The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, June 12, 2006
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Large Group Poses...
Q&A 2: Macro/Portrait Le...
Q&A 3: Prime Lens for Ou...
Q&A 4: New to SLR - View...
Q&A 5: Taking A Mirror I...
Q&A 6: How to Shoot Infa...

"I am so glad that I took this class. I have become a better photographer... Bill's lessons are straightforward, the assignments are challenging but fun, and the critiques are very informative. He asks questions related not so much as to how you took a certain image but why you took it - thereby making you stop and think a little. I highly recommend this course." - student in William Neill's Portfolio Development course.

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Photoshop Tools for Comfort
An excerpt from Brenda Tharp's BetterBlog: "I don't know how many of you might already be using the Wacom Pen and Tablet, but ... I love this thing! My hands were cramping from holding a certain position with a mouse, same with a trackball, and now, I get more flexibility with the pen and tablet. I can move the tablet to my lap, and work from that position, or leave it next to the keyboard (although that's a distance away with both side by side. Either way, I'm really enjoying this new purchase.

"If you haven't tried one, do so the first chance you get. It's not for everyone, possibly, but many people I know that work with Photoshop a lot and image processing have found it to be less problematic with body ergonomics, and in general faster. Especially since you can custom design the slider tabs on each side of the tablet to do what you want them to do."
Note: Learn more about Brenda Tharp and her online courses....

Featured Gallery
Yosemite Falls rainbow
© - Loretta Valdez

Welcome to the 268th issue of SnapShot!

June has been such an exciting month here at BetterPhoto.comô. Our first-ever June courses are up and running, and what a success these "in-between" classes have been! As for Summer, we are looking forward to our next school session, which begins in July and promises to be our best ever. In fact, we are thrilled to welcome yet another new instructor to our talented team: professional photographer Jennifer Wu, whose outstanding new course is Nature and Landscape Composition. And, of course, we are looking forward to the year's big photographic event: the 2nd Annual BetterPhoto Summit, where you'll learn photography, meet friends, see programs by BP instructors, get inspired, and just plain have fun. This jam-packed event takes place September 16th-17th, 2006, in Seattle, Washington.†††

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Learn to develop your own unique way of seeing and to express meaning in your photos! In this exciting new online course, professional photographer Jennifer Wu will show you how to create images that have interest, balance and drama. Class begins July 5th. Learn more... BetterPhoto Founder Jim Miotke shares his expertise - in person! - in a series of digital photography programs. Upcoming schedule in Las Vegas: Wednesday and Thursday (June 14th-15th) at eBay Live; and Saturday (June 17th) at the Clark County Library. For specifics... The 2nd Annual BetterPhoto Summit is going to be an awesome weekend of information, inspiration, and fun all around. It takes place September 16th-17th, 2006, in Seattle, Washington. For details...

