The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, June 11, 2007
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Metering with Fla...
Q&A 2: Lighting and Coll...
Q&A 3: Lens Hoods...
Q&A 4: Pro Interview: In...
Q&A 1: Celeb Photo Sho...

"Thanks, BP, for everything that you've done for me to gain popularity by bringing attention to my Web site all of these years. I'm so grateful to you!!! Finding BP was one of the best clicks of the mouse I ever made!" -Donnarae Moratelli, whose who bought the second Deluxe BetterPholio at

Learn how to handle every exposure situation with the confidence of knowledge. Join photographer-author Jim Zuckerman in this 8-week online class: Perfect Digital Exposure.

Learn to create exciting images of your adventures, whether close to home or far abroad. Join photographer-author Brenda Tharp in this 8-week online course: Travel Photography: Capturing a Sense of Place.

BetterPhoto Radio is on the air - Fridays at 1 p.m. Pacific time. Listen to Jim Miotke interview BP's pro instructors and BP members! Learn more...
Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 67749 serious photographers.
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People Photography: Where to Crop ... by Susan and Neil Silverman
Just where should you crop an arm or leg for a photo? Te "rule" is that you do not want to crop at a joint. For example, if you were to crop off a photo involving some legs, you would want to not crop right at the knees, but do crop either above or below the knee joint. Then it appear to be a crop of artistic intention rather than being a photo of a subject who might have had an "amputation".
Editor's Note: The Silvermans teach several excellent online classes here at, including Street Photography.

Featured Gallery
Glory at Dusk
© - Ronald  Livingston

Welcome to the 320th issue of SnapShot!

Our June online school is off to an exciting start! But just a reminder that there's still time to join the fun - and the learning. Check out our awesome June courses and sign up today... We also have big news about one of our free newsletters - no, not this one. :) Rather, it's the 1000th issue of Photo of the Day! Check out POTD and all of our newsletters... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss the excellent Photo Tip from instructors Susan and Neil Silverman, the pro interview with instructor William Neill, news about our payment plan (which now covers 4-week classes, as well as 8-week courses), and Q&A excerpts from the many Forum threads at BetterPhoto. ... That's it for now. Enjoy your week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Learn to take inspiring pictures and be creative ... online, anytime! Our June courses have just begun, but there's still time to enroll. Enroll now in one of our four-week courses. Or consider our outstanding line of 8-week courses, which get under way on July 4th. Yes, BetterPhoto's daily dose of visual inspiration is now 1000 days old! For a free subscription or to see the POTD archives... After numerous requests, we have just extended the convenience of a payment plan to cover all online photography courses - including both 8-week AND 4-week classes! In choosing this very cool option, your payments will be divided as follows:
- 4 week classes at $188 - 2 payments of less than $100 ea.
- 8 week classes at $297 - 3 payments of less than $105 ea.
- 8 week classes at $348 - 3 payments of less than $123 ea.
During the order process, you will have the option to select either payment in full or the payment plan on the checkout page.
Get feedback from a pro in one of our interactive online photography classes!

Photo Q&A

1: Metering with Flash
How should you meter when using a flash? Both indoors and outdoors?
- Joseph M. Kolecki
Hi Joseph,
It depends on what you mean by flash. If you mean a flash from your camera manufacturer or a TTL flash made for your camera, then your camera meter can actually work with the flash. The flash compensation dial may help you improve your pictures. Try a negative one setting outdoors. If you mean a strobe like a Calumet Travelite or an Alien Bee or a couple of dozen other brands, the camera meter canít read the light at all. You have to rely on other means. You can buy a strobe meter, which is usually used by standing at the subject and reading the light falling on the subject; or you can guess. I am a big fan of guessing. I usually pick f8 and set my shutter speed to my sync speed. Then I evaluate the image - on a laptop if I can - and decide how to change the lights. The histogram is a big help. There is some magic in this, but experience will help.
Thanks, John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Premium BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
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
Understanding Professional Lighting
Read this Q&A at

Answer this question:

