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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 - Tuesday, August 02, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: Jim Miotke's BetterPhoto Guide to Digital Photography ... It's Here!
* BETTERPHOTO: BetterPhoto Online School: Take a Tour and See Our Fall Schedule
* BETTERPHOTO: BetterPhoto Summit: Meet Our Instructors ... In Person!
* BETTERPHOTO: Spotlight up to 300 Images in a Premium BetterPholio™
* FEATURED GALLERY: Focus on Funny Kittens
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Digital Timeline / Legends of Photography
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Shoot More Verticals ... by Peter K. Burian
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Providing Prints vs. Providing CD/Negatives?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Photoshop: Elements Vs. CS
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Help! Faire Photos!
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: About Model Pricing?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: How to Get the WHOLE Image in Large Print?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: How to Use a Tripod Collar and Tripod
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Of Cruises and Cameras
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Taking Portraits of Friends
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Is Multi-Resistant Coating Necessary?
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Flash Photography of Live Bands


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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Jim Miotke's BetterPhoto Guide to Digital Photography ... It's Here!
Digital cameras may be the hot tech toys these days, but many buyers simply are not getting the most out of their purchase. The BetterPhoto Guide to Digital Photography, by BetterPhoto™ founder Jim Miotke, seeks to demystify the digital world. "My goal at BetterPhoto has always been to help people improve their photography skills and have fun," says Jim of his hands-on, lesson-based book. "I want to help make digital cameras less intimidating and more intuitive, so people can relax and have fun with their shooting."

To celebrate the release of this fine book, the first 500 copies are numbered and signed by Jim! An added incentive: It's also Book of the Month, so there's free U.S. shipping through August. For details:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetail.asp?productID=1311


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 223rd issue of SnapShot!

Hi {FirstName}

What an exciting week at BetterPhoto, beginning with the arrival of my new book! But to get a special numbered and signed copy, you need to hurry, since supplies are limited. Go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetail.asp?productID=1311

Our fall online courses have been posted, and we have a terrific lineup - our best ever. Check out the schedule at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp

We are also looking forward to next month's BetterPhoto Summit. Many of out talented instructors will be presenting programs. Plus, there's a pre-summit photo tour of the beautiful Seattle area. Read all of the exciting details at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/summit.asp

In this issue, be sure to check out our regular features, including an excellent Photo Tip by BP instructor/author Peter Burian.

That's it for now. Have another fun-filled photographic week! Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


*****
BetterPhoto Online School: Take a Tour and See Our Fall Schedule
Interested in how our online photo courses operate? Take a fascinating tour at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/tour-courses-01.asp

The fall lineup has been posted, including these new classes: George Schaub's "Using Your Digital SLR", Michael Frye's "The Digital Landscape", and Susan and Neil Silverman's "Ready, Set, Go: A Jump Start to Digital Photography". Check out all of our courses at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp


*****
BetterPhoto Summit: Meet Our Instructors ... In Person!
The first BetterPhoto Summit is coming up, and we have some awesome presentations planned: with Jim Zuckerman talking about "Making Money with Your Photography," Bryan Peterson sharing tips on "Digital Exposure" and Ben Willmore discussing "The New Essentials of Photoshop." BetterPhoto founder Jim Miotke will be on hand too, as will instructors Brenda Tharp, Tony Sweet, Vik Orenstein, George Schaub, Kathleen Carr, and Kerry Drager. This first annual BetterPhoto Summit takes place September 10th and 11th, 2005, near the Seattle airport. Also consider the pre-Summit photo tour: "Get an Insider's View of Seattle"! For Summit information:
http://www.betterphoto.com/summit.asp


*****
Spotlight up to 300 Images in a Premium BetterPholio™
Did you know that BetterPhoto's Premium BetterPholios™ give you a chance to do so much more than our free photo galleries? Like the basic galleries, Premium BetterPholios™ include gallery, bio, and contact pages. But Premium BetterPholios™ also let you display up to 300 images, while giving you a sleek, clean look. Plus, the Premium BetterPholios™ offer many cool design and display choices. All that for only $22/year! For information, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/tour-photo-sharing-1.asp

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Focus on Funny Kittens
Everyone loves lovable and funny kittens - tiny and cute, in a teacup, or playing with boys. Check out the fantastic work by BetterPhoto shooters at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=7298

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
The first D-SLR to be designed and made by a single camera manufacturer (as opposed to a joint venture) debuted in what year? Note: Feel free to guess the model, too, but it's not required.

