Professional Photography: Local Sports Option
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: BetterPhoto - AOL or Compuserve Uploads
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: How Do I Process RAW Format Exposures?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: Model Releases for Professional Sports
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 12: Photo Assistant: How to Get Started?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 13: More Memory Problems
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 14: Resizing Photos and Retaining Crispness
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Wedding Photography: Low Light


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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New Course for Spring: Bare Bones Digital Photography!
Robin Nichols has joined BetterPhoto.com's team of online instructors with a basic class on digital photography. Robin is the publisher of Australia's largest-selling specialist digital photo publication and is also the author of several photo books. His new course is geared to those who have just bought a digital camera or have been shooting for a few months but feel they need a basic refresher course. For details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/ROB01.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 205th issue of SnapShot!

Hi

So many great things are happening at BetterPhoto! First off, we welcome our newest online instructor: Robin Nichols, a photographer-author who's also the publisher of a major digital photo publication in Australia. He will be teaching "Bare Bones Digital Photography". For information, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/ROB01.asp

Our terrific series of Instructor Interviews continues with photographer-author Kerry Drager in the spotlight. He shares his thoughts and tips in a new article at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/interviews/photography-instructor-interviews.asp

In this issue of SnapShot, instructor Charlie Borland offers advice for breaking into the world of stock photography. Read his article below. And, in This Week's Photo Tip, Peter Burian discusses RAW file converters. In addition, check out our usual features - from galleries to another awesome Questions-and-Answers selection.

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 Charlie Borland: Joining a Stock Agency
Would you like to make money off your passion? In his excellent new article, master photographer and instructor Charlie Borland discusses the realities of the business, while also offering valuable tips and tricks for aspiring stock photographers. Charlie, by the way, teaches three popular online courses at BetterPhoto: Stock Photography, Lighting for Commercial Photography, and Lighting for Commercial Photography - Advanced. Read his article at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=49


*****
Spring Courses: Enjoy a Season of Learning and Shooting!
Would you like to learn more about exposure, composition, digital photography, photographic field techniques, Photoshop, specialty subjects, or the business of photography? Join us April 6th for an inspiring online photo course at BetterPhoto.com. Let us be your guide ... with our courses, you will become a better photographer. For details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/categories.asp


*****
BetterPhoto Instructor Interview ... with Kerry Drager
At BetterPhoto, we are privileged to have so many awesome instructors. That's why we launched our Instructor Interviews. First up was Bryan F. Peterson. Now, Kerry Drager takes center stage. The author of Scenic Photography 101 discusses how he got his start in photography and how he got his first book deal, and shares his thoughts on how to break into the professional ranks. Read it all at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/interviews/photography-instructor-interviews.asp

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Focus on Rivers and Creeks
Flowing water always catches the eye of outdoor photographers. That's especially true of BetterPhoto members and instructors, who have captured beautiful renditions of moving water in all its forms. Shooting tip? Experiment with shutter speed: Fast, in order to freeze the action; or slow, in order to convey a soft feeling of motion ... via a low ISO, small aperture, perhaps a deep-tinted filter (polarizer or neutral density), and low light - heavy overcast, deep shade, or very early or very late in the day. View this gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=491

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FEATURED PLACE
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Focusing on the Beauty of Wales
A check of BetterPhoto's galleries reveals how members have profiled a visually dynamic slice of the United Kingdom: Wales. So many subjects have been recorded: eye-catching landscapes, lighthouses, architecture, animals, castles, and white water. And these beautiful scenes have been captured in equally beautiful light. See the Wales gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=484

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
A number of legendary photographers died in 2004. One of them, a longtime Life magazine shooter, once reportedly told an editor: "Whenever I was on assignment, I was always aware of history. I was thinking about it, and I was seeing it. That's what I did in my photographs." Who said that?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Orin Eisenhauer is:
Carl Mydans, who photographed events from the Great Depression to wars, and was a charter member of the Life magazine staff. He was 97.

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 - Ansel's First Camera - entered by BetterPhoto member Kerry Drager

In 1916, Ansel Adams received a gift from his parents that helped launch his legendary career. What kind of camera was it?

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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Best RAW File Converter? ... by Peter K. Burian
In response to questions at Betterphoto on shooting in RAW capture and converting images to TIFF, using special software: Cameras that offer a RAW capture mode option come with suitable software for adjusting the raw files and converting them to TIFF. Photoshop Elements 3.0 and 7 also include that feature, but do not support all cameras' RAW file formats. (Photoshop CS does.)

