The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, July 16, 2007
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Lighting Equipmen...
Q&A 2: How to Pose Wiggl...
Q&A 3: Flash Lag...
Q&A 4: Solutions for Fla...
Q&A 5: Flash - Diffuser...
Q&A 6: Advantage of Raw ...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"Charlotte is a great instructor, very patient and very accessible... She's enthusiastic and delivers nicely written and organized lessons... Charlotte managed to answer our questions promptly and thoroughly in the class forum section. I feel my editing skills, knowledge of RAW and the histogram have greatly increased. I would highly recommend this class to anyone that needs step by step techniques of editing in RAW." -student in Charlotte Lowrie's RAW Shooting: From Capture to Finished Photo course





NEW COURSE: ONLINE AUCTION PHOTO BASICS
Learn how to take quality pictures of your eBay or other auction items using any digital camera, without expensive equipment, and without previous photo education - a 4-week online course by photographer-author Jenni Bidner. Learn more...


NEW COURSE: DIGITAL BLACK AND WHITE PRINTING
Learn how to print beautiful black and white images in the digital darkroom. Note: This is the updated 4-week version of George Schaub's excellent 8-week Digital Black and White course.


BP RADIO: TUNE IN FOR TIPS & INSIGHTS!
BetterPhoto Radio is on the air - Fridays at 1 p.m. Pacific time. Listen to Jim Miotke interview BP's pro instructors and also BP members!
ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS IN SNAPSHOT
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Learn More...

THIS WEEK'S TIP
Get Exciting Colors in 'Boring' Light! ... by Kerry Drager
A solid overcast sky makes a great white canopy that produces beautifully soft and even light. But not all photographers appreciate it, especially when they're planning to shoot sweeping scenics with dramatic early or late-day sunlight. Still, working in overcast or fog can be a big photographic benefit - assuming you narrow your viewpoint, minimize the amount of bright sky (or leave it out of the composition altogether), and choose smaller scenes and intimate subjects (i.e., people and pet portraits, flowers, architectural details, etc.).
By the way, I frequently use a polarizer on overcast days. It doesn't always work but when it does, the polarizer reduces glare while boosting colors. Give it a try for reflective surfaces such as wood, painted metal, water, glass, foliage, wet rocks, etc.
Have fun getting out and capturing colors on "drab" days!Editor's Note: Kerry Drager teaches two online courses here at BetterPhoto: Creative Close-ups and Creative Light and Composition


   
Featured Gallery
The Golden City
© - Lisa M. Jones

Welcome to the 325th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

Our Summer online photography and Photoshop classes are off to a great start! But if you are still kicking yourself for not signing up, then you need to check out these fine possibilities: 8-week courses and 4-week courses. ... Looking ahead: We have so many inspiring - and informative - presentations lined up for the photo event of the year: 2007 BetterPhoto Summit! ... Our online photography courses are so awesome, and let us prove it: Preview a class for free... Plan your photo getaway with BetterPhoto's frequently updated Trip Planner. ... That's it for now. Enjoy your week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our very cool BetterPhoto CourseFinder will help you choose the online photography or Photoshop course that's best for you! ... Also, check out the courses by category! BetterPhoto offers very sleek Web sites for photographers. Our new monthly newsletter for BetterPholio owners is filled with tips and updates, with the latest edition describing the exciting new design options! Learn more... Read BetterPhoto's Instructor Insights blogs for thoughts on photography or Photoshop. Recent subjects: "Wide Angle Lenses Create Strong Foregrounds" and "Natural Light for Outdoor Portraits" ... both by Jim Zuckerman.

Photo Q&A

1: Lighting Equipment for Weddings
I am a part-time wedding photographer ... generally shooting about 15 events a year. I currently use a Canon 5D as well as several L series lenses. I have been looking into adding some new lighting equipement, such as to use during the reception, first dance, etc. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to get? Thank you.
- Christina Sandberg
ANSWER 1:
Hi Christina,
One thing about shooting weddings, time is critical. With most jobs, if I take an extra 15 minutes on a shot, no one has a problem, but this won’t fly at a wedding. (This is one reason I no longer shoot weddings.) Regardless, the best thing is to stick with equipment that will work with the TTL system in your camera. The best strobe for this is probably the Canon 580, I think it is now the 580 EX 2. Check out the Quantum Turbo battery pack - you’ll be able to recycle in about a second. If the 580 isn’t enough power for you, look at the Quantum Qflash TTL X5DR, more power and still a TTL strobe. One of the great things about the TTL strobes is that they do flash fill automatically. Flash fill can look great, and these systems keep it simple and easy.
Good Luck, John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=158091

