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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 - Wednesday, June 22, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: BetterPhoto's Summer School: Learn, Shoot, and Enjoy!
* BETTERPHOTO: BetterPhoto Summit: Jam-Packed Weekend of Tips, Techniques
* BETTERPHOTO: Article: How to Select the Right Inkjet Photo Printer ... by Peter Burian
* BETTERPHOTO: Fashion and Beauty: New Online Course for Summer
* FEATURED GALLERY: Surfing Pictures, Kayak Photos, and Other Water Sports Images
* FEATURED PLACE: Florida beaches, Florida Birds ... and More!
* FEATURED PHOTO LINK: Check Out Our New Campus Shop!
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Lightening Up / He's Still a Photo Hobbyist
* THIS WEEK'S TIP:
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Macro Photography: What Lens to Buy?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: What is TIFF, RAW and JPEG?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: How to Remove Noise
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Balancing Outdoor Vs. Indoor Lighting
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Wedding Photography: Getting Started
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: What Exactly Is Fill Flash ...
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Macro Lens Focusing: Full Vs. Limit
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Tripod and Ball Head
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Autofocus Problems
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Wedding Photography: Lenses, Etc.
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: Thank you BP Judges
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 12: How to Eliminate Shadows
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Easy Solution to Cropping in PS CS?


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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BetterPhoto's Summer School: Learn, Shoot, and Enjoy!
Are you interested in learning more about exposure, composition, digital photography, photographic field techniques, Photoshop, specialty subjects, or the business of photography? Then join us July 6th for an inspiring online photo course at BetterPhoto.com. We have an awesome lineup of classes ... check them out at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 217th issue of SnapShot!

Hi

Limited-Time Special Offer: Get free shipping on a book when you sign up for a course! That's right: sign up for a course by July 1st, and get free shipping on the book of your choice. All you have to do to take advantage of this special offer is place both items in your shopping cart. We'll make sure you're not charged shipping! Select a course at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp

Then choose your favorite book or DVD from our Bookstore:
http://www.betterphoto.com/store.asp

We are thrilled about our next session of online photo courses. In fact, the Summer lineup is our best ever - thanks to a number of exciting new instructors and classes. Although the next session doesn't start until July 6th, some courses are already filling up. Select the course that best meets your needs at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp

We also have some cool new features at BetterPhoto. Check them out:
- The Member Center makes updating your gallery a snap! You can upload pictures, sort and delete images, edit titles, enter and view your contest entries, and email your photos to friends and family. Learn more at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/tour-member-center-1.asp
- With your Member Center, it's easy to convert to a sleek Premium BetterPholio™ that really puts your photography in the spotlight. More information:
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And, in this issue of SnapShot, don't miss an excellent new article ("How to Select the Right Inkjet Photo Printer") by instructor Peter Burian, a great extended photo tip ("Cleaning Your Digital Camera's Sensor") by instructor Jim Zuckerman, and a collection of outstanding questions and answers.

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


*****
BetterPhoto Summit: Jam-Packed Weekend of Tips, Techniques
Learn from the best of the best at the BetterPhoto Summit! The stars of this instruction-packed, enjoyment-filled show will include keynote speakers Bryan Peterson ("Digital Exposure"), Jim Zuckerman ("What You Can Do to Immediately Put Drama in Your Photos"), and Ben Willmore ("The New Essentials of Photoshop"). In addition, BP founder Jim Miotke, other instructors, and staff members will be on hand too. The photographic good times will roll on September 10th and 11th, 2005, near the Seattle airport ... two intensive days of inspiration for just $297! For details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/summit.asp


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Article: How to Select the Right Inkjet Photo Printer ... by Peter Burian
Whether you shoot with a digital camera or scan photographs, print making can be one of the most rewarding aspects of photography, says instructor-author Peter Burian in a new article: "How to Select the Right Inkjet Photo Printer". In the past, you needed a darkroom and a great deal of expertise to make beautiful color or black-and-white prints. Today, anyone can make prints that are suitable for framing - but the prerequisite is a printer designed to produce optimal results when outputting photos. Peter, by the way, guest-instructs an online course, Digital Photography, right here at BetterPhoto. Read his printer-guide article at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=83


