The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, August 28, 2006
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Release Forms for...
Q&A 2: What's This W...
Q&A 3: Get Good Prints f...
Q&A 4: Property Release ...
Q&A 5: Will Filters Fit ...

"I just wanted to say that just these 2 weeks have helped to open my eyes to so much more of my world. If the course ended today, the tuition would be worth it." - student in Matthew Bamberg's Digital Art Photography course. Matt, by the way, is teaching a new 4-week class - Photo Restoration - that gets under way September 6th.

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Photoshop Tip: Using the Right Layer ... by Richard Lynch
Whatever layer you have highlighted in the layers palette is the one that will be affected by changes you make to your images. Always have the layer palette in view, and be aware of which layer is active (highlighted). When a correction doesn't happen as you expect it to, check to see first that the right layer is active. If it is not, undo the change (you don't know where it went!) and click on the thumbnail for the layer you are trying to target in the layers palette before trying the change again. If the change still doesn't work, check your tool options (for example, Healing or Clone Stamp have a Sample All Layers option which should be on if you are using them on a blank layer). Controlling your layers will help you control your images and adjustments.
Editor's Note: For more tips about using layers to their utmost, see Richard Lynch's online course: Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 279th issue of SnapShot!

Attend the BetterPhoto Summit Photography Weekend and come away filled with new insights and inspiration! This weekend of photo fun is coming up September 16th & 17th near Seattle, WA, and time is running out for the Early Enrollment Price of $369. After August 31st, the price goes up. Learn more about the Summit... and see all of the great places to visit and photograph in Washington state. Also coming up next month is BetterPhoto's next round of awesome four-week short courses. Our new class session begins September 6th and includes several excellent new courses: Ellen Anon's Four Fundamental Photoshop Techniques; Jay Kinghorn's Digital Fundamentals; and Matt Bamberg's Photo Restoration.

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

At the BetterPhoto Summit Photography Weekend, you'll learn to compose better images, have Photoshop de-mystified, and come away filled with new insights and inspiration. But sign up soon ... the price goes up on September 1st. Also... If you have taken two or more courses at BetterPhoto, you immediately qualify for 20% off. If you've taken 10 classes, you get in for free! Learn more... Then try out our brand-new Course Calculator, which will help you choose the online class that best meets your needs! Upcoming sessions include 4-week courses that start Sept. 6th and 8-week courses that begin Oct. 4th. BetterPhoto's September school session is our best ever. Classes begin Sept. 6th. Too soon? See our October schedule.

Photo Q&A

1: Release Forms for Non-Profit Events
I have been asked to be the photographer for a not-for-profit organization. I will be taking pictures at the events they hold, which will be at different locations with hundreds of people. I will more than likely post these pics on my site or on their site. Do I need release forms? If I post the pics on my site or on the site of the organization do I need the consent of the people that I photograph? I will be taking candid shots. Any insight would be much appreciated.
- Rosie Fodera
What you need to publish the photos, electronically or in print, is called an "implied release". To accomplish that, the event sponsor must post signs at the public entries to the events that state "Your entry to this event constitutes implied consent to be photographed and to have those photos published." A letter to you from the non-profit group stating that the signs were posted should cover you. And... ideally, taking a photograph of the signage as people go through the entrance will be useful for you too.
This is the way concert promoters handle the issue and, btw, profit status of the organization has nothing to do with the release laws. Just thought I'd mention it.
Take it light.
- Mark Feldstein
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2: What's This Word??
I just bought a l-series lens. What does PRIME mean? I forgot my studies on my glossary! lol
- Estella Aguilar
A "prime" is a lens with a single focal length. It can't change like zoom lenses do. That's the common use of the word.
- Gregory La Grange
Yeah, so instead of the lens being a 17-55mm, for example, it would be a single number - eg 100mm f2.8. Primes are killa, BTW!!
- Ben F
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3: Get Good Prints from Telephoto Shots
My telephoto shots look good on the computer but do not enlarge well for printing. I am using a Panasonic DMC-FZ2 with a 12x optical zoon. Is there some adjustment I should make in the settings?
- Kristina  Simms
So your wide-angle shots are sharp and your zoom photos are blurry? When using a long zoom lens, our normal movement "camera shake" is exaggerated by the long zoom causing blurry pictures. The remedy is to:
1) Choose a faster shutter speed. The rule of thumb is to use a shutter speed that is as fast as your lens is long (in mm-listed on your lens barrel). So, for a 300mm lens, you'll want a shutter speed 1/320th of a second or faster.
2) Use a tripod, monopod or brace yourself against a wall, car rock or tree. This will minimize the movement of the camera while you take your picture.
Best of luck!