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke is:
Hi everyone!
Some excellent answers ... but unfortunately, none were correct. The answer: 1999, the year that Nikon's D1 debuted. This comes from BetterPhoto instructor Jeff Wignall's excellent book: The Joy of Digital Photography

See Jim's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=124

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 - Legends of Photography - entered by BetterPhoto member Kerry Drager

Last year marked the passing of many giants of photography, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Carl Mydans, Francesco Scavullo, Eddie Adams, and Helmut Newton. Another photographic master also died in 2004, and in 1994, he was the subject of a special issue of an American camera magazine that looked back on his life and work. Who was he?

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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Shoot More Verticals ... by Peter K. Burian

Most every camera is designed for the greatest comfort and ease of use when held in a horizontal orientation. Even so, professional photographers generally shoot more vertical than horizontal frames, except for those specializing in landscapes and certain types of sports. That's because magazines, books, many posters and engagement calendars are vertical. But even if you're a photo enthusiast, plan to shoot more vertical images. No matter what type of outdoor photography you enjoy, it's well worth consciously forcing yourself to adopt this position - because some 50 percent of situations will lend themselves ideally to a vertical frame.

Buildings, mountains, lighthouses, people, head-and-shoulder portrait subjects, flowers, and trees are all vertical in nature. Even with other subject types, try some imagination, and make a few vertical frames as well.

More "active" than the "passive" horizontal, these may very well become your favorites from any outing. My own stock portfolio now consists of 60-percent vertical frames, confirming that such composition can be suitable for the majority of subject types.

Check out Peter Burian's Digital Photography online course and his Deluxe Pro Web Site: www.peterkburian.com

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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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: Providing Prints vs. Providing CD/Negatives?
Hi everyone! I have a question about portraits/weddings. I took a course at a college where the instructor said that he NEVER produces the finished prints for a client, he provides only a proof album and then gives the client the negatives to do all their own printing. He, of course, sets his fees accordingly to where he feels he has been paid correctly. We recently had a local photographer charged by the attorney general for collecting payment for weddings/portraits, and never producing the prints. Obviously, I wouldn't do that, but does anyone have any input on either side? Meaning, is it easier/better to take the shots, provide a proof album and then take the order for the prints ... or just take the shots and hand everything over to the client. With just getting started I see good and bad with both ideas. Any thoughts from the veterans out there?
- Brenda M. Wolfensberger

See Brenda's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Brenda,
I have a price list that I provide at the time of the contract. It defines clearly what they are getting: They pick the package, and it is stated in the contract and a deposit taken ... balance due a week before the event.
Then I provide WHAT I sold.
Do what works for you but, then follow through with the client. I sell usable CDs for them to print from - to packages that provide it all ... CD and finished product.
I do hope this helps,
Debby
- Debby Tabb

See Debby's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
I provide the prints and keep the negatives. If they want reprints, I take orders for those. Once the negative or full-resolution file leaves your hands, you have no control over who prints the pictures. A bad print job will reflect on you regardless of the fact that you had no control over it.
- Kerry L. Walker

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=18159

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=18159

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*****


NEW QUESTION 2: Photoshop: Elements Vs. CS
Just wondering what's the difference between Photoshop full version and Photoshop Elements. I'm only working with photos, not video. Thanks.
- Scott Pedersen

ANSWER 1:
Photoshop Elements 3 has many great features and should satisfy most beginner to intermediates. You can go to www.adobe.com and try their free trial. I sure don't think that the full version is worth 8 times as much as Elements!
- Diane L. Dupuis-Kallos

See Diane's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
If you do want CS, you might be able to find it on Ebay for a lot cheaper.
- Brendan Knell

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=18155

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=18155

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*****


NEW QUESTION 3: Help! Faire Photos!
I recently attended a Renaissance Faire where I took tons of photos. One of the participants asked me if I would email him copies of his show. I did (stupid, I'm sure), and he has since responded and asked permission to use some for promotional materials. I then asked him exactly how he plans to use them and am waiting for a response.
My dilemma? I have no clue what to do next. I would like to - at a minimum - be credited for the shots he is interested in using ... am honored that he thinks they are good enough to be used. What is my next move or step? How do I get credited for them? Do I need to copyright them? As you can see, I haven't a clue and would appreciate any and all help!
- C M. Thompson