*****
Fashion and Beauty: New Online Course for Summer
Expert photographer Bruce Smith joins the BetterPhoto team with an exciting course that covers the fascinating world of fashion photography. In "Fashion and Beauty: Introduction to Fashion Photography", you will learn tips and techniques for capturing great fashion images. The course is designed for anyone who wants to shoot fashion images for fun or who wishes to become a professional fashion photographer.
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/bru01.asp

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Surfing Pictures, Kayak Photos, and Other Water Sports Images
White-water rafters caught in mid-action, surfers flying through the air, and other scenes involving kayaking, board sailing, parasurfing, scuba diving, and jet skiing ... this is just some of the excitement captured by BetterPhoto photographers. Recording the color and character of water sports, however, doesn't just involve catching the peak of the action; also look for graphic-design images that involve pattern and repetition. See our "Surfing Pictures, Kayak Pictures, and Water Sports" gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=139

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FEATURED PLACE
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Florida beaches, Florida Birds ... and More!
BetterPhoto shooters have really put the creative spotlight on Florida. Besides great images of birds and beaches, our gallery includes architectural details, bridge shots, sunset silhouettes, and people out there doing things. View BetterPhoto's "Florida Pictures" gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=218

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
Carbon-fiber tripods have been called the first big advance in tripod design in many years. They are sturdy and lighter in weight than their aluminum counterparts. Of course, they're more expensive, too. What year did the carbon-fiber tripod debut?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Kerry Drager is:
Editor's Note: Some good answers to this question, but, alas, none were correct. Carbon-fiber tripods first became available in 1994 ... according to Outdoor Photographer's "20 Years of Innovation" feature in its June 2005 issue.

See Kerry's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=20858

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 - He's Still a Photo Hobbyist - entered by BetterPhoto member Kerry Drager

What well-known comedic actor - and avid photo collector - said the following? "I've always enjoyed photography and started collecting ... I'm really not a good photographer. I'm like one of those people who, you know, they can't do something, so that makes them appreciate it all the more."

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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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:

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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: Macro Photography: What Lens to Buy?
I'm looking to buy a new lens for my film-based Canon Rebel EOS. I would like to get a macro lens to shoot close-ups of flowers, and anything else around the house that I can find that might make an interesting picture. Anyone have some comments on which lens might be the best for me? I'm pretty new to photography, so I don't want to spend a fortune just yet.
Is it possible to take portraits with a macro lens as well? With a child on the way, I'm sure I'll be taking several pics of him/her as well. Is there one lens that will satisfy both of these situations? Thanks for your help!
- Brandon Currey

ANSWER 1:
I have the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM for both close-up and protrait. It's about $470 at B&H. I am very satisfy with the image quality it produces. Hope this helps.
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 2:
I purchased my macro for the Canon EOS at Ritz photo for $119.
- Karen E. Michaels

Visit karenemichaels.com - Karen's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Macro lenses in any focal length have the ability to focus from several inches ... all the way to infinity. This makes them quite versatile, in that they can also be used for scenics, portraits, and all-around use.
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=17123

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=17123

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*****


NEW QUESTION 2: What is TIFF, RAW and JPEG?
When purchasing a digital camera, is it important that it is JPEG, RAW, and TIFF. What are these terms referring to, and what would be best? It seems like only the very expensive cameras have all three.
- Denine Rowan

