The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, September 24, 2007
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Lighting for Fami...
Q&A 2: Which Lens for Ph...
Q&A 3: How to Warm a Por...
Q&A 4: Film Scanning Iss...
Q&A 1: What Format to ...


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THIS WEEK'S TIP
Changing Color Space on Camera ... by Richard Lynch
Many DSLR cameras have more than one color space (reflecting the gamut of color it can capture). You can change this based on what you establish as a workflow and how you want to handle color. You will want to consult your manual to find out how to make the change. Let's look at how to change color space on a Nikon D70 as an example:
1. Press the Menu button on the left of the camera back.
2. Scroll down to Shooting Menu and press the right arrow.
3. Scroll to Optimize Image and press the right arrow.
4. Scroll to Custom and press the right arrow.
5. Scroll to Color Mode and press the right arrow.
6. Scroll to your desired space.
7. Click the right arrow to accept.
The color space you choose should be one that you can incorporate logically into your workflow.
Editor's Note: For more information on developing a complete color workflow, see Richard Lynch's excellent online course: From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow


   
Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 335th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

What exciting times at BetterPhoto as September winds down! The 3rd Annual BetterPhoto Summit in Chicago wraps up the month, and, next week, we look forward to the October 3rd launch of another outstanding session of online photo courses. See BetterPhoto's Fall school schedule! ... Can't decide? Check out our cool CourseFinder. ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss our usual features, including an excellent photo tip ("Changing Color Space on Camera") by instructor Richard Lynch. ... That's it for now. Have a great week of photography, and for those attending the Summit, I'll see you in Chicago!!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our online classes are so much fun and you learn a lot in a short time! See our school schedule of photography and Photoshop courses. For inspiring thoughts and great photo tips, read our regularly updated BetterBlogs! Our newly updated Deluxe and Pro BetterPholios are great ways to show - or sell - your photography. Plus, our new monthly newsletter for BetterPholio owners offers tips and updates. Compare the options...

Photo Q&A

1: Lighting for Family Portrait
I will be taking a family portrait and would love any tips I could get. I plan to do the sitting at 6-6:30 pm. Would I do best using side-lighting? Or backlighting? This will be my first job :) Do you usually use a tripod when doing outdoor portraits?
- Julie C. Martin
ANSWER 1:
You don't mention the number of people in this portrait, and that would make a difference. The more faces you have to watch, the more consistent the lighting needs to be. I use a tripod for 95% of any portraits that I do. It's just one less thing that could move to ruin a good image.
I prefer side-lighting, if the group is small enough. Backlighting is good if you have the ability to provide some soft frontal lighting - reflectors or even a flash.
Try both methods, you might be surprised!
- Kim Schultz
ANSWER 2:
There will be a total of 6 people. Then I will do some shots with just the parents and just the kids. Thanks for your advice. I will try both lighting situations.
- Julie C. Martin
ANSWER 3:
Yes, side or backlighting to prevent squinting. A reflector or fill-flash can open up shadows. Bracket your exposures. Shoot Raw if you can, and as many exposures as possible.
Try to avoid them standing side-by-side in a dull row. Sit a few down, with others behind them. Maybe one crouching next to a chair, and another bending over a bit. Make 'em come alive in the pic, like let 'em toast the central figure. Or you, the camera. Make 'em DO something!
If it's a festive occasion, you could bring a couple of confetti shooters (party shop?): you shoot one so that it falls into the frame from above and lands on the group and you expose while it does ... preferably with a sequential setting of 3fps or higher speeds. Hopefully, your camera's buffer allows that.
Tripod is a given, unless flash is the main light source. After composing and focusing, a tripod allows you to stand beside the camera and watch carefully for how the scene unfolds, like facial expressions - with your finger on the button to expose instantly.
Good luck!
- W. Smith
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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2: Which Lens for Photographing Kids and Families?
Hi! I'm looking for a new lens and am wondering which lens is your favorite, and why. I typically photograph kids and families with my Nikon D50. Thanks!
- Jean H. De Buren
ANSWER 1:
My favorite lens for shooting children and families (basically candids at varying distances) would be my Sigma 24-70/2.8 EX zoom. On my particular cameras (Sigma SD10/SD14), the lens is equivalent to a 40-120mm lens. That is a good range for portraiture, and the zoom lens lets you move around a little rather than being in people's faces. The large aperture also lets your camera focus very quickly even in low light, and isolates the subject from the background.
Now, if I'm just taking portraits of an adult who will do what I tell them, I pick a different lens. Maybe a prime, or maybe a longer zoom. Or...???
- John Clifford
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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3: How to Warm a Portrait
I would like to be able to warm up my portraits with a haze/softening effect. I'm shooting a Canon Rebel Xti and processing using Photoshop Elements 4. How can I achieve that effect?
- Mike King
ANSWER 1:
You could duplicate your background layer, and then, on the new layer, add a Gaussian blur to soften and adjust your color balance to enhance yellow and red to warm. The advantage of doing the adjustment on a seperate layer is that you can fine-tune the effect by lowering the opacity of the layer or even mask out the effect on portions of the photo if you desire. Alternatively, Nik Color EFX filters have a Midnight filter that both warms and blurs.
Bill
- William Schuette
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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4: Film Scanning Issue
Hi! Today I got a roll of Velvia 100 slide film developed and scanned. On the light table, the transparency looked great. The colours were so vivid. But when I got the CD home, the digital images were very ordinary. They were scanned at 6.4mb JPEGs. Should I be asking for something different? Thanks!
- Steve Fels
ANSWER 1:
Steve,
Next time, ask for them to save TIFF files out of the scanner. Then use your software program to make adjustments in contrast, saturation and sharpness to get closer to the quality of the original slide. If scanning slides is something you plan to do often, you may wish to invest in a good scanner and do them yourself.
Bob
- Bob Cammarata
ANSWER 2:
Slides in general are harder to scan. Velvia is known to be a challenge for the scanner operator. Sometimes the blacks or whites are clipped so that some tonal information is lost. Set the scanner to return as close to a Raw image as possible. Apply no contrast or brightness in the scan. Scan as a high bit TIFF (the files will be huge), and do tonal/contrast and color balance in Photoshop or Elements.
- Doug Nelson
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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1: What Format to Save?

