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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, November 22, 2005
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* SPOTLIGHT: New Instructor, New Course: Paul Gero's Digital Wedding Photography
* BETTERPHOTO: BetterPhoto's Online School: More Courses for Winter
* BETTERPHOTO: BetterWorkshops: On-Location Excitement and Online Critiques!
* BETTERPHOTO: Book of Month: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Digital Photography
* FEATURED GALLERY: Family Album - Photography Ideas for the Holidays!
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Undercover Shot / Movie Moon Shot
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Optimal Sharpness on Lenses ... by Brenda Tharp
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Coatings on Photos
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Film for Photographing New York City
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Preschool Portraits
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Choosing Lenses for Nature Photography
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Framing for Wedding and Portraits
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Guidance to Buy Digital SLR Camera
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Hazy Cityscapes
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: How to Get the Flood Effect?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: Problem with Black Background
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: Dreamy Software
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: How to Clean Lenses
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 12: How to Shoot High-Key Portraits
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Black and White: In-Camera Vs. Processing Later


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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New Instructor, New Course: Paul Gero's Digital Wedding Photography
In his exciting new course, documentary photographer and author Paul F. Gero will help you plan your wedding coverage and learn the tools and techniques for making great wedding photographs. You will also learn innovative ways to share and present images to your clients after the shoot. Best yet, you can learn the techniques of wedding photography without actually having to practice at an actual wedding. For details:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/PGR01.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 239th issue of SnapShot!

Hi {FirstName}

A Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate this wonderful holiday! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I really enjoy setting aside time to observe such values as family and gratitude. And, of course, the entire holiday season is a great time for photography ... keep your camera ready to capture family and friends. For inspiration, check out our Family Album gallery below.

I am thrilled to welcome a new member to our talented team of online instructors: Paul Gero. He is the the author of Digital Wedding Photography, and a former daily newspaper staff photographer with both The Chicago Tribune and The Arizona Republic. Paul's new course, Digital Wedding Photography, promises to be a popular one. Check it out at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/PGR01.asp

In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss instructor Brenda Tharp's Photo Tip on obtaining optimal sharpness with your lenses. In addition, we have our usual collection of enlightening questions and answers.

That's it for now. Enjoy the holiday season, and have a creative week of photography!
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/MG.asp?ID=124


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BetterPhoto's Online School: More Courses for Winter
BetterPhoto's Winter schedule of online photo courses is shaping up to be our most comprehensive ever. Along with a new instructor (Paul Gero on Digital Wedding Photography), we also have other new classes from familiar faces. Robin Nichols will be teaching a second one: Adobe Photoshop Elements. In addition, Peter Burian has developed his own awesome course: Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography. And Kerry Drager has pulled favorite lessons from his Field Techniques and Point, Think, and Shoot courses to come up with an exciting new class: Creative Light and Composition. Check out our entire schedule at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp


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BetterWorkshops: On-Location Excitement and Online Critiques!
Our exciting lineup of BetterWorkshops combines the best of two worlds - online and on-location. And each workshop is led by one of BetterPhoto's expert instructor-photographers. Coming up in January and February: Different sessions of the awesome Snow Shoot: Photographing Siberian Tiger, Horses, and Cowboys in Montana. For information, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/on-location-photography-workshops.asp


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Book of Month: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Digital Photography
Our online store showcases the fantastic books and DVDs from our staff of BetterPhoto instructors. For November, we put the spotlight on Bryan Peterson's awesome book, Understanding Digital Photography. If you buy this fine book before the end of November, you will receive free U.S. shipping. Best yet, it's autographed by Bryan! For all the book details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetailLg.asp?productID=1351

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Family Album - Photography Ideas for the Holidays!
BetterPhoto members have put such a creative spin on family pictures - i.e., formal portraits, candids of the kids, loving couple shots, brothers and sisters, and grandparent images. And, of course, pets are family too! View this gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=393

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
In a recent episode of a television show, the opening and closing scenes discussed how people can use photos for a variety of purposes. A photo (stored under a mattress) played a role in that particular episode. What TV show is it?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Phyllis Lowry is:
The answer is "Desperate Housewives".