ANSWER 1:
These terms all refer to file formats for graphic images (photos). JPEG is the most universal format. It compresses the image for a smaller file size. The higher the compression level, the more the image quality will be degraded. Practically all digital cameras available today can save images in JPEG format. TIFF is an uncompressed image format. Many graphics programs, like PhotoShop, can work with TIFF images. Since a high-quality TIFF is a large file, it is not usually used for emailed photos or photos on a Web site like JPEGs are. Very few digital cameras on the market today can save images in the TIFF format.
RAW is an uncompressed file format that digital SLR cameras and some higher-end digital point-and-shoot cameras can use. The file is a direct capture of the image info from the image sensor, with no processing or image adjustment done. The image will need to be adjusted in a graphics program. Most programs cannot handle a RAW file directly; it has to be imported and converted to TIFF or JPEG first.
As I said, very few cameras have the TIFF format built-in, so you shouldn't base your camera selection on that. RAW format will give you the most flexibility for adjusting the exposure, white balance, etc., but you need to have some skill with a graphics program like PhotoShop to finish your image.
Many digital photographers (myself included) choose to shoot in JPEG, with the camera set at the highest resolution and quality that the camera can do. This will give you an image that will not need as much post processing to get it ready for printing.
- Chris A. Vedros

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=17120

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=17120

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NEW QUESTION 3: How to Remove Noise
Hi. I have a Nikon D70, which I love, but recently I took some indoor low-light pictures and had to pump up the ISO to 800, sometimes even higher. I am frankly surprised by the amount of noise produced (I don't think I went higher than ISO 1000), but now I'm looking for some way to correct this issue. I own Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro 9, and neither one seems to have satisfactory noise-reducing tools. Can anyone out there recommend a 3rd-party filter or something that does a good job with high ISO noise? Thanks.
- Robin Briggs

See Robin's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
I think that Alien Skin's Image Doctor (JPEG Repair) is about the best for heavier noise. Grain Surgery 2 is fantastic for minor noise but can cause strange artifacts when trying to remove heavier noise. Neat Image is a free one (or at least it used to be - haven't checked recently) but again has to be used carefully or can leave artifacts of its own. Those are the ones that I am familiar with.
- Connie J. Bagot

See Connie's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
I have used Neat Image and it worked very well. They do have a free download but I ended up purchasing the full version because the free download only corrects .jpg files and I needed to correct .tif files. I had photographed an event and didn't notice my ISO was too high and the pictures were really grainy. The pictures turned out great after going through the neat image program. http://www.neatimage.com
- Peggy J. Sells

Visit peggysellsphotography.com - Peggy's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=17111

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NEW QUESTION 4: Balancing Outdoor Vs. Indoor Lighting
How do I balance outdoor light and indoor light while photographing homes? The windows seem to be blown-out when shooting interiors. I am having problems with everything else looking flat and bland. I have a Canon Digital Rebel.
- Dawn L. Penich

ANSWER 1:
The problem is disparity in lighting levels. The interior of a home is typically quite significantly lower in lighting level than the exterior during daylight hours. While your eyes and brain can deal with this as they have enormous latitude and can adjust quickly, neither film nor digital have anywhere near the latitude.
I have been faced with this imbalance issue more frequently at wedding receptions and similar events during daylight hours in venues with enormous expanses of glass and the clients want the view of the great outdoors as the backdrop for the photography. The solution I have used is lighting the interior using bounce or highly diffused daylight balanced flash or strobes set up in a manner that simulates the ambient lighting. The exterior, as seen through the windows, is metered and the flash (or strobes) are set up to provide the same level of lighting. One must be careful about the reflectivity of the window glass and set things up so there is no reflection of the flash/strobes off the glass to the camera lens.
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Thank you very much. I have umbrella lighting but I only have 2 lights, and these homes are usually 2-story, wide-open homes. I feel like it wouldn't be enough light. When I turn in the photos from last week, the marketing company I work for will be very upset and probably ask me to re-shoot the homes on my own penny. If you have any suggestion of how I can professionally explain the problem so they understand, that would be great. I usually don't have this much of a problem, but the homes were unfurnished and the walls were all white. There were absolutely no blinds or cover of any type on any of the windows. I am so frusterated.
- Dawn L. Penich

