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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 18, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: BetterPhoto's Short Courses: Next Session Begins November 2nd
* BETTERPHOTO: So Where Is Jim? Catch Him in Person in the S.F. Bay Area!
* BETTERPHOTO: BetterWorkshops: On-Location Excitement, Online Critiques
* BETTERPHOTO: Silvermans Leading a Photographic Adventure ... to Patagonia!
* FEATURED GALLERY: Focusing on Cool Cars
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Focusing on the Future / Digital Timeline: Going Pro
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Lighting: Watt Seconds ... by Charlie Borland
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Image Information for the Future
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Reflector for Outdoor Wedding
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Storing Photos - CD, DVD, R, RW
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Good Ideas for Cool Autumn Photos?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Film-Based Black and White: TMax vs. Tri-X
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Focusing: How to Do It and Get It Right
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: How to Shoot Candles
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Using a Backdrop Outdoors
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Wedding Photography Equipment
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Judging a Print for Exposure
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Tips on Taking a Band's Picture Inside
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 2: Stock Agency Requirements


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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BetterPhoto's Short Courses: Next Session Begins November 2nd
Are you still kicking yourself for not signing up for a fall online class at BetterPhoto.com™? Well, help is on the way ... in the form of BetterPhoto's second sessions of our 4-week Short Courses. These 4-week online courses kick off November 2nd. For all of the specifics, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-short-courses.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 234th issue of SnapShot!

Hi {FirstName}

Our Fall session of online courses has gotten off to a fantastic start. But some classes haven't even begun yet! These are the second sessions of our 4-week Short Courses. And we have some awesome classes: Beginners Guide to Strobe Lighting; The Four Essential Filters; Camera Raw Processing, Color Management; The Magic of Wide-Angle; and Details & Close-ups. For details:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-short-courses.asp

For a unique photographic experience, check out our new "BetterWorkshops" page. These adventures offer a pre-workshop lesson, assignment, and critique. Then there are the fantastic field sessions, followed by post-workshop feedback on your photos! See the schedule at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/on-location-photography-workshops.asp

The BetterPhoto Show is now on the air! If you haven't already, be sure to check out my weekly podcast on digital photography. In these podcasts, I share the stories behind some of my favorite images and offer tips for improving your own photography. Listen to this show at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/podcasts.asp

In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss our usual collection of features and excellent questions and answers. Plus, be sure to read the Photo Tip by instructor/photographer Charlie Borland ... as usual, Charlie serves up some valuable, easy-to-read advice!

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


*****
So Where Is Jim? Catch Him in Person in the S.F. Bay Area!
Join BetterPhoto founder/photographer Jim Miotke for a fun and interactive talk about digital picture taking! At four 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. Specifics of these free events:

- Sunday, October 23, 2 p.m., Pleasanton Public Library (sponsored by Towne Center Books).
- Monday, October 24, 6 p.m., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, San Jose, Computer Instruction Classroom (room 125).
- Tuesday, October 25, 7 p.m., Barnes & Noble at The Pruneyard in Campbell.
- Wednesday, October 26, 6:30 p.m., Dr. Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Branch Library in San Jose.



*****
BetterWorkshops: On-Location Excitement, Online Critiques
Our exciting lineup of workshops combines the best of two worlds - online and on-location. And each workshop is led by one of BetterPhoto's expert instructor-photographers. For more information, go to: -workshops.asp
http://www.betterphoto.com/on-location-photography-workshops.asp


*****
Silvermans Leading a Photographic Adventure ... to Patagonia!
Join BetterPhoto instructors Susan and Neil Silverman on a Photographic Tour of the Soul of Patagonia - from fjords, glaciers, and mountains to small villages, and of course, the Tango. It is more than a trip - it will be a journey into a beautiful land of photographic opportunities. The 15-day tour begins March 4th, 2006, with an optional pre-tour cruise starting Feb. 28th. For details, go to:
http://www.cosmopolitanadventuretours.com/patagonia2006tour.html

