The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: What Can You Tell...
Q&A 2: Copyright Symbol....
Q&A 3: New Lens: Fast Vs...
Q&A 4: Which Image Editi...
Q&A 5: Portrait Photogra...
Q&A 6: Getting Started i...
Q&A 7: Keeping the Bride...


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THIS WEEK'S TIP
Shooting In Raw/B&W Conversion... by Matt Bamberg
I've found that sliding the saturation in the Raw window (before converting your file to JPEG or TIFF) - to change a color photo to black-and-white - is far superior to anything you can do once the file is in Photoshop. Note: Check out Matt Bamberg's 4-week online course for May:
Digital Art Photography


UNDERSTANDING NATURAL LIGHT WITH TIM COOPER
Team up with master photographer/instructor Tim Cooper for this enjoyable - and enlightening - 4-week online photo course to learn how to use natural light to make memorable photos. Note: This 4-week course begins May 3rd!
Learn more...
Photo: Tim Cooper
   
Featured Gallery
Spring showers
© - Donnarae Moratelli

Welcome to the 261st issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

What an exciting time at BetterPhoto.com™! The Spring session of our online photography school is under way, but there's lots more to come, with our awesome lineup of May short courses beginning next week. Also, I am excited about the release of my new DVD, Photographing Kids, and we're all looking ahead to one of the great photographic events of the year: the Second Annual BetterPhoto Summit September 16th and 17th in Seattle, Washington. In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss an excellent Photo Tip from one of our newest instructors: photographer/author Matt Bamberg, who teaches the awesome Digital Art Photography course.

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Kicking yourself for waiting too long? Good news! There's still plenty of time to enroll. In fact, the May sessions of our 4-Week Short Courses don't even start until May 3rd. But you had better hurry. These popular classes are filling up fast. (Note: These short courses are not extensions of a previous course. They are entirely independent, beginning with Lesson #1 at the start of the month.) Learn more... At BetterPhoto, we have an awesome lineup of 4-week courses that target specific SLR cameras. These courses get under way May 3rd: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels; Learning the Canon Digital Rebel Camera; Mastering the Nikon D2X; The Canon EOS 20D; The Canon Pro Digital SLRs. Plus, there's Using Your Canon Strobe Creatively. You'd better hurry: These classes are filling up fast! Learn more... BetterPhoto founder and photographer Jim Miotke will present his popular program - "Top Tips for Digital Photography: Storytelling With Your Digital Camera" - in Washington state and California in April. Upcoming schedule: Tuesday, April 25th, in Escondido, CA; and Saturday, April 29th, in Lynnwood, WA. Learn more...

