The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Concert Photograp...
Q&A 2: Model Releases fo...
Q&A 3: Exposure: Prevent...
Q&A 4: Photographing Pri...
Q&A 5: Digital SLR:'...
Q&A 6: Using White Balan...
Q&A 7: Film Camera Lense...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"This class, Toolbox 1, is a must for everyone who is serious about getting a firm know-how about Photoshop. Lewis Kemper isn't afraid of guiding you through all the hard stuff - thus also helping you to build a consistent workflow. The critique for every assignment is very creative. Lewis's activity and interest in sharing his skill is fabulous! ...He is always there, answering your questions, helping to solve problems... And the response is fast! Thanks, Lewis, for making this class a treasure!" - student in Lewis Kemper's Photographer's Toolbox for Photoshop Toolbox #1 course.

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THIS WEEK'S TIP
Getting a Creative Workout with Macro ... by Brenda Tharp
In a recent BetterBlog, master photographer Brenda Tharp talking about extreme macro photography, in which you can create wonderful abstracts. "There's such little depth of field," she writes, "that you have a lot of colors blending and only the edges of things or one area may be in focus...
"Getting into extreme macro is a lot of fun, and a great creative workout. You have to move around, in and out on your subject until you see something that you really like. Thereís no way to know whatís there until you get in that close - you just canít see it with your naked eye. But once you start looking that closely, you find magic happening!"
Note: Check out Brenda Tharp's outstanding Mastering Macro Photography and Macro II: Advanced Techniques online courses.


   
Featured Gallery
Happy 10th Anniversary BP
© - Khawla Kelly  S. Haddad

Welcome to the 271st issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

Are you ready to take the next step in your photography? BetterPhoto's upcoming Summer school is better than ever, with lots of new courses and new instructors. Beginning this Wednesday (July 5th), our 8-week online courses and 4-Week Short Courses get under way. But if you need help finding the class that's right for you, don't miss our new Course Calculator. By the way, are you planning to photograph spectacular displays of light and color? Then check out our Photographing Fireworks article. That's it for now ... enjoy your week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

With the launch of BetterPhoto's online classes, there's still time to sign up. We have educational - and enjoyable - courses for all skill levels, from beginners to serious hobbyists to aspiring pros. See our schedule... At BetterPhoto, we offer an exciting range of 4-Week Short Courses on a range of exciting topics. Learn more... Our redesigned BetterPhoto Deluxe Web Sites offer beautiful and functional design and easy Web hosting Ė at a great price. Find out more...