ANSWER 1:
Well, we all learn from our mistakes.
#1 - don't ever give your pics away without discussing terms first!
In theory, you can ask to be paid (doubt they will now that they have your pics), and you can ask to be credited as having taken the pics - but they really can do whatever they want with them. Good luck to you!
- Diane L. Dupuis-Kallos

See Diane's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Did you send him large files that he can print? Or did you make them low res just for emailing and viewing? If he responds back, I would at least ask him to allow you to send him files with a copyright on them and ask that he sign something stating what he will use the photos for and only use them for that purpose. If you didn't send him files that he can print from, I would tell him that you will make the prints and give to him, so then you can be sure the copyright is on them. Hopefully, he will offer to pay you for the use of the photos. In the meantime, I would be working on something in case you get future calls and then you can tell them. ... This is what I charge, etc.
- Michelle Ross

See Michelle's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Thank you both for your comments ... any idea how to get "copyright info" on photos he/I would use on the Web? I have noticed that all the shots on this Web site have copyright info on them but I have no clue how to do it. ... He answered my email and said at this point he is just interested in using them on his Web site.
- C M. Thompson

ANSWER 4:
I use PSE 3.0 to add the copyright to my photos - just using the text option ... press alt and type 0169 on the number keypad, and it will give you the copyright symbol. So, for instance, my images will have ©Prairie Images on them.
- Michelle Ross

See Michelle's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 5:
First of all, they are copyrighted and you own them. As the artist who created the photo you own them. He is asking permission to use them because he knows this. Just because you emailed them to him doesn't mean you gave up your rights. Second, if you don't have a model release and/or property release, then you can't sell them. Third, if he does use them without permission, you can use his email asking permission in court against him. That way he can't say he didn't know. I think you are being very reasonable asking for credit.
- GA Little

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=18153

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=18153

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*****


NEW QUESTION 4: About Model Pricing?
Does anyone know how much it would be to hire a model for a half-day shoot?
- JEFF SCHEERER

See JEFF's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Jeff, you can call local modeling agencies and modeling schools for this information. Just ask for a range in price, and don't press them to set an exact figure.
- Joan W

ANSWER 2:
Jeff,
One thing you can do is go onto One Model Place.com or Musecube and do a search in your area. And there are several models I am sure who would do TIME FOR PRINT.
That is where you let them pick out images for their portfolio (usually one per hour), and you get them made-up for them and they in turn give you their time for the images. That way you could look over the different models on the site and contact the ones you would be interested in.
No money changes hands - just the model's time for prints. Just a suggestion.
- Kerby Pfrangle

See Kerby's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=18130

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=18130

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*****


NEW QUESTION 5: How to Get the WHOLE Image in Large Print?
Help!!! Frustrated and Confused here on why when I go to print my image in an 8x10 or larger, it gets cropped. I am shooting in TIFF, so the image is fine ... it's just the sizing that I am having a problem with. I want to get the image in an 8x10 when I print it or the lab prints it. It automatically crops it, so I lose my desired image. What do I do? PLEASE HELP before I throw in the towel on digital! :)
Thanks from,
Completely Bewildered!
- ~ Denelli~

See ~'s Premium BetterPholio™

Visit ImagesbyDenelli.com - ~'s Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
This has to do totally with relative proportions. Check to see the H/W ratio of your photos from your camera. For instance, my camera produces the highest-quality JPEG images as 12.8" by 17.067", or a ratio of 1:1.333. (Same ratio for RAW.) This relates to the size of the sensor in your camera. If I were to ask this to be printed as 8"x10" (a ratio of 1:1.25), part of the photo would be cropped to obtain the correct ratio. If this is a landscape, you could likely resize the photo (without cropping) to the correct proportion without distorting the look. If a portrait, you certainly would not be able to change the proportions.
VR
John
- John R. Rhodes

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Hey, John, thanks! I'll look into that.
And BTW ... Mom said I'd need math one day :S ( Rolls eyes! )
Seriously, Thank you! You're a big help!
- ~ Denelli~

