BetterPhoto.com - Become a better photographer today!
EMAIL:
PASSWORD:
remember me:     
     


SNAPSHOT - PHOTO NEWS FROM BETTERPHOTO.COM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Welcome to SnapShot, the weekly newsletter on
the art of photography from
BetterPhoto.com


~~~~~~~~~~~
IN THIS ISSUE - Tuesday, January 31, 2006
~~~~~~~~~~~

* SPOTLIGHT: Spring Courses: Enjoy a Season of Learning and Shooting
* BETTERPHOTO: Where Is Jim? See Him in Person in February
* BETTERPHOTO: Upcoming Photo Shoot in Montana - ON SALE!
* BETTERPHOTO: New Designs for BetterPhoto's Deluxe BetterPholios™
* FEATURED GALLERY: Focusing on Our Feline Friends!
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Charting the f/numbers / Art Trend
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: A Tripod's Key Companion ... by Kerry Drager
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Shooting with Fluorescent Lighting.
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Image Backup
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Family Portrait - Tips and Techniques
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Strobe Vs. Continuous Lighting: The Basics
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Removing Eyeglass Glare in Photoshop
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Composition: Filling the Frame
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 2: How to Catch the Sparkle in Jewelry?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Spring Courses: Enjoy a Season of Learning and Shooting
Would you like to learn more about any aspect of photography? Join us this spring for an inspiring online photo course at BetterPhoto.com™. Let us be your guide ... with our online courses, you will become a better photographer. See our schedule at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/categories.asp


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Welcome to the 249th issue of SnapShot!

Hi {FirstName}

As January is winding down, the good news at BetterPhoto is revving up! Just one week after we celebrated the 500th issue of our Photo of the Day newsletter, there's another exciting announcement: Tuesday's POTD issue (January 31st) launches an all-new, very-sleek design. If you haven't yet subscribed to the free POTD newsletter, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/subscribe.asp

In addition, we just posted our Spring online photography courses, and I'm thrilled with the lineup! With BetterPhoto's classes, you interact directly with professional photographers. They are a lot of fun, and you will learn a lot in a really short time. To see just how BetterPhoto's online courses work, take a tour at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/tour-courses-01.asp

In this SnapShot, check out our usual features, including an excellent Photo Tip ("A Tripod's Key Companion") from BetterPhoto instructor/author Kerry Drager.

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


*****
Where Is Jim? See Him in Person in February
Catch BetterPhoto founder/photographer Jim Miotke as he shares tips on digital photography. Check out his schedule at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/where-is-jim.asp


*****
Upcoming Photo Shoot in Montana - ON SALE!
Great news: Jim Miotke still has a few spots left in his February "Horses in Snow" photo workshop in Montana! We've reduced the price from $2195 to $1995. If you've ever wanted to get images like this:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/big.asp?photoID=1630349

... Then join Jim at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/_cws/JM06a.asp


*****
New Designs for BetterPhoto's Deluxe BetterPholios™
Give yourself the gift of a Web site! Our redesigned BetterPhoto Deluxe BetterPholios™ offer beautiful and functional design and easy Web hosting - at a great price. For information:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/deluxe-photographer-websites.asp

back to top


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FEATURED GALLERY
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Focusing on Our Feline Friends!
At BetterPhoto, cat-loving photographers have captured amazing animal in so many different ways ... for example: at play, on the prowl, in interactions with people, in head-to-paw portraits, and in dazzling close-ups of noses and eyes. See our cat gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=456

back to top


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last week, we asked:
What is the true aperture scale (i.e., the standard f/stop chart in one-stop increments)?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Abby Way is:
f/1.0, f/1.4, f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, f/32, f/45, f/64.
Often, the "f/" is not used in practice, so it is 1.0, 1.4, 2.0, etc.

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 - Art Trend - entered by BetterPhoto member Blanca Acosta

There's an art trend that imitates photographic effects and details. What is its name?

Submit your own answer to this question by visiting:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/trivia.asp

back to top


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THIS WEEK'S PHOTO TIP
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Tripod's Key Companion ... by Kerry Drager

Even with a good-and-sturdy tripod, it's still possible to jiggle the camera accidentally while taking the picture. The cable release is an absolute must-have accessory that attaches to the camera's shutter button or its electronic terminal. With its hands-off operation, the cable helps minimize vibration for telephoto shots, close-ups, long exposures ... actually, I use it routinely for all of my tripod work. Also, some SLRs have a lock-up mode that reduces the possibility of vibration when the mirror flips up during slower exposures or when using super-long telephotos. Still another option for preventing possible fuzziness in your pictures: the camera's self-timer.

