The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, October 23, 2006
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Moving Subjects I...
Q&A 2: Which Macro Lens ...
Q&A 3: Working with a Co...
Q&A 4: Sports Photograph...
Q&A 5: Making Prints fro...
Q&A 6: Permission to Sho...

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- student in Paul Gero's 4-week Using Your Canon Strobe Creatively course, which begins Nov. 1st.

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Why Shoot Digital? Richard Lynch Offers His Thoughts
There are two main parts to the digital advantage in photography: shooting and post-processing the shots.
1) In shooting images, you don't have to worry about film expense. Keep your bag full of rechargeable batteries and memory cards (or a portable, battery-operated drive like a Wolvarine, and shoot a LOT of images. Think you've got it right? Shoot one more. Analog photography made most hobbyists feel bad about wasting film, but with digital you can learn more, more quickly and immediately (on your LCD) by taking a lot of shots. This gives you the opportunity to experiment and shoot images you might never have taken the chance on with film.
2) Post-processing offers opportunity in the digital darkroom that are much improved over analog film processing. You don't have to deal with chemicals, and if you have a laptop, you can carry your photo lab with you anywhere and use it without a darkroom light. While digital comes with a level of complexity of its own, and upfront cost (programs and equipment), the tools offered by digital processing opportunities (i.e., Photoshop and Photoshop Elements) far surpass the accuracy and control you have with an enlarger in an analog darkroom. Once you understand the basics, establish a digital workflow (standardized camera-to-print procedure), and learn to work with the best, most powerful tools (like Layers), there is virtually nothing getting in the way of achieving a unique vision with digital photography.

Editor's Note: Richard Lynch's three excellent courses - Photoshop 101, Photoshop Workflow; and Leveraging Layers - will help you wherever you are in learning the digital process.

Featured Gallery
Cape May Lighthouse Window
© - Don C. Johnson

Welcome to the 287th issue of SnapShot!

What an exciting month here at! But there are many awesome things to come. For instance, check out our November 4-week courses and December 4-week classes. Plus, BetterPhoto's Winter 8-week school session has just been posted ... Are you receiving BetterPhoto's free daily dose of creativity? If not, be sure to subscribe to Photo of the Day... Lastly, tune in to BetterPhoto Radio, where you can either sit back and listen, or call in and ask a question... That's it for now. Enjoy this issue of SnapShot, and enjoy your week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Want to receive critiques from a pro? At BetterPhoto, we offer two exciting options. Learn more... BetterPhoto Founder Jim Miotke will present a free talk on digital photography this Thursday (Oct. 26th) in Cupertino, Calif. Check out the Where Is Jim? calendar for details! BetterPhoto Radio is now on the air ... each Friday on the Internet. Best, yet, BP members are invited to join in on the fun! To take part or to just listen...

Photo Q&A

1: Moving Subjects Indoors and in Low Light
I have been hired to shoot a horse show - a Dressage Show. The promoter does not want bright flashes going off distracting horse or rider, and furthermore, the arena is enclosed - 26,000 sq feet. Yikes!!! My problem is the shutter speed is too slow and the pictures have ghosting of horse’s hooves and rider motion. Any thoughts will be much appreciated. I'm shooting with Canon D20 with a quick 70mm-200mm f2.8. Thanks!
- Michael N. Knapp
(a) higher ISO
(b) faster lens, such as EF 100 f/2 USM or EF 135 f/2L USM
- Jon Close
P.S. If the horse and rider are lit by a bright spotlight, use Partial metering on them. Evaluative and Centerweighted may tend to overexpose (too slow a shutter speed) due to a darker background.
- Jon Close
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2: Which Macro Lens Should I Buy?
Please could someone advise me on the best macro to use for photos of flowers and small things in nature? Is "longer" better?
- Vickie Burt
Without knowing your camera brand it's difficult to recommend specific lenses.
For close-ups in nature, anything in the 100mm to 200mm range will afford a decent working distance for skittish insects and other small critters.
Longer lenses will also work well for flowers but I've always relied upon my trusty 55mm macro for these.
Remember to check the specs on any macro lens you are considering. Choose a high-quality model from a reputable manufacturer that will close-focus down to 1:1 lifesize...(or at least 1:2).
There are, of course, less-costly alternatives, like extension tubes and those close-up filters that screw onto the front of your lens. (I've used tubes quite often but have never cared for the image quality of those screw-on close-up filters.)
You can also consider a bellows-type assembly for some really cool super close-ups. These are like an adjustable black "accordian" attached to a focusing rail. The entire assembly attaches to a tripod (essential), and allows the lens to be extended up to 160mm or more from the camera for greater than lifesize reproduction.

Editor's Note: Nature photographer Brenda Tharp teaches two 4-week courses - Mastering Macro Photography and Macro II: Advanced Techniques - that get under way on November 1st.

- Bob Cammarata
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3: Working with a Commercial Lab
When I get my pictures back from the store, it's like they cropped them down a little ... as if they were re-sized from the original upload. Is there any way to avoid that? For example, if I upload a picture of a full-size hand, when I get the picture back, the fingertips will be missing.
Hi Raul,
Most labs currently print on conventional color paper, as the cost of materials are superior as compared to a digital solution. Images are projected onto light sensitive paper which is then chemically developed. Cost of materials is about 5 or 6 cents per 4x6 prints for a mass merchandiser. Mom and pop labs pay more.
Film is projected onto this paper using a fixed or zoom lens. Digital images are also projected. The digital projection can be a laser source or fibber optic array or virtual negative formed via a liquid crystal display (LCD) or cathode ray tube (CRT) and other methods also in use.

