The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Turn Over Copyrig...
Q&A 2: ProShowGold - Fil...
Q&A 3: Does Anyone Use T...
Q&A 4: Shutter Speed Vs....
Q&A 5: Camera Care in Lo...

"I just wanted to thank each of you for what you do. BetterPhoto has been the motivator, and in many ways, the coach/teacher behind most of the creative improvements in my images. I still have so much to learn, and your contest keeps me fired up to learn knew techniques. The unselfish sharing on this site is incredible. Thanks!" -BP member Randy Dannheim

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The Power of Personal Projects ... by Charlotte Lowrie
One of the best ways to hone your skills as a photographer is to always have a personal project in progress. Pick a subject - any subject: Maybe it’s a photo story on how an elder copes with living alone, the first months of a baby’s life, how to use color as the subject of a series of images, or the ongoing construction of a new building. Develop a body of work around the project theme. Then set a limit on the final number of images that you can display. Shooting, editing, and compiling project images into a coherent story is a great way to learn how to tightly edit your work while choosing the strongest, most meaningful images. And in the process, you’ll learn which images work and which don’t work, and why.
Editor's Note: Charlotte Lowrie teaches several courses here at BetterPhoto, including Camera Raw Creative Techniques and Raw Shooting: Capture to Finished Photo with Adobe Elements.

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 309th issue of SnapShot!

We are excited to welcome the newest member of our talented team of online instructors: photographer-author Kevin Moss. His awesome 4-week class - Photoshop and Elements For Nature Photographers - kicks off on April 4th. ... Sign up now for the 3rd Annual BetterPhoto Photography Conference (September 29th and 30th, 2007, in Chicago) and take advantage of the special offer. Only $329. After March 31st, the price increases by $60. Check out the conference details. ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss our usual features, including the Weekly Photo Tip ("The Power of Personal Projects" by instructor Charlotte Lowrie) and the Q&A. ... That's it for now. Enjoy your week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

The 2007 BetterPhoto Conference - September 29th and 30th in Chicago - is going to be a jam-packed weekend of information, inspiration, and just plain fun. To learn more about what you'll be learning, we have just posted the Conference Program. Sign up now for only $329. After March 31st, the price increases by $60. More conference details... We have terrific lineup of online photography classes led by experienced professionals. Our courses are filled with so much information and inspiration. These classes will get you out shooting regularly ... what could be better than that? The next session begins April 4th. See our school schedule... On the lookout for photography tips, equipment information, Photoshop techniques, etc.? Check out the work from BetterPhoto's professional instructors: BetterBlogs and how-to articles.

Photo Q&A

1: Turn Over Copyright for Pay?
I have been asked by a company to work this summer taking pictures at various softball/baseball tournaments. They have agreed to pay me comission as well as an hourly wage. This would be an awesome experience for me. The only thing is that they want the copyrights to my pictures since I am being paid both commission and hourly. Should I sign over my copyrights? Please reply.
- Amanda L. Standridge
IMHO, and as long as you are the main photographer, you should not give away your rights to those photos. You stand to lose money on future usage of the photos. It will devalue your future work as a photographer and could make you look like a push-over.
Then there is the issue of reprints being made of your photos that are not of the quality you would use. People see shoddy work with your name on it, and you build a reputation.
Perhaps you might be able to negotiate with the company - based on the amount of money you stand to make - on the usage rights of the photos. You may be able to find some middle ground that will work for both you and the company you will be shooting for.
Above all though, GET IT IN WRITING! You don't have a leg to stand on without it.
- Todd Bennett
If the pay is good, you can consider selling the whole gig complete with NON-EXCLUSIVE copyrights. Meaning:
1) They can use those commissioned photos for whatever purpose/application they like, except selling them to third parties, or claiming someone else but you made them; and ...
2) You can still use them (e.g., for your own marketing/promotion), but not sell them a second or third time to other parties.
But, whatever you agree, like Todd said, PUT IT IN WRITING!
- W. Smith
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2: ProShowGold - File Sizes and Matting Look
I use ProShowGold and am trying to put together a slide show, but am wanting to make my photos look matted by using Canvas Size in Photoshop to add a white mat around the photos. What size should I make the photos and what size should I make the canvas matt so they all are the same size? I am making a DVD slideshow if that makes a difference. Thank you all for your help and responses. I really appreciate it.
- Michele  Wassell
Hi Michele,
Nice discussion going on here!

