The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, May 07, 2007
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Flash Photography...
Q&A 2: Mother's Day:...
Q&A 3: Selling limited E...
Q&A 4: Sunrise and Sunse...

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Pro Shooter's Check List ... by John Siskin
Among the things that always should be in your camera case are model releases, extra battery, gray card, and a couple of business cards.
Editor's Note: John Siskin teaches a number of courses at BetterPhoto, including Understanding Professional Lighting

Featured Gallery
The village of Oia, Santorini, Greece
© - Andreas G. Karelias

Welcome to the 315th issue of SnapShot!

Things are really rockin' at BetterPhoto! Our May Golden Celebration continues with the upcoming publication of the 50th issue of the Digital Darkroom newsletter ... At the same time, we celebrate many other recent - and exciting - additions to BetterPhoto: free course preview on Digital Photography, Trip Planner with info on great photo locations, BetterPhoto Community page for galleries, announcements, etc., and the return of the fascinating interviews of BetterPhoto's pro instructors ... Looking ahead, the 3rd Annual BetterPhoto Photography Conference (September 29th and 30th, 2007, in Chicago) promises to be the photo event of the year, with inspiration, interaction, information and live critiques. Find out more about the conference... That's it for now. Have fun with your photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

At BetterPhoto, we have an awesome lineup of online photography classes - all taught by experienced professionals. See the school schedule... BetterPhoto's monthly Digital Darkroom newsletter showcases fine photos, articles, and discussions. Subscribe now to this free emailed publication and make sure you get the 50th issue (published in mid-May)! The 2007 BetterPhoto Conference - September 29th and 30th in Chicago - is going to be an action-packed weekend filled with information and inspiration. See the Conference Program!

Photo Q&A

1: Flash Photography: Distance to Subject?
I've had a few headaches with making pictures using the flash. Are there any minimal distances for the use of flash? Thank you.
- Andrei Dan Crisan
Yes, auto-flash exposure is limited by both a minimum and a maximum flash-to-subject distance. The limits are dependent on the ISO and lens aperture settings and the maximum power of the flash. What camera, flash, and settings are you using?
- Jon Close
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2: Mother's Day: Better Photos of Kids & Teens
What props - if any - would you use for 3 girls ages 16, 15 and 12? Thanks!
- aileen cockburn
Have them come in their favorite outfits.
- W. Smith
That age group makes me think of make-up, lipstick, etc. Also you might try hats. Are you going to shoot them together or individually?
- Carolyn Fletcher
Hi: Thanks for the response. WS, I have told them to bring clothes that they want to wear and they can change as many times as they want. Carolynm I love the hat idea - I never thought of that. I will also tell them to bring lipstick, etc. I plan to do them in groups and also separately. Thanks again!
- aileen cockburn
Wicker chairs are great, and stools of course. A mirror effect is always a WOW shot! Pose the oldest with two youngest in mirror or youngest playing with make-up and pearls, etc., with older girls behind with "Oh NO" faces or a bit angry expressions - like they just caught her in their stuff. Mom, will love them!
- Debby TabbSee Sample Photo - GRANDPA AND ME