ANSWER 3:
Explanation: Outdoor daylight is much brighter than indoor lighting ... more than can be recorded within the range of a digital or film camera. Exposure for the scene outdoors results in gross underexposure of what's indoors. Exposure for indoors results in gross overexposure of what's outdoors. If you cannot get enough lighting indoors to bring it up to the outdoor lighting level, then shoot one for proper exposure of the outdoors as seen through the windows, and another for proper exposure of the indoor area. Use PhotoShop to rope the windows of the first and replace the windows in the second with them. This would require using a sturdy tripod, and taking great care to not move the camera even a little while making each double shot.
With the great care required to do it this way, along with all the back-end PhotoShop work to make one photo out of two for each pair shots, it would be much better if you could do it in one shot with enough light from your monolights to bring the indoor light level up to the outdoor level. What lights do you have? Make, model, power level?
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 4:
BTW, one other issue with double shots ... if you use only the indoor ambient lighting for the inside exposure ... is the color temperature imbalance. You'd also have to do two color balancing measurements ... one for outdoor using it for the outdoor exposure and one for indoor for the indoor exposure. One more reason for trying to get the indoor lighting level up to that of the outdoor scene (as measured through the windows) using daylight balanced strobes.
- John A. Lind

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=17110

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NEW QUESTION 5: Wedding Photography: Getting Started
Any advice on how I can get started doing weddings? If you view my gallery, you will see I have only done children, families, seniors. I feel I am ready now to take on some weddings but don't know how to get started ... as who would hire me with no wedding portfolio? Have any of you ever called up a local photographer and asked to be an assistant at one of their weddings? If so, how did it go? I am thinking of doing this but wonder if they would view me as upcoming competition and not be willing to help? Any advice on how to get started would be so great.
- Kristi Eckberg

See Kristi's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
If you have a family or a friend's wedding, go to that and take photos. Or if someone you know still has their wedding dress, ask them if you could take photos of them in it (like the photos on the invitation). I've never done any weddings (other than snapshots), so this is just what I think might help.
- Brendan Knell

ANSWER 2:
If you would like to do weddings and have the equipment to do so, then I suggest that you make up your cards and maybe some brochures that display your work. Take these and visit your local bridal and tux shops.
Also visit some of the small local country clubs in your area - talk to the banquet coordinator there. Start a portfolio and have it with you in most cases. You never know when you'll run into someone looking or knows someone. Make sure you know the poses and have a contract. I and others have a book that can help you. I do hope this helps.
- Debby Tabb

See Debby's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Kristi,
If you haven't already done so, you need to learn the nuts and bolts on the business end of it. It has some similarities to doing other paid work, such as portraiture, but there are distinct differences as well. You need to work out your pricing structure for it. As you're undoubtedly already aware, weddings go beyond portraiture. They are documentary of an event that spans the better part of an entire day, and more time is spent shooting candids than shooting the portraits, although being able to do both well is important. If you haven't done much candid work at events, start shooting them at anything that might be considered an "event", looking for anything of significance. Being there when something of interest starts to unfold, in position, and timing the photograph itself are crucial. Some "candids" of major events can be controlled some. Others cannot be. Because the entire day is a entire series of events, you have to choreograph where you will be and what you will do ... your work flow doing the shooting ... from start to finish.
Hit a major library and find what they have specifically on wedding photography and begin devouring what you can about the business end, the mechanics of covering a wedding day, and the types of photographs that are desired. The other "work flow" is the timeline of what you do from initial interview through delivery ... and how this will fit in with the other photography you do ... and you need to think about that as well.
- John A. Lind

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 4:
Photo assist and you'll be on your way in no time.
- Steven Ford

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=17096

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=17096

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*****


NEW QUESTION 6: What Exactly Is Fill Flash ...
... and when/how do you use it?
- Daniel Diaz

ANSWER 1:
Fill flash can be best described as a means to augment ambient light ... to illuminate foreground subjects or shadow areas and give them the same approximate exposure value as their surroundings. When and how you would use it depends upon the situation. Typically, one or two stops under a normal setting on your flash unit is about right.
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=17085

