The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, August 14, 2006
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Model Releases fo...
Q&A 2: Care About Your E...
Q&A 3: Making a Photo Se...
Q&A 4: Dodge and Burn in...
Q&A 5: Difference in Col...

"Thank you so much for your insightful critiques during this class! I looked forward to your comments each week and seeing my photos through your well-trained eyes. I learned A LOT and thoroughly enjoyed the class. I now feel much more comfortable using my new Rebel and am better able to capture the images I want." - student in Learning the Canon Digital Rebel Camera by Charlotte Lowrie, who also teaches Advanced Camera Raw Creative Techniques.

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Shooting at Twilight ... by Jim Zuckerman
"In my Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography course at BetterPhoto," says instructor Jim Zuckerman in a recent BetterBlog, "one of the lessons is devoted to shooting at twilight. This is the most beautiful time of day to photograph cities and architecture... Obviously, the light level is very low at twilight, and many students increase their ISO to 1600 or so and hand-hold their shots. This is not the right approach. With the higher ISO rating, the quality of the image suffers... If you are going to shoot at twilight, do it right. Use a tripod. It seems to me that there‘s no sense in spending a lot of money on good camera equipment, expensive computer hardware and software, and photo instruction if you’re not going to take the time to get high-quality, sharp pictures."
Learn more about Jim Zuckerman and his classes...

Featured Gallery
© - Karen  Harrison

Welcome to the 277th issue of SnapShot!

Only a month until the Second Annual BetterPhoto Summit and the excitement is building! Much of the attention involves the Summit Contest and Grand Prize: a free trip to the Summit (Sept. 16th and 17th near Seattle) that includes free admission, airfare up to $500, and two nights at the Redmond Marriott during the Summit. Check out the Summit details... We are also excited to welcome another instructor to Team BetterPhoto: photographer and author Jenni Bidner. Jenni is offering two great course options, according to the camera you use: Photographing Your Dog with Any Camera or Photographing Your Dog with an SLR Camera. And speaking of classes, we are now offering a most unique course by Matt Bamberg: Photo Restoration, which will show you how to restore and preserve digitally those intriguing throwbacks to other days. Both Jenni's and Matt's 4-week courses get under way September 6th. In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss John Siskin's excellent article and Jim Zuckerman's This Week's Tip.

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Pro photographer and instructor John Siskin gives a great rundown of the exposure basics in his new article. Read it here... John, by the way, teaches three excellent courses here at BetterPhoto: Understanding Professional Lighting, Professional Framing, and Product Photography. The BetterPhoto Summit is going to be an exciting weekend of learning photography, demystifying Photoshop, and just plain having fun. It takes place September 16th and 17th near Seattle, WA. Sign up now and start entering the special Summit Contest, which offers so many fantastic prizes. Learn more... BetterPhoto's Fall online school promises to be the best ever, with dozens of fantastic 8-week classes (which begin October 4th) and also 4-week courses (starting September 6th) . See our school schedule... Looking for the right course? Then try out our brand-new Course Calculator.

