The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, July 09, 2007
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Lensbaby for an O...
Q&A 2: Storage Issues...
Q&A 3: Shooting a Weddin...
Q&A 4: Hoods and UV Filt...
Q&A 5: Interview with To...
Q&A 1: Getting Foregro...
Q&A 2: How to Shoot Po...

"Paul, I took your Digital Wedding course a while back, and it inspired my husband and I to keep learning wedding photography. We put up a Web site and booked 7 weddings for this summer! Thanks, Paul, for getting us going and giving us the foundation to work from. We're still learning, growing but loving every minute of it. Yay, BetterPhoto!!" -student in Paul Gero's Digital Wedding Photography course

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Natural Light for Outdoor Portraits ... by Jim Zuckerman
Most of my travel work is done with available light. I prefer the natural look that ambient light gives, as long as I can choose the type of lighting. I try to avoid direct sunlight during the middle of the day, for example. In most instances, it’s the kiss of death for good photography.
Shade is so much more attractive for outdoor portraits because it retains the subtle light and dark relationships on the face. Flash, even fill flash, tends to eliminate or reduce those subtleties.
Editor's Notes: Jim Zuckerman teaches many awesome online courses here at BetterPhoto, including Techniques of Natural Light Photography. This tip was adapted from one of Jim's BetterBlogs

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 324th issue of SnapShot!

Are you kicking yourself for waiting too long? Don't fret: You can still sign up for one of BetterPhoto's online photography courses and join in on the fun! Check out our Summer school schedule. But don't delay, enroll now! ... Need help deciding? If you're having trouble finding the class that's right for you, then try our easy-to-use CourseFinder. ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss the Photo Tip and a fine collection of questions and answers, including the latest instructor interview with top pro Lewis Kemper.

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

You can still join the fun, but you must act quickly! If you sign up for one of our 8-week online classes today, we will send you the first lesson pronto. Then you will have time to do the first assignment (due this coming Sunday, July 15th)! See our 8-week course lineup... Note: Payment plans are available for all courses! Our four-week online photography and Photoshop courses are fun, fast and to the point. Check out our 4-week class schedule... Note: Payment plans are now offered for 4-week courses! If you haven't already, read the fascinating interviews with BetterPhoto's pro instructors. ... Plan your photo getaway with BetterPhoto's new Trip Planner! ... For inspiring thoughts and great photo tips, check out our Instructor Insights blogs.

