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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, October 04, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: BetterPhoto's Fall Online Courses Launch Wednesday
* BETTERPHOTO: New Class, New Instructor: Digital Wedding Album Design by Kathy Woodford
* BETTERPHOTO: Book of Month: William Neill's Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness
* BETTERPHOTO: Notes and News - Jim Miotke Signing and Podcasting!
* FEATURED GALLERY: Focus on a Colorful Season: Autumn
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: The Match Game / Shooting Script
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Planning for Your Best Travel Scenics ... by Brenda Tharp
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Battery Charging
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Color Portrait Film
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Matte or Glossy - Preference?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: How to Correct Soft Focus in Picture
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Keeping Track of Settings
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Outdoor Portraiture
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Stock Agency Requirements
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Layers in Photoshop CS2
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: How Do I Capture Rain?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Shooting Behind Glass at an Aquarium
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Focusing on a Reflection


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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BetterPhoto's Fall Online Courses Launch Wednesday
Make this season a great photographic adventure by enrolling in BetterPhoto's online school! Each class is focused on teaching you how to improve your understanding of photography through exciting weekly assignments and helpful critiques. You must act fast, though, since our Fall session starts October 5th; many courses are already full, while others are nearing capacity! Another incentive: Prices will increase slightly in January. Sign up today 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 232nd issue of SnapShot!

Hi {FirstName}

What a thrilling week at BetterPhoto.com! The big news, of course, is that the Fall round of online photo classes gets started this Wednesday. And there's still time to join the fun. Check things out at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/categories.asp

We extend a huge welcome to Kathy Woodford, who joins the BetterPhoto team of talented instructors with a unique new course: Digital Wedding Album Design. Kathy is well-qualified to teach this outstanding course: She is the author of the Professional Photographer's Digital Wedding Album Design Guide, and the founder of Calypsis, a successful wedding photography studio in the Pacific Northwest. Check out her class at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/WFD01.asp

In this issue, we have our usual fine features, including an outstanding Photo Tip from instructor-author Brenda Tharp, in which she tells how to obtain great travel photography scenics.

That's it for now. "See" you in class!
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


*****
New Class, New Instructor: Digital Wedding Album Design by Kathy Woodford
In her awesome new course, photographer-author Kathy Woodford will show you how to create digital albums - which are made up of composite images put together in Photoshop and then mounted and bound into a beautiful coffee-table book. Offering digital albums to clients, says Kathy, can be the unique selling proposition that sets you apart from other wedding photographers. More details on her new course:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/WFD01.asp


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Book of Month: William Neill's Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness
For October, the BetterPhoto Store puts the spotlight on William Neill (who teaches the excellent Portfolio Development course right here at BetterPhoto) and his awesome book, "Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness." If you buy it before the end of October, you will receive free U.S. shipping. Best yet, this fine book is autographed by William!
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetail.asp?productID=1325


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Notes and News - Jim Miotke Signing and Podcasting!
Join Jim Miotke for a fun and interactive talk about digital picture taking! At three California locales this month, Jim will be giving practical, easy-to-follow advice on improving technique and making the most of your digital camera! Jim will also be signing copies of his book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Digital Photography.

  • Sunday, October 23, Pleasanton Public Library; Pleasanton, CA; Sponsored by Towne Center Books; 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 25; Barnes & Noble - The Pruneyard; Campbell, CA; 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 26; Alum Rock Library; San Jose, CA; 6:30 p.m.
The BetterPhoto Show ... Now on the Air!
In his weekly podcast on digital photography, Jim shares tips so you can learn how to make your own eye-catching imagery. Jim tells the stories behind his favorite photos and shares simple techniques for improving your own photography. Listen to this radio show at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/podcasts.asp

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Focus on a Colorful Season: Autumn
Few things say "color" quite like fall foliage and fallen leaves. That describes almost all of the images from BetterPhoto members and instructors that highlight this gallery. But there are also images of other colorful icons of autumn - pumpkins and scarecrows. View BetterPhoto's fall-color gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=449

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
Match up the following articles with the magazines in which they recently appeared:

Articles:
1) "Mothers of Invention"
2) "Hide in Plain Sight"
3) "Out with the New, In with the Old"

Magazines:
a) Shutterbug
b) Popular Photography
c) Outdoor Photographer


The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Jay Grantham is:
1-B
2-A
3-C


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 - Shooting Script - entered by BetterPhoto member Jim Miotke

One of photography's biggest names committed suicide and left behind this note to friends: "My work is done. Why wait?" Who was this person?