Photo Q&A

1: Concert Photography with Digital Camera
I will be attending a concert in the next few weeks and I am trying to understand the manual settings on my digital camera (Kodak easy Z700). I would like to shoot the show from my seat, which is close - but better to use a zoom. There is a Manual Mode that I can use to set focal length, shutter speed, etc. I would like to get these shots without the use of flash so I don't see all the heads around me. Cheers!
- Jordan  Allen
ANSWER 1:
- Keep the flash off,
- Set the ISO to the highest setting that still has acceptibly low noise/grain,
- Set the white balance for "Tungsten" lighting (or daylight if you want a more dramatic red/yellow cast),
- Use A (aperture priority) exposure mode, with aperture set wide open (smallest f-number), or P mode, and
- Use the Z700's Center-Spot metering on the brightly lit performer to set exposure. Set Focus Zone to the Center zone as well.
- Jon Close
ANSWER 2:
I agree with Jon's suggestions and would like to add that IF your camera alows you to shoot in Raw, you can then have greater latitude in adjusting the white balance if you post-process the image. The downside is that every image shot in Raw needs to be PP. Also stay away from any "Digital" zoom the camera may have and stick to "Optical" zoom. Enjoy the concert!
- Mike Rubin
ANSWER 3:
Before going, check to see if photography and cameras are allowed. Most top-draw concerts don't allow them.
- Dennis Flanagan
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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2: Model Releases for Old Photographs
I have an estate collection of photography from the 1930s-1960s with some very remarkable images of people (celebrities, Seminole Indians, etc.). I am restoring the pics and want to market them, but am reading conflicting information about whether I need a signed model release for these old images. Any thoughts? Thanks!
- Tami 
ANSWER 1:
Well, Tami, the short answer is yes, you need a release as long as the individuals are recognizable in any manner or form. The basis for releases, at least under federal and state law here in the U.S., is to protect fundamental rights to privacy, which includes a collateral, statutory right against defamation (libel, slander) or simply using someone's image (or a recognizable likeness of someones image) in a derrogatory manner.
Now as to your immediate problem, the personal right to privacy and also the laws of defamation, they continue to apply after the subject is deceased but go to the next of kin by the laws of succession. In other words, if you alter a photograph of someone who's deceased and it could be construed in a derrogatory way, you're conceivably on the hook for a defamation action brought by, say, the subject's adult kid or conservator on behalf of a minor child.
Or, if you use a photograph of someone, whether it's altered or not, for any commercial value and someone recognizes the subject as, say, their grandfather and can prove they're a living relative of the person, they can attach all the profits derived from the image plus damages for invasion of grampa's privacy.
Remember, publishing, in any way, requires a release these days. Even when the news media exception might arguably apply, it's a good idea to have a release. They don't prevent lawsuits but they're your first line of defense against one for the reasons I mentioned above.
On the other hand, you could just decide to roll the dice and do what you wish with the photos and run the risk of someone, somewhere, recognizing the image as so and, like reaching from beyond the grave, tapping you on the shoulder to ask whether you have a release.
Good luck. My advice is for you to drop the dime on a lawyer who specializes in wills and trusts or estate planning in the state you live in and get a written opinion that you can really rely on in your own jurisdiction.
Take it light.
Mark
- Mark Feldstein
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3: Exposure: Preventing Blown-Out Whites
I need some assistance with, I think, white balance. I use a Nikon D100, and it seems like when I shoot a picture with white and other colors in the direct sunlight the white details in the picture are blown out. Any suggestions on how to fix? I attached a picture to show what I mean.
- Janet  L. TownendSee Sample Photo - House Remodeling