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*****


NEW QUESTION 7: Macro Lens Focusing: Full Vs. Limit
What does Full and Limit on a macro lens means? It's a 50mm macro lens. Thanks.
- Loay

ANSWER 1:
A macro lens has a VERY LONG focusing range from 1:1 out to infinity. Thus, manufacturers give you the choice of utilizing the full focusing range, or limiting this focusing range to either the short half or the long half end.
When you set the lens to "Limit," it will only focus in the half of the range where you were focused before setting it. To get to the other range, reset the lens to "Full," then focus into the other range and reset back to "Limit."
This feature is particularly useful if using auto focus, as otherwise the lens will use up a lot of time and battery power hunting throughout its immense focusing range to find whatever you are focused on.
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: Tripod and Ball Head
I am looking to buy a good tripod and ball head. I would also like the tripod to be lightweight. Please provide suggestions on the best on the market. Thanks.
- Janet L. Townend

ANSWER 1:
I am never quite sure how to answer questions where people want the "best." You did say a "good tripod," but then stated the "best on the market." I do try to answer questions like this literally. So... the "best" would be a Gitzo Mountaineer carbon fiber tripod ... strong, sturdy, and extremely light weight. There are many fine ball heads available today. Gitzo has introduced their own family of ball heads. My personal favorite is the Kirk BH3. Kirk Enterprises makes some awesome accessories. This combination will run several hundred dollars, but if you want the "best", you have to pay for it.
You CAN buy cheaper for sure. Manfrotto is the most popular brand of tripods, and relatively cheap - but don't expect the quality of a Gitzo in one.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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*****


NEW QUESTION 9: Autofocus Problems
I have a Nikon N55 that is not taking any pictures in Autofocus Mode. The camera lens focuses all of the way in and out however it will not focus on anything and it will not allow me to take any pictures in Autofocus Mode. Any suggestions as to what it may be?
- Karl

ANSWER 1:
Several possibilities:
- You are closer than the lens's minimum focus distance;
- The light level is too low;
- The subject does not have enough contrast for the camera to determine focus;
- The lens has too small a maximum aperture;
- Using a teleconverter that makes the maximum effective aperture too small;

Some cameras will lock the shutter if it cannot confirm autofocus. I believe that is the case with the N55, that it will not release the shutter in either Single Servo or Continuous AF, unless the focus-confirm light flashes in the viewfinder. I don't know if there is an override for this on the N55, other than switching to manual focus.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 2:
This is probably not the problem, but check the lens. Once in a while, you can get such a big chunk of something stuck to the lens that the camera tries its unsuccessful best to focus on it.
- Connie J. Bagot

See Connie's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
I'm not sure if I had the same problem but what you describe sounds like it might be. I have a Minolta Maxxum 5, and my lens would just sit there and hunt back and forth like it was trying to focus but wouldn't ... I too couldn't take any pictures in AF mode. The lens was my culprit, and I had to send it in for repair. I can't remember what they called the problem, but whatever they did fixed it.
- Michelle Ross

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*****


NEW QUESTION 10: Wedding Photography: Lenses, Etc.
Hey, everyone ... I am going to my sister's wedding in October and have been asked to act as a secondary photographer to cover the reception and the like. It's mainly for candid shots, but I am looking at this as a chance to see what it's like to shoot a wedding. So, I'd like to pick your brains regarding lens selection for such situations. What would you use? Currently, I have the 18-55mm/4 lens that came with my D-Rebel and a Canon 75-300mm/4.5 EF lens.