Check out Kerry Drager's online courses:
- Creative Light and Composition
- Details and Close-ups

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

back to top


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NEW QUESTION 1: Shooting with Fluorescent Lighting.
Sometimes when I'm shooting in a room with fluorescent lighting, my pictures will have a green tint. How do I eliminate this?
- Michelle E. Hutchinson

ANSWER 1:
It depends on what kind of camera you have. With a digital, the white balance of the picture needs to be adjusted. With some cameras, this can be done in the camera, but with others, you will need to post-process the image. If you have a film camera, you may need to use a filter.
- Peter M. Wilcox

See Peter's Premium BetterPholio™

Visit wilcoxphotos.com - Peter's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22078

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22078

back to top


*****


NEW QUESTION 2: Image Backup
I am trying to back up my image files onto CD but none of my CD-burning software will burn images. Out of the multitude of programs available, which ones would you recommend for image backup? Alternately, would you suggest online storage for backup, and if so, what sites would you recommend (re: which ones retain original file, etc.)?
- Krista C. Reid

See Krista's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
You don't need and shouldn't use a program that burns "images". Just use whatever program you have and make a plain data disc. It doesn't matter if the files you burn are MS Word files, pictures, or whatever. If you burn as a plain data disc, your image files will be saved as exact copies of what is on your hard drive. Some programs that make "photo CDs" or "image discs" may compress your images as needed to fit on a disc.
- Chris A. Vedros

See Chris's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Hi Krista,
You can use your burn software; just use the data setting. (Images are data.) Or you can use the Copy to CD in My Pictures. USB external hard drives and burning to DVDs are better alternatives in today's world. Both will hold much more data. Just store the DVDs in an alternate location.
Online storage would seem to me to suffer the same problems as any other computers ... servers crash too ;-)
- Terry R. Hatfield

See Terry 's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
"It doesn't matter if the files you burn are MS Word files, pictures, or whatever."
If you're wondering why this is true, everything on a computer is just a series of 0s and 1s.
- Brendan Knell

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22075

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22075

back to top


*****


NEW QUESTION 3: Family Portrait - Tips and Techniques
Please is there is any advice you can give me? I have been nominated to take my boyfriend's family portrait this Sunday (5 teenage grandkids). I have always had a very big interest in photography, and they seem to have the confidence in me!! I'm going to be using my new Digital Rebel 6meg. I still have not finished reading the manual yet! So it will have to be automatic. I'm hoping we can pick a nice spot outside. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you.
- Lisa Jones

ANSWER 1:
Lisa, while it's generally true that it's the photographer, and not the equipment, that makes the picture great - that's particularly true of portraiture. The real trick is to get the subject(s) to feel comfortable in front of the camera, to make them forget that there is someone with a fancy contraption standing in front of them to gather an image.
So, putting everyone at ease (no small feat with most teens, for sure) is a big part of things. One possible help here could be to set the camera on a tripod and use a remote shutter release (wired or wireless) - people have a tendency to behave more naturally if the shooter is standing to the side of the camera, chatting them up, and surreptitiously snapping shots with the remote. Of course, to do this, you need to get everyone situated in their general positions and frame the shot through the viewfinder, but then move away from the gear.
As for lighting, if you'll be outside, pick a shaded area or, if it's an overcast day, you should be okay in general. What you want to avoid are the harsh shadows that come with strong direct lighting - think of the beach at noon as an example of terrible lighting. Indoors, you might want to try aiming the flash off the ceiling (called "bouncing") to soften that light (assuming you have a flash).
The auto-exposure will no doubt work fine - the question of how much of a focus zone (how much depth of field) you want is an artistic decision. If the background is visually distracting - say, lots of colors and shapes back there, then you will want to use a wider aperture to limit DOF so when the group is in focus the background is pleasantly blurry.
I hope that helps, at least...
- Bob

ANSWER 2:
Lisa,
Bob gives some good advice. Here's a little more:
If the weather is nice where you are, try to take the picture outside. If it's a clear sunny day, try to do it before 10:00 am, or in the afternoon after about 4:00 pm. You want to avoid the middle of the day, when the sun is high. Your subjects would either be squinting or their faces will have dark shadows.
Find a large background that is not too distracting, like a wooden fence or some large bushes. Place your subjects 6 or more feet in front of the background, not right up against it.
Have your subjects get comfortable. Maybe they could sit in a close group on the grass. Don't just line them up shoulder-to-shoulder; that will look boring.
Try some shots in Auto mode (green square), but also try some with your camera in Portrait mode (the little picture of a person's head) or A-DEP mode. Either of these should put your subjects in focus and the background blurred, which looks nice in a portrait. Remember, a portrait is a picture of people, not necessarily a scenic landscape shot with people in it.
If you are using the 18-55mm kit lens that came with the camera, don't get too close to your subjects. If you are close and using the wide-angle end of the zoom range, it can make people look funny. Back up some, and zoom in on them. Good luck!
- Chris A. Vedros

