The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, April 16, 2007
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Shooting Churches...
Q&A 2: Lenses for Indoor...
Q&A 3: Image Stabilizati...
Q&A 4: Moving Subject, L...
Q&A 5: High Key Photogra...
Q&A 6: How to Take Good ...

"If you can only take 2 classes here at BP, you have to take Using your DSLR and DSLR Exposure Techniques with George Schaub. His classes have completely changed how I look at photographs and my camera. His lessons were clear and full of tips and insightful examples. His homework assignments and critiques were so helpful, and he was always there to answer questions. I just may take these classes again! Thanks George!!" -student in Digital SLR Exposure Techniques

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It's All About the Picture ... by Charlotte Lowrie
Despite all the technology involved with digital cameras and the digital darkroom, photography is still "all about the picture." With every image, evaluate all of the elements in the frame: Do they support the "story" you’re telling, or do they distract from it? Does the lighting set the mood for the story you want to tell? What aperture or shutter speed best reinforces the story? And, finally, evaluate what image editing techniques that will further emphasize the message. This is a lot to think about, but it pays big dividends in making strong, polished, memorable images.
Editor's Note: Check out Charlotte Lowrie's 4-week online photography courses, which include Raw Shooting: From Capture to Finished Photo and Camera Raw Creative Techniques.

Featured Gallery
Little Honey
© - Amanda Price

Welcome to the 312th issue of SnapShot!

What wonderful times at! First off, we are so proud of our online photography courses that we are now offering a free sample class for you to preview. See for yourself just how awesome our online classes are! ... Next, we have an exciting new feature to help you plan the photography for your next getaway: Trip Planner. We already have a lot of locations, with many more to come... Also, for additional tips, thoughts, and inspiration, check out our Instructor Insights blogs... Enjoy your week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

We have so many 4-week online photography classes on an exciting array of topics. These courses are fun, fast, and to the point! Class starts May 2nd. See the school schedule... Take a tour of an actual BetterPhoto virtual classroom ... for free! Enroll in a sample course right now... BetterPhoto offers several very cool, very sleek Web site options in order to spotlight your photography. Compare the BetterPholio™ options...

Photo Q&A

1: Shooting Churches: Stained-Glass Windows
What special considerations should one remember when shooting church stained-glass windows in order to capture the intense, vibrant colors? I am thinking that I should underexpose about one stop or meter from the window close-up and not from the general interior of the church so as not to overexpose. I am using a center-weighted in-camera light meter and 35mm SLR manual film camera (Ricoh KR 5 super II). Thanks!
- Paul D. Carter
Be on the safe side and take one exposure governed by the light through the windows and nothing else. There might be enough variation in brightness intensities as to average out to a middle tone, which is what your exposure meter "wants". Shoot one/half stop over, one under, one whole stop over, one under. Generally, you underexpose a tad when shooting slide film, but overexpose when shooting negative film. Either way, you get more film density.
Unless you don't mind the windows narrowing from botton to top, use a wide enough lens to get all you want with a minimum of tilting the camera up. Consider also a short telephoto that would isolate certain interesting patterns and details.
Also, you need the stained glass to be illuminated from behind to really capture the colors.
Just my opinion, but I think you're going about the learning process in photography the right way, thinking about and questioning exposure!
- Doug Nelson
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2: Lenses for Indoor and Outdoor Photography
What types of lenses would I need for indoor/outdoor photography besides the one that comes with the camera? I'm looking at doing more portrait photography but would like to have the ability to also do outdoor.
- May Thao
Tip: Don't skimp out on a decent lens. They are well worth it actually and have a high $$$ in re-sale value.

Now for the answers:
1.) Indoor portraits: You would have to be prepared for low light conditions. A fast lens (by fast lens, I mean one with a wide aperture) like f/2.8 would be what the doctor ordered. You can use a low f-stop (f/2.8), and it would allow you to get a higher shutter speed without subject blur. (Well worth it, if for the all the headaches you will save when looking at them afterwards). That is natural light. If you have an external speedlight/flash, then use that as well but BOUNCE the light, no direct flash please! Look into and read up on "flash fill." Anything around 70mm would be good for portraits. You don't want a wide-angle or fish-eye obviously, because they have a tendency to widen the subject and that is not good for portraits!
2.) Outdoor portraits: Same as the above but most likely with more available light on average.
3.) If by outdoor you mean landscape photography, then those usually require you to have a nice wide-angle lens. Something around 15-20mm gets you a good wide-angle. If you're shooting digital on a camera without a full-frame sensor, then there is a 1.5 or 1.3x factor, so your 15mm would actually end up looking like about a 22mm lens if on a film camera, so keep that in mind...
With all that being said, look into a fast lens - i.e., f/2.8 aperture if you have the funds.
Then look into a zoom (more versatile) in the region of 17-70mm or 17-200mm to get the most out of it.
I have to warn you, don't be suprised at the fast lens's price. It will be around $900 if you are lucky.

