The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, February 05, 2007
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: The New Adobe Lig...
Q&A 2: Shadows from Flas...
Q&A 3: CS2 Vs. Plug-ins ...
Q&A 4: Film Speed When S...
Q&A 5: Best Watt Size fo...
Q&A 6: Sigma 150 Macro v...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"What a great class this was! Jenni's lessons and assignments were well-written, organized, and FUN! Each lesson had a wealth of information and tips. Her critiques were supportive and inspirational." -student in Jenni Bidner's Photographing Your Dog with an SLR Camera course



NEW CLASS: RIGHT-BRAIN PHOTOSHOP
Learn Photoshop techniques to unlock the digital photography artist in you. Al Ward's new online course begins Wednesday, Feb. 7th. Learn more...


ONLINE CLASS: DIGITAL SLIDE SHOWS
Learn to create professional-quality presentations regardless of your current skills. Jon Canfield's 4-week class begins this week! Learn more...
ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS IN SNAPSHOT
Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 62826 serious photographers.
Learn More...

THIS WEEK'S TIP
Instructors Share Insights at BetterBlogs
Don't miss the excellent tips and thoughts being shared by BetterPhoto instructors. Recent ones have covered Photoshop and photographic composition by Jim Zuckerman and Brenda Tharp. You'll want to check out the archives too. Read BetterBlogs...


   
Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 302nd issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

So many exciting things are happening at BetterPhoto! First, our February 4-week courses get under way on Wednesday, February 7th. Check out our online school schedule... Second, we are thrilled to welcome pro photographer Al Ward, author of the Photoshop for Right Brainers books. His wonderful new class - Right-Brain Photoshop: Merging, Melding and Morphing - begins this week. ... Also, in this issue of SnapShot, don't miss John Siskin's article on portrait backgrounds, This Week's Photo Tip, and a fine collection of questions and answers. ... That's it for now. Enjoy a fine week of creative photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

With the addition of new instructors and classes, BetterPhoto's incredible online photography school is better than ever. See the February schedule... or our entire school listings... Backgrounds can help tell the story of the person being photographed, points out John Siskin in his BetterPhoto article that's filled with tips, techniques and insights. John, by the way, teaches several awesome online courses at BP, including Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio. Bruce Smith is a top-level fashion photographer who not only teaches a terrific Fashion & Beauty online class right here at BetterPhoto, but he also runs a series of photography master classes around the world throughout the year. See Bruce's workshop schedule...

Photo Q&A

1: The New Adobe Lightroom
Has anybody used the new Adobe Lightroom software, and does it make it possible to open a "batch" of Raw files? Or do you still have to open them one at a time?
- Carla Freitas
ANSWER 1:
Carla -
You can work on batches of files. Rather than opening a new dialog box like Adobe Camera Raw does, you select the images you want to modify and then make your adjustments to the first one. When ready, click the Sync button at the bottom of the Develop panel and you can syncronize some or all of the settings. I've attached a screen shot of the sync options for you. Hope this helps!
Jon
- Jon Canfield

See Jon Canfield's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=115340

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Jon Canfield:
4-Week Short Course: Better Color for Great-Looking Prints
4-Week Short Course: Digital Slide Shows
4-Week Short Course: Camera Raw Processing
4-Week Short Course: Digital Slide Shows
Macro Photography: An In-Depth Look at Close-up Subjects See Sample Photo - Lightroom syncronize options


Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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2: Shadows from Flash
I heard that certain backdrops will mitigate flash shadows. Is that possible? I am about to take some organization photos in a very dark and dreary place, and last year I almost got away with it by using a flash high off-camera. I'm a rank amateur and would like to do better. Thanks.
- Jay Buinauskas
ANSWER 1:
Hi Jay,
A dark background will be less annoying if you do have shadows. A black background won’t have shadows, but I don’t think it is as flattering as a dark background. I think you are on the right track by taking the strobe off-camera and bringing it above your subjects. You could do a lot better with a bigger strobe and an umbrella, but that is a significant investment. You might want to look at my article on backgrounds at http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=176.
Thanks,
John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=158091

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
4-Week Short Course: Framing and Mounting Your Photographs
4-Week Short Course: Introduction to Product Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio
Understanding Professional Lighting
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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3: CS2 Vs. Plug-ins for Upscaling
Are there any plug-ins that do a better job that Photoshop CS2's Bicubic Smoother algorithm?
- Matthew Weitz
ANSWER 1:
I use Photoshop and the Bicubic option unless I'm going really large. By really large, I mean more than 4x the size of the original image. Then, I'll use either GF or Alien Skin Blow-up.
Jon
- Jon Canfield