See Chris's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22044

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22044

back to top


*****


NEW QUESTION 4: Strobe Vs. Continuous Lighting: The Basics
I am a super-beginner to studio photography. I'm buying some lights but I can't figure out what the difference is between strobe and continuous lighting. Is strobe a flash? I want something that acts just like a light - stays lit. Thanks if you can help me!
- K

ANSWER 1:
I'll try to keep this short and to the point, no technical garbo -
'Strobe' is 'flash.'
'Continuous light' is just what the name implies. It can be household lightbulbs, tungsten lights, fluorescent lights, etc., and as you stated, "...stays lit."
FYI - All modern studio strobes come equipped with a "modeling light." This is a built-in continuous light bulb placed near the actual strobe/flash tube, that shows you exactly what your strobe lighting will look like. Modeling lights allow you to set up your strobes precisely, so that when you fire them, you will get the same lighting as what you see.
I would NOT recommend continuous lighting for most products, and NEVER EVER for people, or other live subjects. Tungsten, household bulbs, etc., are too hot, and will fry your subjects in a hurry. Fluorescent bulbs are cooler, but need tricky color correction, since they are primarily green in color. Continuous light is NOT very powerful, and will need to be used very close to your subjects, or you'll need a large bank of bulbs.
My advice: Look into the gazillion brands of amateur strobe lighting kits available. I don't know of a single studio strobe unit that does not have a modeling light, so just about anything you look at will be OK that respect. A decent 3-strobe kit in the 400 Watt Second range - with stands and umbrellas or softboxes - will get you started.
- Michael H. Cothran

See Michael's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22043

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22043

back to top


*****


NEW QUESTION 5: Removing Eyeglass Glare in Photoshop
Is there a good way to remove glare from glasses in Photoshop CS2? Thanks!
- Jen L. Cresse

ANSWER 1:
I would just play around with the clone tool. The best thing to do is just avoid it in the first place. One way that I know of is just take the lenses out.
- Brendan Knell

ANSWER 2:
I took a big family portrait that I am trying to save... thanks, though... I'm open to more ideas!
- Jen L. Cresse

ANSWER 3:
I just removed some glasses glare using the clone tool. I had the mode set to "darken" and the opacity at 50%. The darken makes sure it only clones over the areas that are darker than your selected area that you choose to copy. I'm not sure if the opacity made a difference. But it worked nicely! But if the glare is over the eye... you're pretty much out of luck unless you can copy the other eye (assuming it's glare-free). Good luck!
- Danielle E. Rutter

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22029

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22029

back to top

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Composition: Filling the Frame
What is meant by the term "fill the frame"?
- Janette

ANSWER 1:
It's probably a reference to the fact that many pictures can be improved by getting closer to your subject - fill the frame with your subject.
- Chris A. Vedros

See Chris's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Filling the frame is wonderful with 35mm film, but don't get in the habit if you're planning on going digital! It's a hard habit to break. Leave room on the side for enlargements to be cropped because of the ratio.
- Rachel Tribunella

ANSWER 3:
Many digital cameras use the same aspect ratio as 35mm cameras. You have the same issue with 35mm - you can print a 4x6 with no cropping, but you need to crop when printing to 8x10.
- Chris A. Vedros

See Chris's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 4:
Same issue with medium-format film - just a different ratio.
- Kerry L. Walker

ANSWER 5:
Janette: The discussion on aspect ratios is right on. However, I don't think they actually get to the point of the question. Chris V. said it best - get closer. If you stand back, and later try to crop when you edit, you'll lose quality in the print. Crop with the camera whenever possible. Get to know your camera so you know what the sensor will capture as compared to what you saw in the viewfinder.
- John R. Rhodes

See John's Premium BetterPholio™

Visit backbayscenes.com - John's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 6:
Use the viewfinder to properly compose your picture. Regardless of whether it's film or digital, never compose to the maximum dimensions - that is - leave a little - as cropping may still be desirable and for the reasons noted by Kerry and Chris. Note what I said, crop in the viewfinder. You can use optical zoom but never use digital zoom to crop.
- John Sandstedt

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=21962

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=21962

back to top

*****


CONTINUING QUESTION 2: How to Catch the Sparkle in Jewelry?
I've recently been given a great opportunity to work with a great magazine! But first I have to prove myself. One of my tasks is to produce great photos of jewelry (highly sparkling pieces). I'm completely confused on how to catch the sparkle in my pieces. I've lit my piece with a softbox above and used a white reflector on the other side, but should I use flash or not? My soft box is fitted over a flash head that fires. But my photos look dull, and the pieces look much more sparkly in real life! I've tried no-flash, but although the gems look colourful, the black background and the metals look dull. PLEASE HELP!
Sophie
- Neelam Mughal

ANSWER 1:
Light is most reflective off a shiny surface when it comes from directly behind you ... shining on the object from the same direction your lens is pointing.
I would suggest a small-product/type setup, tungsten film with incandescent lighting ... two light sources hitting the object at 45 degree angles. This will provide the primary illumination.
The background should be black felt ... or anything else that will "gobble up" stray light and won't leave hot spots.

