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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 - Monday, February 27, 2006
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* SPOTLIGHT: BetterPhoto's School of Photography: Spring Courses
* BETTERPHOTO: Where Is Jim? See Him February 26th in Florida
* BETTERPHOTO: Our 4-Week Photography School: Mini-Courses, Maximum Benefits!
* BETTERPHOTO: Photo of the Day: A Free Daily Showcase of Creativity
* FEATURED GALLERY: Focus on New York
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Tungsten Thoughts /
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Dust Vs. Your DSLR's Sensor ... by Kerry Drager
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Camera Settings: sRGB vs. Adobe RGB
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Copyright Logo - How to Do It?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Architectural Photography: Historic Buildings
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Photographing Action in Dark Auditorium
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Digital Vs. Optical Zoom
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Wedding Photography: Which Digital Camera?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: White/Grey Cards For WB
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Saving Files as JPEG


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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BetterPhoto's School of Photography: Spring Courses
At BetterPhoto.com, we have an awesome schedule of online courses taught by published, professional photographers who are experienced instructors. Our classes are so much fun and you learn a lot in a very short time. For information:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-courses.asp


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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 252nd issue of SnapShot!

Hi {FirstName}

Hope you're having a fantastic February! Signups for our Spring online photo courses are well under way, and our schedule promises to be the best yet. We have so many classes, but to help in the decision making, we developed our categories page:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/categories.asp

If you haven't taken a look at our redesigned Deluxe BetterPholios™, you're in for a treat. These Deluxe BetterPholios™ offer beautiful and functional design and easy Web hosting - at a great price. For all the details, go to:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/deluxe-photographer-websites.asp

In this issue of SnapShot, be sure to view the New York gallery of superb images, and read the Photo Tip on dust-prevention and cleaning tips for your digital SLR camera.

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


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Where Is Jim? See Him February 26th in Florida
Catch BetterPhoto founder/photographer Jim Miotke as he shares tips on digital photography. Check out his calendar for details on upcoming appearances (including February 26th in Orlando):
http://www.betterphoto.com/where-is-jim.asp


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Our 4-Week Photography School: Mini-Courses, Maximum Benefits!
Understanding Natural Light, Mastering Macro, Non-Digital Special Effects, Magic Wide-Angle, Camera Raw, Color Management, and Details & Close-ups are among BetterPhoto.com's online 4-Week Short Courses. Information:
http://www.betterphoto.com/online-photography-short-courses.asp


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Photo of the Day: A Free Daily Showcase of Creativity
Our Photo of the Day newsletter has provided a daily showcase of outstanding pictures! The images are selected from our monthly photo contest. For more information, visit our newsletter page at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/subscribe.asp

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FEATURED GALLERY
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Focus on New York
New York - the city AND the state - offers so much picture potential, just as BetterPhoto members and instructors have shown. View this gallery at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGall2.asp?catID=432

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
In photography, tungsten refers to the type of light commonly found in most household lamps. But what, exactly, is tungsten?

The first, best answer - entered by BetterPhoto member Keith Kahan is:
Tungsten (formerly wolfram) is a chemical element that has the symbol W (L. wolframium) and atomic number 74.

Tungsten is widely used in light bulb and vacuum tube filaments, as well as electrodes, because it can be drawn into very thin metal wires that have a high melting point.

When used for lighting, it produces a particular color of light.

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 -



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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Dust Vs. Your DSLR's Sensor ... by Kerry Drager
In the world of DSLR photography, the topic of sensor cleaning comes up frequently. The best advice is to take your camera to an authorized camera repair shop and let a pro take care of it. But that's not often practical. At least two of BetterPhoto's excellent author-instructors have weighed in on the subject:

- Brenda Tharp: "Dust is the Digital Photographer's enemy, I'm convinced. Simply changing lenses isn't as safe as it used to be with film cameras." Brenda shares tips for minimizing the "dust-bunny buildup" in your camera, plus suggests techniques for cleaning. Check out her "Keeping your Digital Sensor Clean" blog (scroll down to the November 29, 2005, entry):
http://www.betterphoto.com/blogs/insights/archives/weblogs_by_brenda_tharp/index.html

