The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, April 02, 2007
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Scanning for 8x10...
Q&A 2: Which Flash Would...
Q&A 3: Crop Factor Confu...
Q&A 4: How Important Is ...
Q&A 5: Taking Photos of ...

"Jim is a fabulous teacher. This course has made me a believer in online learning. The lesson plans were clear and concise and his critiques were honest and constructive, I canít believe how much Iíve learned in such a short period of time. I am definitely planning on enrolling in Jimís Advanced Creative Techniques in Photoshop course." -Student in Jim Zuckerman's Creative Techniques in Photoshop.

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Photoshop CS3: Extended or Standard? ... by Ellen Anon
By now, you've probably heard that Photoshop CS3 will available in two configurations - Standard and Extended. The good news is that most photographers will be fine with the Standard version. Only those wanting to work with videos and/or needing very specific measurement tools such as forensic photographers or other specialty needs will benefit from Extended.
Don't let the name "Standard" throw you, though - there are all sorts of new and improved features. Camera Raw has a highlight and shadow recovery feature, retouching tools and parametric Curves, along with great new color controls. (Camera Raw is very similar to the Develop module in Lightroom.)
Bridge is greatly improved with compare and loupe features. Photoshop has Smart Filters - which makes filters re-adjustable - a great new Black and White adjustment, new Curves, improved cloning with overlays and lots more.
Editor's Note: Ellen Anon teaches two excellent online courses here at BetterPhoto: What the Histogram Tells You About Exposure and Four Most Requested Photoshop Techniques .

Featured Gallery
Flower Powered
© - William C. Raco

Welcome to the 310th issue of SnapShot!

At BetterPhoto, there's so much excitement! Our next session of online photography classes kicking off this Wednesday (April 4th). And the Spring lineup is our best ever, with many new courses. Check out the school schedule... In this issue of SnapShot, be sure to check out the instructor Ellen Anon's Photo Tip, which addresses a key issue regarding the new Photoshop CS3, and our usual fine collection of questions and answers. ... That's it for now. Best wishes for a great week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our online classes are focused on teaching you how to improve your understanding of photography or Photoshop through exciting weekly assignments and helpful critiques from professionals. Learn more... If you haven't already, be sure to check out our BetterBlogs for practical tips on photography and Photoshop: Instructor Insights. Then try out our extremely cool, extremely easy-to-use BetterPhoto CourseFinder, which will help you choose the PhotoCourseô that best meets your needs!

Photo Q&A

1: Scanning for 8x10 Photos
What is the best size for 8x10 from scanned color negatives? Right now, I scan the 35mm film @ 1200 dpi and then when I use the preset crop control, then I can only fit so much of the photo that way. I would like to fit as much of the photos with out cropping before printing. If I send these to an Internet lab, they come back cropped with sometimes a vital part of the photo missing. Any help would be appreciated!
- Carl W. Warren
Scan at 2400 ppi at least. Scanning at 2700 or 3200 will give you some leeway for cropping, so that you will end up with the ideal 8 x 10 at 300 ppi, when you go into Image Size and scale it out. Go into Image, Image Size, Resample UNchecked, Constrain Proportions checked. Enter 10" as your image length, 10 as image height, if a vertical. Then you can crop off the ends. This often works for me, because I think the 35mm frame is too long (or too tall), anyway. Or you can enter the short dimension as 8" and work from there.
- Doug Nelson
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2: Which Flash Would Be Best?
Hi all. I am considering buying an external flash for my Canon Rebel XT. I am considering either the Canon 580 EX or the Canon 430 EX. I would consider myself an advanced amateur to intermediate photographer overall, but when it comes to flash I am a beginner. The type of work I would be using it for is mostly outdoor on-location portraits. Would the 580 be too complicated for a beginner like me? The money is not an issue at this time so I'm thinking maybe I should just go for the big boy since my goal is to make money from my work. Also someone has asked me to do a 15-year anniversary party that will be taking place indoors in the evening. This is still a year away, so I want to get my flash in plenty of time to learn how to use it effectively. Would the 430 be good enough for this type of event? Thanks in advance.
- Stephanie D. Moon
I have the 580EX, It is a great flash. I could have got by with the 430EX, However, I felt that if I went with the 580EX it would save me from upgrading too soon. But, if you get the 430EX and later find that you need the 580EX, the 430 would be an awesome slave unit.
- Mike Rubin
Hi Stephanie,
If you are thinking about making money from your work, you should probably get the 580. I have had a lot of students get great results from this unit. You may also want to look at an external battery like the Quantum. The key is to get the flash to recycle really quickly, and the external battery is a big help for that.
John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