To create the "sparkle": Shine a small high-powered flashlight on a reflective part of the jewelry. Hold the flashlight under the lens - just out of frame and shine it in the same direction your lens is pointing.
You can examine the effect through the viewfinder and adjust the flashlight distance forward or backward to make the highlight brighter or dimmer.
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Hi,
Maybe you could use a filter? Cokin makes a Star filter that may give a good effect on Gems. Look here: http://www.firstcall-photographic.co.uk/pp/Camera_Accessories/Cokin_Filters/Cokin_A057_star_4_filter.html
I may be completely off the mark here, or of my head, but I hope this helps.
Regards,
Del
- Derek Holyhead

ANSWER 3:
Those filters need a bright point of light to get the starburst effect, and they do tend to look a little fake sometimes. You can get a similar effect by stopping down your lens to a small aperture (like f-22). The starburst effect you will get off the highlight will be subtle and look more natural.
- Bob Cammarata

Visit cammphoto.com - Bob's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 4:
I've found this whole thread fascinating! Thanks everyone!
- Karma Wilson

See Karma's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 5:
I find using small mirrors to shine light selectively onto the jewelry to be very effective. You can find all kinds of cheap small mirrors at the 99 cents store even in the cosmetics section. Using compacts - powder, eyeshadow, etc.- is perfect because you can stand the mirror up really easily and have it angled however you want it, and if you get different kinds, you'll get different sizes of mirrors. Also, if you get only one with a bigger mirror, you can just use black tape to flag off the areas where you don't want it to reflect. Another reason this method is helpful is because you can keep your "reflector" close to your object and have it aimed at the exact spot where you want your shimmer without having to worry about much else being affected by the reflection nor do you have to worry about your reflector getting in the way of the shot.
- Sreedevi Kashi

ANSWER 6:
Hi, Neelam. You probably have found a solution to this already but I thought I'd pitch in. I was doing research on product photography (got hired for a product shoot beginning of December and still doing it for the same client!) and came across an online merchant that specializes in tabletop photography (got my photo box and two-light set from them). In the process I learned about jewelry photography. They have a light that they call "sparkler light" (Sparkler light is ideal for use as a third light for jewelry photography). The 15W low wattage bulb is perfect for adding sparkle without creating glare) specifically for jewelries. Check them out at http://www.tabletopstudio.com. They are great. They also offer tips on how to do this kind of photography.
- Lorraine Jones

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=13559

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=13559

back to top


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ASK YOUR OWN QUESTION ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ask a question or answer a few from your fellow photographers:
http://www.betterphoto.com/qnaTOC.asp


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
READ PAST ISSUES OF THE SNAPSHOT NEWSLETTER
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Read previous issues of SnapShot in the BetterPhoto archives:
http://www.betterphoto.com/snapshots.asp


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
SIGN UP TO PHOTOFLASH AND THE DIGITAL PICTURE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Join the fun and master the arts of traditional or digital photography! Participate or follow along as we discuss topics & lessons, practice assignments, and offer feedback on each others' work. Subscribe to our other two free newsletters - PhotoFlash and the Digital Darkroom - at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/subscribe.asp


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS IN SNAPSHOT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Get word of your product or service out to our rapidly growing list of 53544 subscribers.

Until next week, happy shooting!

Thank you,
Jim Miotke
BetterPhoto.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you would rather not receive SnapShot, you may unsubscribe at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/subscribeun.asp?e={Email}

To change your email address, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/subscribeCOA.asp?e={Email}

If you use a Challenge-Response system for email, please make certain that you can receive our email by adding www.betterphoto.com to your Allow List.

The sender of this email is the BetterPhoto.com, Inc., P.O. Box 2781, Redmond, WA 98052

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Copyright 2005 BetterPhoto.com - All Rights Reserved. No part of this newsletter may be copied or published without prior permission. BetterPhoto is a trademark of BetterPhoto.com, Inc.

Copyright © 1996-2014 BetterPhoto.com, Inc.® All Rights Reserved.