Photo Q&A

1: What Can You Tell Me About Frame Rates?
For what type of pictures would the frame rate be an issue?
- Shahazad K.m
ANSWER 1:
There are two uses for the term "frame rate" that I can think of. It is usually measured in fps or frames-per-second.
When shooting video, you might typically see frame rates of 15 fps, 30 fps, or sometimes 60 fps. The faster the frame rate, the more smoothly the video will flow. 30 fps is generally a good speed to use.
When taking still images, many SLR cameras (both film and digital) will specify a frame rate that the camera can achieve, such as 3 fps or 5 fps. This is the number of images the camera can take per second. While the frame rate has a direct impact on the quality of a video, the frame rate does NOT have a direct impact on the quality of a still picture. The shutter speed affects the actual picture, the frame rate just affects how many pictures you get per second.
If you are taking pictures of fast-moving action, like sports or a fast animal, a higher frame rate may help you get an image at the moment you are trying to capture.
For images of still subjects, like landscapes, still life, portraits, flowers, etc., the frame rate is irrelevant.
- Chris A. Vedros
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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2: Copyright Symbol...
How do I get the copyright symbol on my pictures? Thank you.
- Joan Mardeusz
ANSWER 1:
Assuming you can put any characters on your picture... it's easy after that. Obviously there isn't a copyright symbol on your keyboard, so make sure you have CAPS LOCK and NUM LOCK off. Hold down your Alt key and use the numeric keypad (not the 1-0 across the top of the keyboard), but the numbers on the right side of the keyboard. Then type 0169. The copyright symbol will pop up as the character you typed. Release the Alt-key and type as normal.
- Jim Macino
ANSWER 2:
Jim... That is SOOOO cool !!!! Thanks. Wish I could get a larger version of it, though, but it works swell!!!
Mark
© 2006 MPF Productions. LOL !!!
- Mark Feldstein
ANSWER 3:
Mark,
After the character pops up, you can highlight it and change the font size to a larger size. Of course, it's a little more involved to enlarge it with HTML code here, but that can be done too.
- Chris A. Vedros
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3: New Lens: Fast Vs. Vibration Reduction
Would you rather have a new lens that is faster (2.8) or one with vibration reduction? I am in the market for a mid-range telephoto and I can't decide. I know there are pros and cons to both. Thanks for the input.
- Susan Patton
ANSWER 1:
Hello Susan,
I'd rather have the faster glass for low light ... for shooting sports in gymnasiums, and wildlife.
Good luck,
Sam
- Samuel Smith
ANSWER 2:
Susan, if I had to choose between the two, I'd agree with Sam - the faster lens will probably serve you better. But of course, it will also be quite a bit heavier and larger, so you need to take that into consideration.
Of course, the Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 has VR as well as a fast aperture, so it's not always an either-or choice.
You don't say what kinds of photography you like - travel/scenery, sports, etc., and that could play a role. For example, to do sports, the faster glass is absolutely a must - both to allow higher shutter speeds and to limit DOF so the player really "pops" against a blurred background. For travel, though, you may want a lighter weight lens, and the fast speed may not be all that big a deal.
- Bob 
ANSWER 3:
Thanks to both of you for your input. I would say I do more travel/scenery than anything. I also do a few weddings... not as the pro but as a second photographer. Give the photos to the bride and groom as a wedding gift. Fun for me with no pressure! I also like to get out on the water and shoot nature shots, and the VR lens would be helpful. So this is a big decision for me. I don't mind spending the money (I have a Nikon D70 and will probably buy Nikon), but I want to make the right choice. I hadn't considered the increased weight of a faster lens.
- Susan Patton
ANSWER 4:
Bob and Samuel are both right with their responses. A good rule of thumb is a fast lens for action shots and lowlight and VR for anything over 200mm. You may want to try a Nikkor 50mm f1.8D prime lens for lowlight situations, they are very reasonable in price, many places sell them for around $100.00.
- Darrell Hetke
ANSWER 5:
Susan: For your type of photography I would say get a VR lens. Action photographers need fast f/2.8 zooms, but for most others, the Vibration Reduction system is more valuable. And I own both types of lenses, though in a Canon system.
Peter Burian

Editor's Note: Check out Peter Burian's Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels course, which begins May 3rd.

- Peter K. Burian

See Peter Burian's Premium Gallery:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=69365

Take an Online Photo Course with Peter Burian:
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels - April
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels - May
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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4: Which Image Editing Software to Buy?
I have purchased a Canon 350D and am using the software provided by Canon, being Digital Photo Professional and Photostudio. However, all the rave seems to be Photoshop (or, for a photographer of my rudimentary ability, Photoshop Elements). Does anyone please have knowledge of how the Canon software I am using (above) compares with Photoshop Elements.
- Roger Mr South
ANSWER 1:
Roger: It's not just rave. Elements 4.0 is incredibly verstatile and in some respects, easy to use. It's far more versatile than the Canon software. And quicker/easier to use for RAW file conversion.
And if you ever have a problem, or need advice, you can find a lot of people (here and elsewhere) who can give you useful advice. Because so many of us own Adobe software.
Peter
- Peter K. Burian

See Peter Burian's Premium Gallery:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=69365