- Peter K. Burian: "Every DSLR owner will eventually need to address this issue." Peter's BP article, "Pro Tip: How to Clean a Digital SLR Camera’s Sensor", covers lots of valuable information and suggestions. Here's the link:
http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=91

Check out Kerry Drager's Premium BetterPholio™

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

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

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

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

  • How to compose your picture with a more artful eye
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  • 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: Camera Settings: sRGB vs. Adobe RGB
My camera has 2 settings: sRGB or Adobe RGB. Which should I pick, and why? The camera came set to sRGB. Should I leave it there?
- Janet H. Flint

ANSWER 1:
You should set it to Adobe RGB, if you want to be able to get the most colour data from your shots. Even if you aren't too bothered now, you might be later on. Once your images are shot in sRGB (which has a lower colour range), you won't be able to change those images to Adobe RGB on your computer because colour information will already have been lost. In software, you can change an image's colour profile from Adobe RGB to sRGB, but not vice-versa.
- Phillip Corcoran

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22519

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22519

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NEW QUESTION 2: Copyright Logo - How to Do It?
How does one put a copyright logo onto their photos? On printouts and on Web site pictures - with the photographer's logo and/or name? Might be a silly question, but this is something I would like to do. Thanks.
- Mark A. Lively

See Mark's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Hi, Mark! All I do is have a PS file that has my name and xopyright symbol (c) (Alt + 0169) on it as a text layer. Saved as a psd file. I open that when I do my photos, and just use the move tool (double arrows) to click and drag it from there onto the photo in my "tray", then I move it on that photo to the position I want it to be in and save it as a JPEG. That flattens the photo file and your copyright symbol (c) is part of your photo. I know there are ways to create a brush or action to do this more quickly, but I haven't had time to learn it yet. Hope that helps!- Laura OConnor

See Laura's Premium BetterPholio™

Visit lifeimagesbylaura.com - Laura's Deluxe BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22518

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22518

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NEW QUESTION 3: Architectural Photography: Historic Buildings
I would love any tips on capturing historical buildings in my home town.
- Amanda L. Neilson

See Amanda's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
Well, Amanda, here's my spin on this project. I did a shoot a few months ago that was used for advertising a historical (some say also haunted) hotel in San Diego. The place was built around 1920. While the structure had a lot of ornate decorations, what I found really fascinating was the architectural interior details, the brass accents, the incredible hand-carved woodwork, the fabrics, gracious sweeps of the stairways, and so forth. So, a lot of my efforts concentrated on those and I mean in GREAT detail with different and dramatic lighting, with and without people in the shots. The project finished off with a horsedrawn carriage parked in front of the main entrance, and guests and driver in period costumes. Not a car in sight. The clients loved the whole thing, along with the art director and designer. Whaddya think?
Mark
- Mark Feldstein

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22511

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22511

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NEW QUESTION 4: Photographing Action in Dark Auditorium
My daughter competitively dances. It is an an auditorium that is dark, while the stage is brightly lit. We are not allowed to use a flash. I need to know how to control both the ISO speed (faster needed for action shots) but yet get in enough light without a flash.
- Patricia M. Birkmeyer

ANSWER 1:
Patricia,

Ir your camera is a DSLR type and you can do this, set the meter to spot-metering mode. This means that the internal light meter will read only the light seen in the central small area of the viewfinder - the idea being to properly expose the stage and actors and not care about the outer areas falling into shadow.
If you have a point-and-shoot type camera, then you are stuck. If you can change lenses then the next thing to do would be to set the ISO to the highest available (this means the chip will be most sensitive to light) - the 'penalty' you pay for this is noise (kind of like grain in film).
The next thing to do would be to get as fast a lens as you can. This means a lens with a low f-number - which indicates it passes more light than a slower lens. When using said lens, use aperture preferred mode on the camera (again, if possible) - and set the lens wide open. Hopefully, with the spot metering and a fast lens and high ISO setting, the meter will select a shutter speed that will freeze motion rather than allow blurred action.
- Bob

