The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, July 24, 2006
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Notice - Ansel Ad...
Q&A 2: Old, Old, Old Tin...
Q&A 3: Zoo Photography T...
Q&A 4: Photoshop Vs. Ele...
Q&A 5: Portrait Photogra...

"Charlotte's enthusiasm alone makes this a course worth taking, but with that comes a strong knowledge base, a desire to teach and meaningful critiques. Her critiques are almost 'instant messages'. Her lessons are well-thought-out and explained in great detail. Thank you, Charlotte. I look forward to other courses with you."
- student in Charlotte Lowrie's Advanced Camera Raw Creative Techniques course, which begins August 2nd!

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The Value of Working the Scene ... by Brenda Tharp
"For sports, wildlife and photojournalists, the moment is what the picture is often about," says instructor Brenda Tharp in her recent BetterBlog. "When I travel, I'm like a photojournalist, looking for the moments of daily life, those slices of action or activity that tell a story of the people, the place... Working a scene while waiting for the right moment can yield several good pictures, and if you're lucky, and watchful, you can end up with one great storytelling picture in the bunch."
Note: Brenda Tharp teaches two excellent 4-week courses: Mastering Macro Photography and Macro II: Advanced Techniques, both starting August 2nd.

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 274th issue of SnapShot!

Lots of exciting news as July winds down! First off, our Fall school schedule of 8-week classes is now up and running. On tap is a terrific new class - Better to Best Color in Digital Photography - by Outdoor Photographer editor Rob Sheppard. Next, BetterPhoto's next round of 4-Week Short Courses is coming right up ... with classes beginning on August 2nd. Finally, we have announced a special contest for the September BetterPhoto Summit. Sign up now, and start submitting your photos ... the prizes are simply awesome!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our 4-Week Online Short Courses are fast, fun, and to the point. Check out either our
August class session or our September class session. The BetterPhoto Summit is going to be an exciting weekend of learning photography, demystifying Photoshop, and just plain having fun. But sign up now and start entering the special Summit Contest ... with awesome prizes for the winners... Learn more... At, we have an awesome line of 4-week courses geared to specific digital SLR cameras. These classes are fast and fun, and to the point. Learn more...

Photo Q&A

1: Notice - Ansel Adams Exhibit
Anyone who might have the opportunity to travel to Corning, NY, in the next month might want to check out the Rockwell Museum of Western Art. They are showing a special exhibit of Ansel Adams work including his first portfolio dated 1927. These are original prints that have been safely kept in the film vault at the George Eastman house in Rochester. If you have seen reprints of his work either as posters or in books I can tell you it does little justice to the real prints done on silver gelatin. The showing will be there till early September.

Editor's Note: Thanks for the annoucement, Bob! For everyone else, here's more info on the exhibit: Ansel Adams: Celebration of Genius