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 - Movie Moon Shot - entered by BetterPhoto member Heather Young

Amanda Peet plays a photographer in the recent film "A Lot Like Love", which also stars Ashton Kutcher. What is the name of the real-life photographer who actually shot the nighttime photo of Amanda and Ashton in their birthday suits with the moon behind them?

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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Optimal Sharpness on Lenses ... by Brenda Tharp

Lenses are designed to be optimal, in terms of overall sharpness, lack of chromatic aberrations (halo effects), etc., when used 2 stops in from their maximum or minimum apertures. This means a lens that can go to f45 would be best when used at no more than f22; a lens that can go to f2.8 would be best when used at f5.6. When shooting wide open, however, maximum sharpness throughout the picture is not what we're interested in anyway, so it's not an issue at that end of the range. But on the other end of that scale, it's important to note that while f32 or 45 might give you greater depth of field, the picture might not be as sharp overall. This becomes more evident when making enlargements. So, when possible, using just the barest minimum aperture you need to get what you want sharp is the best choice.

Check out Brenda Tharp's online photo courses:



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

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

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

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ADVERTISEMENT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Great Photos
My new book guides you away from the point-and-pray method of taking pictures to shooting with confidence. In this simple and clear how-to book, you will learn:
  • How to compose your picture with a more artful eye
  • 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: Coatings on Photos
I was exploring some of the photo labs recommended when I searched through past threads. Some of them offer coatings for the prints: prayed lacquer, clear or lustre lacquer, a textured coating. Other than protect the print, what exactly do the coatings do? What is the difference between them? Are they advisable or is one better than the other? I'm new to the professional labs and want to make sure I get quality prints for people. Thanks so much!
- Lynsey Lund

ANSWER 1:
Hi Lynsey,
I have been very happy with ProLabExpress for my print services. I have always had the Satin coating on my prints. I like that it makes the prints nearly impervious to fingerprints. I recommend that you order some small prints, some coated and some not - then make up your mind.
John
- John R. Rhodes

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Visit backbayscenes.com - John's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=20713

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=20713

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NEW QUESTION 2: Film for Photographing New York City
Hi all,
I will be going to NYC in a few days. What would be a good all-around film to use? I am trying to decide between Kodak E100G, Fuji Velvia, Kodak 400UC or 100UC, or one of the slower-speed Portra films. I'm going to be using a 35mm SLR with 50mm prime lens. Any suggestions? Thanks.
- Jordan

ANSWER 1:
This will be my choice: slides Kodak E100GX, prints Kodak Portra 160VC. If from your list only, I will choose Fuji Velvia and Kodak 400UC (wonderful for Times Square pictures).
- Andy Szeto

ANSWER 2:
An NYC trip with some B&W film along is a blast, IMHO, especially in the grey days of winter. If you don't develop or use a B&W lab, take one of the C-41 films like Kodak 400CN, Ilford XP2 or Neopan 400CN ... they'll develop them at the minilabs.
- George Anderson

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=20699

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=20699

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NEW QUESTION 3: Preschool Portraits
I had a teacher inquire to see if I was interested in doing preschool/kindergarten pictures for her school. I'm seriously considering it, but I mainly have done outdoor portraits. I do not have any studio equipment. I do have the Canon 20D, which I'm confident that I could do a good job. Just really looking for advice on what to do with the kids and how to set them up. I know the teacher will probably be looking for something specific but I want to be able to offer some suggestions. And should I even attempt with no studio lighting? Thanks!
- Kristi Eckberg

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ANSWER 1:
Hi, Kristi,
I just did a preschool shoot yesterday! It was exhausting, but very profitable!!! There were about 75 kids to photograph. I have the 20d like you and no studio lighting. I did use my external flash and omni bounce (which is key to give the studio look). I also used a white paper seamless background, which worked great. I just bounced my flash off the ceiling titles and had pretty good lighting. We did a touch of a Christmas theme. Very simple. It was a bit confusing keeping track of all the paperwork. Still haven't gone through all of that yet. Luckily, the staff took good care of me there. I plan to do it again next year!! I think a colored paper would be nice as well. Good luck. Here is a sample of my set-up!!
- Tammy L. Odell