What focal lengths would work best here and would using faster (heavier) glass be of any benefit?
Cheers,
Mike.
- Mike

ANSWER 1:
Assuming you don't have one already, I'd go for a good, powerful accessory speedlight before upgrading lenses. The built-in flash is only good for subjects within about 8 feet, and is too close to the lens and too direct to avoid "red-eye" even with the (annoying) red-eye reduction feature.
In addition, the speedlight will have a patterned near-infrared autofocus assist light that is much more effective, faster, and less annoying to subjects than the built-in flickering flash assist.
Re: Lenses - the ones you have cover all the focal lengths you are likely to need for the wedding, especially the 18-55. The 75-300 would have limited use - maybe shots from a balcony in the back of the church, or very tight close-ups. Wider apertures (f/2.8 zooms, f/2 or f/1.4 primes) will give better autofocus in low light, faster shutter speed, and/or use of lower ISO settings, and less depth of field (more background blur), but at much greater cost, size/weight, and lens switching in the case of primes.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 2:
You mentioned candids. The 18-55mm lens will let you walk around the reception, and the dance floor taking candids, without the dreaded, "Wait, hold that pose while I back up some more."
And a big ditto to Jon's suggestion of getting a Speedlight. I wouldn't go with anything smaller than the 420EX.
- Chris A. Vedros

See Chris's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Relax a little before they are announced to enter the reception. Make sure you stay out of the way of the primary photographer's shots and avoid doubling their flash. Watch your shutter speed, and everything else will be a piece of (wedding) cake. I just shot my sister's wedding, and I was nervous up until the reception, had a Long Island ice tea and felt more relaxed and had fun and made great shots. My sister thinks I should start my own biz, but I think she is just being nice. I'll load up a gallery when I have time and let you all decide
- Steven Ford

ANSWER 4:
"Make sure you stay out of the way of the primary photographers shots and avoid doubling their flash."
A very good point! Besides "doubling the flash", you also do not want to be autofocusing while the hired professional is shooting, because the AF assist light of the speedlight can leave a faint but visible red spot on the bride's dress.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 5:
Funny you say that, Jon, because someone had their camera focus red light on the subject and I thought great, I'll miss the moment, so I shot it anyway. To my surprise, no red dot. I thought maybe the sensor can't see that.
- Steven Ford

ANSWER 6:
Good fortune! I'm thinking about it and maybe ... Many DSLRs, including Canon's, have an IR filter incorporated in the anti-alias filter over the sensor. It may have filtered out the near-infrared AF assist light ... or ... It just happened to quit emitting right when you took your shot ... or ... Your flash overwhelmed the weak red light. Dunno (shrug).
- Jon Close

ANSWER 7:
Well, I did a test. My camera can see the red light from another focus finder. Just got lucky last time.
- Steven Ford

ANSWER 8:
I'd rent better, faster glass. You're going to have trouble at a reception with f/4. Also, with your flash, without being able to suck in more ambient light, your flash shots will not look natural. Also, ALWAYS bounce the flash, DO NOT shoot straight onto your subject.
HTH,
Jerry
- Jerry Frazier

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*****


NEW QUESTION 11: Thank you BP Judges
I really appreciate your making judges' comments available to us! Thank you!

For anyone who hasn't seen it yet: Better Photo Judges Comments

Pam
- Pamela L. Keil

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ANSWER 1:
Yes, this is wonderful and a nice surprise! Thank you for bringing this idea to fruition! Lots of people are going to be very excited about it!
- Patricia A. Kuniega

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ANSWER 2:
This is really nice! I just now found it but I can't wait to read them all! Thanks BP!
- Sharon D

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ANSWER 3:
This is incredible! Feedback! I love it! what better way to become a better photographer! Thanks!
- Laura Clay-Ballard

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ANSWER 4:
This is so COOL!! Thank you for doing this for all of us!!! mlg
- michelle lea guinn

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ANSWER 5:
Thanks so much BP judges!
- Diane L. Dupuis-Kallos

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ANSWER 6:
This is going to be very helpful in deciding what type of images to enter into the contest! You've already addressed a few of the issues I'd been wondering about, such as the copyright signature. THANKS so much judges for this new aspect of PB!!
- Susana Heide- Thiessen

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ANSWER 7:
If this feature is studied it will help us make better choices of which images to place in the contest.