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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Planning for Your Best Travel Scenics ... by Brenda Tharp
When I arrive in a location, I've already done my homework about places I'll want to photograph by reading guidebooks with pictures, getting brochures from the tourism offices, and in general researching the place using books and the Internet. Yet, often these don't tell you what time to be there for the good light. This is where local shop owners can come in handy. I peruse the postcard racks, finding the places that I might want to photograph, then I start to ask around about when's the best time to go. A photo store is a great place to ask - many times the people that work there are photographers too and can give you good input. You can also go to the spots and use a compass to see where the light would be for morning or afternoon. The time you spend doing just a little research will be well worth it when you come home with great pictures of your journey!

Check out Brenda Tharp's online photo course:
Beyond the Postcard: Creating Memorable Travel Photos

Top Ten Tips:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/tips.asp

All Tips:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/allTips.asp

Add Your Own Tip:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/login.asp?category=tip&inputType=tip

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ADVERTISEMENT
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Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Great Photos
My new book guides you away from the point-and-pray method of taking pictures to shooting with confidence. In this simple and clear how-to book, you will learn:

  • How to compose your picture with a more artful eye
  • The top qualities that winning photos exhibit
  • 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: Battery Charging
I have two older batteries that will only charge for like 30 seconds each. I have to re-set the power each time to get a small charge. Does anyone know if this is an old battery problem or if the aftermarket chargers are no good?
- Kyle D. Neff

ANSWER 1:
If the batteries are old, that is most likely the problem. Rechargeables eventually "wear out" and won't hold a charge.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 2:
It sounds like the generic brands issue. Although they are really cheap, they do not last long. They are done ... retire them... :(
- Melissa L. Zavadil

See Melissa 's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=19690

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=19690

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NEW QUESTION 2: Color Portrait Film
I am just curious as to what brand of portait film that members on BetterPhoto use in a studio setting. Thanks.
- Kalina Acord

ANSWER 1:
Kalina,
In Portrait work, I always preferred Kodak film being very warm. For outside shots, I used Fuji film, better for blues and greens. And these days, I use a Lexar Memory card. I have gone digital. But I hope this helps,
Debby
- Debby Tabb

See Debby's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Kodak Portra NC.
- Kerry L. Walker

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=19683

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=19683

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NEW QUESTION 3: Matte or Glossy - Preference?
Hi everyone,
What are some of you guys and gals printing Matte or Glossy. Is there a difference between the two besides personal preference. What are the pros and cons? Thanks for your help.
- Ric Henry

ANSWER 1:
I prefer matte over glossy for all of my work ... I think matte handles better and stays looking nicer over time. ... I don't print anything of importance myself and send off for all of my work. I think as long as the quality of the paper is good that either will have longevity to it. And, for most, I think it simply does boil down to a personal preference!
- Michelle Ross

See Michelle's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Hi Ric,
This really is a personal prefernce type thing. I think you get a lot better clarity and a crisp look with glossy. When you think about it, most matte finish paper has little dips and valleys in it. When you think about it in that way, all of those little dips and valleys kind of disperse your photo, which gives it that soft look. Glossy shows finger prints terribly, though, where matte hides them really well. Personally, I prefer matte, because I can't stand to see fingerprints. It also is very nice for portraiture because of the soft look.
- Liza M. Franco

ANSWER 3:
OK, Now I am going to throw you for a loop: I like glossy for my animal and landscape prints ... as Liza says, they seem more vivid and crisp. And I print portraits in matte - I feel it gives them a richer more real look.
- Debby Tabb

See Debby's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 4:
For weddings, I get mine printed on texture - sort of between matte and glossy.
- Kerry L. Walker

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=19681

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=19681

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NEW QUESTION 4: How to Correct Soft Focus in Picture
I took some really great pictures at a horse show last weekend and when I downloaded them I found some were fuzzy. I had to zoom in to my camera's max 21mm from across the arena, but I used a tripod. Any suggestions as to how to clear them up, I have Photoshop Elements and Microsoft digital image. Thanks.
- Dawn M. Field

ANSWER 1:
I think you are out of luck trying to "clear them up." While there are lots of sharpening tools available, including PS's Unsharp Mask, they all have limitations, and none are miracle workers.
I'm going to second guess your situation here - I'm guessing you were indoors shooting moving horses, perhaps jumping or just trotting. Your shutter speed was most likely too slow to stop the motion of the horse, giving you a blurred image. Compound that with the fact that your zoom lens was extended all the way (which is customarily the very worst area of performance in a given zoom lens, and even more so, if you resorted to the "digital" zoom). Therefore, even if the horse was motionless, it does not surprise me that your pictures were "fuzzy." Sadly, this may be the best you can expect from your particular camera, and the best you can do is add some Unsharp Mask in PS Elements.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

See Michael's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=19678

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NEW QUESTION 5: Keeping Track of Settings
I would like to know how you keep track of every setting that you take for every picture? Do you write it down every time you snap a photo? When I take pictures, I never know what my settings were. I never stop long enough to look at what they were set at. I just shot and go on to the next. I would like to know how you can do that if your shooting away. Please help. Thank you Fran
- Francene Show