If you are considering aftermarket software, check out www.pictureflowe.com (PhaseOne LE - does not support all cameras either) or RawShooters www.pixmantec.com. At this time, RawShooters is free. At some point, the free version will expire and you'll need to decide if you want to pay for it. (Price not yet set.) Note: If you try RawShooters, be sure to set Sharpening to about -30. Otherwise, it over-sharpens your images. It does not support all cameras' RAW files either. (The Web site provides lists of supported cameras). But for a free software, it's incredibly effective, fast, and easy to use.

Check out Peter Burian's online course:

Digital Photography
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/PBN01.asp

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: What Is a Lens Doubler (Tele-Converter)?
Can someone explain what a "lens doubler" is?
- Cheri Delage

See Cheri's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
It's also commonly called a "tele-converter." It goes between your camera and lens, and will double the focal length of your lens. So, if you have a 300mm lens, and use a tele-converter or lens doubler, you would end up with a 600mm lens.
The downside is that they rob you of 2 full stops of light, and some image quality. There are some special units that are manufactured and dedicated to use with a certain lens, while others are generic in nature and can be used on just about any lens. It's a cheap way to double the amount of focal length of the lenses in your pouch. The very best are quite good, while the cheaper bunch are not. Again, as in most things optical - you get what you pay for.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=15117

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=15117

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NEW QUESTION 2: What Type of Filter Do I Need?
I have a Canon 300D digital camera. I was instructed in one of my Betterphoto.com courses that I needed a graduated natural density (GND) filter, so I could avoid the sky looking light or blown out. When I went to the photography store, I asked for the GND filter, but was told I probably wanted a Circular Polarizing Filter instead. Can you tell me what the difference is and what would be most beneficial? Any help on this subject would be appreciated.
- Kelly S. Dickinson

See Kelly's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Your friendly local photography store is full of hooey. The two filters are not the same. They have NOTHING in common.
A graduated neutral density filter is usually rectangle in shape, and made to fit some of the filter holders available today. The top is dark, gradually becoming clear towards the bottom, thus allowing more light to strike the bottom part of your image, and less light to strike the top part. This sort of levels the playing field in many instances where the sky is much brighter than the ground area. They are only of use in circumstances where the sky is much brighter than the land. Metering with one on your camera requires special techniques, so if you buy one, you will need to learn how to use it effectively, and how to meter with it. Check out some reputable online photo stores like B&H (www.bhphoto.com), search filters, then Graduated Neutral Density filters.
A circular polarizer is a specialized polarizing filter made specifically for auto focus cameras, as opposed to a linear polarizer which may be used on manual focus cameras. Either reduces glare on many surfaces. It is probably the most popular of all filters, and would be of value in any photographer's camera bag. More so than the GND, BUT...in those instances where a GND is absolutely needed, there is no substitute.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=15112

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=15112

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NEW QUESTION 3: Photographing Action: Sports
I have just started taking sports action shots with my Canon G5. When I look through the viewfinder, I can see the image in the center but when the shot is taken it is off-center. Is this normal and what should I have to do to get it as I see it? Also, what setting should I be using (as I think this could be half the answer to my problem)? Thanks for any advice.
- Bryan

ANSWER 1:
Well, if you're shooting action, you have to keep in to mind the shutter delay. It takes some getting used to when shooting action - you have to basically anticipate where the action is going and be ready for it before it gets there. Lots of practice with your camera will help.
I've been following around the girls basketball team where I work, and I get my best shots at 1/60 F2.8 200 ISO with the flash on. But the settings will depend on the lighting, etc. What are you trying to get pictures of? Outdoors or indoors?
- Diane L. Dupuis-Kallos

See Diane's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Hey Bryan: Along the lines of what Diane mentioned, there are a few things I suggest you try to solve that problem. For example, learn how to pan your camera - i.e., turning your camera to follow the action and keep it in the viewfinder. A tripod or even a monopod will give your camera support while you do that.
Also, as Diane suggested, anticipating where the action is going - and being there ahead of time - will help you a lot. In a sense, you set your viewfinder for what I call "the zone of action", and as the players move down court you'll see them thundering into the viewfinder where you're ready to hit the shutter release. That cuts down on the time to set-up and frame your shot.
A motor drive or power winder is very useful for sports photography. It not only can help capture multiple frames in a second (depending on your actual shutter speed) but allows you to concentrate on the viewfinder without being distracted through advancing the film to the next frame, although I suspect your camera is digital.
When using available light at a venue, personally, I prefer a faster ISO and shutter speed, to work around 1/125 or 1/250th of a sec. When using a flash with a focal plane shutter, of course, you need to be working at slower speeds for flash sync, but the flash will help freeze the action. Hope that helps.
- Mark Feldstein