Photo Q&A

1: Large Group Poses
Hi, I'm am doing a photo shoot of a large family reunion. I have to take photos of groups as large as 60 people, and it's on flat ground, and no props except for two chairs that I'm using for the two oldest people in the group. Does anyone have any suggestions on poses for groups this large? Plus, I need some posing ideas as well for groups a little smaller like 25, 22, 15, and so on. Any suggestions would be great!
- Collette Storkel
Can you find a stairway somewhere? Those are the best and the cheapest. I shoot large groups on the post office front steps on Sundays when they are closed. No green, just old pillars, but I blur them out in the shot with PS. F8 to F11 should get everyone sharp.
- Brady Fotheringham
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2: Macro/Portrait Lens Question
I am looking for a macro and portrait lens. It is between the 60mm or 105mm Micro-Nikkor lenses. Which is better for portraits, and what is better for macro? Also, if I used the 60mm to photograph a ladybug, how would it compare to a photograph taken with a 105mm? Thanks.
- Desiree C. Preckwinkle
Both Nikkor macro lenses will get you 1:1. I have the 60mm and think it's great - real sharp with nice contrast. It also has a flat focus field so it's perfect if you want to shoot a document/painting or the like. It's also good for waist-up portraits. The 105mm would probably be better for head shots, as well as taking macro shots of things that get scared when a lens is shoved in their face, since it gives you a little more working distance.
- Stan Lubach
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3: Prime Lens for Outdoor Portraits
I am planning to purchase a prime lens for my Canon Rebel XT. I would like one that would perform well for outdoor portraiture. I can spend in the $500 range. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what would be the best lens? Thank you for your help.
- Linda S. Buchanan
I would recommend the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. There is a rebate right now that puts it under $300. It is an excellent lens.
Traditionally, portrait lenses are a bit longer, starting around 85mm. I also have the Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens, and it is also a great lens. But with the 1.6x lens crop factor of the Rebel, you have to really back up a ways from your subject to get in more than a headshot.
If you want the flexibility of doing full-length portraits or small groups, I think you would be happier with the 50mm lens.
Chris A. Vedros
- Chris A. Vedros
I second Chris' choice. I love my 50mm 1.4 and use it all the time. It's especially useful indoors or in the shade - plus it has a sturdy feel to it. You can use the leftover money to buy a filter or two for it.
- Oliver Anderson
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4: New to SLR - Viewfinder LCD ?
Hi, I went and bought my first SLR camera today. The Olympus EVOLT E500. I've already taken some great pictures... but I've had to use the viewfinder as opposed to using the LCD screen when taking the pictures. Is that something that you have to do with SLRs? I've read and read, and I haven't seen anything (menus or buttons) that allow me to change that. Can you help?
- Diana Carlson
Diana, your guess that this has something to do with the design of SLRs is correct: When the mirror is "down", the light coming through the lens is reflected into the viewing prism and eventually through the eyepiece - thus the through-the-lens viewing capability. The CCD chip (or film) doesn't "see" anything until you snap the shutter, which brings about a cascade of mechanical events that flips the mirror out of the way and then releases the shutter.
That said, as it happens, Olympus' newest DSLR (I think the E330), does have the ability to give live through-the-lens viewing, thanks to a secondary mirror system that can send the incoming light through to the CCD. But to my knowledge, your model (and all other current DSLRs) do not have this capability.
- Bob 
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5: Taking A Mirror Image
What's a good way to take a picture of someone while they're looking in the mirror without getting a glare? Thanks.
- Jyan Crayton
Hey Jyan: Remember, angle of incidence = angle of reflection. So you don't want to be in a position where your light source is going to reflect back at your lens. The trick to doing this is essentially to be off to the side of the subject and keep any artificial lighting you use, especially flash, indirect and somewhat on the diffused side. No, don't use a polarizing filter. Try that and see how you fare.
Take it light.
- Mark Feldstein
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6: How to Shoot Infant Feet
I have tried to shoot baby feet and never seem to get the lighting or background or something quite right. I have seen so many wonderful baby pics, and I have limited lighting resources. My niece is asking for photos of her daughter and 4-year-old son. Any suggestions on background and lighting? Thanks! Pam
- Pamela A. Davis
Good Morning, Pam,
As far as background, you can use anything; satins are very nice and I keep them in several colors, including the baby pinks and blues. I have mom or dad hold the little feet in cupped hands, and as I go to expose, I have them release their thumbs as if the little feet are just laying in their hands.
As almost always when shooting standard portraits in studio, I set my Nikon D70 or the Fuji S2 to 200 f22 (the f stop may vary if using a fixed lens camera - but this works for most SLRs).
I use one light and lift it high and then have the light head pointing down until I have the desired light on the subject. The settings on your lights will depend on the power of the light head and your needs at the time.
Note: If you have tested your lights in the regular studio setting and are good to shoot your portraits, there should be no need to adjust the settings for this shot ... you should be fine.
More on all this in the Studio Photography threads 1-21.
I do hope this has helped,
- Debby Tabb
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