ANSWER 1:
Hi Janet:
Digital is a great medium, but it does have it's drawbacks and limitations. For instance, it doesn't have the tonal range that film does, so it is not capable of faithfully reproducing black blacks and bright whites within the same scene. John's suggestion is right on. Try underexposing the shot till your whites are within the medium range. Other suggestion might be to shoot in Raw, which might give you just a little more leaway than JPEG.
- Bob Chance
ANSWER 2:
Hi janet...
It does not appear that you've blown the whites at all. The concept of "blown" highlights is somewhat misunderstood.
The walls of a smooth surface white house really cannot be blown out as there is no real detail there ... white is white ... Period! .On the digital scale, it is 255. The problem we have is that not all whites are created equal ... often there are shades of color or tint within the white; in that case, it is easy to blow the hilites.
Now, had you photographed a white flower with intricate detail, such as folds in the pedal etc., THAT could be blown out as shadow will gradually meld from black to white.
And, as Bob correctly pointed out, digital capture doesn't quite rival film yet in "latitude" - i.e., the ability to render a broad spectrum of shadow and highlight detail across the full range. Digital IS getting there - latitude and dynamic range wise - but not yet affordable to the average person on a budget.
Your house pic is fine from an exposure point of view. I'm glad you posted this question as I am soon leaving for Washington DC and will be photographing a lot of white buildings and monuments (LOL); so I will have to take extra care and thought into each shot depending on the time of day.
All the best.
- Pete Herman
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4: Photographing Prints with Studio Lights
I need to take photos of some art prints that are framed with glass. I've been looking at buying some studio lights to handle this job, but I have no studio lighting experience. I'm thinking of a two monolights with umbrellas or softboxes. Is that a good idea? I have 40-50 prints to shoot.
- Alan Kirkpatrick
ANSWER 1:
I need to know how many watt/seconds I will need; is 2 x 160 enough or should I be looking at 2 x 320? I've seen a picture of a shooting table set-up for doing repro work, and they don't appear to use a diffuser such as an umbrella or box. Is that the direction I should be looking at?
The prints I'm shooting are 2' x 3' & smaller.
- Alan Kirkpatrick
ANSWER 2:
This is not that difficult to do. The important thing is keeping the glare off the glass - and even that is not difficult. It makes no real difference either whether or not you use hard or soft light. However, metering correctly is what is most important. Here's how to do it:
1. Hang or set up your framed art so that it is perfectly perpendicular to your camera lens (which MUST be set on a tripod). Use a level for both the frame AND camera to insure they are plumb.
2. Place a light on each side of the frame, at approximately 45 degrees to the frame. Aim the light (one at a time) so that its beam covers the entire frame. If you check in your viewfinder, you should see no glare whatsoever. If you do, reposition your lights until the glare is totally gone. Note - you DO NOT need a polarizer for this. Furthermore, measure the distance from the light to the center of the frame, and be absolutely sure that each light is the exact same distance away, assuming that each light is of the same power level. Then...
3. Use a hand-held flash meter in incident mode, and measure 5 specific places on the frame - the middle, and all 4 corners. Your goal is to have all 5 places read within 2/10th f-stop of each other. If they don't, move your lights a little, then re-meter. Continue doing this until all 5 areas are within 2/10th's of a stop.
4. Take the picture!!
Michael H. Cothran
PS - Forgot to mention earlier - turn out all other lights in the room, and be sure there are no windows behind you whose light might reflect in the glass.
- Michael H. Cothran
ANSWER 3:
Hey Alan!! To add just a tad to what Michael said: My own preference is to always remove the glass or have the artist get it done for me before shooting. If the frame isn't all that important to the shot, have them just bring in the canvas.
When Michael says "perpendicular", I tend to say plumb, square and level to the camera. If you're not using a view camera that will allow you to correct perspectives, then you've just gotta be square to the painting or it'll look like it's falling in or out of the photo, even when it's closely cropped. Or it would appear as though something is askew.
I also like using flat white umbrellas in monolights, 1 on each side, at least 750 W/S. although I use Bowens lights at 1500 w/s each, that allows me to work at about f16-22 at ISO 100 with the 4x5 camera. I never use a polarizer for this kind of work because it causes color shifting or, worse, dark spots.
As far as looking for reflections, make sure you don't have someone wandering around behind or alongside of you while you're shooting as people tend to look "ghosted" in the glass (if you can't get rid of the glass).
One last thing that I always do is to add a color card at the top of each painting and if they're going to reproduce in b&w too, then a b&w density strip to help adjust the printing contrast for the lighting and color match the painting.
Okie dokie?
Take it light.
Mark
- Mark Feldstein
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5: Digital SLR:'s Monitor Vs. Viewfinder
Good day,
I have a Canon Rebel XT, and I just discovered that you cannot use the LCD monitor as a viewfinder for shooting. I was just curious why? I can think of a couple reasons why it would be very handy. Thanks.
- Jeff 
ANSWER 1:
Same as for all digital SLRs. The sensor that would provide an image to the LCD sits behind (a) the mirror, and (b) the shutter curtains. Olympus has recently introduced a new model that enables a live LCD preview, but it does so with the extra expense of a second sensor.
- Jon Close
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6: Using White Balance
Hi, I have a quick question concerning manually setting white balance. If you are photographing people outside on a relatively bright day but using a fill flash, what should you set your white balance to? Which of the the pre-existing settings should I use for my non-SLR camera? Thanks.
- Susan  J. Venegas
ANSWER 1:
Set it to Daylight/Sunlight. FYI: Your flash has the same color balance as mid-day sunlight.
- Michael H. Cothran
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7: Film Camera Lenses for a Digital SLR
I currently own a Nikon N90 film camera, but I might be going digital in the next little while. Can I still use the lenses I now use on my N90 on a digital SLR?
- Kevin J.L. Figueira
ANSWER 1:
Yes, Kevin, you should be able to use any of the more current lenses made for your Nikon N90 on the Nikon or Fuji DSLRs. Be aware of the so-called 'crop factor", though - because the image chip in the DSLR is smaller than the 24x36MM image area of the 35MM film format ... only the central portion of a given lens' image is captured. The factor for the Nikon DSLRs is 1.5. This means that to get a close approximation of how a lens will look on the DSLR, you multiply its focal length by 1.5.
So, your 200MM lens suddenly seems like a 300MM lens! It's like free telephoto length. (Remember that the rule of thumb about slowest hand-held shutter speed also implies that you need to use a tripod below 1/300th second).
That's the good news. The bad news is on the wide-angle side - your 24MM lens on the DSLR is going to be like using a 36MM lens on the N90.
- Bob 
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