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=15108

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=15108

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NEW QUESTION 4: Posing, Background, and Lighting
If using a a small room as a studio, how many feet should a subject be from a background and how many feet should the subject be from the lights? Does turning your flash always result in shadows? Maybe I should use two lights instead of a flash and a strobe? Also, will the light from inside someone's home make a color difference when my strobes flash? Thanks.
- Jyan

ANSWER 1:
Wow, Jyan, you are really asking how to become a lighting technician here *smile*.
Photography is about light. Therefore, lighting is a matter of experimentation and personal choices. What is good for some is terrible for others. As a general rule, a subject is placed around 6 feet from the backdrop. That allows for some backlighting, hairlights, etc. Many good photographers use one light - however, two and three are more common.
The battle with shadows can never be won; it's a matter of understanding where and when to use shadowing to your advantage. A portrait without definition (shadowing) is very bland; the school picture comes to mind.
Use what you have available and get creative; you are now entering a whole new world of photography.
Regards,
Gary.
- Gary M. Berger

See Gary's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
First, Jyan, you need to fire up those modeling lights you were asking about earlier to see how harsh the shadows are and where the light is falling on your subject. As Gary said, getting your subject about 6' off the background is a good place to start.
How far the lighting is from the subject, however, depends on a number of factors, including how powerful your lights are, what sort of light-modifying devices you may be using, like umbrellas, softboxes, or the size of the reflectors, and the look of the photograph that you're trying to create.
It also depends on the f-stop you want to be working at along with the speed of your film. For example, a faster film will let you work at higher f-stops OR will also allow you to back your lights off from the subject a bit to allow you to work at a similar f-stop with softer or more diffused lighting.
Also to some degree, the size of lens you're using enters into this. With a short telephoto, say 105mm on 35mm equipment, or 150 on medium format, you can back the camera off the subject and, hopefully, the lights to give the person more space, rather then making them feel like they're hemmed in by equipment. This tends to result in a more relaxed looking victim ... errr ... subject. LOL
Finally, while you'll see a lot of formulas for portrait lighting, my suggestion is for you to start with one light, experiment with it, maybe using a fill card of some sort opposite that light to bounce some lighting back into the scene. You can back-light someone using a second light to visually separate them from the background, and a third light - say, for a hair accent light. If you control your main light carefully, using light modifiers or even just sheets of foamcore to prevent spilling of light past the subject and onto the background, AND use a darker or even black background, any shadows you were producing before Gary and I gave you our "excellent" advice - LOL!! - should be minimized or nearly non-existent.
Oh and BTW, while Tungsten and halogen modeling lamps both use filaments, and it's true that a watt is basically a watt, the older modeling lamps used an Edison type, threaded base, like a household lamp. The newer halogen type lights still use a filament but the gas used inside the lamp and the filament allow them to burn brighter, at more consistent temperatures and tend to last longer than standard tungsten lamps. You're right in that you have to be careful what you're shopping for and what you're buying ... always, with anything these days, I think.
- Mark Feldstein

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=15106

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=15106

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NEW QUESTION 5: Lighting in Photography: How Do Slaves Work?
I'm confused on how slaves work? Can anyone give me the "101-version?"
- Angie M. Nemanic

ANSWER 1:
The slave will fire the flash it is attached to when it senses light from the camera's flash. By positioning the slaved flash to one side of the camera at a 45 to 90 degree angle to the lens axis, contours and shapes in the subject will be enhanced.
Regards,
Gary
- Gary M. Berger