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3: Crop Factor Confusion
Help! When I look through My Nikon D50 viewfinder, will I see the exact image my sensor will capture or the non-cropped version? Yes, I know I can just take a photo and find this out, but I need someone to tell me. Are there any rules of thumb to account for crop factor other than just remembering it?
- Michael  Wasson
When you look through the viewfinder on your D50, you see the same image(*) that your sensor will see. If you put the same lens on a Nikon 35mm film body or full-frame digital body, you will see the non-cropped view of the lens, and it will be the same image that will be recorded by that camera. If the D50 is the only camera that you use, then you really don't need to remember anything about the 1.5x crop factor, or field-of-view factor as it is also called.
The crop factor is only meaningful to describe the view through a certain focal-length lens on a reduced-sensor digital camera as compared to the view through the same lens on a 35mm camera. So, unless you have a "preconceived notion" of what the view through a certain focal length lens would be on a 35mm camera, you don't really need to worry about the crop factor at all.
You should remember though, that lens descriptions like wide-angle, normal, and telephoto as they have been applied to 35mm cameras for many years, are a bit different for a reduced-sensor digital SLR. Instead of 28mm being a standard wide-angle lens, you should use about 18mm. Instead of 50mm being a normal lens, you should use about 30-35mm.
Hope this helps,
Chris A. Vedros
(*) Footnote: Many viewfinders actually show about 95-98% of what the sensor or film sees.
- Chris A. Vedros
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4: How Important Is Setting White Balance?
Ever since I switched to digital, I have problems with the color of my images. So, how important is it to invest in a gray card and set my white balance?? Thanks!
- Desiree C. Preckwinkle
Desiree, if you set Auto White Balance and shoot Raw, you can adjust the colors later in, say, Photoshop, to your taste and at your leisure. And you can skip the whole grey card thing. It'll save you money and time at the shoot. Have fun!
- W. Smith
Desiree - What W says about adjusting white balance in Raw is true. However, I have a slightly different take on this subject. When I first started shooting digital, I thought that if I screwed up in the field, I could fix up in the processing. And, in some ways, I guess this is true. But the more I learn and the more I shoot, the more convinced I become that it is vastly easier to get things right while making the image rather than in post-capture processing. I shoot mostly in Raw format and do make adjustments in Photoshop as needed. But, I try really hard to get things such as white balance right while shooting. I have found that when I pay attention to white balance while shooting that it forces me to stop, read the light and make a decision while setting up the scene. This seems to bring better images. I have not, yet, gone to the use of a card such as the Expo system. However, I do try to set WB at a neutral gray or by use of a gray card. Iím not always right in my selection, but I have been improving and find that I am correct at least 90 percent of the time. Incidentally, I mostly shoot wildlife, nature and scenic subjects and do not feel that I am slowed down in the field by trying to figure out the WB. This is of-course; just my experience and it may be different for other photographers.
- Irene C. Troy
If you shoot in Raw, then it can save you. But I feel that if you depend on Photoshop too much, then it can make you sloppy when shooting, and if you are doing a lot of jobs, then those extra couple minutes - even seconds - fixing minor things on each and every image due to being sloppy can really add up and eat up your time.
- Michael A. Bielat
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5: Taking Photos of Kids
Hi! My friend has asked me to take photos of her 3 grandchildren ages 8, 18 month and 4 month - the older two are boys. Can someone tell me the best poses for them, how I can keep their attention, what props if any to use, outfits for them, etc.? Thank you in advance.
- aileen cockburn
Consider silly hats, stuffed toys and ask Grandma to bring a favorite toy for each child. Try to get a time scheduled after meals and naps when the children will be in a better mood. Have moist wipes on hand, along with something small - maybe cookies or wafers - to reward the children after a good photo shoot. The white tops, blue bottoms are a great idea.
Consider a barefoot photo, a black and white photo, maybe even sepia-toned. Line the children up by size for some photos with oldest on the left or maybe with all three facing the camera with the 8-year-old in back with legs stretched out, the 18-month-old in the middle and baby propped up on the 18-month-old's chest.
You will want to get down on the floor to get closer to their level. Be prepared to spend a little more time than you think you will need. And don't forget to have fun!

Editor's Note: Also check out the excellent online course right here at BP: Photographing Children by photographer, author and studio owner Vik Orenstein.

- J Bellinger
Aileen, if your camera supports it use burst exposures. Often you will catch an unexpected expression that you would otherwise missed.
- William Schuette
J and Bill both have great ideas. Lay them down in the grass if you have grass. Here in Central Texas, we are now doing Bluebonnet portraits. Look at some of the images you see on pro sites who do children. Wagons and pillows are a great help. Matching outfits. You want the viewer to look at the faces, not what they are wearing. One of the things I use is a coiled roll of paper on a stick and I can throw it towards the kids and it comes back to me. You might find it a party shop. Have an assistant who will be standing right behind you and, at your level, to handle the props. Shoot on their level, and take your time. Use an off-camera flash or a large (36 x 48) foamcore from Hobby Lobby. Look at some baby magazines for ideas on posing. If you have time, go to your library and check out books on baby photography.
Gooooooooooooood luck and keep smiling and keep shooting.
- Doug  Elliott
I tell most people who are starting out to spend time looking at galleries and other photography companies that specialize in children's portraits. This will give you great ideas. Also, read through the Studio Photography thread for some help with eye direction, etc., and again check out the work that the photographers there have done. I do hope this helps,
Debby Tabb
- Debby Tabb
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