ANSWER 1:
Francene, the best thing to do is actually slow down and write them down. This is a great great learning aid in photography. This will help you #1 slow down, rather than just randomly snapping away, and #2, later you can review your photos and your settings and compare things such as aperture, focal lengths, etc. This will help you learn what functions do what.
- Justin D. Goeden

ANSWER 2:
True. I remember 2-3 years ago when I took photogrpahy classes in high school, our teachers made us do an exposure log. For every exposure, we would write down the subject, aperture, and shutter speed, and some other info about the exposure. That helped a lot and I learned from it, so ... try it. it's a good way to learn. Good luck.
- Loay O. Matar

ANSWER 3:
I'm sorry - hand writing in the field just takes waaaay too long. For film AND digital photography, I have always relied on a mini-cassette recorder for the past 30 years! Speaking into a tiny tape recorder is much easier, and when I get home, I play it back, and THEN write down the info on a special form I made.
My new digital SLR now records all the tech data for me, and is permanently stored on the computer with each file. If you are shooting digital, does your camera and its software not do this for you?
I still use the mini-cassette recorder in the field, but now only to record my location, and any info unrelated to the tech data.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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NEW QUESTION 6: Outdoor Portraiture
I'm photographing a large 20-person group at 4:00pm in a couple of weeks and am wondering which direction would be the best to place them. I've done small groups before and have had much success, but a group this large seems to be a little bit more overwhelming. I found a spot near a lake that would make a very nice backdrop but the lake would mean me facing the people with their backs to the sunset west. From everything I've learned this would not be the best choice. There are a couple spots where I could possibly place them in the shade of a large tree. Would I just use my fill flash then to balance the backlight from the sunset? Any suggestions would be much help.
- Donna Volkmann

ANSWER 1:
Man, tough one. First, ideally diffuse light would be best. We love clouds for outdoor portaiture. Barring this fortunate meteorological occurence, mix it up a little. Take a step ladder, face them into the sun and shoot down on them. The ground would provide less contrast than would a bright sky behind your subjects. Try to make lines from the faces, angles or triangles. They are very pleasing to the eye and give the portrait solidity, sense to the madness of forty eyes staring back at you. Don't use props like pets or hobby paraphernalia as they will clutter an already jumbled portrait. If they are in the shade of a large tree, fill flash would definitely be best as some of the faces may be in sunlight and some in shadow.
Even lighting is the key. But try a roll on someone you know in the same place and positions you might use on the shoot and one-hour the prints and see how they turn out. Then you can make adjustments to your technique. Do it again next weekend and one-hour those. Fine tune your technique once more and then go out and have no fear. Have fun. After all, you are the photographer that they chose. You are the pro. Act like it and you will see just what can come of preparation and practice. And get to know your subjects. They will be more comfortable with you and make your job A LOT easier. Good luck.

Walrath Photographic Imaging
http://home.comcast.net/~flash19901/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html
- Christopher A. Walrath

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=19637

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=19637

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NEW QUESTION 7: Stock Agency Requirements
I have a Canon 20D digital SLR, which I intend to take with me on a 10-day trip to Switzerland in a month. I also have a Minolta 570 SLR,(film camera) which I could take as a back-up. The question is: Do stock photography agencies now take digital shots instead of slides, or do we still need to shoot slides to submit pictures? The answer will help me determine whether I need to take the Minolta. Thanks so much for your input.

Virginia
- Virginia Jamieson

ANSWER 1:
Well, that depends on the stock agency you are shooting for, but nearly all stock agencies now accept digital images ... IF the images meet their specifications (dpi density). Only you and your stock agency can answer this question.
- John Clifford

ANSWER 2:
Viginia,
John is correct in that it depends on the agency. Getty announced in August that they will only accept digital submissions - no more film. You can shoot film, but have to do all the scanning and retouching and it has to be a very high quality scan. They also will not accept images from digital cameras that are less than 12mp. However, they are the exception right now, as quite a few agencies still take film and digital from an 8.5mp camera. But expect the other agents to follow suit because it is not 'if', it's 'when'.
- Charlie Borland

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

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Charlie Borland:
Stock Photography
Lighting for Commercial Photography
Advanced Lighting for Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Beginners Guide to Strobe Lighting - October
4-Week Short Course: Beginners Guide to Strobe Lighting -November
The Business of Outdoor and Nature Photography

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=19634

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*****


NEW QUESTION 8: Layers in Photoshop CS2
Can anyone tell me how to save a file with layers? I'm new to PS CS2 and every time I use layers and save it ... my image is a bit distorted when uploaded on better photo. saving with layers increases the size and then I cant even upload it on this site. Can anyone tell me what format I should be saving this in so I can upload it to my gallery? Thanks!

