The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, March 05, 2007
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Lens Choice: Zoom...
Q&A 2: How to Shoot Silv...
Q&A 3: Help! Frustrated ...
Q&A 4: Universities and ...
Q&A 5: How to Shoot Anim...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"Charlotte’s lessons were packed full of information, she answered questions quickly and provided invaluable critiques. I would recommend BetterPhoto.com and especially Charlotte Lowrie to anybody!" - student in Raw Shooting: From Capture to Finished Photo (geared to Photoshop CS2). Instructor Charlotte Lowrie also has an excellent new class for Elements users: Raw Shooting Capture to Finished Photo with Adobe Elements. Both 4-week online classes begin March 7th.





RAW WORKFLOW FOR DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHERS!
Learn tips and techniques to help you define and streamline your workflow in Raw Workflow for Digital Photographers. This 4-week class with Paul Gero begins March 7th.


BETTER COLOR FOR EYE-CATCHING PRINTS!
Start producing photos that look as great when printed as they do on screen - in Better Color for Great-Looking Prints. This 4-week class with Jon Canfield begins March 7th.


ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS IN SNAPSHOT
Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 63841 serious photographers.
Learn More...

THIS WEEK'S TIP
In Praise of Garbage Bags! ... by John Siskin
Keep a medium size garbage bag in your camera case. In a pinch, you can make it into a rainproof cover for your camera. There are a lot of great images to be captured in lousy weather!
Editor's Note: John Siskin teaches several excellent online courses, including these four-week ones that begin March 7th: Framing and Mounting Your Photographs and Introduction to Product Photography.


   
Featured Gallery
Follow that curve
© - Howard O. Batten

Welcome to the 306th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

Excitement abounds at BetterPhoto as we prepare for the launch of our March session of online photography classes. These four-week courses get under way this Wednesday... Not sure which class is right for you? Check out our extremely cool, extremely helpful CourseFinder! ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss our usual features, including another fine Photo Tip from instructor John Siskin. ... Looking ahead: A grand location, a plethora of instructors, a ton of information, and lots of inspiration await you at the 3rd Annual BetterPhoto Photography Conference - September 29th and 30th, 2007, in Chicago... That's it for now - enjoy your week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

At BetterPhoto.com, we have an awesome line of 4-week CameraCourses geared to specific digital SLRs. The next session begins this Wednesday, March 7th. Learn more... Our next round of 4-week photography and Photoshop classes begin this March 7th. Here are just a few of them: We have many more outstanding classes too! See our complete March school schedule... BetterPhoto's talented online photography instructors often share their knowledge in BetterBlogs and in how-to articles.