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Focusing on Cool Cars
Automobiles have long caught the attention of BetterPhoto members and instructors. But the images aren't just overall looks of eye-catching old classics, custom cars, or the late models; many of the best angles of view zero in on chrome, curves, reflections, cool lines, and hot colors. View this gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=249

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
A famed photographer died long before the peak of the digital era, but had the following to say just before his death two decades ago:
"In the electronic age, I am sure that scanning techniques will be developed to achieve prints of extraordinary subtlety from the original negative scores. If I could return in twenty years or so I would hope to see astounding interpretations of my most expressive images. It is true no one could print my negatives as I did, but they might well get more out of them by electronic means. Image quality is not the product of a machine but of the person who directs the machine, and there are no limits to imagination and expression."
Who was this photographer?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Penny Steiner is:
Ansel Adams

Editor's Note: Right you are, Penny! The quotation is from Ansel Adams' "An Autobiography", which was published in 1985, the year after his death. Thanks to BetterPhoto instructor/author Jeff Wignall for alerting us to this great quote!

See Penny 's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=27123

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 - Digital Timeline: Going Pro - entered by BetterPhoto member Kerry Drager

Which company developed the first digital professional camera?

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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Lighting: Watt Seconds ... by Charlie Borland

Watt seconds means how many watts a light can output per second. Whether watt seconds or Joules, they both are based on mathematical calculations of flash output and what you need to understand is the more watt seconds/Joules, the more flash output you have. Here is a HYPOTHETICAL example:

You went out and bought the two-light package from No-Name Photo Works and you got two stands and two lights and two umbrellas for an incredibly fantastic price of $200 from an ad in the back of a photo magazine. The lights are designated at 100-watt seconds (ws) each, and you bought them because it was a killer deal. You had no practical experience using lights on location and did not have a grasp of flash output and the relationship with f/stop. Then you photograph a group of three or more people in one shot. You set up your lights and put your key light at full power and your fill light at -1 stop, and when you take your first shot and look at the LCD screen, it is too dark. So you open up your aperture to f/8 and take another - still too dark. By the time you have a good exposure, you are f/4.5 and the front person is in focus, but the back person is not. You do not have enough depth of field at f/4.5 or enough flash power to get you to f/8 or, better yet, f/11.

So you got a couple lights at a great price, but they are really designed to take a close-up portrait of one person and not light a very large area. The amount of flash power, watt seconds/Joules is important.

View Charlie Borland's online photography courses:



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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: Image Information for the Future
How do I identify or post pertinent information of the photograph for future generations of my family? The old way was to write all the information on the back of the photo. How do I do it now when I scan a photo or take a digital photo and download it to my computer? I would truly appreciate any help or suggestions.
- Raymond J. Card

ANSWER 1:
With photo-editing software, you can add comments to the EXIF data (UserComment field) embedded in the photo.
- Jon Close

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=19985

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=19985

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NEW QUESTION 2: Reflector for Outdoor Wedding
Ok I'm doing my first paid wedding on the 11th of November and the ceremony is outdoor at 2pm in the afternoon in Florida that is a bad thing.
I know I need to get a reflector but I don't know where I can get one. I've never used one before so I have no clue. Any information is greatly appreciated. Is there anything else that I would need to capture great photos at that time of day?
Thanks for looking.
Any Info will help.
- Sasha R. Dungan

ANSWER 1:
Get yourself a car windshield reflector (one that is gold on one side, silver on the other). You should be able to get two really big circles out of it, then just trim it with bias binding (or not). This is what I did, and both cost $15 all up, as opposed to $50 each. I hope this helps.
- Natalie Howe

See Natalie's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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NEW QUESTION 3: Storing Photos - CD, DVD, R, RW
I am a little confused (a lot really) about storing photos on discs. After uploading your photos to the computer from whatever method - a card reader, printer, digicam, etc. - what would be the best, or better yet, what is the difference with all the different discs? I have seen CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R and DVD+R ... Are there special ones for photos and others for music, or can they all be used for photos, and what would be the advantage of using one over the other? Thanks, BetterPhoto, for an excellent Web site!!
Rich Jackson
- Richard Jackson

ANSWER 1:
Rich, the short answer is no, there are not special discs designed to store photos in particular. Remember, to the computer, the photo is just another digital file, no different from a Word document or a Quicken file or an MP3. It's all just zeros and ones.