In every case the projected image must be a slight enlargement. A two percent overspill is the standard. Sloppy labs might have slightly more enlargement. The projected image can be made smaller (nearer to unity with the print size), however, a black line is likely to form at one or more of the print edges. This is due to the fact that all printing must be produced at high speed or else the margin of profit will suffer. Paper waste due to under projection can’t be tolerated.
You gain as consequences of high-speed production as the price of photofinishing has been reduced or remains the same since 1955 when color printing at a local lab was first introduced. Back then it was $1.00 to develop the film and 30¢ per print. Remarkable when you consider that material costs are now lower - so too is labor costs due to machine automation. The average per print charge is 18 cents.
You should know that most modern printers now utilize a zoom projection lens. It is possible to cause this projection to be at unity with the paper size. If you become friendly with your local lab they could accommodate. Most likely to accommodate special handling meaning extra charge is justified. Now in 2006, the profit margin of a one-hour lab is in the toilet, and the mom and pop lab will soon be a rarity. The mass merchandise photo lab is a lost leader to keep the customer in the store longer.
Home printing using future digital devices will wipe out this merchandising channel inshort order.
Alan Marcus

- Alan N. Marcus
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4: Sports Photography at Night
What is the best way to take sports pictures at night (i.e., Friday night football games)? I use these photos to make up to 18"x24" posters. I have a Canon EOS Rebel digital camera with a Quantaray 70-300m auto focus lens and Carrot 660T flash.
- Mike Tassinari
Mike, odds are that you will not be able to get poster-sizeable shots using the equipment you mention. Your lens is not very fast - no doubt, the typical f5.6 at the 300MM end. To freeze motion, you'll need to use a high shutter speed. Given the relatively slow lens and the need for a fast shutter, the only options are to put more light on the subject and/or raise the sensitivity (ISO).
Not sure about a "Carrot" flash, but unless it's a multi-head strobe with a 20-pound power pack, it's highly unlikely that it will put out enough light to make much difference, uness you take a shot of a player within 10-20 feet of you. And, of course, a high ISO leads to high noise leads to less than optimal image quality (unless you're going for that in an artistic manner).
So, to answer directly, one approach is to set the camera to aperture preferred mode and the ISO to 800 or more (whatever you can stand) and see how fast a shutter speed you can get. The potential problem here is that the camera's meter may be fooled if you take a shot where a distant spotlight is in the background - the camera may attempt to "balance" the exposure and give you a higher shutter speed, but your subject will become a silhouette.
That's why the second approach may be better - take some meter readings on the field (without bright lighting appearing in the background) to find out what the appropriate shutter would be at the maximal aperture, and then set the camera to manual mode and just leave it at those settings. That way, even if you get a klieg light in the corner it won't "throw off" the meter and ruin the shot.
As for that flash, unless you're going to be shooting within 15ish feet, I don't think it will be of any help at all.
- Bob 
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5: Making Prints from Slides
Is it possible to make a quality print from a slide? I asked the folks at Wolf Photo and was told that they did not get good results. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.
- Daniel G. King
In short, it depends what you're willing to pay. Slide film is inherently contrasty, and the conventional printing process (positive to positive) adds further to the contrast. If you are just looking for cheap 4x6 prints, then Wolf is correct. Even if they were to make copy negs for you, they would still be very contrasty. For small prints, you'd be better off having inexpensive scans made of each slide, and then have Wolf print your 4x6's or whatever from these scans.
If, on the other hand, you are considering larger, "fine art" prints from slides, then you can get beautiful results by having a quality scan produced from your slide (minimum 4000 ppi), and then have a commerical lab make a laser-light print for you onto Fuji Crystal Archive paper. The quality is superb (providing you have a quality slide to begin with).
- Michael H. Cothran
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6: Permission to Shoot Private Home?
Recently, while on vacation, I took a shot of our new truck; however, in the background is a private home. Can I use this photo for anything other than personal use without permission of the homeowner?
- Carole Loiselle
First of all (and without seeing it), while it may be a great pic of your truck, its market value is likely diminished by the house in the background, assuming the house is recognizable. So the answer to your question is "No, you shouldn't use it without the homeowners permission".
In addition, to properly sell the photo, you need to get a release from the media/marketing rep at the truck manufacturer. Yes, even if it's your truck. There are two reasons for this:
First, selling photos of their vehicles isn't something contemplated by the average truck sales contract. and they could make a strong argument that you're being "unjustly enriched" by doing that. Second, the manufacturer has a proprietary ownership interest in determining how their image is presented to the public and used, whether for profit or not.
Now, chances are you'd get a release signed by the manufacturer before you get one from the homeowner, but in the case of the truck company, you're going to have to be fairly specific about the use of the photo and whether you intend to modify it at all. In fact, Carole, most corporations want to see an accurate representation of the finished work before they'll sign a release. This is the way it tends to be in the world of commercial photography.
Okie dokie?
- Mark Feldstein
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