- Tracy Reehal

See Tracy's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Tracy, your master file (the one with all the layers) should be saved in PSD. After you are finished tinkering with that file, duplicate the file. Close out of the PSD file and go to the copied one. Save the copy to JPEG. It will flatten the file for you but, you still have your master so you could go back and make changes. JPEG is much smaller of a file, you should not have any problems uploading a JPEG file.
- Melissa L. Zavadil

See Melissa 's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
If you want to save as a TIFF instead of a JPEG, you can go about it this way:
After saving the PSD file, go to the layers palatte. On the upper right side there should be a little arrow button. Click that and go down to "flatten image." Then do a "file" "save as" to save as a tiff. Make sure you do a "save as" and not just a "save" so you don't accidentally save over your PSD file.
- Cherylann Collins

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=19615

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=19615

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*****


NEW QUESTION 9: How Do I Capture Rain?
We have had weeks of dry weather here is BC, well today all that changed and it is raining very very hard. I have tried to catch this but so far have not had any luck. Any ideas?
- Judy vanHaaster

ANSWER 1:
Try an ISO of 400 and, using available light, meter for the background. Your shutter speed setting will determine how the rain drops are portrayed. A speed of 1/500 second should be fast enough to freeze the individual drops. At slower speeds you will get streaks. (The slower the speed is, the longer the streaks.)

You could also try using flash. With a fast shutter speed and a powerful flash unit, you will freeze many drops but you may not get much of your background to record.

The ideal scenario would be to use a combination of the two techniques listed above. Meter for ambient light and use a relatively slow shutter speed of 1/60 or 1/30 second in addition to a flash unit. Set your camera's flash to rear-curtain sync ...(if you can). With this setup, you'll get your background to record, the raindrops will streak to show motion, and each individual drop will be frozen in place by the flash.
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

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


NEW QUESTION 10: Shooting Behind Glass at an Aquarium
I will be going to Shedd Aquarium next month and I would like to know how to shoot pictures behind glass. I would appreciate any help. Thank you.
- S Moore

ANSWER 1:
I have gotten my best aquarium pictures when I had the camera lens pressed right onto the glass. This helps stabilize the camera, and keeps the flash reflection from showing up in the image. You may not be allowed to use a flash in the aquarium, so make sure you know the rules before you blind the animals. :) Good luck!
- Stephanie M. Stevens

ANSWER 2:
P.S.: You may want to use manual focus. Auto likes to focus on the glass instead of what's behind it.
- Stephanie M. Stevens

ANSWER 3:
Stephanie is right. Stay very close to the glass. If you have a "night mode" on your camera, use that. It works very well most of the time.
- Carolyn Fletcher

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Visit PickYourShots.com - Carolyn's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 4:
Might also try using yor circular polarizer during the shoot to lessen reflections.
- Kip T. Berger

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ANSWER 5:
Use a lens hood (especially a rubber one) to get up to the glass and block reflections. A dark card or jacket can also be used to lessen reflections. A polarizer can also work, but the aquarium lights are not very bright and the loss of an additional 2 stops to the polarizer will give very long shutter speeds.

From the Shedd Aquarium Web site:
Can I take pictures? Yes, but for the animals' safety and comfort, please turn off your flash everywhere but in the Oceanarium and restaurant areas. No tripods are allowed either.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 6:
Turn your flash off first; it's pretty much useless with this type of photography. The rubber hood is a good thing. Use a higher ISO to achieve a faster shutter speed and a near wide-open aperture and don't pick on the fast movers unless you want a special-effects image:-)Good luck!
- Terry R. Hatfield

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Focusing on a Reflection
I would like to photograph a young lady standing on the other side of a bird bath so that I would focus on her reflection in the water to get a shimmering image of her face. Question: Do I first focus on her head, then swing the camera to the water, or should I focus on the water instead. Any ideas?
- John W. Berger

ANSWER 1:
I would focus on the water and use a small aperture. That would give you enought depth of fiel for both her face and the reflection would be in focus. DOF is greater behind the point of focus than it is in front.
- Kerry L. Walker

ANSWER 2:
Use the same rule of thumb that is used for weddings when photographing a bride by a mirror: If the person is looking at the camera, focus on his/her face. But if your subject is looking away or looking into the mirror or reflection, focus on the reflection. But, yes, as Kerry said, do use a small aperture.
- Maria Melnyk

ANSWER 3:
First, if your camera has a depth of field preview button, use it. It will reveal what will be in focus at the given aperture and present focus. Also, I have shot some reflections with some success and have found that, more often than not, the reflection and the subject are nearly the same distance from the camera - that distance increasing as does the angle from the line of the reflection and the line of the subject. Play around and see if you like the focus on the reflection or on both the reflection and the subject, if the subject does not distract from the reflection.
- Christopher A. Walrath

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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