Editor's Note: Jay Kinghorn is a new instructor at and has an awesome 4-week class that begins September 6th: Digital Fundamentals

- Jay Kinghorn

See Jay Kinghorn's Premium Gallery:

Take an Online Photo Course with Jay Kinghorn:
4-Week Short Course: Digital Fundamentals
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4: Property Release for Company Photos
I've been asked to take photos of my company's design center which has some displays in it with names like Armstrong, Shaw, etc. What is your recommendation on property releases from these companies? Thanks in advance!
- Todd Bennett
Depends on a couple of things. First, the usage of the photos. For in-house stuff, I wouldn't bother with a release.
For promotional materials, anything published and offered to the public - say, brochures, ads, Internet pages, business cards, etc. - then you need to look to the marketing agreements your company has with Armstrong, Shaw, etc. Most of those agreements have specific language that allows the dealers/rep, etc., to use images (either supplied by the manufacturer or created by the dealer) of the products along with various corporate logos in advertising/promotional materials for the individual company. So, you need to ask your company management about the extent of their authorization.
For example, if I shoot a job for Union Pacific Railroad Corp. for advertising and the photo depicts a General Electric diesel locomotive, their purchase agreement with GE allows UPRR the rights to photograph the engine for marketing purposes so long as it doesn't depict GE in an unfavorable manner.
And... if your managers don't know, they should contact the manufacturer directly to get authorization to do so... or you could always block the names on the displays. The whole reason for all this whooooo haaaaa is that corporations have a proprietary interest in their products and logos, and therefore are entitled to control how the images of them are used.
Okie dokie? Take it light.
- Mark Feldstein
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5: Will Filters Fit My Lenses?
When I am looking at different filters online, they usually have a mm number by them - like 77mm, 31mm, or something of that sort. Does this mean that the filter I am interested in buying might not match up with the lens I want to use it with? Or are they all universal sizes? Could someone explain to me how to find out what filters will fit over my lens?
- Keith J. Kosmal
On or near the front of your lens will the Ř symbol next to numbers like you've described. This gives the diameter of the screw threads on the front of the lens, given in millimeters (mm). Filters are sized to fit these. For example, if your lens has "Ř55mm", then you need to buy 55mm filters.
- Jon Close
You can also buy individual resin filters that fit a specific holder. The holder, in turn, mounts to various sized lenses with the correct size mounting ring. Hitech, Lee, Cokin, Calumet, Sailwind, all make these rigs which, IMHO, work quite well and prevent you from buying and accumulating lots of filters of various sizes to work on different size lenses.
Also, if your current lens is, say, 55mm diameter, remember that if you buy a larger filter - e.g., 75mm - you can get adapter rings to step it down to the smaller filter size, but you can't get a smaller filter to fit a larger lens. This is one of the major advantages to the resins I mentioned. Kind of a one size tends to fit most lenses with the proper size mounting ring.

Take it light.

- Mark Feldstein
Welcome to BetterPhoto, Keith!
The mm number for a lens filter does indeed have to match the mm diameter number of the lens (not to be confused with zoom). Jon already said how to find the diameter of your lens thread.
Now, not all lenses are threaded. If it looks like you can screw something in front of your lens, it's threaded. Otherwise, either you can't buy filters or you need to buy an adapter from the camera manufacturer. Contact the company your camera is from and you can ask them about getting filters for your specific camera.
ScrattyPhotography Blog
- Ariel Lepor
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