See ~'s Premium BetterPholio™

Visit ImagesbyDenelli.com - ~'s Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Your problem deals with side proportions. An 8x10 image has a side-to-side ratio of 1:1.25, or 2:2.5. Most consumer digital cameras and 35mm cameras yield images with a side-to-side ratio of 1:1.5, or 2:3. Without compressing your image, which may make it look a little weird, the only thing one can do to make different side ratios or proportions fit properly is to crop them.
FYI - the only sizes that will "fit" your camera's image proportions without any cropping would be those of 2:3 ratio - ie, 4x6, 5x7.5, 6x9, 8x12, etc.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

See Michael's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 4:
PS - I forgot to inform you that it is possible to print your whole image onto an 8x10 sheet of paper by making the image smaller. For instance, you could print a 6x9 image size on your 8x10 paper. If you don't do your own printing, there are many custom labs that offer this service. It's your choice - a cropped full-bleed 8x10, or a full image shrunk to fit on 8x10.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

See Michael's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 5:
To make it even more simple, it is a 2:3 ratio. Digital SLRs were designed to have the same ratio as 35mm. If you have a print made from a 35mm negative, or from a DSLR, it needs to be in a 2:3 equivalent, or it will be cropped. For example, 4x6, 8x12, 16x24. Always ask for your prints to be in one of these sizes (if you haven't cropped on your computer). Generally, I size my pictures to common print size before I take it to the lab for printing. That way, there is no explanation needed, they will just print the size the file is.
- David A. Bliss

ANSWER 6:
I crop it in PSE 3.0 to the size I'm going to print - that way I get to decide which part gets cut off! When shooting be sure to have a little extra on all the sides so you won't have to cut anything important off.
- Diane L. Dupuis-Kallos

See Diane's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=18126

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=18126

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*****


NEW QUESTION 6: How to Use a Tripod Collar and Tripod
I just purchased a Canon 70-200L f:2.8 IS lens and am a novice to big heavy lenses that have tripod collars. Can someone please explain how the tripod collar mates up with a tripod? And do I need a special type of tripod? Thanks!
- Joe J.

ANSWER 1:
You need a mount for your tripod collar. It screws to the bottom of it, and it will also fit the bottom of the camera body you use. Get the same brand as your tripod, Joe.
- Terry R. Hatfield

See Terry 's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
You can just use the same tripod plate that you put on the bottom of your camera. This means that you will be taking it off of your camera and putting it on your lens collar, and then back again. Or, like Terry said, go buy a second plate for your tripod, and leave it on the lens collar. Use the lens collar mount when using a large lens. It makes a huge difference in sharpness because it is much more stable.
- David A. Bliss

ANSWER 3:
Thanks very much, Terry and David! The way I now understand this is that the tripod collar foot gets "connected" to the plate to support its weight and the camera rides "piggyback" on the lens. Or are there plates sold that connect both the camera and the "foot"? I probably sound stupid, but after making this kind of investment in a heavy (3.5 lb.) lens, I don't want any accidents. Thanks!!
- Joe J.

ANSWER 4:
There are no stupid questions, Joe. For that lens and a camera body, just the one on the tripod collar will be enough. Joe, for a much larger lens, use a support on both places - the one on the camera will be supported by one of the tripod legs.
- Terry R. Hatfield

See Terry 's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=18124

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=18124

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*****


NEW QUESTION 7: Of Cruises and Cameras
OK, I'm going on a cruise with my family in a few weeks, so I have two questions:
1) I want to get some cool pictures of dolphins and possibly sharks in the water, but to do that I would have to have my camera with me constantly on deck, and I'm afraid it will get damaged or wet. So has anyone else been on a cruise and got good shots? If so, when and how did you get them?

2) For some of the places that it stops at, they said not to bring anything in your pockets or purses, because they will get stolen. So how do I bring my camera for pic. without it getting stolen?
I hope the first question isn't too confusing. I wasn't exactly sure how to get my question across. Any helpful advice for taking pictures on cruises would be appreciated!
-Collette-
- Collette Storkel