That said, there are differences between the technologies you mention, though they have to do with the particular drive you will be using. A CD burner can burn either CD-R or CD-RW, but not DVDs. DVD burners can generaly burn CDs as well, though, since CDs are lower density. The DVD+R verus -R is purely a matter of what your burner will be able to use - though nowadays many DVD burners can handle both. Again, just another stupid format difference, similar to but not quite as drastic as the difference between VHS and Beta in the old days (at least they both use the same size disc).

All that said, the one thing that you should know is that there are differing qualities of CDs and DVDs (all flavors). The cheap 10-15-cent-apiece stuff you can buy in any discount store are fine for short-term use, but the dyes they use can actually degrade just sitting on the shelf, making them useless coasters in a few years' time. For this reason, it's generally suggested that you use so-called Gold versions of these discs, which cost quite a bit more (on the order of $1 per disc) but which are rated for decades of shelf life. Google Mitsui gold and you will get a number of hits on the topic - MAM-A is their U.S. subsidiary that sells direct.
- Bob

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=19974

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NEW QUESTION 4: Good Ideas for Cool Autumn Photos?
Have any good ideas for cool fall photos, or harvest? Anything ... just let me know. Thanks!
- Jill M. H.

ANSWER 1:
Anything out of the ordinary is always a welcome respite from the everyday cliche fall photos we've all seen (and taken) each autumn. Think of something including human involvement ... like a friend or family member raking leaves on a breezy day ... or a self-portrait of yourself photographing a leaf falling. (I played around with this one last autumn.) ;)

You might also try visiting the local roadside markets laden with gourds, pumpkins and ornamental corn. Some of the displays at these places can be quite photogenic. And the proprietors are usually flattered to have them photographed (though it usually helps if you buy something first).


- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
"The everyday cliche fall photos we've all seen (and taken) each autumn." Yup, I spent this morning doing macros of colored leaves in my front yard ... :-(
I've had this thought, though it's probably been done a million times, about shooting from the pumpkin's view ... large pumpkin, lens size hole carved in the back, smaller hole for a very small flashlight near the lens hole ... then, hopefully, shooting the carving of the pumpkin from the inside out.
- Bob Cournoyer

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ANSWER 3:
How about a good old Hay Ride?
- Jeffrey J. Thompson

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=19957

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NEW QUESTION 5: Film-Based Black and White: TMax vs. Tri-X
Hi,
I know there are some of you guys and gals who have not left me all alone in my love for B&W film-based photography. Can any one tell me the main difference between TMax 400 and Tri-X 400? Thanks!
- Steve Warren

ANSWER 1:
I'm not sure but I think TMax has finer grain? Now, I know this quote will be about different film speeds but here's what Kodak's Web site says about TMax 100 and Tri-X 400:
"Proprietary T-Grain Emulsion in Kodak Professional T-MAX 100 Film lets you see every detail with razor sharpness and nearly invisible grain. For more speed with remarkably fine grain and high sharpness, choose T-MAX 400 Film or ultra-fast T-MAX P3200 Film."
"For half a century, black-and-white artists have chosen Kodak Professional TRI-X Film with confidence, knowing its pushability provides an extra stop when you need it. In challenging lighting situations, the film’s wide exposure latitude is very forgiving. And its distinctive grain structure adds realism, while an edge of contrast brings drama to your images."
(http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/products/blackWhiteIndex.jhtml)
I use TMax 100 and really like it because of the grain. Other people in my photo class use TMax 400 and I can definitely tell a difference even though we're only printing 8x10 at the moment. Doesn't 400 have wider exposure latitude as well?