See Jon Canfield's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=115340

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Jon Canfield:
4-Week Short Course: Better Color for Great-Looking Prints
4-Week Short Course: Digital Slide Shows
4-Week Short Course: Camera Raw Processing
4-Week Short Course: Digital Slide Shows
Macro Photography: An In-Depth Look at Close-up Subjects
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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4: Film Speed When Shooting in Horse Arena
What would the best or at least better film speed be for shooting indoor with natural light and mild action? Specifically equine movement?
- Patrick 
ANSWER 1:
If you are shooting in a show ring, there is probably more light than you think. A film with an ISO of 800 should do a good job for you. If you are shooting in less bright circumstances, get as much film speed as you can find. Don’t forget to keep the camera stable. You wouldn’t want camera movement increasing the problems with horse movements.
Thanks,
John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=158091

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
4-Week Short Course: Framing and Mounting Your Photographs
4-Week Short Course: Introduction to Product Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio
Understanding Professional Lighting
ANSWER 2:
Thank you. Would this film speed also work for enlargements?
- Patrick 
ANSWER 3:
Fuji makes a nice ISO 800 film. I think the code is NHG that will enlarge well enough to 8X10. I wouldn't count on any 16X20 prints from 35mm negatives. Very high-speed film will not enlarge terribly well.
Thanks, John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=158091

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
4-Week Short Course: Framing and Mounting Your Photographs
4-Week Short Course: Introduction to Product Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio
Understanding Professional Lighting
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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5: Best Watt Size for Studio Mono Flash?
I'm finally going flash! Considering Elinchrom D-Lite 4 Compact Monolight Flash Kit. What's the best all mono flash size? 200 watt or 400 watt, or bigger?
- James Jones
ANSWER 1:
Hi James,
Congratulations ... now you’ll be making pictures, not taking pictures!
Just to clarify: Watts and watt-seconds aren’t the same thing. Watts are good for light bulbs and watt-seconds measure strobe, which is what I think you’re getting.
I normally recommend 2 strobes of at least 500 watt-seconds and a third of about half that. Of course, they could all be bigger, say 750 or even a 1000 watt-seconds. I like big units because I use a lot of diffusion in controlling my light. I may start with a lot of watt seconds, but there are not so many after I filter, reflect and diffuse the light.
You may want some light panels. I have about 5 of these, very handy. You can build them yourself, check out: http://www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=156. You may also want to look at the cheap ($30) radio slaves on EBay. These are for syncing your camera with strobes.
Good luck with strobes!
John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=158091

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
4-Week Short Course: Framing and Mounting Your Photographs
4-Week Short Course: Introduction to Product Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio
Understanding Professional Lighting
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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6: Sigma 150 Macro vs. Sigma 180 Macro
I currently shoot with Canon EOS 20 D and Canon EOS 5D. Id am considering obtaining a macro lens - either the Sigma 150/F2.8 or the Sigma 180/F3.5. From best I can determine, the 180 is a slightly higher grade but with a higher 3.5 F/stop. I was concerned about the higher 3.5 F/stop. I realize the 150mm is about $200 more but that is not a primary factor. Any advice regarding these two lenses, or other macro lenses, would be appreciated.
- Emile Abbott
ANSWER 1:
The real advantage of the Sigma and the reason for its higher price is the faster maximum aperture. If you are typically shooting under good lighting conditions, this will not be a huge advantage. Since with macro, you will often be shooting at moderate to small apertures, that is not often a big consideration.
If, however, you are going to use the lens for other types of shooting - particularly available light when light levels are low - you should seriously consider the Sigma.
From what I've read, both of these lenses are considered excellent performers, so it really comes down to the maximum aperture and your personal preference over look and feel.
- Ibarionex R. Perello

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http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=170812

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Ibarionex Perello:
4-Week Short Course: Available Light Portraiture
4-Week Short Course: Posing and Portraiture Techniques
DSLR Features: When, Why and How to Use Them
ANSWER 2:
My understanding of macro lenses (I have the Sigma EX 100mm macro) is that the longer the length the farther you can be from the subject to achieve a 1:1 lifesize. When it comes to a macro lense I find that with an aperture as large as 2.5 and the fact you are so close to the object that the depth of field is so narrow that I never end up using it at this setting.
- Suzanne Colson
ANSWER 3:
Ditto Susan's comments. While the 180's maximum aperture of f/3.5 is two-thirds of a stop slower than the 150's f/2.8, the only practical difference is a somewhat dimmer viewfinder. Macro shots are usually taken at much smaller aperture of f/8-f/32.
Most camera/lens makers offer macro lenses in ~50mm, ~100mm, and ~180mm, with 1:1 working distances of ~5", ~8", and ~11", respectively. Sigma offers these traditional focal-length macros, but in recent years has introduced intermediate lengths like the 150mm and 70mm to split the difference. The 150mm is a great solution for someone who wants greater working distance than the ~100mm gives, but can't justify the greater expense of a 180mm.
- Jon Close
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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