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ANSWER 2:
Thanks, Tammy! I have not yet purchased an external flash but looking to get the 420ex. Does the ceiling have to be a light color in order to bounce flash off the ceiling? Could you explain to me the Omni bounce and how you set it up? I have a 5-in-1 reflector set that has a large white disk and a stand. Would something like that work? >How did you figure out pricing, and what kind of package did you put together?? Oh where do you get the white seamless paper and how do you travel with it so that it doesn't get wrinkled?? Thanks for all your help.
- Kristi Eckberg

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ANSWER 3:
Kristi,
I would say yes about the ceiling being white in color. This was the old-style tiles like in most commercial buildings. I just use my stroboframe on my camera, and when I bounce the flash with the omni bounce on a white ceiling it just works great. I really can't explain how it does it ... I just mounted my camera on a tripod and bounced the flash, that's it!! I don't know about the reflector, I just know it's easier with the omni bounce.
As far as pricing goes, the lady who got me the job said there were a lot of low-income families so she wanted me to price them according to that. I just made up packages from $10 to $20, and offered some extras. Most, to my surprise, chose the $20 package!!
You can get the paper at most photo stores. Or you can order it online at B&H or Adorama. It comes in a long box, and that's how I haul it to protect it. If you drive a car, you would be in trouble!! Mine just barely fits in my Durango ... with inches to spare! But it really worked great!! Oh and I use the Sigma ef 500 super flash and it works wonderful on my Canon!!! Good Luck!!
- Tammy L. Odell

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ANSWER 4:
May I ask, how do you keep track of what child is what and what photos are for what child - as, of course, you don't know the children personally. So once you get 500 photos home, how do you know who Katie is, for example? Or on the order forms do you write the photo number that the camera allocates the photo?
- Natalie Howe

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ANSWER 5:
Yes, that's kinda what I did, Natalie. As I took each photo, I made a list and wrote down the child's name and file number from the camera. Worked out pretty well!!
- Tammy L. Odell

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ANSWER 6:
For tracking, the easiest way is to have the director of the school give you a list of kids in alphabetical order by classroom. Even preschools usually have different teachers, and if the director can't do it, just have each teacher give you a list. Once that class comes in to get their picture done, you can have the teachers put them in alphabetical order, or you can ask them their name. Then you write the file number on your sheet next to each name.
My kids' school is the same way, low income, but most want at least a couple 5x7 and a sheet of wallets. But don't sell yourself short. It's a lot of work. I did a whole day's worth of photos, and priced mine low, and now I feel maybe I did all that work and didn't really make that much money. The photographer who does the school pictures now offers different packages starting at $10 for just a class picture, up to $50. They also offer added photos (or a la carte) for $10/sheet.
Backgrounds - seamless paper is bulky - what about muslin? It's easy to crumple up, and you can drape it. If you can't afford to buy one, you can usually find wide muslin or similar fabric 5'-7' wide pretty cheap. Just clip them to a background stand or pvc stand. I would keep it simple with one background - little ones have short attention spans! Or if you're technically savvy, you could always shoot on a green screen and drop in digital backgrounds for a different look.
Good luck!
- Michelle Ochoa

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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NEW QUESTION 4: Choosing Lenses for Nature Photography
Hi,
I recently bought a Nikon D70 with 18-70mm lens. I am quite interested in nature photography as well as wildlife photography. There are a lot of lenses advertised on various Web sites like the 650-1300mm and the 1300-2000mm opteka lenses for nature photography. What would your recommendation on a lens for nature photography be? Thank you.
- Shaju

ANSWER 1:
My opinion is that there is no single ideal nature photography lens. It all depends on what aspects of nature photography you want to do and pick a lens appropriate for that style. For example, for close-ups on flowers, insects, and such, you'd probably want a macro lens, and Nikon's macro lenses are all very good (they make three in 60mm, 105mm, and 200mm focal lengths). For landscapes, you might want an ultra-wide angle lens; I have the Sigma 10-20mm and like it very much. Then, of course, you'll probably want a long telephoto. I'm not familiar with the lenses you mention, but they seem a lot longer than you should need. The Nikon 80-400mm gets good reviews and can get you in pretty close to a subject. These are just a few suggestions; there's a whole world of good lenses out there. Whatever you decide, always remember to try to get the best quality you can fit in your budget.
- Stan Lubach