Hope this helps!
- Andrew Laverghetta

See Andrew's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Steve,
Kodak can provide you with some technical specs about each film. And you should read as much as you can.
As you probably know, T-Max is a modern film with very fine grain, especially for 400 speed. Properly exposed and developed, it can provide very sharp, fine grained images. In most ways, it out-performs Tri-X hands down.
However, Tri-X is mystical! There are many photographers (mostly with gray hair now) who swear by it (including me). It is grainy, for sure, but what a beautiful grain it is. It has a personality and charm that no other film has, nor will ever have. I soup it in HC-100, dilution B. D-76 is also a great developer for it. 35mm Tri-X will be very grainy, and resemble many of the older street shooter's images. Medium format and especially large format (4x5 & 8x10) produce a sweetness that you cannot get from T-Max, in my opinion.
Don't expect its personality to show too much with "drugstore" developing - you need to do it yourself. Also, FYI - Tri-X (ISO 400) and Professional Tri-X (ISO 320) are really two different films. The pro version has never been as popular and accepted as the "amateur" 400 version. If you want to experiment with the Tri-X mystic, stick with the 400 version.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

See Michael's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Hi Andrew and Michael,
Thanks for the responses. This is exactly what I was looking for. I know so many photographers who swear by TMax, and I like the 3200 version myself, but I do like to go for the older feel, so I'll give TMax a shot and post the results.
- Steve Warren

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=19954

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*****


NEW QUESTION 6: Focusing: How to Do It and Get It Right
I took pictures of my daughter and her friend yesterday in the park. For some reason, every picture threw one of them out of focus (or sometimes both of them). It would focus on the tree or the leaves. I used shutter priority and the spot focusing was on all points. Can anyone help me with what I'm doing wrong? Should I be using a higher aperture?
- Pat Wimpee

Visit portraitcreation.com - Pat's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
The camera's autofocus sensor selector has no intelligence and cannot distinguish between your intended subject and some high-contrast distraction (like a branch) that is closer. To be sure of focusing on your intended subject, manually select and use the autofocus sensor closest to the subject, or simply focus manually.
The exposure program you selected may not necessarily choose a lens aperture small enough to give you enough depth of field to render 2 or more subjects in focus. Use DEP mode (if using Canon EOS) or select a smaller aperture in aperture priority mode.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 2:
Thanks for your answer, Jon. I'll try the DEP mode tomorrow. I haven't used that before. I try to stay away from manual focus because my eyesight isn't what it used to be:)
- Pat Wimpee

Visit portraitcreation.com - Pat's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Don't be scared by the manual focus. I have astigmatism and I will focus with my eyeglasses on and then remove them and compose the frame without them so my eye is closer and I can then see the whole frame. For focusing, you might try zeroing in. Focus your subject and go past until it gets a little fuzzy, then focus back, and back and forth, until you've got it dead on, imaging a pendulum swing back and forth. Focus like this, narrowing your focus swing until you have the crispness of image that you desire.

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:
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*****


NEW QUESTION 7: How to Shoot Candles
I am trying to take some shots of a lit candle. However, when I look at the final outcome, there is a halo around the flame. What can I do to ensure that I don't get the halo? Faster shutter speed?
- Margie Hurwich

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ANSWER 1:
Margie, I don't think the shutter speed will affect the halo you describe. I believe (and others may correct me) that the halo is related to the high contrast of the dark surroundings and the bright flame and the lens itself. Perhaps the atmospheric humidity causes a microscopic amount of coating on the lens which makes the halo appear (think of driving at night when the windshield is foggy, before the defroster kicks in - oncoming headlights have that same halo effect).
Perhaps increasing the distance from the camera to the candle would help - step back and take the shot and then enlarge the image to get the final print identical with the ones you've got. Failing that, maybe getting into a very dry environment, to eliminate humidity around the flame and on the lens as much as possible.
- Bob

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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NEW QUESTION 8: Using a Backdrop Outdoors
I have been asked to do a shoot outside using a backdrop. It is light gray with a sheer sparkle fabric overlay and a few props. I will be shooting in a shady area with little or no direct sunlight. It is a small youth sports team's homecoming. I am concerned with shadows and overexposed areas of the image due to the uncontrolled environment. Is it possible to get good sellable shots with this shooting condition? If so, how would I go about it?
sincerely, shareebee
- Sharee M. Keener