Thank you Better Photo for helping us all learn and grow.

This is a wonderful new feature to your BETTER PHOTO site.

Kerby
- Kerby Pfrangle

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ANSWER 8:
I think it's a great idea! We asked about it a couple years ago, but they weren't in a position to do it then. Nice to see it finally happen!
- Carolyn Fletcher

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ANSWER 9:
This has been really good! I have taken some steps also, I don't know if it is right but I have stopped signing my photos. Is there anyone that can tell me if they think that it makes a difference?? Thanks....

- Melissa L. Zavadil

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ANSWER 10:
I'm not a judge, but I think that the way you had been signing your pictures, with a small stamp in the corner, was fine. I've always put a small copyright in an inconspicuous corner of my photos. I try to match the color scheme so that the signature is not too distracting. According to the contest suggestions, the judges don't mind small copyright signatures as long as they aren't prominent and distracting from your image. I've gotten finalists and winners with my small signatures.

Pam
- Pamela L. Keil

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ANSWER 11:
What I'm not sure about is titling. For example, you make this terrific panel image and put a title underneath it. HUM? Should we NOT be doing this? I didn't read anywhere in the suggestions about that one subject. If we shouldn't be doing this, then I need to stop. Does anyone know the answer to this? Thanking you in advance.
- Laura Clay-Ballard

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ANSWER 12:
Laura, maybe this will answer your question about titles on pictures...

Judges comment: "...to consider this in the contest you need to delete the printing. Only a small copyright/signature is allowed."

Here's the link to the picture and comment: http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/Discussiondetail.asp?threadID=263214


- Sherry S. Boles

ANSWER 13:
Thanks for that information. I'll go back and delete wording on some of my photos and maybe even re-do them and re-submit! :>)
- Laura Clay-Ballard

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ANSWER 14:
Thank you BP For adding this new adition to the site love it that we can have feed back to help us do better job I m sure I be up all night tonight reading all them LOL have wonderful night everyone !
- Khawla (Kelly) S. Haddad

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ANSWER 15:
Thanks BP for this new section. I'm wondering how it works though. How do you get comments from the judges, do they pick random photos, or do you start a discussion on one? Just wondering...
- Tonya Boles

ANSWER 16:
They just comment on pictures that catch their eyes, but they have a section in discussion where you can see all the photos they've commented on. I think BP is planning to have a feature where you can pay for an instructor's critique of individual photos, but this is just a free glimpse into the judges' minds.They may or may not comment on your photos, but the comments they leave on other photos will help us all see what they're looking for. If you go to their about page you can see what they're trying to do.

Pam
- Pamela L. Keil

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ANSWER 17:
I wish that they could like approve someones stamp so we might have an idea what stamp we could use. Until I see one that they might deem OK I am not signing anymore. :(
Melissa
- Melissa L. Zavadil

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ANSWER 18:
Here's what it says on their suggestions page:

"We certainly support putting your own copyright symbol on your photos. However, if you are going to do this, try to keep the signature and copyright symbol from becoming too distracting. One trick is to color your font so that it works harmoniously with the other colors in your photo. Help your viewer keep his eye on your main subject."

I think if you don't notice the signature right off when you look at the photo, then it's fine. If the signature catches your eye before the main subject, then it's too much. I think the size of your signature is probably fine. Just try coloring it so it blends with the picture and doesn't draw your eye away from the main subject.

Pam
- Pamela L. Keil

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ANSWER 19:
I am so excited to have the judges giving comments on our photos! What a fabulous way to learn. Thank you judges for your time.
- Kimberly J. Whipps

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ANSWER 20:
WOW..This is VERY cool. I just went & looked through some of the threads & I think this will help tremendously....Thank you BP judges!!!:)
- Alisha L. Ekstrom

ANSWER 21:
Thank you for your feed back on my photo 'Different Direction'. it is greatly appreciated!!!
- Diane Addonizio