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NEW QUESTION 5: Framing for Wedding and Portraits
Hi everybody.
I've got a question on how those of you who shoot 3:2 format cameras (digital or film that use 35mm lenses) frame your subjects for enlargements. I am looking for a way to see the 8x10 format through the viewfinder but I'm not quite sure. Photographers offer a few different formats like 4x6, 5x7, and 8x10 - all of which are different ratios. How do you know which way is the best to frame what's going on? Not everybody is going to want the same size. Do you just frame loosely so you have flexibility either way? In some cases with my 20D, I'm worried about losing megapixels to cropping and that loose framing. What do you suggest? Thanks!
- Andrew Laverghetta

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ANSWER 1:
I recommend to my clients that they buy 8x12's. I rarely worry about it. Mostly, I sell an album with the wedding package. In the album, I have freedom to make whatever size I might need. Sometimes, the family member, or sometimes the client buys an 8x10, and usually, I luck out. If I don't luck out, I call and explain, and either talk them into an 8x12, or show them what it will look like with the crop, and they can either take it, order an 8x12, or order a different photo.
Since I sell all sizes, from wallets up to 30x40, it's impossible to worry about it too much. Although, 8x10 is a common size.
One thing that helps me a lot is I shoot wide all the time these days. I think I can shoot an entire wedding, almost, with a 24mm on my 20D. I use my 15mm a lot for the reception. So, the cropping for me lately hasn't been an issue. A couple of years ago, when I was shooting super tight, I always had a problem with certain size prints.
Just remember that it's an inch off each of the long sides when you are shooting.
HTH,
Jerry
- Jerry Frazier

ANSWER 2:
Jerry's right on. 35mm film negatives are in the 2:3 ratio (24mmX36mm). For many, many years, a standard print size has been 8X10, obviously in the 4X5 ratio. When you took your negative to a photo finisher, someone had to make a decision about cropping.
When developing started to become computerized, Kodak and others introduced "jumbo 4X6 prints." Actually, all this did was take the guesswork out of printing (regarding cropping) and allowed prints to be made by the computers or the "chimpanzees" manning the machines. No human decisions were necessary.
When you shoot your picture, don't extend the subject all the way to the ends of the viewfinder; rather give yourself room to crop. That way, when you view your proofs or your images on the monitor, you'll be able to make correct cropping decisions.
But, so long as you're using trade processing, thank Kodak, et al, for the 8X12 prints available today.
- John Sandstedt

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=20695

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NEW QUESTION 6: Guidance to Buy Digital SLR Camera
I want to buy a digital SLR camera. But I can't spend more than 800$. Is there any easy installment method? Which camera is best suited for me?
- Arvind Chaudhari

ANSWER 1:
Can't help you with the installment thing, but have you used the Digital Camera Calculator here at BetterPhoto?
- Joyce S. Bowley

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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NEW QUESTION 7: Hazy Cityscapes
I was on a cruise around New York Harbor recently and took some photos of the skyline. Unfortunately, there was a hazy sky obscuring the top of the buildings in some cases. I did not know how to compensate for this. Any suggestions?
- Susan Eginton

ANSWER 1:
A UV or haze filter can help some. Generally, heavy haze is not a resolvable problem with the exception of post-processing. The key to great cityscapes is patience. :)
Pete
- Pete Herman

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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NEW QUESTION 8: How to Get the Flood Effect?
Hi. I have been looking at many photos that have the flood effect. How is this done? Thanks for the info.
- Gina L. Covington

ANSWER 1:
It's done with a plugin for Photoshop. You can download a trial version at Flaming Pear. Here's a link to their site.
http://www.flamingpear.com/products.html
- Sharon D

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ANSWER 2:
It's not very expensive ... only about $20. I downloaded the trial version and bought it the next day. It's fun to play around with.
- Carolyn Fletcher

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Visit PickYourShots.com - Carolyn's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Thanks, I just got it and it worked great!!!
- Gina L. Covington

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NEW QUESTION 9: Problem with Black Background
I'm having problems with taking photos using black background paper and 2 flash units. I am trying to get the background very black to where the person looks like they a completely isolated. Anyone have any ideas of how to accomplish this? I would really appreciate the help.
Thank you,
Eric
- Eric Bishop