ANSWER 1:
No direct light means even exposures. As long as the light is sufficient, the photos should turn out okay if you do your job. With only indirect lighting, contrast and overexposure shouldn't be a problem.
You don't tell us what kind of camera you're shooting. If it's digital, then you can take a couple of test exposures and check out the histograms/images for proper exposure. Or, you can always measure exposure off of the light grey background ... or bring an 18% grey card to meter from.
If you have the gear (strobes), then you can always use them and set your exposure so that the available light meters a stop or two darker.
Not a hard problem. Just get out there and spend a few minutes shooting and you'll answer your questions.
- John Clifford

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


NEW QUESTION 9: Wedding Photography Equipment
I have a small portrait business, and I am currently shooting on location, mostly candids. I've recently been asked to shoot a wedding. I am frantically trying to find out what kind of equipment I will need (besides my digital SLR camera). The wedding is in the evening outside. Any suggestions will be helpful. Thanks!
- Lesli M. Dabney

ANSWER 1:
I would suggest: Camera, flash, flash bracket and mini-softbox, lots of memory, and batteries.
- Kerry L. Walker

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=19919

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NEW QUESTION 10: Judging a Print for Exposure
To judge a print for exposure, what do I look for?
- Holly A. Hart

ANSWER 1:
"Proper" exposure is one which gives you adequate detail where YOU WANT it. In most cases, pay particular attention to the very bright areas and very dark areas. Judge these for the amount of detail you see. In most cases, with color film or digital cameras, and especially in very contrasty lighting situations, like outdoors in bright sunlight, your camera will only be able to hold detail in either the bright highlights or the deep shadows, but not both. It's your call here, but the general consensus among better photographers is to be sure you hold detail in the highlights, and let the shadows darken as they may.
With B&W film, it is very possible to get details in both, providing you expose for the shadows, and develop for the highlights. This does not work with color film or digital capture.
Furthermore, you can judge exposure based upon your creative intentions. Perhaps you are going for a dark, moody image, or something like that nature.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

See Michael's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Also, FYI -
Black & white film normally has 9 or 10 "zones" of gray between black and white, so its tonal range is very broad.
Color film, and digital capture have 5-6 "zones" of brightness between black and white. Thus their tonal range is more limited than b&w film.
This shortness of tonal range requires more diligence on the part of the photographer to carefully meter a scene in order to preserve detail where it is wanted or needed.
Michael H. Cothran
- Michael H. Cothran

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ANSWER 3:
Michael, would you happen to know an approximate tonal range for digital cameras, or does that vary?
- Justin D. Goeden

ANSWER 4:
Justin,
Assuming you are somewhat familiar with Ansel Adams "Zone System" of exposure, your DSLR camera can expose from about Zone 1.5 up to about Zone 7.5. The distance from one zone to another (i.e., Zone 2-3-4-5-6-7) is ONE FULL STOP. Remember this.
Zone 5 is middle gray (RGB 128 in Photoshop). Going down is getting darker (underexposing), and going up is getting lighter (overexposing). This is your working range with just about all DSLR cameras. Here is a subjective definition for each zone in color/digital capture:

Zone 1.5 - Paper lack
Zone 2 - muddy black
zone 3 - very dark (limited detail)
zone 4 - dark (full detail)
zone 5 - middle tone (full detail)
zone 6 - light (full detail
zone 7 - very light (limited detail)
zone 7.5 - paper white

Also, since color/digital is so sensitive to light changes, it is advantageous to think in terms of 1/2 stop increments rather than the full stop increments associated with b&w film.
Hope this helps.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net
- Michael H. Cothran

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Tips on Taking a Band's Picture Inside
I am going to photograph a 6-piece band that will be playing for a high school reunion. It will be inside - probably low light (?)... except obviously for lights on the band's faces. Should I angle the flash? Shoot direct flash? Any tips? Thanks. They want to use these pictures for their Web site.
- Linda L. Clark