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3: Selling limited Edition Prints
Hi All,
I have a couple of questions regarding the selling of limited edition prints, what is a good limit I thought 40 - 50. Second question: Does anyone know where I can get a certificate of authenticity? Thanks,
- Derek Holyhead
Unless you are a famous photographer with a wide following, all your (and my) images are going to be self-limiting editions. I expect most photographers who show in several galleries and festival events each year will look back and find they likely didn't sell many of any one image. If I can sell 25, I count myself fortunate.
I do not limit all my prints, just those "special" ones that, in my estimation, deserve to be limited editions. I limit by size; that is, 16" x 24" is limited to 25. I offer these same prints in a smaller size range (8 x 12 thru 12 x 16)in a 25 print limit.
I may sell small prints of these same images, 4x6 to 8x10, as an open edition. I let customers know about the different editions.
Now, as to a Certificate of Authenticity, I find them not worth the paper they're written on. My word should be enough - if not, then my written word would be just as worthless.
Some day, if I achieve fame. I may increase my limited edition prints to 30 or so.
- John R. Rhodes
Derek - John is right. I have sold limited editions and the most I've ever sold is 1! That's self-imposed so I can charge an exorbitant amount for the print. These are usually photos that I have done on assignment for the paper I shoot for, but the party or person I'm shooting would like to have a copy and tells me (and I also have rights to those photos as I get a model release even for "newsworthy" events and people). So, I tell them I will print him/her one and tell them the price and that it will be the only one in existence besides one that I may print for myself. This can really work or fall flat on its face - my last print I sold was a 6x9 and I sold it for $410. I can't help you on a certificate of authenticity but as long as you were to sign the back of the photo and numbered it you should be fine. I think that the only reason a certificate of authentication would be important was if you turned out to be the next Herb Ritts or Ansel Adams (yes - in that order) and people were trying to establish provenance a hundred years from now.
- Sipho Eish
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4: Sunrise and Sunset: Predicting Colors
Hi Everyone,
Is there any way to predict the days in which the sky would show beautiful colors at sunrise or sunset? I guess there might be a way using weather forecast reports to expect it … don't really know. Thanks!
- Ali M. Abougazia
Hi Ali,
There are many factors affecting the colors at sunrise and sunset: what is the altitude of the viewer, what is the air density in the various air layers, what is the air humidity in the various air layers, how much DUST is there in the air in the various layers, how are different air layers interacting with eachother, etc. etc. It also varies widely per viewpoint/point of observation. So general predictions are useless anyway. Have fun!
- W. Smith
Hi Ali –
I really love shooting sunrise and sunset images, so I might have a few ideas to share with you. First, I have found that when the forecast calls for partly cloudy/partly sunny days that the sunrises/sunsets tend to be nicer. On a perfectly clear day, the sunrise can be pretty dull. The presence of clouds, as long as they are not heavy, can lend real atmosphere to any shot. Second; as W points out, there are many variables that determine when a sunrise will be the most colorful. I live on the coast and have found that sunrises over the ocean can be spectacular because of the reflection on the water. Even on stormy days and sometimes because the day is stormy, the light can be amazing. If you do not live near the ocean, try to find a body of water where the sun might reflect as it rises. If this is not practical, consider shooting a sunrise over hills or mountains; or through a stand of trees. A sunrise/sunset over a dull background will result in a dull image. Finally, just like in many things, learning how the light changes in your area according to weather and season variables will teach you how to determine when the best sunrises will occur.
It is important to know how to correctly determine exposure when shooting a sunrise/sunset. Keep in mind that you do not want to directly take a meter reading from the area right next to the rising sun. Instead, take your reading on a nearby patch of sky and set your exposure accordingly. If over water, take your reading from water that is indirectly lit by the sun. If shooting film – bracket by ½ to 1 full stop. I do this even when shooting digital, although in digital at least I can quickly check my exposure. Also, sometimes the best color and light is just before sunrise or just after sunset.
I hope this helps.
- Irene C. Troy
There is one element that has not been covered. Capturing the colors of sunrise/sunset is no different than any other aspect of photography. If you want the best results, you have to work for them. In this case, in order to understand the factors affecting the quality of a sunrise you need to get up long before the sunrise (check your local paper or Google sunrise/sunset for your area); head out to where you hope to see the best sunrise and then fail. I know it sounds a little odd; however, the only way that I learned how to predict good sunrise/sunset scenes was by failing to capture what I wanted the first time. You have to get there early because the best color is often just before and immediately after the sun comes up. If you are not ready you can miss the show completely. Yes, you can adjust colors in Photoshop and/or use filters, but the best images usually come from repeated attempts and finally learning what works best for you, in your chosen scene. As much as I like PS and as much as I use it, I still hate spending time in front of the monitor trying to correct a fault that could have been done better in the field. Just my two cents more!
- Irene C. Troy
The best sunsets seem to occur after a heavy early evening thunderstorm passes from west to east. The setting sun will ignite the residual clouds into firey bands of red and orange if the timing is just right. You can also count on a great rainbow appearing in the eastern sky during these conditions.
In the heat of summer, a thick atmospheric haze will help to accentuate both sunrises and sunsets ... especially near urban areas where smog comes into play.
- Bob Cammarata
Irene brought up an excellent point: Always think ahead and plan your foreground elements. A unique geological structure, a tree or interesting shrub, a distant mountain range or as Irene mentioned, something recognizable that's regional or historic should be composed in the foreground.
This key element can play the role of "subject" for your photograph and will add a point of interest to that wonderful sunrise or sunset.
(You will however, need to illuminate foreground elements with fill-flash unless you are intending to create silhouettes.)
- Bob Cammarata
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