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See Sample Photo - Here is what I have so far:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=1474951

ANSWER 1:
You can put more distance between the subject and the background and/or move the lighting closer to the subject. Both will help to get 1 1/2 to 2 stop difference in lighting between the subject and the background. Hope this helps.
- Scot Benton

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ANSWER 2:
More distance from the background would definitely help, but you would be limited by how much black material you actually have. (It has to fill the perimeter of the frame.)
Re-directing your flash units will also help. Point them at an angle where little or no light will hit the background ... and use a fast shutter/wide aperture combination to insure that no residual ambient light will also record.
- Bob Cammarata

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ANSWER 3:
Looking at your photo, it appears you are using black paper. This is NOT the background of choice for professional results.
Paper ... although it is black ... WILL reflect some light. Velvet or (any) material with texture is far superior as it acts like many tiny light traps.
- Pete Herman

ANSWER 4:
Bob and Pete are both giving you great advice. Black Muslin tends to be the best for a deep black backdrop. And when shooting on black - your main light should be close, and if you look at your studio area as a clock-position, it is at between 2 and 3 o'clock. If I need fill light, I a lot of times I will bring it around near the Main for some well-lit dramatic lighting.
- Debby Tabb

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ANSWER 5:
I keep natural black velvet. There are some synthetic velvets that cost less, but you get what you pay. Peace, karen
- Karen E. Michaels

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ANSWER 6:
Also go into your levels. Adjust the left level (i.e, for the dark colours) and move it right about 2-3mm. Then grab the level in the middle (midtones) and move it about 5mm left. This should help make your blacks black and increase the light/contrast on his face.
Nat
- Natalie Howe

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NEW QUESTION 10: Dreamy Software
I have seen on this forum a recommendation for a free download of a software that gives a softened look to a photo. The word "dream" or "dreamy" was in it. Does anyone know what I am talking about? Thanks so much for the help.
- Linda Buchanan

ANSWER 1:
This is the link to that recent discussion ... just one of many...
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=20467
- Nobi N

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ANSWER 2:
Or an alternate version: Create a new layer, apply a Gaussian blur to your liking, probably around 9-10px depending on the size of the photo. Lower opacity on layer to around 15-45% (again to your liking). Now layer mask out eyes, nose lines, ears, jawbone, other sharp areas on the face. Be sure to use a really soft brush to get a realistic look.
*Note: I'm not saying this is better or worse. I've never used the other one, it's just another way of doing things.
Have fun!
Justin
- Justin D. Goeden

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NEW QUESTION 11: How to Clean Lenses
I just cleaned my macro lens with anti-fog lens cleaner and a microfiber cloth. I cleaned it like I always do but this time it left streaks across the lens ... is there any way to remove them???
- d h

ANSWER 1:
Use lens cleaner to get spots/finger prints off. Fog it with your breath to get the lens cleaner streaks off. It's what I do. Independent lab testing proved it. Your results may vary.
- Gregory La Grange

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ANSWER 2:
This is a subject for which I am very emphatic. I do not recommend any type of "micro" cloths or liquids to clean your lens. Back in the 1970s, I discovered some small chamois cloths available from Porter's Camera. I still use them to this day, and my lenses are as clean as possible. To my knowledge, Porter's still sells them.
Michael H. Cothran
- Michael H. Cothran

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ANSWER 3:
Hoya coated/multicoated? These are notoriously hard to clean without streaking. The anti-fog cleaner actually leaves a film on the lens instead of wiping completely clean (hence the "anti-fog"). Multicoating tends to show this more than uncoated filters, so unless you see an effect in your photos, you've probably cleaned it good enough.
Generally, one cleans filters the same as a lens, though filter coatings tend not to be as hard or resilient as those on a lens and could be damaged/removed if one's cleaning method is too vigorous. I second/third the suggestion for fogging with breath and wiping with a very clean (or new/unused) cloth in circular motion, from center out. When cleaning the cleaning cloths (whether microfiber, chamois, or T-shirt), make sure final rinse is with clean, preferable filtered, water with no fabric softeners or scented rinses.
- Jon Close