Take an Online Photo Course with Peter Burian:
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels - April
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels - May
ANSWER 2:
Thanks for that, Peter, your response confirms what I sortof expected to hear and I am already finding frustrations with Photo Studio in some of their layering functionality, together with their "motion blur", which doesn't work at all well. Thanks again.
- Roger Mr South
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5: Portrait Photography: The Basics!
I have several questions that I would like to ask...
1) What camera setting do you typically use to shoot portraits? Do you use Aperture Priority, Manual, Auto but in Portrait mode, Program... you get my drift. I will be shooting my 1-year-old mostly.
2) What is the typical lens that you use? Again, I know that this varies by photographer, but again just curious.
Thanks for all responses in advance.
- Kirstie Goodman
ANSWER 1:
Hi, Kirstie,
Well, the thing about portraits is usually you want to keep the subject in sharp focus and any distrations in the background blurred - this implies using a fast lens speed (a low f-stop number), which in turn means you would probably want to shoot in aperture priority mode so you can set the f-stop and let the camera worry about shutter speed. Of course, you just want to keep an eye on the shutter speed so it doesn't get too slow...
As for lens, this obviously depends a lot on your shooting style, but the most commonly used lens for "head and shoulder" type shots is the short telephoto. In the 35MM film world, this would be the 85MM to maybe 135MM lens (85 and 105 most common). In DSLR land, you should take into account the "crop factor" of the camera itself, so if you have, say, a Nikon DSLR with a 1.5 crop factor, then a 50MM lens effectively behaves like a 75MM lens, and could be just right.
The reason these focal lengths are popular is because they allow you to be a comfortable distance from the subject (about 6-8 feet, typically) and they offer a pleasing perspective as far as facial features are concerned. While you could certainly use a 400MM lens from 30 feet away, you may notice the face becomes too "flattened" looking. If you choose to use an 18MM lens but still fill the frame with the face, then you'd need to be pretty close and the nose would become exaggerated compared to the cheeks.
So, try a short telephoto. You can, of course, use a zoom, but if you use a prime (non-zoom) lens, you could probably get a faster lens to better decrease the depth of field I described above.
- Bob 
ANSWER 2:
So you want to shoot portraits:
The biggest mistake is using a lens that is too short. With a 35mm camera, the accepted minimum is 105mm. Longer will do just fine. Shorter is OK provided the photographer can overcome a tendency to work in too close. Allow me to explain:
Things close to the camera reproduce large and things far from the camera reproduce small. This effect is normal and to be expected but becomes exaggerated when a wide-angle (short focal length) lens is used, particularly for portraiture. The result is more of a caricature as the whole face becomes distorted, nose too big and ears too small.
The same effect, but less pronounced, happens when a 35mm camera equipped with a normal 50mm lens is used for portraiture. In this case, the nose is microscopically too large and ears a tiny bit too small. Most times, the subject examines the proofs and exclaims, "That’s not me, I don’t photograph well". This is because they are seeing themselves differently than they visualize – kind of like the first time you hear your own voice on a tape recorder. People, particularly women, spend a lot of time at the makeup mirror. This mirror view is their yardstick. To satisfy, and sell portraits, this is the perspective you must duplicate. With a 35mm camera, this perspective is best duplicated using a 105mm focal length lens or longer.
The 105mm is twice (2x) longer than normal lens and it forces the photographer to step back and get further away from the subject when composing the portrait. It is this extra subject-to-camera distance that does the trick. That is why most authorities recommend a 105mm for portraiture. Actually, if you force yourself to step back when using a short lens, you will avoid the error. Technically, the distance span nose to ears becomes less by ratio as the camera to subject distance increases. If you step back, the results yield a head size that is too small but with a more desirable prospective. One must then crop off the excess background to achieve a good looking portrait.
Note that the normal lens for a camera is about the diagonal measure of the film or chip. The diagonal measure of the 35mm frame is about 50mm as the frame is 24mm x 36mm. The 105mm lens is about 2 times this diagonal measure. For other formats, the 2x rule is a good one to know. Use a lens 2x greater than the diagonal measure of the film or chip for portraiture.
As to camera settings:
Always focus on the eyes. As for aperture, use one or two stops down from the largest opening. You want shallow depth-of-field, so use aperture priority. You want the ears just out of focus. Shutter speed falls where it must for accurate exposure.
- Alan N. Marcus
ANSWER 3:
Good morning, Kirstie,