Photo Q&A

1: Model Releases for War Re-enactments?
Just wondering, as I'm planning to go to one this weekend. What do you do about those instances? Curious.
- Jessica  A. Eiss
OK, here's the rule: If you publish a photograph of someone, whether you publish it electronically, in print, or put the image on display in a public/private place other than a home, AND if the person in the photograph is recognizable, you need a release signed by an adult or an adult guardian on behalf of a kid less than 18 years of age.
There are a few exceptions to the rule, and among them is the news exception wherein a court of competent jurisdiction determines the public had a right to know or see the images because they were newsworthy.
Battlefield re-creations are certainly NOT real battles or wars. Yes, you need a release which is merely your first line of defense in the event you get sued for publishing or selling without the identificable subject's permission.
There is also no exception wherein the subject is a prominent individual or public figure, and NO EXCEPTION granted merely because someone happens to be outdoors in public.
How to handle it? Get the individuals to sign or a blanket release from the promoter on behalf of the actors (which, depending on where you live, may not be binding unless they've had notice and an opportunity to opt out of the deal).
Okie dokie?
- Mark Feldstein
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2: Care About Your Equipment?
I was at a Renaissance Fair yesterday and couldn't believe the people with expensive camera equipment hung over their shoulders and no lens caps on while walking through the crowd. Is this what everyone does? My lens cap goes back on the second I'm done. Maybe it's just me.
- Darren J. Gilcher
Keep doing that. No matter what kind of camera you have, it's only as good as the lens. Dust and scraches will not help a photo !
- Everett Forester
My equipment stays packed away until I'm ready to shoot. On rare occasions, I'll sling a camera body with one of my favorite lenses over my shoulder on a strap if conditions warrant rapid deployment. Even then, the cap stays on and I instinctively cup my hand over the front of the lens when walking through thickets or heavy brush. It pays to be careful... Good glass doesn't come cheap.
- Bob Cammarata
My Sigma lenses came with rigid lens hoods. They do a good job of protecting the front element from bumps and I use them all the time, even when shooting indoors. But since the hoods are rather deep, it's very difficult to get the lens cap on or off with my short stubby fingers when the hood is in place. So when I take my camera out of the bag (or switch lenses), the cap goes in the bag, and the hood goes in place and stays that way until I put the camera or lens away. And I don't use any cheap glass filters to protect my lenses.
Chris A. Vedros
- Chris A. Vedros
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3: Making a Photo Semi-Transparent
How do I make a photo semi-transparent so I can overlay it on another photo and be able to see through the top layer a little bit?
- Linda Spatuzzi
In most programs, there is an Opacity control for each layer. In Photohop, it's on the right side where both pictures show up. You can adjust the control there ... by whatever percent you need.
- Vicki Day
Great - that works! Now, how do I soften or blur the edges of the overlay so that hard edges don't show?
- Linda Spatuzzi
Under filters, go to blur, then gaussian blur the top layer. Take the erase tool and choose the blurred brush, and how much opacity you want the brush, and remove the area you want to remain sharp. The rest will remain blurred or soften, depending on how much blur you did. Glad to help!
- Vicki Day
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4: Dodge and Burn in Photoshop
Hey all,
I have been experimenting with Photoshop and I've discovered what seems to be a god-send: the dodge and burn tools. I've tried it with darkening up a sky, but am having a little problem with getting it even ... it tends to get a bit patchy. I'm wondering if anyone has any tips/tricks to getting even coverage using these tools. Thanks in advance!
- Ben F
The dodging and burning tools are best for small, local areas. For large expanses, such as a sky, introduce yourself to the gradient tool.
- Michael H. Cothran
An alternative is to use the overlay method of dodging and burning, because it's reversible and more controllable - less patchy. Add a new layer, set the blend mode to "overlay" and fill with 50% gray (from the edit drop down menu). Then paint with a low opacity brush on the overlay layer. White dodges and black burns. Not quite the same as you can't easily work on just the highlights, shadows or midtones, but it is often quicker and is great for larger areas where you want to be consistent.
- Jane  M
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5: Difference in Colors: Monitor Vs. Prints
I'm hoping you can help. I have a Digital Rebel SLR 300D. I also have Photoshop CS2 and others. My main problem is that the pictures look great on my monitor with colors, etc., yet when I print them, they don't look the same. Any suggestions? Thanks!
- Marirosa Anderson
Marirosa, I had the same problem until I calibrated my monitor. I use Spyder 2 from Colorvision with great success. I have my printing done by a professional lab. I was getting images that were too dark. Once I calibrated, the images are pretty much dead-on with what I see on the monitor.
- John R. Rhodes
John's advice is spot on, Marirosa. I'd only add that this is the way to go if you print at home, too, and good photo-quality printers will have controls and settings to help match their output to your monitor, so check the manual or the company Web site.
- David A. Rich
John and David are absolutely correct. One more consideration... paper. Different papers produce different results. After months of trying different papers, I have come up with one that produces the best results with my printer... Cannon I9900. It is a pain, but well worth the trouble. Good luck. Cheers, Glenn.
- Glenn Urquhart
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