ANSWER 1:
I don't know where you're cruising, but I'd be really surprised if you will see many dolphins or sharks. While sailing, you'll be moving too fast. I recently went on a sailing cruise around the Greek Isles; nothing expected or seen regarding that kind of sea life.
If you're at sea for long periods, you'll be bored in that there's not too much to photograph. Oh sure, there's the ocean, clouds, sun, sunsets - but, in reality, the second day's pictures will be repeats of the first. But, departures and arrivals at ports of call, and the sites you'll visit will provide lots to photograph.
As for security, the bigger your camera the better. You have to hang it around your neck! A point-and-shoot in a jacket pocket is inviting to a pickpocket, as my wife found out as we went to the Isle of Capri on our Italy tour. She failed to hang the camera strap around her neck. You need to put your camera in a fanny pack when you're not shooting. But, why wouldn't you be shooting?
And, use the safes that most cruise ships provide when you leave your stateroom.
- John Sandstedt

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=18081

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=18081

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*****


NEW QUESTION 8: Taking Portraits of Friends
Hey, gang. Once in a while, someone who's a good friend asks me to do a portrait of them or their family. The problem I sometimes have with friends is that they usually want to place themselves in front of the camera their own way, and don't want me to pose them properly.
I just did a family portrait of 7 people for close friends who all wanted to stand against the wall like in a police line-up! It took a lot of coaxing and explaining that this will not look good. Finally, I was able to take them outdoors and posed them beautifully sitting on the grass with each head a different height. They loved it. But does anyone have any suggestions on how I can avoid this frustration in the future?
The same goes with clothing. "Real" clients listen when I tell them to color-coordinate their clothes, but friends just don't seem to "get it" and dress their own way. Then they wonder why "that other portrait you did of some other family" looks so much better.
- Maria Melnyk

ANSWER 1:
Good morning, Maria,
I know it can be frustrating! Sometimes with friends and family, you have to remind them - in laughter - that you are the professional. Or say, hey, if you're going to do it this casual, I want to be in it too, and hand off the camera. This usually will bring it to their attention that "oh yeah, you do this for a living ..." Sometimes (more offten), it is just easier and more loving to say: "OK, let's take it your way, then you just have to let me do one my way." Then they will see the difference.
I have been doing this for years and yet, with my family ... OOOHHH!! It can still be a struggle. Between the excitement of the event and seeing each other, they forget and all have an opinion. So my friend, just KEEP it FUN! We don't always have to be in control of anything but our patience, lol.
I do hope this helps to know it's the same for all of us,
Debby
- Debby Tabb

See Debby's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Just gently lead them. Explain that you know what you are doing and that you just want them to look their best. When they pose themselves, tell them that they look great, but the pose doesn't do them justice. When they do as you ask, tell them how beautiful they look. Everyone loves a little flattery.
- Kerry L. Walker

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=18057

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=18057

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*****


NEW QUESTION 9: Is Multi-Resistant Coating Necessary?
I am shopping around for a few filters. B+W is on top of my list. But I would like some advice to see if it is necessary to pay the extra money to have the "Multi-Resistant Coating" ones instead of the regular ones. Lenses are 19mm and 28mm. Thanks.
- joe Yuen

ANSWER 1:
Coated and multicoated filters will pass marginally more light and be more resistant to flare. On the other hand, the coatings often are not very durable - more easily scratched and harder to clean off dirt, films, fingerprints, etc. You mention B+W and their Multi Resistant Coating, which is a hardened coating that addresses that durability issue. That and other high-quality features make B+W a good choice if you can afford it. Personally, I don't think that level of expense is "necessary." I'm happy with my uncoated Tiffen filters and using a lens hood to control flare. But - as with most things - "your mileage may vary."
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=18055

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=18055

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Flash Photography of Live Bands
How can I photograph live bands with ambient lighting that needs flash. I don't want to use flash because that kills the atmosphere. Unfortunately, all my photos are coming out blurred as the musicians move around a lot. Can anyone help?
- kathie jones