See Gary's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Well, Angie, there are different types of slave units. The kind Gary is referring to are triggered by a sensor that sees a burst of daylight temperature strobe light from a light triggered by your camera.
Another type works off infrared generated by one lamp's trigger when that light is set-off. Each of these first two types can trigger multiple lights, but operate on a line-of-sight principle. If a sensor is blocked for some reason, the light it operates won't fire.
The third kind is a radio slave that requires a transmitter usually rigged to your camera's flash sync output, and a receiver, attached to your main light. That main may, in turn and if so equipped, trigger additional lamps using the first two methods noted above. In other words, you can trigger your main light (or a pack of lights) using a radio slave and those lights can use their own internal system (either IR or daylight flash) to trigger other, similar lights with the same triggering devices. See what I mean? Mark
- Mark Feldstein

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=15104

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=15104

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NEW QUESTION 6: Baseball Photos: Best Lens?
With the baseball season here, I have just purchased a Nikon D70 w/18-70 lens to take sequential/still shots of my son pitching, etc. I know I need another zoom lens to do this, but am not sure what I really need. I want the equipment to be right, but I also don't want to re-mortgage the house to do it. I have heard differing opinions, so I thought I would see the masses had to say. Thanks for any help!
- Lori

ANSWER 1:
Good news, you don't have to re-mortgage your house to get a lens ... I use a Vivitar 60-300mm lens for my action shots I do at Little League games. Everyone in the world will tell you it's a horrible lens and compared to 500 dollars and up lenses, it probably is, but it gets the job done. No parents complain about the quality.
I had lucked out by getting the lens for free from an old friend who was glad to see a young person finding a great hobby. Who knew I'd make money and have fun all at the same time with photography. Point is I have this lens that probably didn't cost over 150$ and has still done the job I needed it to.
My suggestion to you is find a zoom lens like a 60-300mm at any camera store (or online shop) that is in the price range you're willing to spend. You should be able to find a decent one for around 200$ at the most, or maybe find one on eBay for even cheaper. Quantaray and Sigma lenses are reasonably priced and will render good-quality shots; just remember to use a faster speed film for action shots with zoom lenses; 400 or 800 ISO is what I have used. Hope I helped you with your choice.
- Justin

ANSWER 2:
Lori,
If your son is the pitcher, a 200mm or 300mm lens should be fine, but for outfielders the longer lens might be better, especially if they are Little Leaguers. I would suggest buying a lens with the lowest f/number (example f/2.8) that you can afford; this will enable you to use a faster shutter speed to stop the ball in flight. If you are looking for an inexpensive zoom, Nikon has a 70-300mm f/5.6 for about $150.00 or a 80-200mm f/2.8 for about $600 or so.
Hope that helps,
Steve
- JAMK Photography

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Visit jamkphotography.net - JAMK 's Deluxe BetterPholio™

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


NEW QUESTION 7: Portrait Photos: A Shadow Question
I am shooting with a camera that does not have a hotshoe for an external flash. I don't do a lot of portraits, but have been asked by family and friends to do them, so I try to accommodate. When we go to view the images, I get shadows, and in some cases we can live with them and in other cases we can't. I would REALLY appreciate any suggestions you guys can give me. Thanks!
- Julie A. Wall

ANSWER 1:
Hi Julie! We have the same camera! Try having them stand further away from the wall. Also you can try having more light in the room (natural or artificial by bringing in lamps) so you don't need to use the on-camera flash. Good luck!
- Diane L. Dupuis-Kallos

See Diane's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
I'm having the same problem with shadows behind the subject, and it's always the cute pictures. How far should a subject be from the background? And if I use a studio strobe with an umbrella without camera flash, would this help? Also, if the light is on in the house when photographing my subject, would it give mixed light from the strobe?
- Jyan

ANSWER 3:
When doing studio work against a backdrop, it is suggested the model be positioned approximately 6 feet from the backdrop. You can purchase an off-camera slave flash for your S5000 that will fire when your on-board flash fires. If you position this second flash as a backlight, it will eliminate the shadows. There are many choices out there; however, this flash I have seen used with the S5000 gives good results, and it isn't too expensive.
http://www.vivitar.com/Products/Flashes/flash.html#DF200
Regards, Gary
- Gary M. Berger

See Gary's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 4:
Hi, all! Thanks for the advice. I'd been having my subjects only a foot or two from the backdrop (space was an issue), but will figure out a way to pull them closer to me. Gary, thanks, I'm going to hit that link now. :) Diane, I've seen the pictures in your gallery. I had no idea our camera was capable of those kinds of results. Your photos are amazing!
- Julie A. Wall