I want to invite you to look up the Studio Photography thread - there are 20 parts but the first 4 alone will give you so much information on Portrait Photography. Here's the link:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=17534
Wishing you the best of luck,
- Debby Tabb
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6: Getting Started in Pet Photography
How do you get started? I'm being told the best way to start is volunteer at pet adoption agencies, etc. I just noticed there's a huge pet adoption event taking place in a couple of weeks. I guess you could say I'm still building my portfolio, and haven't officially started as a business, so I need pointers as to how to go about this. If allowed, I was thinking of taking my camera and a portable printer to the event, and just taking pictures of people and their new pets for free - and putting a sticker with my name and contact info on the back. Any advice?
- Joan Castillo
ANSWER 1:
Joan,
There is really no reason to do this as a volunteer. I do charity events all the time - pet events as well as children's events: I offer a percentage return. I set up a backdrop, bring props, my lighting, etc., as an on-site studio.
I load all portraits onto my laptop for viewing (or print a proof sheet with my Epson picture maker). Then they pick their package, and I print. I usually give 3 packages.
Anything that works with children will work with pets in most cases. Another thing I like to add is an extra sheet of wallet sizes made as business cards.
These work great for any and all events.
People may hand out or keep your business cards - but if they have a card to hand out to friends and nieghbors with their loved ones' picture on it - just think of how much excited they will be to hand it out.
I do hope this helps.
- Debby Tabb
ANSWER 2:
Hi Joan. I do pet photography. You can check out my Web site and gallery for samples of my work. And yes volunteering at shelters is a good way to go. I would highly recommend you do that. You not only give back to the community and help animals, but you also make a lot of contacts, which in turn leads to jobs, Also, contact and work with local veterinarians. I display my prints with them and get a lot of business that way. But definitely look into volunteering. It is amazing how much you "get back" when you volunteer!
- Jill Flynn
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7: Keeping the Bride's Dress Clean
Are there any secrets to helping my customer keep her dress from getting soiled when shooting her outdoor bridal portrait? She wants the standard full length, of course. I have my stool for her to sit on. She may also want one sitting on brick steps or possibly even the ground. Thanks.
- Dave Fletcher
ANSWER 1:
Dave,
These shoots are best done after the ceremony, or after the wedding day itself. Then a bride can go and do anything without the worry of the dress getting damaged in on-site shoots or at the dry cleaners. I hope this helps.
- Debby Tabb
ANSWER 2:
Oxyclean for dirt - if it doesn't make it better, at least it won't make it worse
Clorox stain stick - but don't use it too often and dryclean the first chance you get.
Red Wine Stain: First, gently dab at the stain with a clean white cloth. Then poor water or club soda onto the cloth, and dab some more. Whatever you do, do not rub! Keep dabbing with clean parts of the cloth until it seems like most of the stain has come out.
Stains on your carpet? Woolite spot & stain carpet cleaners are your answer!
Oily Food Stain: Sprinkle talcum powder liberally over the stain on your wedding dress. Wait about ten minutes, then shake the excess off.
Ink Stain: The solution to getting ink out is hair spray, believe it or not! Test the hair spray out on a discreet portion of the wedding dress – perhaps the inside of the hem – before using it on the stain, as hair spray may mark the fabric. Put a cloth behind the fabric, then spray the ink stain lightly. Wait five minutes, then dab gently with a damp cloth.
Lipstick Stain: The best solution is to try to cover the stain with baking soda or talcum powder. You can also try using a solvent such as dry cleaning fluid or cigarette lighter fluid, but be aware that such solvents frequently discolor fabric. Be sure to test it on an unseen portion of the wedding dress first.
Blood Stain: If the blood is still wet, moisten a cotton swab with your own saliva (or the saliva of the person whose blood it is), then gently rub it over the stain. It should come out. If it's dry, or nearly dry, dab the blood stain gently with very cold water on a white washcloth. Hold the cloth on the spot and see if blood breaks down and comes out. If that doesn't work, see if there is a first aid kit nearby with hydrogen peroxide, and dilute it (one part to nine parts water). Careful, hydrogen peroxide can bleach fabrics. Use the diluted solution to gently dab at the stain. When it starts to break down, go back to plain cold water. Use chalk or talcum powder to disguise anything that doesn't come out.
- Brady 
ANSWER 3:
I bring a big plastic white tablecloth so it sits underneath her and is not noticed. Blessed is the bride who does not care if her dress gets a little dirt on it because SHE IS NEVER WEARING IT AGAIN!!!! (I do get those once in a while, and it is a blessing!)
- Debbie Del Tejo
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