- Bob Chance
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2: Old, Old, Old Tin Photos!
I was going through my grandma's photos and came across some old tin photos. I can't find anything online about how best to care for them. Right now they are wrapped in pieces of paper in a card box! Would a regular acid-free photo album work? Or should they be kept in something else? Even if it's not something in which I can flip the page and see them all, I just want them to be safe and preserved.
- Jessy Aspery
Hi Jessy,
The Melainotype Ė also ferrotype, also tintype - was introduced by Adolphe Alexandre Martin in 1853. Easy to make, they were a thin (under-exposed and under-developed) silver-based positive image affixed to a painted metal plate (not tin). Popular name is tintype because the thin metal sheets were cut to shape with tin shears.
Modern black and white negatives and prints are silver-based also. The silver image must be affixed to something and in modern materials the glue used, both print and negative, is clear unflavored gelatin. In the case of the Melainotype, the silver image is affixed to a metal plate with callondion. This resembles clear nail polish. You can buy it today - it is the clear glue in that bottle of wart removal and anti-thumb-sucking stuff you paint on a thumbnail.
First know that the Melainotype was rugged and was often made into a postcard. What can happen? The metal backing has high iron content and will rust. The black is paint. The callondion is nitrocellulose, otherwise know as gun cotton. It burns aggressively. Old cine film are made of this material and are always stored in fireproof lockers. Callondion will become brittle, and it will break down. The silver image tarnishes over time and exposure to airborne sulfur. The faded image can usually be chemically restored.
Best handle these with care. Make digital copies. You can fabricate a copy stand or use a flatbed scanner. Keep away from open flame.
Donít be afraid to handle them, as you and others will appreciate them very much.
Alan Marcus
- Alan N. Marcus
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3: Zoo Photography Tip
I just wanted to share something I learned the other day at the San Diego Zoo, even though I think a lot of you probably already know this. If you have to shoot through bars, the best way to do it is to zoom out as far as you can. That way the bars will blur and be difficult to see, provided the animal is far enough away. However, if the sun is shining on the bars, they will be so bright they could ruin the pictures anyway, so you should try to position yourself so that you are shooting through shaded bars, if there are any. Hope this helps somebody somewhere.
- Stephanie M. Stevens
If digital or a negative that's to be scanned, if light is shining on the bars, you still might be able to hide that with some levels work with Photoshop.
- Gregory La Grange
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4: Photoshop Vs. Elements: Which Is Best?
Hi! I am really new to photography and am going to buy some software. Does anyone know what is better - PS Elements 4.0 or PS 7.0? I would really appreciate your feedback!
- April A. Todd
Photoshop Elements 1.0 was a shortened version of Photoshop 5.0. About a year after its introduction, it was upgraded (PSE 2.0) without really significant changes.
PSE 3.0 was a significnt upgrade of Versions 1/2 - Version 4.0 adds some things. It's a great program for the price.
However, with Version 4.0, Adobe made changes that preclude a lot of free plug-ins. So, there is a problem. And, it doesn't include Curves, one of the two features I like in Photoshop 6.0 and 7.0.
Photoshop 5.0 was a serious upgrade of previous versions and P. 6.0 went further. P. 7.0 is an upgrade of 6.0; the major changes apparently came with P. 8 (also known a Photoshop CS). It's been upgraded to CS 2.0.
I have PSE 1.0 and 4.0, Photoshop 6.0 and 7.0 on my computer. I use features from all of these programs.
The conversion software to handle my Canon 30D Raw images works with PSE 4.0 but not P. 7.0. So, you must check out your camera and exactly what you want to do.
But, Curves and Channel Mixer aren't available in PSE 4.0 unless Richard Lynch has added to his collection. These are great tools that I use often.
After all is said and done, unless you're really into graphics and/or have all kinds of money to spend, it'll be hard to justify more cost than PSE 4.0.
- John Sandstedt
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5: Portrait Photography in Apartment
I have been acquiring the right equipment within the past two years to shoot portraits in my own apartment. Do I need a special license to shoot portraits of people? Like headshots?
- Michael  L. Schraeder
In short... Nope. :) Long answer... there are things you will need to have once you get the ball rolling. First, you'll need to talk to your County Clerk's office and find out what sort of business things you need (tax ID, etc.) and whether your city permits that type of business in a residential area (and all that stuff).
Another thing to think about is insurance... 1) for your equipment, and 2) in case someone trips on a chord and hurts themself, etc.
But to actually take portraits (the fun part!), you don't need anything but a camera and whatever equipment you like.
- Erin Tyler
Greetings, Erin. THAT was an excellent answer to Mike's question. Very well put. And congratulations on being one of the few photographers here who is aware of liability insurance and the issues we hate to think about.
Now, if I may briefly supplement your response: I hate to put a damper on your plans, Mike, and what you're proposing is done all the time, but the liability issues that Erin mentioned, among others, and the legal issues of running a business from a residential apartment, are truly problematic these days. As soon as you apply for a business license, the city will likely have the building inspector, fire department, etc., stopping by to determine whether your "facility" is suitable for the business you intend to use it for, including ingress, egress, handicapped access, fire sprinkler, handicap rails in the restroom, ad infinitum. Your license fees really buy quite a lot in terms of public protection from you, as a guy just trying to turn a profit. As soon as you'd run an ad in the paper, you'd likely get a call or visit from some city person about licensing or permits. That seems to be more common in major metropolitan areas like San Francisco, L.A., or Chicago.
Remember, too, that you don't need to file for a fictitious business name if you're doing business under your own name like Michael Smith Photography. That helps keep you off the bureacratic radar scopes.
BUT, if you're, say, just charging expenses, or not charging at all and you're just having some "acquaintances" stopping by for a beer or coffee and a portrait... then you're NOT engaging in a business of commercial enterprise and you don't need a license. Get the picture?
Here's a suggestion, though: Either shoot portraits on location - in a park, for example - or find a photographer with a studio who would be willing to rent you space on a daily or hourly basis. Whaddya think?
Take it light.
- Mark Feldstein
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