ANSWER 1:
Although I am not an expert in photographing live bands, I can share with you some of my experience from taking stage performances from the cruise ships. Besides cityscapes, taking stage performances is my second favorite in low light photography. The lighting is just so dramatic.
First, preparation: While I was on a cruise ship, I have no idea what the performance will be. But you have an advantage because you can scout out the area first and you may even familiar with what the musician is going to perform. It is much better if you know the music or the songs.
Second, equipment: You did not mention what equipment (camera and lens) you own. I use a film SLR camera, a 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 with Image Stabilizer, and ISO 400 speed film. The IS on the lens helped a lot because most of the time the shutter speed got down to 1/8 or even 1/4 second. Another point is I was using a zoom lens and at maximum zoom, the largest aperture will be f5.6. I fight to get as close as possible so I do not have to use the lens at maximum zoom (usually between 50 and 65mm). If you have a fast lens, use it.
Third, set-up: The key point here is use manual. Forget about auto-exposure and auto-focusing. Most of the time the musicians, not like the dancers, stay at the same place. So you can set the focus and turn it to manual. About exposure, I always use the first couple of performances to get the feel of the best exposure value I can use. Then I just lock the value and shoot. Of course, some of my shots will be underexposed but seldom overexposed (due to the use of print film, which has more tolerence towards overexposing). For performers who moved around a lot, I just preset my focus and wait for them to move into the "kill zone" ;)
Fourth, participation: There is always a moment the performer will stop moving. I don't know the terminology in music. But there are times like the moment between two sentences (in a song), the music changes from fast to slow beat, the last word of the sentence, the last note of the entire song, a long note, etc. That's the time I will press the shutter. Personally, I think the best is to capture the dramatic lighting together with the performer's face being sharp, while another part of the body has a little motion, instead of everything sharp and motionless.

I usually can get a few good ones with a roll of 36-exposure film. In my gallery, the last two, which I took from a cruise ship, are my favorites. I got a few more which I did not scan yet.
If nothing comes out, then it is just too dark to get any good picture. Hope this helps.
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 2:
Kathie - Andy had some good tips for capturing live bands. I would buy some ISO 800 speed film. That should give you the shutter speeds you want, so as to stop some or all of the motion of the performers. How about trying some black and white for that 'look'? Again, use ISO 800 or even 1600 speed film.
Have fun!
- Steve Hopkins

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ANSWER 3:
I shoot about 95-percent concert photography. I use a Digital Rebel and shoot at iso 3200 at 1/8-1/50 shutter speed (depending on available light on my subject), which usually forces me to go f3.4-f5.6. And I carry a 28-300 Tamron lens ... I find it perfect because you can't always be in the front row. Remember to be conscientious about the people around you. Don't stay in one spot too long, because you'll end up ticking off the people around you. I make it a point to never use flash because it distracts the performers and the fans, and the majority of the time you end up capturing things you don't really want in you picture. Remember: Practice makes perfect, and try to always get the band's permission.
- Derick A. Wiaderski

ANSWER 4:
Kathie,
You sound like you are a paying concert customer being close to the stage. There are limits on SLRs, lens must be attached. Under ideal situations: 800 Fuji press film. Lock in shutter speed of 250 for moving artist. Pan as you track movement. If you see glare in viewfinder, find another angle to shoot from. Practice, practice!
- Willie Jennings

ANSWER 5:
Kathie,
If you are taking photos of bands in local clubs, you may be able to use a bounce flash unit. This will more evenly light the performer and stage. With such units, you often can dial down the level of flash so it is more of a fill-flash to aid in stopping the action rather than the single light source that you are trying to avoid.
- Craig

ANSWER 6:
I photograph concerts, with one band full time, and with photos on CD's, Web sites, magazines, advertisements, and one photo on a T-shirt. A lot of what everyone has said is true. One thing to remember are the gels. Gels are the colors from the stage lights that give the ambiance (sp). The production teams change from venue to venue, depends on price and who is available. Some of them don't care about what color gels, until you talk to them directly. But, if you are just a paying customer, then you don't really have a voice in the matter. Since I am hired by the band/venue, I have a voice in what can go up, and if I can't be there, I have others that can check the gels for me. I hate the red gels in the faces of the band. I have photograhed a big band, with no gels. The lights were hot on the band. But, I was also able to really crank up my shutter speed as well as my aperture setting. Settings ... well, like I said, they change. Sometimes I like glare in my lens which depends on the lights, sometimes I allow movement, and sometimes I use a flash to use for Web sites. I don't own a IS lens, so that is on my list for my new camera. I want to experience the IS. Right now, I work with what I got. I have no theory or method, I use a Canon 10D, all in manual settings. Seldom use my speedlite. I don't take notes as I go for my settings, I go back later and get the info stored on the frame using my software. I probably didn't help much, but hopefully gave you another view of concert photography. Email me if you have any specific questions.
- Scott

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