Photo Q&A

1: Lensbaby for an Olympus?
I love the effects of the Lensbaby and want one. Is there one available for the Olympus e500? Most of the ones I have seen for sale have been for a Nikon or Canon mount. I saw some for an Olympus e1 or something like that, but I'm not sure if that's what I need or not.
- Bobbi  S. Tomes
Bobbi, try checking the Lensbaby Web site, or contact them via e-mail and ask them. Or call them. They were very friendly and helpful when I ordered mine.
- Sherry K. Adkins
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2: Storage Issues
I'm shooting in Raw and when storing non-converted files on hard drives, I find that I'm winding up with a ton of files in which I can't differentiate from because of no thumbnails. Is there a way to store them without converting and still be able to find the one I want? Thanks.
- Dennis G. Creaghan
Dennis, if you don't have Adobe Bridge or Lightroom to actually organize your Raws and see the thumbnails, you can download a free viewer from Faststone. Excellent program.
- John Rhodes
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3: Shooting a Wedding
What is the best mode to shoot a wedding in? Auto for the whole thing or switch to program? I have the Digital Rebel XTi with a 430ex that I think is a flash. This is going to be my first wedding and, of course, I don't want to mess anything up. Also, the bride is pregnant ... about 6 months, I think, by the time the wedding gets here. Any posing suggestions for her so it won't look like she is pregnant?
- Erin  J. Carlson
The best mode is the one that gets you the exposure (ambient and flash), metering pattern, AF mode, depth of field (aperture), motion capture (shutter speed), file size/format, etc., that you want. Any of P, Av, Tv, M will give you control over all of these. Which you choose is a personal preference as to how you get there. If you have to ask, then you aren't prepared to shoot in any mode but Auto (green box). IMHO.
- Jon Close
Erin, my friend ... the only thing more difficult than shooting your 1st wedding is making a woman that's in her 3rd trimester look not pregnant. And, as luck would have it, you've managed to combine it into a single shoot! Shoot on Auto mode ... the 430ex is indeed a flash. Good luck and can't wait to hear how this one turns out.
- Oliver Anderson
Well, in this day and age, don't try to hide it too much. Get a few shots without putting emphasis on it - leaning on the alter with her flowers in front of her? Peeking out from behind a wall? Peeking out from behind the groom? Bridesmaids all sitting in front of her? You get the idea. You can't make her not look pregnant, but you can take pictures that don't include the belly.
As for shooting mode, I don't like to shoot in any mode but Aperture Priority unless there is a good reason not to. However, for a flash situation, I may go with something auto. :( More than likely, I'd spend a month obsessing on learning everything I could about flash photography and then go from there. Just haven't had the need yet.
Good luck,
- Karma Wilson
Remember to angle your subjects. This will help and have her lean forward just a bit, this tends to slim a subject. But, overall, most Pregnantces show. Wishing you the very best in this venture,
- Debby Tabb
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4: Hoods and UV Filters
For my new wide-angle lens, do any of you use UV filters and or hoods? Do you feel either degrades the photo quality? Do you see a need for either, or both? Thanks!
- Mary C. Casey
Hello Mary,
Lens hoods are a benefit for a couple reasons: 1) They (may) protect the lens if you drop your camera. 2) A well-designed hood will keep stray light out in some shooting situations. This will improve color and contrast. But be careful when selecting a lens hood. If it is too large, you will get (vignetting) at the wide angle.
Concerning UV filters, you will no doubt get a few opinions here, and there are trade-offs. Personally, I do not use UV filters. Some will say there is some protection when one is employed, and I suppose there is an element of truth there. I'm careful with my camera and lenses, so that argument holds no water for me.
The reason I do NOT use UV filters is this: I cannot see the logic in placing a piece of glass in front of a high-quality lens. Unless the UV filter is optically pure, you will have some degradation in image quality. Optical physics proves this well. If you care to explore this principle, it is known as the "Refractive index" (i.e) air-glass-air-glass. In other words, the light has to pass from the air to the UV glass, then through the air again to the lens glass.
Also, I do not see any real "filtering" using a UV filter anyway. Theoretically, it does indeed filter; in practice, the effect is not well seen. If you don't believe that, shoot a landscape with and without and compare ... besides, I more often than not am using a polarizer when outside anyway; so why have two filters in front of a great lens?
All the best,
- Pete Herman
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5: Interview with Top Pro Lewis Kemper
Hi Everyone,
Just a note that we have posted a really interesting interview with Lewis Kemper, contributing editor to both Outdoor Photographer and PC Photo magazines and a popular instructor here at Check out the interview here...

Enjoy reading!


- Kerry Drager

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Thanks for posting. Very nice article. L. Kemper has a very extensive Web site to surf. A lot of great info!
- Mary Iacofano
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1: Getting Foreground and Background Sharp

I am doing a shoot for a friend's company and I want to know how best to keep the people and background landscape sharp and in focus.
- Anthony Green

The short answer is to use the smallest aperture that will still give you a reasonable shutter speed. (f/8, f/11 or a higher f/number would work better than f/4 or f/5.6 If you're more used to shooting in auto modes, then use the landscape mode if your camera has one.

- Chris A. Vedros

Follow Chris' advice ... but critically focus on the people in the foreground. They are the primary point of interest, and even if the background is a little out of focus, it's doubtful that anyone will really care.
Also, a wide-angle lens will help you achieve your intended goal easier, but the trade-off will be smaller (more distant) background elements and possible distortion of the folks in the foreground.

- Bob Cammarata
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2: How to Shoot Portraits at an Angle?

I really like the technique some are doing by taking a portrait at an angle. Could someone tell me how to best go about doing this? I have a senior portrait shoot coming up and I want to incorporate some of these images.
- Beth McHenry

Hi Beth:
I would say the best way to go about doing so is to tilt your camera. Don't worry about always having the horizon line or other background feature level - just go with your artistic feeling and let go. You'll find that the more you play around with it, the more comfortable you'll like it and come up with your own techniques. I have had great responses with off-centered and tilted shots - they seem to sell more. Seniors love "out of the box" shots - especially angles.

- Debra Parker Chenault
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