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
Understanding Professional Lighting
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
4-Week Short Course: Building Better Photographs with Strobes
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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2: How to Pose Wiggly Toddlers
I am going to be doing my first session with someone who I am not personal friends with. I am wondering if anyone has any tips and tricks for getting wiggly little toddlers to sit still for their portrait? Also what are some good ways to get kids you don't know to warm up for their photograph ... so they don't look horribly unnatural???
Thanks,
Ruth
- Ruth S. Ueland
ANSWER 1:
A ball. It's that simple, really. You have them sit and watch your magic show. You toss it up turn and it falls. It is funny every time. I also sing silly songs they might know and add their names (add funny animals to Mcdonald's farm). If they are a little bit too young for that, bubbles are silly. To keep them sitting still, you have to be their entertainment to stare at. I recommend some serious caffeine before you start! Good luck.
- Katie Parks
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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3: Flash Lag
There seems to be about 5-10 seconds between shots when I use my flash with my Canon XTI. Is it something I am doing or is there a way to use the flash faster?
- Cassandra  Ann Smith
ANSWER 1:
Wow, I don't have that problem with my Canon Rebel 300D ... unless the batteries are dying. I purchased a Duracell 15-minute battery charger and I replace my batteries OFTEN. I need to pick up a few more sets of rechargable batteries so I can shoot, shoot, shoot with only small breaks to change the batteries.
- Cherylann Collins
ANSWER 2:
If you're referring to the built-in flash, yes, that's normal and not there's nothing you can do to speed it up. If you're using an accessory flash in the hot shoe, stop using alkaline batteries and switch instead to NiMH rechargeables, or Lithium batteries. Alkalines gradually lose voltage over time, where the rechargeables remain level until exhausted. Alkalines also have greater internal resistance and so cannot provide as much current.
- Jon Close
ANSWER 3:
Hi Cassandra,
Strobes make a lot of light and so they use a lot of energy. The strobe uses a capacitor to store up enough power to make the strobe work. There are a number of battery solutions that work well. In addition to those mentioned, you may be able to use a high-voltage battery pack, such as the Quantum Turbo. This will allow you to use the strobe at about 1 second intervals. Unfortunately, these units are expensive, but they do work very well. You might check the Quantum Web site to see if they have a power pack for your strobe: http://www.qtm.com/.
Thanks, John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=158091

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
Understanding Professional Lighting
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
4-Week Short Course: Building Better Photographs with Strobes
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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4: Solutions for Flash
I am having some issues with not having a dedicated flash and trying to work with the one my Canon XTi has. I have tried adding on different materials to soften the flash, but I would like to reflect it in different directions. HELP! Does anyone have any solutions?
- Cassandra  Ann Smith
ANSWER 1:
The most you can do is diffuse the flash though paper or translucent plastic, DIY or this ready made product: LumiQuest Soft Screen. It it not worth trying to bounce flash with the built-in. it doesn't provide enough power.
- Jon Close
ANSWER 2:
What is DIY? I am concerned because I am doing a home birth, and if it happens at night, I am not going to have much light. I don't want to disrupt the natural flow of things either.
- Cassandra  Ann Smith
ANSWER 3:
DIY = do it yourself. Your solution is to buy a flash with a swivel head, or use a high ISO and the room lights.
- Gregory La Grange
ANSWER 4:
I've used ISO 800 on the XTi with very good results. There is barely any noise compared to using high ISOs with the original Rebel or any point & shoot camera.

Chris Vedros

- Chris A. Vedros
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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5: Flash - Diffuser
I have a Canon Digital Rebel with a 420 EX flash. Using a diffuser, I find I have to open up at least two stops and use an ISO of at least 200. Is this normal? Thanks for your insight.
- moore White
ANSWER 1:
Yes, Moore, this is to be expected, since the diffuser, by design, is spreading the light output of the flash tube to a greater degree. The tube produces a certain amount of light; if you diffuse, or spread, that light out, then it's like "diluting" the strength. You must compensate for this by opening the lens, etc.
- Bob Fately
ANSWER 2:
Hi Moore,
Anytime you bounce your strobe off a wall, ceiling or umbrella you lose light. And you spread the light you have over a larger area. If you spread your light through a diffuser, you lose light. This is why more powerful light sources are so useful: you can get a lot of light and it will be diffused. Thanks, John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=158091

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
Understanding Professional Lighting
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
4-Week Short Course: Building Better Photographs with Strobes
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

Answer this question:



6: Advantage of Raw format
Can someone explain in "ol fogey" terms just what is the advantage of shooting in RAW format vs jpg?

Though I am experienced in film photography & darkroom procedures, and am able to operate many of the features of the new cameras, I am still new to some of the digital aspects, like RAW.

Is it mainly for editing purposes on the computer, or does it actually produce a better quality print?

Also-
Which is the better file format to save photos on the computer for printing?

Which is best for uploading to website contests, and maintaining the best possible image quality?

- Daniel Lindquist
ANSWER 1:
A RAW file is an "as is" recording from the sensor. It requires post-processing to adjust color/contrast/sharpness/etc. before saving as a JPG file for display or printing. Cameras are extremely limited in their programming and processing abilities compared to a typical computer and imaging software. Plus, the automated routines can only guess at what is the subject and how the photographer wants it rendered. So instead of just taking the compromised JPG as processed by the camera, you can instead work directly with the original uncompressed unprocessed image file.
- Jon Close
ANSWER 2:
Better color grades. More bytes for color gradation in Raw. And Raw files handle anything you do with Photoshop much better. One quick way to see that is to do some over-sharpening with a converted Raw and JPEG of the same picture. Nutshell version.
If you wanted the best you can get out of your picture, shoot Raw, convert and print and upload as a TIFF. Would you notice in your prints? Maybe not, because your size of the print, low ISO, what you did to the file, and other stuff come into play.
Would you not get chosen because a particular picture came in as a JPEG? Maybe not for the same reasons. But raw is getting the most from your picture.
- Gregory La Grange
ANSWER 3:
Oh, PS: The format of Raw files is proprietary to the camera makers, and they often update/change it with each new model. So the best format to submit images for printing, Web display, and contests is as JPEG.
- Jon Close
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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