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=15085

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=15085

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*****


NEW QUESTION 8: Professional Photography: Local Sports Option
I'm sure there are many aspiring photographers out there who are having a difficult time "breaking in" to the business. I am offering a little tip here that has worked well for me.
After investing a few bucks in lighting, soft boxes, snoots, flashes, cameras, and on and on, I found myself spending a lot of time sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. It didn't.
Without a budget for expensive advertising and with very little experience beside the usual family and friend photo shoots, I searched around and found I could make a couple of dollars shooting local sports teams. These leagues depend on the registration fees to survive, so therefore I knew they would be underfunded and I would have to bid low to get the business. It worked.
Since shooting league photo day pictures, my business took off (sort of) and now the phone rings a few times a week - *smile* - hey, it's much better than silence.
I approach each individual player shot as a portrait opportunity and have found if you put your love and knowledge of photography into it those little pictures can turn out amazingly stunning. I use filters, backdrops, and reflectors on photo day, and the kids and parents alike are impressed with the "studio set-up" and begin to ask questions I love to hear: "Do you do family portraits?"
Every city and town has a community sports program, and most are hungry for affordable photographers. Don't look for a huge profit from this. but instead think of it as a enjoyable day of advertising and a chance to hone your skills.
Regards,
Gary
- Gary M. Berger

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ANSWER 1:
Glad to hear it's working for you, Gary!
- Diane L. Dupuis-Kallos

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ANSWER 2:
Oh Yeah! Woo Hoo! Way to go, Gary ... :-)
Bob (remember? from class?)
- Robert Cournoyer

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ANSWER 3:
That is exactly how I'm getting my name around now, lol. Just like you said, I went to local recreational ballparks and soccer fields, passed out business cards I made at Office Max and have been busy since. It tends to be a bit expensive to start out but well worth it in the long run. I have two jobs and then I have this activity that brings me income too (I can't call it a third job, because I enjoy it too much for it to be work). It helps me out with paying for school. It's good to hear it has worked for others as well as myself.
- Justin

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=15079

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=15079

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*****


NEW QUESTION 9: BetterPhoto - AOL or Compuserve Uploads
In another thread, there is a discussion about the poor quality of images uploaded to BetterPhoto by those who use AOL or Compuserve:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=15003

There is a solution provided, thanks to Stephen. It's well worth reading if you use Compuserve or AOL and find that image quality on uploads is not ideal.
Peter Burian
- Peter K. Burian

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Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Peter Burian:
Digital Photography with Guest Instructor Peter Burian

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=15074

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NEW QUESTION 10: How Do I Process RAW Format Exposures?
I have just started taking RAW photos and have just upgraded to Adobe Photoshop 7.0. Will this software edit this type of file? If so, how do I open my RAW pictures?
- Sam H. Warriner

ANSWER 1:
There are RAW plug-ins for Photoshop or use the software with the camera. It is optimized for your RAW images, and allows you to make adjustments before saving out as a TIFF ... almost like re-scanning a negative. You can always go back to the RAW format and re-extract it with modifications. Very cool. But I would use the software that came with it.
- Chris J. Browne

ANSWER 2:
Photoshop 7 should have come with a RAW converter, called Adobe Camera Raw. When you installed 7, that converter software would have installed automatically.
You should be able to open RAW format images in 7, just as you would open JPEGs. The Raw software screen will pop up with your image in the preview screen.
BUT ... the Raw converter for PS7 has not been updated for a long time. Hence, it does not support many recent cameras' RAW file formats.
Photoshop CS does, but 7 is not a current product so it is not getting the updates.
Could you use the Camera Raw update file for CS (from www.adobe.com)and load that file to Photoshop 7? I don't know.
I'll try to find out, but perhaps someone else here knows the answer.
Peter Burian
- Peter K. Burian

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Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Peter Burian:
Digital Photography with Guest Instructor Peter Burian

ANSWER 3:
Peter/Chris, I decided to buy the CS upgrade for a solution to this problem, thank you very much for your answers.
Sam
- Sam H. Warriner

ANSWER 4:
Peter,
The newer Adobe RAW Converter will not function in PS7. I have tried. After buying a new D70, I had to get an upgrade to CS to be able to use RAW files. The Nikon software leaves a little to be desired:-)
Nikon Software 100.00
PS CS upgrade around 200.00
- Terry R. Hatfield

