The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, June 26, 2006
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Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Advice on Shootin...
Q&A 2: Still Product Pho...
Q&A 3: How to Photograph...
Q&A 4: PowerPoint Photos...
Q&A 5: Lens Hood: When t...
Q&A 6: Outdoor Wedding: ...

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What Kind of Digital Camera Do You Have?
"Believe or not, f-stop numbers have different aperture values depending on the type of digital camera you use", points out BetterPhoto founder Jim Miotke in his excellent book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Digital Photography. "For example, f/8 on a compact digicam (non-SLR) might be more equivalent to f/22 or f/32 on a digital SLR... Since this scale varies from compact camera to compact camera, you need to think of it in relative terms - i.e., your highest f/stop number will get you greatest depth of field, and your lowest f/stop number will get you the most isolated focus".

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© - Patrick R. McMullen

Welcome to the 270th issue of SnapShot!

There's lots of excitement as BetterPhoto's Summer school gets ready to kick off July 5th with 8-week courses and 4-week courses. Speaking of classes, we are so proud of our team of online instructors, which includes top pro Brenda Tharp. In a fascinating interview, Brenda shares her thoughts on how she became a successful nature photographer, and offers advice to BP members on improving their photo skills. Read Brenda Tharp's interview... More news: Paul Gero has come up with another new course: Raw Workflow for Wedding Photographers. Are you interested in photographing fireworks? For tips and techniques, read BetterPhoto's A Celebration of Light and Color article. In addition, check out The Nature Workshops with photographer Richard Buchbinder leading two exciting August workshops. And, in September, the event of the year takes place: the 2nd Annual BetterPhoto Summit, where you will learn photography, meet friends, get inspired, and have fun. That's it for now ... have a great week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Are you ready to take the next step in your photography? We have an awesome Summer schedule of 8-week online courses at BetterPhoto, including: Portfolio Development. Understanding Professional Lighting. People Photography Up-Close and Personal. Photographer's Toolbox for Photoshop. Learn more about 8-week courses... At BetterPhoto, we offer an exciting range of Short Courses, such as: The Canon Pro Digital SLRs. Advanced Camera Raw Creative Techniques. Using Your Canon Strobe Creatively. Digital Art Photography. Learn more about 4-week courses... In his outstanding BetterPhoto course, professional photographer Bruce Smith will show you how to shoot fashion images for fun or profit. Check out his online class: Fashion and Beauty: An Introduction to Fashion Photography Bruce also will be conducting a Fashion Photography Workshop in Seattle, Washington, in September 2006.

Photo Q&A

1: Advice on Shooting a Wedding/Reception
My sister-in-law has a friend who is going to renew her wedding vows. She wants to take pictures at her wedding/reception. I want to, but don't know where to start. I will be using my Canon EOS Rebel XT digital camera with 2 different lens (18-55 and 75-300mm), a Canon 420EX flash with a omni bounce attached and a flip bracket.
1) What do I charge? It is planned for 4 hours, from 4pm-8pm. It will take me about 30-35 minutes to get to the location. I'm only wanting to charge one flat fee for taking the pictures since I'm just getting started and I will give her a CD with all of the pictures on it.
2) What ISO should I use? It will be mainly indoors, maybe a few shots outside if it's nice weather. The event will be in a country club rather than a church.
3) What poses should I consider? The bride will be about 5-6 months pregnant!
4) How soon should I arrive before the event?
Any tips, advice or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for all the advice in advance.
- Amanda R. Milam
1. This is one of the most asked questions and hardest to answer. A lot of it depends on the area in which you live. Since you are not experienced, I would suggest about $50.00 per hour, including post-processing time, plus expenses (gas, etc.).
2. Use the lowest ISO you can, depending on the light, the aperture you wish to use, etc. This will obviously be different outside than inside.
3. Pose them however you wish. I have shot two brides in the last couple of months who were pregnant (at least as far as I know there have only been two). One wasn't very far along and I knew only because someone told me. The other was about 7 months along!
4. I always arrive at least an hour ahead of time, sometimes more than that. Discuss that with the client.
- Kerry L. Walker
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2: Still Product Photography
How would shoot cold bottle drinks, and what camera setting would you recommend?
- Rohan Cooke
This is totally up to you, Rohan. I suggest you try many, many different lighting situations and camera settings. Trial and error, I think, would be best in this situation, as there is no prescribed pre-setting (that I know of) to shoot those products. I will say, though, that I would use very intense lighting as to make the most out of the beads of sweat on the bottle.

Editor's Note: By the way, BetterPhoto now has an Introduction to Product Photography online course.