Photo Q&A

1: Lens Choice: Zoom or Fixed?
I am a bit confused. I have two options to buy - 28mm fixed lens with 2.8 aperture and 28-80mm D zoom lens with 3.5 aperture. Which one should I buy? I am getting both at the same price. Which would be better option, regarding clarity etc.? Looking for a helpful advice...
- Shobin George
ANSWER 1:
It depends on the specific make/model lenses. Not always the case, but generally the fixed or prime lens will be marginally sharper with less barrel/pincushion distortion at the borders, and have faster maximum aperture (f/2.8 two-thirds of a stop faster than f/3.5). Its design will be optimized for its specific focal length, while a zoom lens involves compromises necessary to give a range of focal lengths. And because a good prime lens can be constructed with far fewer lens elements, they have better resistence to flare/ghosting effects.
That said, zoom lenses can be quite good. Depending on the specific lens, conditions and technique, images captured with a zoom lens may be indistinguishable from those taken with a prime unless one is "pixel peeping" at extremely high magnification or enlargement.
- Jon Close
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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2: How to Shoot Silver Jewelrey
I'm using a Canon XTi SRL 10 meg. shooting silver jewelry. The silver always turns out with a gold cast. All the other colors of the jewelry (including a Kodak color chart) comes out right on. I've shot it in a "white box", have shot it outside on a cloudy day, sunny day, indoors under "white" fluorecent bulbs with color rendering index of 97, 94, with flash and without. I've tried f/stops from 5.6 to 22. The only way I know of removing it is with CS2 using a saturation brush but that is way too slow and tedious. Anyone have any ideas??? Please Help!!
- Charles 
ANSWER 1:
Hi Charles,
I use the ColorChecker from GretagMacbeth to do my color balance. I started with the Kodak Grey card, but the color balance of the card was off. The Kodak Grey card wasn’t grey. I haven’t checked the Kodak color chart, but at this point, I would be suspicious. Also, how are you checking the color chart?
One other consideration: Some sensors have color balance problems that are pronounced at different densities. My camera has some of these problems. This means that your balance may be perfect at 18% grey but not so hot at a brighter grey. I assume that you are not having trouble with the color of the white box, but you should never trust fluorescent light sources for accurate color. They do not have a continuous spectrum, and this causes problems. And if your shutter speed is over 1/30 of a second you get problems from the cycling of the lamps. I did a couple of Instructors Insights blogs on BetterPhoto in the last few months that you might want to check. They explain why fluorescent lights are unreliable. I would try strobes or tungsten bulbs.
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: Help! Frustrated with Indoor Photography
I'm not satisfied with my indoor photos. I have a Canon Rebel XT with a 35mm and a 75mm lens (with stablizer). I've tried using tripods and playing with my settings - different ISO, apertures, etc. - and yet I just can't seem to get nice clear shots. With flash, it is better, but still not great. I'm especially anxious about moving subjects. How can I at least keep their faces focused? I have an indoor wedding coming and I need suggestions, please...
- Joanne Slight
ANSWER 1:
Joanne
If you do not feel comfortable with your equipment and do not know how to set your camera, then unfortunately, I think you should re-evaluate doing this wedding. Maybe the bride and groom think you are more experienced than you sound, and if the photos turn out terrible, I doubt they will be forgiving, as you can't do a re-shoot.
- Natalie Howe
ANSWER 2:
Hi Joanne,
OK, a couple of things, the first wedding you shoot is likely to be much more difficult than you realize. Most people who get into doing this successfully assist a successful wedding photographer at the beginning of their careers. It is much more than having equipment and knowing that the bride will say "I do." But you know the circumstances of this wedding better than I, and you may be the perfect person to shoot it.
A very high ISO makes lousy prints, too much noise. An on-camera flash is a help, but like lighting a mansion with a miner's helmet: lots of shadows and bright spot without much feel of the space. A way to get through this is to use an on-camera flash and a longer shutter speed, say a 1/30 of a second. I would use a chain pod to help steady the camera.
The simplest and best piece of photo equipment you can build is the chainpod. It works like a monopod, weighs a couple of ounces and fits in your pocket. To build it, drill a small hole in 1/2 inch 1/4X20 (that is a thread size) thumbscrew. Attach about 6 feet of chain to the hole (more if you are really tall). Next, put a nut onto the thumbscrew and position it so that the screw can’t go too deep into you tripod socket and glue it in place. To use, attach the thumbscrew to the base of your camera drop the chain and step on it. Now pull up against the chain. Steady!
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 See Sample Photo - Chainpod detail


Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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4: Universities and Colleges: Property Release?
What laws or copyright issues would I run into if I took pictures of school property for intent to sell the pictures? Primarily I was thinking of property such as buildings or venues - not people. Would anything change if I added text like a school saying or phrase? What about the score of a game? Thanks in advance and thank you to all you professionals who spend your valuable time on this site to answer questions.
Ron
- Ron Ross
ANSWER 1:
Greetings, Ron, and welcome to the party. The answer depends on whether the school is state or private. State schools are fair game. As long as the phrase or saying is not defamatory, that's also OK. Same with the scores.
Private schools you need to be careful with. They probably have a media relations person who would also probably be glad to sign a property release. Those can be found at Web sites like ASMP.org or Getty or Corbis Images. Again, the phrases must be non-defamatory. Scores should be reported accurately. Always check your sources.
If, for some reason, you do get people to appear in these photos and they're recognizable, since the work is commercial and if your text indicates the people in the photos are endorsing something like the school or a product or service, then they need to be released by those individuals. That can be a real sticky issue.
And thanks for the thanks!!
Take it light. ;>)
Mark
- Mark Feldstein
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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5: How to Shoot Animals So Eyes Don't Flash Out?
Does anyone have some advice on how to shoot animals, especially cats, without their eyes flashing out?
- Connie K. Davis
ANSWER 1:
It's the same as red-eye in people: (a) Don't use flash.
(b) If you use flash, use bounce. use an accessory flash that is not mounted so close to the lens axis as is the built-in flash.
(c) Try to compose with them looking slightly away from the camera/flash.
(d) Brighten the room and use the red-eye reduction feature, which should help close the iris of the eye.
- Jon Close
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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