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ANSWER 5:
Terry: I just tried it too, and you're right. You cannot use the new RAW converter with Photoshop 7. I tried it with Elements 3.0, and it seems to work fine. And that is MUCH less expensive than Photoshop CS.
Peter Burian
- Peter K. Burian

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NEW QUESTION 11: Model Releases for Professional Sports
Hi, I just found this great site and decided to sign up. Question: If I attend a paid sporting event like a professional baseball game and shoot photos of some of the players, would I need their permission to sell those photos at shows or online? I appreciate your input!
Thanks.
- Earl Blansfield

ANSWER 1:
Yes, by either the subject or their authorized agent. This is clearly commercial use of the image or likeness of an individual, regardless whether they're sports stars or not.
Take it light. Mark
- Mark Feldstein

ANSWER 2:
Earl,
In addition to needing releases, be sure and get league permission, as they have very strict rules and controls in place to manage how photos from their events are used.
- Charlie Borland

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NEW QUESTION 12: Photo Assistant: How to Get Started?
I would like to learn how to become a photography assistant or meet a photographer that will be willing to mentor a beginner. I am very dedicated and hard working person, and would like the opportunity to learn under a professional. I am interested in wedding and studio photography. I would greatly appreciate any advice and how to get started. Thank you.
- Megan

ANSWER 1:
Megan,
I have used many assistants over the last 25 years. I am contacted constantly by photographers wanting to be assistants. This is a fabulous way for you to learn the business if that is your goal, but not the only way. I look for a couple things when meeting and talking with these people. First, how are they dressed and how do they look? Can I take them with me to shoot a corporate executive and not make myself look bad? Do they talk too much ... meaning, will they try to help solve problems on a shoot that I am discussing with the client, and the assistant has no business with that? Are they looking to learn, and are they willing to do all the grunt work? This means carry the gear, load and unload my truck after a shoot, clean my gear, clean my studio after a shoot, dash to the lab with the film and then go pick it up, run errands, and so on. That is what being an assistant is about. But you also get to help while doing shoots and you can learn a lot. Assistants make about $25 an hour in my area. I have had plenty of people want to be my assistant because it paid $25 an hour, but they had no experience. So they wanted me to teach them how to set up my lights, load film into a back, feather a light, assemble a Chimera box, and so on, and they wanted to make $25 an hour while I taught them. It didn't happen! I hire the assistants who have taken workshops, gone to photography school, or worked for someone else for a while and know all that stuff. There are so many qualified assistants out there who have learned how to be an assistant, why would I want to teach? I just don't have time to teach, but would consider accepting payment in exchange for teaching someone to be my assistant. That is why I do workshops. So my point is to educate yourself as much as you can by taking classes and workshops and anything else that you can do to learn how to set up lights, how to help at a wedding shoot, portrait setup, etc. You need to make yourself an asset to have around the studio. Then the real learning begins.
- Charlie Borland

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ANSWER 2:
Charlie,
That is GREAT advice for a beginner! I would love to be an assistant but my focus is on outdoor photography. I spend as much time as I can taking photos, and I research as much as possible but the real learning experience is being there with someone who really knows what they are doing. I plan on taking some workshops but of course $ comes into play. I thank you for the fantastic advice, and this site is so great because of pros like yourself willing to take the time.
- Mike Carpenter

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ANSWER 3:
Here's part of the reply I posted to a similar question about wedding photography: Greetings Megan,
Essentially, I think the way to go about getting a gig as an assistant is the same as looking for any other job. Although I do commercial work for advertising and corporate image shooting and I have one full-time assistant, sometimes we need an extra pair of hands or two. Initially, if I'm short on resumes, I'll check the registry of assistants with ASMP: http://www.asmp.org. You may qualify to sign up on the call list there which may not get you weddings but if you're called, it'll get you experience plus pay for your efforts. Also, joining a local chapter of a professional association like WPPA, PPA, ASMP, etc., will help you meet potential pros you can work for on one basis or another. It'll also contribute to your education on practices and pricing.
When I interview someone who's interested in an assistant position, I expect them to show up with some kind of self-promotional enthusiasm beyond "Hey, dude, I wanna be an assistant". I like to see some kind of portfolio of their work but nothing fancy; some type of resume with a work and education summary, even if it's only being a high school student bagging groceries at a local market; a certain level of enthusiasm is appreciated; a neat appearance and some kind of idea about how much they want for salary. I also appreciate people who interview me at the same time, asking questions like, "Why should I want to be your assistant?" or "What could I expect to learn working here?".
Personally, I tend to appreciate those who express a willingness to do scut work initially, cleaning up, packing and unpacking gear, cleaning equipment, sweeping studio floors, straightening up, etc., but at the same time, letting them observe studio shoots. They also get familiar with equipment, enough to assist in studio and on location shoots. It's called "paying dues". Wedding photography should be no different.
Getting a well-rounded education is also helpful, including classes in photography, design, art history perhaps, among others.
Meanwhile, best wishes in your quest, Megan. Let me (us) know how you fared. Mark
- Mark Feldstein