- Michael A. Bielat
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3: Image Stabilization
I'm looking into getting a new digital camera. I want it to be able to capture action shots such as baseball, motocross, etc. I imagine that it should shoot a couple of frames a second. I'd like it to have picture stabilization capability within the body or the lens, but I'm not sure where the stabilization is best suited. Can you educate me a little on this? So far I think I like the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi, which retails around $899. the lens option they offer with stabilization is another 800 bucks. Should I look at something else?
- Eric  Schneider
Pentax and Sony has Image Stabilization built into the camera, whereas Nikon and Canon, you have to purchase the VR or IS lens. If money is your issue, the first two cameras' Image Stablization works with all lens attached to the camera.
- Dennis Flanagan
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4: Moving Subject, Low Light
I have a Nikon D50, and I'm trying to shoot pictures of a friend who wants a photo of himself walking down a railroad track with his guitar slung on his back. We went out recently on a foggy, overcast morning. I wanted to use the natural light, and I used a tripod. Based on what I saw on my LCD screen, everything looked great. But when I got them home, none of my images were sharp. If I had set a high enough shutter speed to capture him in motion, the overall lighting was too dark. If I lowered the shutter speed to let in more light, the track was sharp but his motion made him out of focus, and often, the whole picture was blurry. I had the white balance set at "cloudy" and the ISO at 200. I've attached a couple of pictures as examples. Can you advise me on what to do when I re-shoot these pictures? Also, what can I do about pictures appearing well-lit on my LCD screen, but way too dark on my computer when I get them home?
- Melinda Hambrick
Melinda, I assume you want the subject - your friend - to be sharp as well as the track. If you need the entire scene in focus, you'll need a small aperture - large f/number such as in the f/16 - f/22 range. This, however, would require a slow shutter speed, making it difficult to get the moving object in sharp focus. You could use the external flash if you have one, or even try the on-camera flash, but with little chance of success I think.
I think your problem likely lies with where you are focusing. You could try to use the continuous focus setting which follows the moving subject. Another way, and maybe simpler, would be pre-focusing at the point where you want the subject to be when you take the image. Pick a place and put in a marker such as a larger stone that won't be noticable in the image. In fact, I see a larger stone at his feet in one of your photos. Have the subject stand at that point and obtain a sharp focus. Now, without resetting the focal point, take the image when he gets to that marker.John
- John R. Rhodes
Why do you need to actually have him walking, Couldn't you just pose him as if he were walking? Just a thought.
- Mike Rubin
>>"... and the ISO at 200."<<
Agree with Chris on the duplicate thread. At ISO 200 you're not getting a shutter speed fast enough to stop the subject's motion. Raise the ISO. Setting 400 will give a shutter speed twice as fast which should stop the motion. I like the shallow DoF in the sample shots, I would not go with a smaller aperture.
- Jon Close
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5: High Key Photography
What is a "High Key" image?
- Girish Vaghela
That's an image with lots and lots of light. Often the "color" white dominates in those images.
- W. Smith
Think model head shots: Clean, white and not a lot (if any) shadows.
- Michael A. Bielat
Hi Girish,
High Key:
A style whereby the resulting image is comprised mainly of white and near-white tones. Mid-range tones are permissible but the scene is devoid of black and near-black tones. Lighting and background set the mood, which is light and airy. It works best if the subject is light-toned as well. Thus, the background is pure or nearly pure white. The set-up requires more light on the background than on the subject. The background is generally quite evenly illuminated, and the background light is set to illuminate with twice or better the intensity as compared to the strength of the main at the subject plane.
The final image consists mainly of white and light gray tones. Some shadows are required, or else depth perception is lost. To achieve, shadows are well filled by a lamp positioned close to the camera lens. This fill lamp is adjusted so light energy from it arrives at the subject plane at 1/2 the brilliance produced by the main light. This achieves a 3:1 lighting ratio, which is the maximum ratio that retains the high-key effect. Additionally the high-key effect is best achieved by positioning the main light near to and above the camera (frontal lighting).
If the lighting is flat 2:1 ratio, shadows are too well filled and depth perception is lost. If the fill and main arrive at the subject plane with the same brilliance, the result is a 2:1 ratio.

Alan Marcus

- Alan N. Marcus
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6: How to Take Good B&W Pictures
I just started wanting to mess with the B/W aspect. I am not sure about how to tell if it is too dark when the hues are just a little off. How do you know?
- Brandi S. Jackson
Also study the zone system... Check out in Photoshop (if shooting in digital) the channels tab on your layers palette (there is an RGB color layer). By unchecking them, you can get you a vast array of looks. It's much more accurate than just going in and converting to grayscale in PS.
- Michael A. Bielat
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