ANSWER 4:
Don't use Windex, or any house glass cleaner. Some lens cleaners streak less than others, like Zeiss. Used to get that at Wolf, until they got bought by Ritz. Now it's Ritz brand. I don't get lenses that dirty, so I've been able to make the Zeiss last a long time.
Anyway, use a new thing to get rid of the streaks, not the same you used to clean it. I'd put that in bold if I knew how. You can use white toilet paper if there's nothing else. More lint but still works. Just use white because of the dyes in colored paper.
- Gregory La Grange

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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NEW QUESTION 12: How to Shoot High-Key Portraits
I have done a lot of work in black and white with a black background, but now I have a 9ft roll of white paper for my studio and I am trying to get those high key shots where the white is bright. I am getting close but I still find my background on the creamy side. I have two tungsten umbrella lights and I am looking for suggestions on positioning and wondering if I need to light the background as well.
- Beverley A. Daniels

ANSWER 1:
Set your exposure to overexpose the white background by 1 1/2 to 2 stops. This will render much whiter whites. (If you need to, you can add more light to the background to accomplish this.)
- Bob Cammarata

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Black and White: In-Camera Vs. Processing Later
I recently purchased a Nikon D70S, and while I'm generally happy and still learning all the features of the camera, I found that it doesn't shoot black and white, which is something I enjoyed tremendously with my point-and-shoot Fuji. So my question: Is there much difference with shooting a picture in black and white or processing it later with software into a black and white picture? Any help in this area would be greatly appreciated.
- Amy L. Carroll

ANSWER 1:
There have been several threads here on this topic, and the general consensus is that if you always shoot in color, you have the option of using the image in color or B&W. If you shoot in B&W, you are limiting your possibilities. The only argument that can be made for shooting B&W in-camera is if you typically print direct from the camera, with no image processing on the computer. In my opinion, anyone who prints direct from the camera is better off with a high-end compact digital like a Panasonic Lumix or a Canon S2IS.
- Chris A. Vedros

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ANSWER 2:
Some cameras produce their direct B&W images without first interpolating color results from the bayer filtering. Simply, that means there is a bit more detail in file because each pixel was taken as it was shot. The Nikon prosumer 5700 and 8700 were such cameras. In those, there can be good reasons for shooting directly in B&W.
However, most simply drop the chroma channel after interpolation, and so nothing is gained by shooting that way except you have lost the advantage of a better processor in your computer than is in the camera body. So for cameras like the Canon 20D there is no point in shooting directly in B&W except for the built-in interpolation that attempts to re-create the effects of contrast filtering. You can do the same if you use the color channels when converting to B&W and have much more flexibility.
David
www.ndavidking.com
- David King

ANSWER 3:
I can't answer your specific question as to whether there's a difference in shooting a digital camera in B&W or converting it in software. I can say I've come up with a little formula in Photoshop that I like. I convert my images to greyscale. I tweak them slightly with curves then add a duotone. I like the range of tones I get when editing them this way better than any plugin or method I've tried.
- Sharon D

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ANSWER 4:
Yes, there very definitely is a difference between shooting B/W in camera vs. in Photoshop. Each digital camera has its own algorhythm for converting the color data it receives on the ccd or cmos sensor. In most cameras, this is not adjustable, so you cannot change the relative strength of tonalities like you can by switching to different B/W films. It is far better to get the color data in camera, then to "process" it in Photoshop, using the channel mixer with greyscale selected for the output; alternatively, you can apply the photo filter adjustment layer to get the tonalities right, then convert to greyscale. Either way, you have far more control than simply shooting B/W in camera.
- Fritz Geil

ANSWER 5:
I shoot a 10D and have better results processing on my computer. I convert to grayscale and adjust the levels. I also make use of the dodge and burn tools among other things.
Chuck
www.printedbig.com
- Chuck Sanchez

ANSWER 6:
I have to agree with Fritz. There are several ways of converting your color shots into B&W using Photoshop. You can change it to LAB Mode then to grayscale, use the Channel Mixer or even process it using Calculations - each has its own dramatic differences. I used to shoot just B&W in the camera and have kicked myself a few times because the shot I thought would look great in B&W looked better in color. Unfortunately, I would realize it when it was too late. A great learning experience though.
- Allen Morrell

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