The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, May 14, 2007
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Lighting Problem...
Q&A 2: How Do I Convert ...
Q&A 3: Photography Studi...
Q&A 4: Best Lens for Wil...
Q&A 5: How to Shoot the ...
Q&A 6: Lighting for Stag...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"Susan and Neil, I just wanted to thank you for all your critiques and suggestions. I've learned loads in this class. It's a lot of fun, and I think it's really improving my photography skills! Thanks again!" -student in Digital Workout #1: Beginning Digital Photography with Susan and Neil Silverman





FASCINATING TALKS WITH INSTRUCTORS
Learn more about BetterPhoto's pro instructors through interesting interviews... The latest subject is Jim Zuckerman, longtime BP instructor, world traveller, and medical-student-turned-pro-photographer! Photo below by Jim Zuckerman


LOTS OF PHOTO SHARING OPTIONS AT BP
At BetterPhoto, we have a number of exciting online options for displaying your work - from a sleek gallery to a full-fledged Web site. Learn more...


ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS IN SNAPSHOT
Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 65936 serious photographers.
Learn More...

THIS WEEK'S TIP
Digital Workflow Tip ... by Tony Sweet
Here's a Photoshop technique for a faster and smoother workflow:
After adding an effect that appears in the Layers palette, you can adjust the opacity slider to soften the impact of the effect. Many times an effect will be pitched if it doesn't immediately look right, when a change in opacity would fine-tune the effect to your satisfaction. It also saves time because you don't have to start over. The opacity slider is at the top right corner of the Layers palette. Click on it and move the slider to change opacity.
nikTrick:
After using nikSharpener, a sharpening layer appears in the Layers palette. You can change the opacity of the sharpness. So, if the image is over sharpened, rather than redoing the sharpening process, changing the opacity can fine tune the sharpness.
Remembering to change the opacity of an effect rather than re-doing it results in a more efficient digital workflow.
Editor's Note: Tony Sweet teaches a number of excellent courses here at BetterPhoto.com, including Image Design: The Art of Photographic Interpretation and Image Design: Essential Design Concepts


   
Featured Gallery
Parking is Full
© - Dominick M. Dimacale

Welcome to the 316th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

May has become such a thrilling month at BetterPhoto.com! We are putting together our very best lineup of online photography courses yet - with the upcoming Summer School schedule. Meantime, though, our awesome June 4-week online photo classes are ready for sign-ups! :-)... One of the best ways to share photos is with a full-fledged Web site. At BetterPhoto, we have a number of very cool, very affordable options. Check out our comparison chart ... Good news! We have updated our Trip Planner, which is designed to help you for your next photo get-away. Stay tuned for many more entries in the near future. ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss the digital-workflow tip from instructor Tony Sweet and an enlightening interview with instructor Jim Zuckerman. ... That's it for now. Enjoy a fine week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Are you ready to take the next step in your photography? We have a terrific schedule of 4-week online photography courses led by top pros. Our classes are so much fun and you learn a lot in a short time. Plus, these photo courses will get you out shooting regularly ... what could be better than that? BetterPhoto's monthly Digital Darkroom newsletter showcases fine photos, how-to articles, and photo discussions. Subscribe now to this free emailed publication and make sure you get May's 50th issue (published this week)! The 2007 BetterPhoto Conference - September 29th and 30th in Chicago - promises to be an action-packed weekend of information and inspiration. See the awesome Conference Program!