ANSWER 2:
I have a point-and-shoot type and have been able to shoot shows. You have to be able to manually control your shutter speed and aperture, though. Everything will depend on the lighting on stage, of course. If there is any way you can go to the real dress rehearsal to practice, that will really help... I use a monopod to keep things steady (no room for tripod in the audience). ISO 400 or 800, aperture 3.2 (or as low as you can go), shutter speed between 1/25 and 1/60. I shoot in aperture priority and adjust for each scene. I've shot several shows at my son's school now (both theater and fashion/dance).
- Diane L. Dupuis-Kallos

See Diane's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Patricia,
You're in a quandary. For action shots, you need as fast a shutter speed as you can get. Which means you need a fast lens and ideally, with image stabilization. Definitely use a tripod or monopod. If you don't have one, then brace it against a railing or something.
There's also a rule of thumb that relates shutter speed to focal length, when hand-holding. Basically, to avoid camera blur when hand-holding, the shutter speed should be at least one over the focal length. For example, if your focal length is 50mm, then you need shutter speed of 1/50 sec. If you zoom to 200mm, then you need 1/200 sec. But, the faster shutter speeds mean you need more light, and, hence, your quandary.
I would try to dial in 1/60 sec and, hopefully, your camera can find an aperture that works. Otherwise, use the most wide-open aperture that you can. Then, bump your ISO as high as you can. Many cameras go to 1600 or 3200. The trade-off is grain. But, you can remove the grain with software tools like Photoshop Elements. Noise Ninja is excellent.
Finally, even if your picture is underexposed, you can use editing software to enhance the lighting. Good luck!
- Ken F. Smith

See Ken's Premium BetterPholio™

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22510

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22510

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NEW QUESTION 5: Digital Vs. Optical Zoom
What is the difference between digital and optical zoom?
- Alexandra S.

ANSWER 1:
Digital zoom is just cropping and enlarging the image, which will result in a lower quality image. Optical zoom is when the lens moves. Sorry, I can't give you a better description on this.
- Brendan Knell

ANSWER 2:
You will want to turn off the digital zoom. It gives you some distortion.
- Carolyn Fletcher

See Carolyn's Premium BetterPholio™

Visit PickYourShots.com - Carolyn's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Alexandra, an optical zoom means that the lens elements themselves move back and forth to create different levels of magnification (well, different angles of view, but it's the same thing). The film or the chip receiving the light is unchanged - the lens does all the work.
A digital zoom is a marketing "cheat". Basically, what happens is that the digital camera's computer ignores the outer area of the chip and only records/displays the inner portion. This is not different than taking a negative you exposed with a 50MM lens, then enlarging only the central 1/4 area - the final print will be the same as if you had taken the photo with a 100MM lens. Of course, with digital cameras, all this can be done instantly in-camera.
The problem is that since it only makes use of 1/4 or 1/10th of the pixels in the chip, digital zoom greatly reduces the amount of information recorded in the shot. This is why most folks will tell you to ignore that specification anyway - do not be swayed by some manufacturer's claim of 3X optical, 12X digital - the digital pretty much is garbage.
- Bob

ANSWER 4:
Another reason you should turn off digital zoom is that you get the exact same result if you take the image with no digital zoom and crop it closer on your computer. At least that way, you have the choice of cropping or not cropping. If you use the digital zoom in the camera, you just get the lower-resolution zoomed picture and that's it.
- Chris A. Vedros

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22491

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22491

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NEW QUESTION 6: Wedding Photography: Which Digital Camera?
I'm about to take a camera course, which I hope will lead to a business in wedding photography. But I need to buy the right digital camera to do the job. How much should I spend, and can you give me some ideas on which camera to buy. Thanks!
- Wayne Marsh