2: Lighting and Collapsible Reflectors
I am just starting out and am wondering what brands are the best for lighting. I was thinking of getting 2 continuous lighting umbrellas and a 5-in-1 reflector. Is this a good start? Or am I headed in the wrong direction? I noticed eBay had some umbrella kits at great prices - are they OK?
- Jill 
Hi John,
Thank you for the information. I read your article and looked at your Web page - they were both very helpful and I truly enjoyed looking at your work! I am looking at a single light with 500-watt sec strobe. You used a 42" ribbless umbrella. Is this what you would suggest? One more question: Did you make your reflectors? If so, what did you use for fabric?
Thanks for all your help!
- Jill 
Hi Jill,
Iím glad you liked my site! I like umbrellas about 45 inches in diameter. The ribbless thing is not all that important, but the removable black backing is a good thing. I use white cotton broad cloth for the diffuser fabric, and I have had the silver and gold material for so long that I donít remember what it was. There is an article here at BetterPhoto about building the frames:
Thanks, John
- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Premium BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
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
Understanding Professional Lighting
You may also want to use the BP search for this question and check out the other discussions. Also, the Studio Photography threads may be of some help, there are 23 of them. Here is thread #1:
Wishing you all the best in this new venture,
- Debby Tabb
Read this Q&A at

Answer this question:

3: Lens Hoods
Are lens hoods necessary, and do they work? Thank you!
- Fred Hofstaedter
Better to have it and not need it. Under some lighting conditions, it won't matter, but in some situations, it may make all the difference. For light from above, or from an angle to the front of you, you need the hood (shade). It's also a good habit to have one on for protection of the lens. Have you ever seen video photogs at news events without a hood? Their hoods are rectangular because they do the job of shading better. Zoom lenses are hard to shade, so the hoods for these are, at best, a compromise, allowing shading at wide and narrow angles of coverage. It's better, I think, to use a hood.
- Doug Nelson
The Sigma EX lenses that I use 90% of the time come with hard plastic lens hoods. Sigma calls it a "perfect hood". It is petal shaped, to maximize the shading without vignetting at the corners. I use them whenever I use the lenses.
A couple weeks ago, I was at the zoo with the family. There is a huge oak tree that all the kids climb when they pass it. While helping my daughter down, my 70-200mm f/2.8 fell out of my camera bag and landed hood-down on a large root. The hood cracked, but protected the $800 lens. A little super glue, and the hood was good as new.
Chris Vedros
- Chris A. Vedros
Read this Q&A at

Answer this question:

4: Pro Interview: Instructor/Columnist William Neill
Hi Everyone,
Just a note that renowned landscape photographer William Neill is the latest of BetterPhoto's instructors to be interviewed! William is not only a long-established pro with extensive teaching and publishing experience, he is also the longtime "On Landscape" columnist for Outdoor Photographer magazine. Read the fascinating interview with William Neill...

Also, check out previous interviews with other of BP's pro instructors.


- Kerry Drager

See Kerry Drager's Premium BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Kerry Drager:
4-Week Short Course: Creative Close-ups
Creative Light and Composition
Read this Q&A at

Answer this question:
1: Celeb Photo Shoot - Contract, Release?

I just began doing photography and I have a celebrity who is interested in doing a photo shoot. What would you recommend that I do? I'm developing my work-for-hire agreement and photo release form. What would you suggest that I put in the work for hire agreement and photo release? I want to make sure that I do not get taken advantage of because I'm overzealous.
- Garrett C. Turman

First thing to do, Garrett, is not create a Work for Hire agreement. That means you will not own the work and only do it for the money. Most pros, including myself, avoid Work for Hire contracts.
A release? Yes, that's good to have but celebrities will have restrictions on where the photo can be used (especially when it comes to advertisements or any promotion of a company). For more info on forms, I'd go to and/or
Try to set good fees to make a decent pay day as well as covering all of your expenses (which should list as part of your invoice).
Good luck!

- Sean Arbabi

See Sean Arbabi's Premium BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Sean Arbabi:
4-Week Short Course: Exposure A to Z: The Ins and Outs to Metering
Read this Q&A at

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