Photo Q&A

1: Lighting Problem
This weekend, I did several sessions with senior portraits. The problem I had was so weird and I was wondering if anyone had ever had the same problem. I never changed the possition of the lights, and no settings on the camera were changed, yet when I took one portrait, it would be OK and the next would be completely dark. I checked the strobes to see if possibly I had one flash bulb going out, but when I checked them they seemed to go off every time. I'm completely baffled. Any help would be appreciated. Also, could it possibly have anything to do with my memory card? It's been used a lot?
- Donna  Dunbar
ANSWER 1:
Bad sync cord making inconsistent strobe tripping? Shooting before recharging? Wireless remote has weak batteries? Sync cord pin doesn't connect well with the pc outlet?
- Gregory La Grange
ANSWER 2:
Gregory gave you all the right answers. Most times, it is just us shooting before the refill on the strobes.
This probably has nothing to do with a CF card. Also moving your lights should never lend a problem as well. I move them constantly as they are on rollers for ease of movement.
I just wanted to assure you that it is most likely something small - as Gregory said, maybe a bad sync and/or connection. Wishing you the best,
Debby
- Debby Tabb
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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2: How Do I Convert Slides to a CD?
I have about 3000 color slides that I want to convert from slides to a CD. How do I do this? I am trying to make a memory disc for my parents 50th wedding anniversary.
- Laura  K. Moore
ANSWER 1:
Laura,
I'm not a film shooter, but I think I can offer an answer to your question. Hopefully, others will give you more accurate info.
You are right about scanning. However, you cannot just lay the slides on a flatbed scanner and get the results you desire. There is a process to follow that requires special equipment to scan slides.
I recommend that you go through the 3000 slides and select the "best" batch (maybe a hundred or so). Then, I would find someone in the local area that can do the scanning job for you. Perhaps a photography service can give you a better job and do it quicker and cheaper than if you tried to buy the gear to do iy yourself.
I commend you for thinking of this wonderful gift for your parents 50th!
John
- John R. Rhodes
ANSWER 2:
Laura,
As John says, you do need a scanner made for handling transparencies. There are some scanners specifically made for this (like the Nikon CS5000 or similar models from Canon and Minolta). There are also certain flatbed scanners that have an illumination source in the lid and are designed to handle slides. I have an Epson 2450, but that's a few years old, so there's a newer model, and considering your needs, I'd suggest something like that rather than a film-only type scanner.
As for what to do exactly, there are two things to consider - resolution and file type output. You say you are making a CD, but the real question is with what output in mind? If the plan is only to display the photos on a TV or computer screen (or projector), then you don't need very high resolution output. Thus, you could probably scan the slides at a resolution of 300 or 600 ppi and end up with quite acceptable results for viewing. At 300ppi scanning, for example, a 35mm frame will come in at about 300x450 pixels. FOr screen display, 75 dpi is generally sufficient, so this would give a 4x6 image on a screen (more or less, depending on other parameters). Of course, if you project on a wall, the size is considerably larger. At 600ppi, you could get an 8x12 onscreen.
However, if you plan to print the images, then you should scan the slides at a much higher resolution, to allow for an output rez of 300dpi. This means that, if you print a slide at 4x6, you'll need to scan the film at 1200ppi. For safety (to allow for cropping or further editing), you would probably be better off at an even higher resoution - 2400ppi or greater. For reference, when I scan slides in my film scanner, I do so at 4000 ppi and can obtain poster-size output if necessary.
As for file type, the choices are generally JPEG or TIFF. The former is a compressed format, so the file sizes will be smaller and more will fit on a CD. TIFF is more appropriate if you plan on editing after the fact, but they take more space.
For 3000 images, even with JPEG formatting, you will probably need more than a single CD, but until you know how large each saved file will be, you can't estimate this yet. Hope that helps.
- Bob Fately
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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3: Photography Studio Gig
Hi. I make my living as a programmer, but would love to work as a portrait photographer. I have the opportunity to start a part-time job at a "Olan Mills" type of studio. How much of a benefit do you think this would be for me? I know it isn't the same as mentoring for an independent studio, but I think the exposure would probably be good for me. Any thoughts?
- Mac 
ANSWER 1:
You'll definitely gain experience, but these are cookie cutter places and have a specific look that they want, and they want it done "by the numbers." So, you'll learn their method of doing things, but there is no room for creativity. These types of organizations are fine for quick turn over and assembly line work, like High School pictures. You may find the hours worked to pay ratio a bit under what you may expect.

Editor's Note: BetterPhoto.com offers several excellent portrait photography courses, all taught by long-established working professionals:

- Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio
- Studio Portrait Lighting
- The Business of Photography

- Tony Sweet

See Tony Sweet's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=22359

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Tony Sweet:
4-Week Short Course: Image Design: Advanced Design Concepts
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Nikon D200
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Nikon D2X/D2Xs
4-Week Short Course: Image Design: The Art of Photographic Interpretation
4-Week Short Course: Image Design: Essential Design Concepts
Image Design: Revealing Your Personal Vision
Fine Art Flower Photography
ANSWER 2:
I do agree with a lot of what Tony has said. But I must say, I have met a lot of those who start out on their own and it takes them 2 to 3 times longer to learn how to pose their clients, relate to their clients, learn pricing, take control of their studios and master some of the other aspects you will learn from spending ONLY a couple months in a corporate studio environment.
I have taught corporate studio photographers and developed new company training concepts for years and do know how much it can offer those really intrrested in studio photography. I still do both and my own studio work as well. And old- fashioned "traditional" posing is very hard to find taught anymore. I was called back to a company that tried to cut it out and go all< "new lifestyle" (styled candid) and found that their clientel wanted both! They want new and trendy, but they also want that traditional portraits that hung in the family home while they grew up. So they put it back and numbers soared.
I advise this type of learning experiance for anyone who will take the time. I hope this helps.
- Debby Tabb
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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4: Best Lens for Wildlife Photography?
I need to purchase a lens for wildlife photography, and wondered if anyone had used the Canon 400mm F5.6 lens? Would the 300mm F4.00 + 1.4 teleconvertor be a better buy in terms of quality of picture? Any advice would be very welcome as I can't decide between the two options!
- Helen N. McHugh
ANSWER 1:
Hi Helen,
A 400mm f/5.6 lens is too slow for wildlife photography. You will be frustrated that your photos won't be sharp in the shade and low light because your shutter speeds will have to be slow - unless you bump up the ISO. Above 400 ISO is never an attractive option. This lens is much less expensive, and it will be light, but the maximum aperture will be a problem for you.
I would look into a 400mm f/4 or a 300mm f/4 where you can use a 1.4X teleconverter. The latter works, but again you are stuck with the f/5.6 aperture since the teleconverter causes a loss of one f/stop.
Another option is to get the 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto. If you have a camera with a 1.5x or 1.6x magnification, that means your lens is a 300mm, and with a 1.4x you'll be at 420mm at f/4. I've used my 70-200mm f/2.8 IS with both the 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, and the pictures are quite sharp.
Anyway, this is more food for thought.
Jim
- Jim Zuckerman