- Sipho Eish
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3: How to Photograph Fireworks
I have Canon 20D, and want to photograph fireworks on the 4th of July. What lens can you recommend, and what would be the best f.stop, and shutter speed for this type of photography? Also, is ISO 100 ok, or should I use 200, or 400 ISO?< Many thanks,.
- Charley Andrisano
Well, Charley, since fireworks are photogaphed at night, that means you're going to have the camera on a tripod. So with that in mind, it's only logical to use the SLOWEST possible ISO you can use. Except with digital I would not use ISO 50 considering you lose a stop in the highlights, and it's a very contrasty situation anyway. OK, so ... tripod, ISO 100. Use pretty much any lens you have, depending on the perspective you want. The apertures I used last year were f/5.6 and f/8. Put the camera on (B)ulb and hold the shutter open with your cable release for about 5-10 seconds, and then review once it pops up on the LCD. These are just starting points, though, you can open up more, or stop down more, depending on how much time you want to hold the shutter open.
- Justin G.
Hello Charley;
Ahh, yes, we approach that time of year again. :)

Shooting fireworks is easy in idea, and generally difficult in practice.
Problem #1: The smoke from successive fireworks obscures the next shot somewhat...not much you can do here.
#2: Digital cameras for visual use are not all that great shooting "black" as "noise" is ever present.
A little post processing can usually blacken the sky to a more normal look...and some selective gaussian blur to hide the "noise."
I've shot fireworks for years and actually I'm a little bored of doing it. Not too many angles or vantage points for us. (LOL)...soooooo; I think I'll try for a more thematic approach to the 4th this year; looking for (other) things that capture the essence of Independence Day. :)
All the best.

Editor's Notes: Also check out BetterPhoto's article on the subject: Photographing Fireworks

- Pete Herman
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4: PowerPoint Photos
I am trying to save my PowerPoint presentation photos so I can give them to a couple. I need to do this in a way they can't print the photos and yet be good viewing. I'd appreciated any help you can provide.
- Diane  l. Thomas
Resize your pictures to 72 ppi and a convenient size. Save in JPEG, although PowerPoint will accept TIF. Then, in PowerPoint, use the Rectangle Drawing Tool and cover the slide. Add a backgrouns color - black is always good. Then insert the resized JPEG and adjust the dimensions with the mouse - leaving a small border. Because of the low resolution, even if they tried to make a print, it'll be awful. Try it out, and you'll be convinced.
- John Sandstedt
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5: Lens Hood: When to Use It
What type of lens hoods are there, and when should we use lens hood?
- Joseph Varghese
Most telephotos have a lens hood built-in. Others screw into the front of the lens in the threaded part you would usually use to install a filter. The latter are usually made from soft rubber or plastic and are collapsible.
A lens hood should be used when shooting into the sun.(By that, I mean that the sun is in front of you at an angle, not shooting directly into it.)
The hood will shield extraneous light and help to avoid lens flare. Hoods should be used sparingly, especially with wide-angle lenses to avoid vignetting, a discernable darkening around the outside corners of the frame.
- Bob Cammarata
A lens hood prevents strong light from striking the front lens element and creating flare, which will reduce contrast. The light source doesn't have to be in the frame or view of the lens to be a problem. Besides the sun, street lights or indoor lighting - such as bright ceiling lights or halogen track lighting - can be sources of flare that a lens hood will protect against.
Besides protection against flare, a lens hood also provides physical protection to the lens. Its depth can prevent stray fingers or dog's noses from smudging the lens, and will protect a dropped lens better than the typical UV "protection" filter. I use lens hoods on all of my lenses, especially the wide-angles, at all times. With a wide-angle lens (or any lens for that matter), vignetting is only a problem if one uses the wrong sized/shaped hood. All the lens manufacturers also make hoods specifically designed for each of their lenses that will not cause vignetting. The manufacturer's hoods generally fit with a bayonet mount on the end of the lens rather than screwing into the filter threads.
- Jon Close
I agree with Jon about always using a lens hood. On my camera (28-200mm lens), I almost always use one, and have never gotten vignetting from it.
- Brendan Knell
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6: Outdoor Wedding: How to Shoot It
OK, all you filter experts. I am shooting an outdoor wedding this weekend. The weather will be partly cloudy which also means partly sunny for you optimists. Is there a filter I should be using? Also should I also use a flash for all shots?
YOu guys did so great with my last filter issue, I know u can help me again.
- Joyce Baldassarre
Polarizer - Polarizer - Polarizer
But, don't assume you'll need for every exposure. You might not need a flash unless you're caught in a backlit situation. But, don't plan on using flash for all pictures - just the ones that need it.
- John Sandstedt
I'll give my suggestion for whatever it's worth. I shoot many outdoor weddings each year and when using film I always use flash and/or reflectors, an 81B filter, and a Tiffen Soft FX #3 diffusion filter. When using digital, no filters, but shoot in Raw. I never use a polarizer when shooting portraits. You do not want to take away all of the shine on the faces. When you use a polarizer with people, you need to be careful or their faces start to look cadaver-like.
- Bret Tate
I would use the flash as fill flash - not as the main source of light as it will help eliminate any shadows.
- Kerry L. Walker
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