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ANSWER 1:
If there's any chance you can get there early before the event starts and have them pose in position with extra lighting, that would be best. If not, then bring a tripod, stake out a good spot, and try with flash and without.
- Diane L. Dupuis-Kallos

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ANSWER 2:
That's a good idea. I think I will get there early and try to get a shot of the band when they are dressed ... but before the crowd gets there.
- Linda L. Clark

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ANSWER 3:
From experience, I have found Band members always get there a bit late ... and they are often nervous (edgy) as they are about to perform (which is understandable). Good luck with getting some pics before the event!
I personally would move in as close as possible, highlighting one band member at a time, with the others in the background (if they move, so what ... it can add drama to ambient light.
Forget the flash for overall use, but it can be used effectively close in (as above). Meter off the background and fill in with your flash.
You may have more of a chance getting pics as the night wears on (after playing).
- Roy Blinston

ANSWER 4:
The photo shoot went well! I bounced the flash most of the time. I also had my flash power cut back 1/3-2/3. I used my telephoto lens to get a lot of close up shots of the individual band members. You are right about taking the group pic later in the evening. I waited until after the 2nd set ... and they were much more relaxed and that helped me to get a really good group photo. I used ISO 200 ... shot on Auto ... bounced flash ... and had great results! (D70 Nikon)
- Linda L. Clark

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CONTINUING QUESTION 2: 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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ANSWER 3:
Charlie,
I've recently been told by a stock agency to "come back when you have a camera that captures a minimum of 11 MP." Before I settle on a new camera to buy, how quickly do you think that this figure will inch upwards to 15 MP ? I'm looking at the new Canon 5D, which is 12.8 MP, but that seems very close to the edge, if Getty has set their bar at 12MP. Thanks for your always sage advice.
- Laura Berman

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ANSWER 4:
If stock agencies only used photographers with 11 MP+ cameras, there'd be a lot less stock photographers. What is the current resolution of your camera? If you are using a dSLR with at least 6 MP, then you should be able to up-size your images and get acceptable results. Many stock photographers use Genuine Fractals to resize their images; others use the resizing feature of PS or other image editors. What is important is results. If you can use software to get 11 MP+ images from your camera that are acceptable, then you're in business.
- John Clifford

ANSWER 5:
Hi John,
It's Raw capture size that the agencies are specifying, rather than what the images can be interpolated up to. Sure, you can take an image captured with a 6 MP camera and upsize it to 11 MP or even 60 MP, but it will not have anywhere near the quality of an 11MP capture. There's just more information in the larger MP capture.
What Genuine Fractals does is fill in digital information in between the pixels of the original capture size and those of the desired size. That info isn't there to begin with and so it has to be invented by the computer program, based upon what is around the pixels - and therefore it can never be as good/accurate/crisp/free of noise and artifacts as can an 11MP RAW capture.

I hope that clarifies the reasons for this spec.
- Laura Berman

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ANSWER 6:
Laura,
I mis-quoted above, Getty will take nothing less than images from 11.1 mp (30mb minimum capture). This is a trend we will continue to see. However, it will probably be quite some time before the 12 mp cameras are outdated and no longer accepted. You should be fine with the 5D for a long time. At Fogstock, we will accept nothing smaller than 8 mp images now, because those cameras are mainstream and are very available and quite cost-effective. When the 12 mp cameras are more prevelant and the standard, or priced under $2000, we will announce that that is the lowest resolution acceptable and the industry will probably be doing the same as well. Getty says they sell images up to 300mb, and 6 mp will not cut it, nor will 8 mp. We are hiring photographers to do production shoots for our agency and they must rent a 1DS Mark II to do the shoot. The files are much better. I would not suggest that you interpolate 6 mp files to look like 11 mp to sneak past the guidelines. Our technical guy, Erik, can pick them out and they get rejected, and I am sure Getty's well prepared in that area as well. I would think you are going to be just fine for a long time with a 5D.
All the best!
Charlie
- Charlie Borland

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