See Jim Zuckerman's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=28046

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Jim Zuckerman:
Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography
Mastering Light and Flash
Creative Techniques in Photoshop
Advanced Creative Techniques in Photoshop
Making Money with Your Photography
How to Photograph Animals & Wildlife
Making Masterpieces with Corel Painter
Fundamentals of Photography Made Easy
Developing Your Creative Artistic Vision
Perfect Digital Exposure
Self-Discovery in Photography: Where Does Your Passion Lie?
Mastering Light and Flash
ANSWER 2:
Jim,
Thank you so much for your reply! Great to get feedback from someone as experienced as you! I did consider the slow shutter speed, but as I have the Canon 5D full frame camera ,I won't benefit from the magnification on the 70-200mm! Perhaps the 300mm F4 with the 1.4 teleconverter is the way to go! I have been dreaming of the 500mm or 600mm ... then I woke up!!
Thanks again, Jim!
- Helen N. McHugh
ANSWER 3:
Helen,
I bought the 500mm f/4 a few months ago, and as you know, that's a huge check to write. But, wow, what a lens! I've taken a large number of incredible pictures with it already, including the one I've attached.
Jim
- Jim Zuckerman

See Jim Zuckerman's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=28046

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Jim Zuckerman:
Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography
Mastering Light and Flash
Creative Techniques in Photoshop
Advanced Creative Techniques in Photoshop
Making Money with Your Photography
How to Photograph Animals & Wildlife
Making Masterpieces with Corel Painter
Fundamentals of Photography Made Easy
Developing Your Creative Artistic Vision
Perfect Digital Exposure
Self-Discovery in Photography: Where Does Your Passion Lie?
Mastering Light and Flash See Sample Photo - JZ example


ANSWER 4:
Don't under-estimate the value of a good teleconverter. Granted, there will be trade-offs but image degradation and fringing will be minimal if the converter and lens are compatable, made by the same manufacturer, AND if the telephoto lens onto which it's attached is of high quality.
The latter is most important. There are many who try to extend the reach of their modestly priced zooms with teleconverters and are not happy with the results but with a properly matched prime telephoto the results can actually be quite good.
I've attached a few samples of recent tests with a 300 mm 2.8 Nikkor with one (and even two) 2X teleconverters attached.
- Bob CammarataSee Sample Photo - Stablizer

See Sample Photo - Sample 4

See Sample Photo - Sample 3

See Sample Photo - Sample 2

See Sample Photo - Sample 1


Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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5: How to Shoot the Moon
Hello,
I was wondering if anone had any tips on shooting the moon with a telephoto lens. I have tried, and each time I get a second blur (a bright spot) of the moon to the right of it. What causes this and what is the best way (speed/aperture/lens) to get a good shot of the moon with a telephoto? I shoot with a 70-300 lens on a Nikon D100. Thank again!
- Rebecca C. Barnini
ANSWER 1:
1. Use a tripod.
2. Use manual mode.
3. Set your aperture to f/16.
4. Set your shutter speed to approximately 1/your ISO. So, if you are using ISO 100 film or a digital camera set to ISO 100, then use a shutter speed of 1/100 or 1/125.
If you set your camera to any of the auto modes, it will likely overexpose the moon, since there is so much dark sky in the image. The moon itself is reflecting the sun, so it is much brighter than the surrounding sky.
Good luck,
Chris A. Vedros
www.cavphotos.com
- Chris A. Vedros
ANSWER 2:
Also, be sure to remove the UV filter if you are using one. This will cause a halo effect.
- Carlton Ward
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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6: Lighting for Stage Performance
I was wondering if anyone know what kind of flash would be best for taking photos of a dance recital? Also if I need a diffuser of any sorts. Keep in mind the harsh spotlights on stage. Any help would be greaty appreciated.
- Katie L. Chaves
ANSWER 1:
The "harsh spotlights" often give enough light that you don't need flash. You just need specialized metering (such as using Spot or Partial metering on the performer) to keep the meter from being fooled by the dark stage and background.
Check with the instructor as to whether they even allow flash. Even if they do, to use flash you need to be relatively close to the performers - even with a high powered speedlight like the 580EX. At ISO 100 and a lens with maximum aperture of f/5.6, the 580EX is limited to subjects less than 34 feet away.

Editor's Note: Also check out this excellent BP article by instructor and portrait photographer Ibarionex Perello:
How to Photograph Performers on Stage

- Jon Close
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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