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NEW QUESTION 13: More Memory Problems
Well, I attempted to use my memory card reader, and it didn't work when I switched my camera on. It is saying that the card needs formatted: OK or cancel. Should I just go ahead and format it even though it will delete all my pictures? Can anyone tell me exactly how to get the pictures from the card ... they will not upload to my computer and I can't view them on my camera.
Many thanks.
- Karen Lehmann

ANSWER 1:
There is recovery software available. You'll have to do your research as far as that goes. BUT more importantly, this should not be happening with any kind of regularity. Try a new card. If it happens again, there is definitely a problem with your camera or reader. Plus, you shouldn't be able to use the card at all until it's formatted (it may be pre-formatted). So, it you're constantly shooting and then being asked to reformat your card on more than one card, the issue is with your hardware.
- Tony Sweet

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NEW QUESTION 14: Resizing Photos and Retaining Crispness
Greetings: I have posted a couple of photos in the photo contests and I noticed that when I view them online they seem blurry and not as sharp as they do on my screen prior to resizing the image in Photoshop. All I do is resize the image to the parameters acceptable by BP and don't change anything else. Any suggestions?
- Enrique R. Cerda

ANSWER 1:
Go to your PS preferences and set your image interpolation to "bicubic sharper." That will maintain sharpness when downsizing for the Web. Check out Ben Willmore and Jack Davis's book, How to Wow: Photoshop for Photography. It's a bible of digital imaging for photographers!
- Tony Sweet

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ANSWER 2:
Tony,
Thank you for your reply. I will give that a try. Thanks for the tip on the book as well!
- Enrique R. Cerda

ANSWER 3:
Tony, I tried that but I don't think it works with Elements 3.0. Is it just the CS version?
- Mike Carpenter

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ANSWER 4:
Mike: Bicubic Sharper is available with Elements 3.0.
Resize > see the little box near the bottom of the palette. It shows Bicubic.
That's actually a menu that also allows you to select Bicubic Sharper.
Peter Burian
- Peter K. Burian

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ANSWER 5:
Peter, Thank you again. I found it.
- Mike Carpenter

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Wedding Photography: Low Light
I am shooting a wedding for a friend and want to be sure that my existing flash will illuminate my subjects properly. It will be low-lighting, with some candles. Will my auto mode capture the correct exposure, or do I need to purchase a more powerful flash?
- Lynn J. Sims

ANSWER 1:
Lynn: That depends on how powerful your current flash unit is, how far away the subject will be, and the ISO setting that you are using. The higher the ISO, the greater the effective range of any flash unit. But image quality gets lower by ISO 800. If you mean your built-in flash, it's not very powerful.
Can you provide more specifics as to exactly what equipment you have?
- Peter K. Burian

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ANSWER 2:
Forget program mode, and go to manual. Drag the shutter, low speed to allow ambient light to fill the exposure. A pop-up camera flash at less than 10 feet would be fine, but large groups will need additional light.
- Gregg

ANSWER 3:
I recently did a wedding in low light. I shot mostly 800 ISO and used a monopod for added stability. If you get a chance, go there before the wedding and meter the situation. Find out if you'll be able to handhold at certain settings, etc. Keep in mind that you'll want a bit faster than what your reading is due to the action that will be going on as well. Talk to the client, explain what's going to happen. Some clients will love the grain of 1600, some will hate it.
- James Boone

ANSWER 4:
Are you shooting digital or film? If digital, then be aware of noise at high ISO. Built-in flash is usually pretty poor and you'd get better results with a separate flash unit. There are loads of second-hand units out there (Metz are good units and readily available for weddings). Also consider getting a fast lens - the faster the lens the greater the effective distance of your flash. Hope that helps.
- David J. Hartley

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