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ANSWER 22:
Well, I have to say I'm not so sure I like this idea. I've been watching these posts over the last week or so. I thought the purpose was to comment on a photo that caught the judges eye but now I see that they're actually commenting on entire galleries at a time. Does this mean that we'll be able to anticipate just who will win each month? I'm just wondering if they're planning to go through everyone's gallery to give them a personal and free critique.
- Kristie M. Conte

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ANSWER 23:
I don't think they're going through galleries. As I Jim posted once in a Q&A, the last stage of the judging process involves looking at each person's entries for the month that have made it through the initial screening as a group. They do this so that only your best entries for the month get recognized. If it was done on a photo-by-photo basis, the professional photographers would probably have a huge edge, so your last competition is against yourself. All of the comments I've seen that have been on multiple photos by the same individual have only been on last month's entries, not the entire gallery.

We might be able to anticipate that these individuals will at least get a finalist, but I don't know if we'll be able to anticipate winners. Also, they're supposed to announce this tomorrow anyway, so it wouldn't be that much of a give-away.

Pam
- Pamela L. Keil

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ANSWER 24:
Great answer, Pamela. Right on target.

Here is another recent Q&A thread on the topic of photographs being judged in groups.

And thanks again for all of your positive feedback. We knew you'd like it but had no idea how strong the response would be. Let's just hope it doesn't push us beyond the June 21st deadline... wait a minute... that's tomorrow. Yikes!

You guys have fun - I have to get back to work :)
- Jim at BetterPhoto.com

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


NEW QUESTION 12: How to Eliminate Shadows
Hi. I have a Nikon D70. I use a Jtl Versalight-D 300. When I am doing indoor location shoots, I continue most of the time to still have some shadowing behind the person(s). I have tried moving the light closer. What should I do to make this situation better? It is so frustrating to have a seemingly good picture except for this creature behind the subject. Someone help. Thank you.
- Sherri Wiggins

ANSWER 1:
Hi. If you can hand-hold the flash, have someone (unless you have three hands or a holder) hold the flash above you and still directly in front of the subject, which will put the shadow directly behing the subject where you cant see it. If your flash is off-set even a little, you will get the side shadow. It's a tough problem sometimes, and the pros use multiple flashes for fill - which is the great (and expensive) way to go.
- John C. Schwentner

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ANSWER 2:
Thanks John. That really helps a great deal. I look forward to trying that out.
- Sherri Wiggins

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Easy Solution to Cropping in PS CS?
I have a senior portrait yearbook requirement for the print to be 2.5" x 3.5" and the subjects head to be 1" top of head to chin. Question: Is there a simple way to crop the picture to the 2.5x3.5 size with ensuring the head size req.? Or is it a crop & measure (with the side rulers)process?
I'm using Photoshop CS.
- Tony Peckman

ANSWER 1:
If you use your crop tool with those measurements, then you should be able to do that, but I would NOT recommend this. I would just print the photo to that particular size print. This is much easier and that way you are not messing with the data of the photo. The original photo needs to be taken in such a way that it adheres to the requirements.
- Melissa L. Zavadil

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ANSWER 2:
There is a measuring tool in your side toolbar made specifically for this purpose. Once you size your image, you draw the measuring tool from head to chin, and it will tell you how long it is.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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ANSWER 3:
In Photoshop, click on the cropping tool (below the lasso) in the tool palette. When you do this, a tool bar will appear at the top of the screen specific to this tool. You can fill in your width and height in inches (2.5 & 3.5) and if you have a dpi requirement, you can fill that in too (not required). Now, when you crop, it will keep your crop in these dimensions.
When selecting the crop area, if you are having a hard time seeing if the crop is what you want, play with the shield color and opacity (now in the tool bar), so that you can see what your final image will look like. When you are happy with your image, double click within the cropped area. Don't forget to use "file/save as" or start the process with "file/duplicate", so you don't lose your original.
After you have finished cropping, click the clear button in the tool bar so that it won't drive you crazy when you are working on a different project!
I hope this helps!
- Marybeth Parker

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