ANSWER 1:
Wayne, you might want to consider taking some time before getting into wedding photography if you're just now going into a class and you don't know what kind of gear is available. Not to dissuade you, but wedding photography requires not only the photographic skills to ensure technically good shots (from a non-repeatable occasion), but also the ability to work with people and handle yourself well in the face of inevitable equipment failure.
On the equipment side, you can't go wrong with a Nikon or Canon brand - along with suitable lenses, flash, etc. The most important thing is to be comfortable with the gear, so rather than having strangers tell you that they think the so-and-so is the best camera ever, go to a store and handle a few. Some will balance well in your hands, others not so well. Some may have completely understandable controls that fall in the right place naturally, others not. These are not things you get from spec sheets or reviews.
But again, tread lightly - and learn well.
- Bob

ANSWER 2:
Bob's absolutely right. If you really think the camera will "let you do the job right," stay away from any professional photo assignment. Photography is an art and each of us is a practitioner. Some are better or worse. One must practice the art of seeing photographically. Don't think that an ultrasophisticated camera will make you take better pictures. That just doesn't happen.
That being said - list what features you think you need. Then look into a camera that offers a few more. In other words, get a little more at first so you won't want/need to upgrade too quickly. And don't necessarily think "entry level."
Check out Pop Photo's January or February Issue. It compares five digital SLRs for under $800. If you own Nikon or Canon lenses that are compatible, you need not look too much further.
But, please, don't try to sell your new business on the fact that you have such-and-such camera. Someone/anyone out there with a simple point-and-shoot camera can and will blow your socks off every once and a while.
- John Sandstedt

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22487

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22487

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NEW QUESTION 7: White/Grey Cards For WB
I often see people referring to balancing their White Balance and taking a pic of a white card - where do you do this? At home? Under perfect conditions, and what are "perfect" conditions? Or do you do it at the venue where you're going to shoot - eg, at the wedding, where its not very bright perhaps, do you turn up the lights to maximum? Thanks
- Robyn Ball

See Robyn's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 1:
A white card (or grey card) is used to adjust the WB at the time of shooting, so it is only useful when used under the same conditions as the shot you want to adjust. In other words, in the same lighting - usually just before or after the picture you wish to be able to correct. The grey card can also be used to adjust exposure in addition to white balance. Some cameras allow you to set a custom white balance by taking an exposure of a white card and saving the data in the camera.
- Peter M. Wilcox

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Visit wilcoxphotos.com - Peter's Deluxe BetterPholio™

ANSWER 2:
Robyn,
You have gotten a great response from Peter! And as far as where you get them, well, you can get them anywhere and just by making them. At one company I was with (CPI), they just used a cardboard card with a flat grey card glued to that and then for a white card, they had white clip boards in sleeves. The grey and white cards need to be flat or matte. And you want them as clean as possible for each shoot.
Aim and frame for the middle of the card for balance. I hope this helps!

- Debby Tabb

See Debby's Premium BetterPholio™

ANSWER 3:
Robin, I noticed you have a Canon, so I don't know how those work, but with the Nikon D70 if I want to use a white card for white balance it has to fill the frame then I can use the Preset to adjust the WB in the camera. If you were to use a small white card and take a pic under the same lighting as you'll be shooting under, then if you shoot in Raw you can change the WB by using the eye dropper tool in PS's Raw converter by clicking on the portion of the image that has the white card. PS will then change the WB to the appropriate color. I use PS CS. PS7 and below doesn't have RAW capabilities.
- Sharon D

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22434

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22434

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*****


NEW QUESTION 8: Saving Files as JPEG
Does a JPEG file lose its quality EVERY time you open it and just view it? Or does a JPEG file lose its quality ONLY EACH time you open the file and EDIT and SAVE the new image, then the new file has lost some quality. I store my images as JPEG and when I edit them, I always "save as" - that way I still have my original image. Thanks!
- Judy Kaplan

ANSWER 1:
A JPEG only loses quality when you save it. You're doing the right thing by using "save as" and keeping your original. Make sure you check the options or preferences in your editing program - you may be able to adjust the amount of JPEG compression that is used. Using the lowest amount of compression will give you a larger file size, but will preserve more of your image quality.
- Chris A. Vedros

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Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=22427

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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=22427

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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Until next week, happy shooting!

Thank you,
Jim Miotke
BetterPhoto.com

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