P.S. to Everyone,
Jon Canfield teaches an excellent 4-week online course on the subject of
Digital Slide Shows.

- Kerry Drager

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Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Kerry Drager:
Creative Light and Composition
4-Week Short Course: Creative Close-ups
Hi -
I've replied directly to Michele, but she has graciously allowed me to use her beautiful image and post here as well - for everyone else to learn from.
I went under the assumption that your output resolution for the show is 1024x768 – this is a good compromise for either monitor or TV and will scale well in ProShow.

1. To begin, I resized the image to 800x600.
2. Now, select Image > Canvas Size and change the pop-up to pixels. Now, enter 1024 for the width, and 768 for the height. I don't use the relative checkbox for this since I want a specific mat size regardless of the image dimensions. Leave the anchor point on the center box so that the canvas is extended equally.
The first image shows a screen shot of my Canvas size settings.
3. This next step is if you want a drop shadow to give it more of a mat effect. Drag a selection rectangle around the image portion of your new canvas. Add a new layer by selecting Layer > New Layer > Levels (anything will work, you aren't going to make any changes so the image remains the same.
4. Now click on the Layer style button in the Layers palette. It's the second icon and looks like an "f". In this dialog, select Drop Shadow. I change the size and angle to be something that looks good.
The second shot shows the settings I used for the drop shadow.
5. Finally, flatten your image by selecting Layer > Flatten Image.

The final image show the photo with the mat and drop shadow applied to it. Again, thanks to Michele for allowing me to use her image here.
That's it! You can see a sample of this type mat in use on a show of mine that is featured on the Photodex Web site:

- Jon Canfield

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Macro Photography: An In-Depth Look at Close-up Subjects
4-Week Short Course: Better Color for Great-Looking Prints
4-Week Short Course: Camera Raw Processing
4-Week Short Course: Digital Slide Shows See Sample Photo - The final image as it will appear in the show

See Sample Photo - Layer Style settings

See Sample Photo - Canvas Size screen shot

Thank you so much Jon for your help and instructions. My photos are coming along nicely with your instructions... :):):)
- Michele  Wassell
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3: Does Anyone Use These Umbrellas?
White Translucent Shoot-Through Umbrellas ... I have just bought 2 with a digital lighting kit and wanted to know the best way to use them. Thank you in advance!
- aileen cockburn
Hi Aileen,
I use umbrellas like this in small spaces to take architectural shots. You can also use these umbrellas as a bounce umbrella, but without a black cover, you get a lot of light bouncing around your set and this can be a problem. My favorite umbrellas are 45 to 60 inch white satin umbrellas with a black cover to prevent spill.
- John H. Siskin

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I first started using umbrellas more that thirty years ago. Back then, everyone set them up as bounce, rather than shoot-through. Except in small spaces, I still do. With a shoot-through umbrella, you get a lot of light coming out both sides. This can cause reflection problems. This is why I prefer umbrellas with black backing: less light spread.
- John H. Siskin

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Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
Understanding Professional Lighting
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
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4: Shutter Speed Vs. Aperture
Besides controlling light, shutter speed also controls what?
Besides controlling light, an aperture also controls what?
- Christina M. Pontius
Hi Christina,
Shutter speed records the way action is displayed. A long shutter speed smears action together, while a short shutter speed stops action.
The aperture controls the amount of area in sharp focus - which is called depth of field. If you focus at 5 feet from the camera, a large aperture will give you sharp focus at just 5 feet. If you took the same picture at a small aperture, you might be in focus from 4 feet to 7 feet, depending on your aperture.
You might want to look at my article for more information:
Photography Exposure Basics: Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO
John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

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Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
Understanding Professional Lighting
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 See Sample Photo - Tar Creek

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5: Camera Care in Low Temperatures
I am trying to find a digital camera with IS and long zoom that works between 1 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit. I was interested in the Canon S3IS, but it works only above 32 degrees F. Do you know of any camera that will work below that temperature. Thanks. Gisela
- Gisela Hunermund
It's not that the S3, or any other digital camera, will just quit at 31°F and lower. It will continue to work, but it will just gradually become less responsive. You can use it in lower temperatures, but you just have to take precautions to keep it warm, such as keeping it close to your body under your coat.
The biggest problem is that battery power decreases precipitously with temperature. Take extra sets and keep them in a warm pocket. Switch them out when they appear to lose power. Conserve power by leaving the LCD turned off. The sensor and memory will work better in low temperatures, but the LCD is literally liquid and can freeze and be damaged.
- Jon Close
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