I was wondering which format is best for saving your images for print.
- Debra K. Jensen

ANSWER 1:
You could get 50 different responses, and they all can be correct. You didn't give us a lot of information, like: Are you printing at home or at a lab, what kind of camera do you use (film, DSLR, P&S...) and what file type you use to shoot?
My workflow (for what it's worth) is like this:
I mostly shoot Raw (Canon DSLR), sometimes JPEG. I save (move the files from the card to the hard drive) the original files whether Raw or JPEG. I then open the image on which I am going to be working, do whatever processing is needed, then save as a PSD. I tend to save it with layers, so I can go back and do adjustments as needed without starting over. I then flatten the image, crop if necessary, then save as a JPEG at level 10. The JPEG is uploaded to my lab's site, and I order the print(s).
There are variations, to be sure, but this is basically my workflow. I have yet to see an issue where a JPEG is saved as the final print file and it didn't print as well as a TIFF (or other file format). Without getting into what a JPEG can withstand, simply save a copy of your finished image as a JPEG at 10 or higher compression level (lowest compression rate) and you should be fine. If you need to make further changes, you have the working version saved as a PSD or TIFF that you can go back to.
Again, I am not saying this is the correct workflow, but it is the one that works for me!

- David A. Bliss

ANSWER 2:
My camera is a Digital Rebel xt. I use Photoshop 7, and I use mpix for printing. You have already been so much help. Thank you.

- Debra K. Jensen

ANSWER 3:
With the xt, you have the option of shooting Raw or JPEG. I am not going to tell you which is best, since each has its upside and downside. Regardless of which you use, be sure to save the original file. If shooting JPEG, never save over the original. Keep it as an "electronic negative."
My suggestion is to save the working file as PSD. There are two reasons. First, JPEG does have some loss when saved, and it can show when saved multiple times. Again, I won't go into the whole JPEG argument, but why not save with a compressionless file format? Second, PSD is the native file type of Photoshop. There is no chance of conflict or misinterpretation of data when opening and saving the file. You can work on it and save it as many time as you like, and the only damage to the file will be your processing. Processing an image can be considered "destructive," simply because of the act of manipulating pixels. It is not a bad thing, unless it causes visible issues. But that is another discussion... ;-)

- David A. Bliss
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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