The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, October 22, 2007
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Pictures on Bri...
Q&A 2: Resizing Digita...
Q&A 3: Shooting Sports...
Q&A 4: Digital Camera ...
Q&A 5: D-SLR vs. Compa...

"Thank you, Vik! This has been an amazing course! Not only have you been a wonderful mentor, but you have inspired me to keep pursuing my dream of turning this passion into a business. I can't thank you enough for your time and your encouragement. I learned more than I ever thought I would in 8 weeks, and I am chomping at the bit to take another one of your courses!" -student in Vik Orenstein's Photographing Children online class, with the next session kicking off Oct. 31st

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Photographing Action Subjects ... by Jim Zuckerman
"When you are shooting action subjects," says top pro Jim Zuckerman, "never take your eye away from the viewfinder, or you run the risk of missing a special moment that will never be repeated. This applies to photographing children at play, sports or wildlife, or anything else that moves and changes quickly. Too often, I’ve seen photographers miss a peak action shot and then remove their eyes from the viewfinder to complain about it. A second or two later, something else happens that’s great and that picture is missed as well."
Editor's Note: Jim Zuckerman teaches a number of terrific courses here at BetterPhoto, including Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography and Perfect Digital Exposure - with a special school session starting Oct. 31st!

Featured Gallery
Fall is here
© - Khawla S. Haddad

Welcome to the 339th issue of SnapShot!

Awesome news at BetterPhoto! If you're still kicking yourself for missing the start of our Fall online school, you're in luck. We've added a special 8-week session that gets under way on October 31st! ... Need help finding the course that's right for you? Then phone for advice! Our Course Advisors are available toll free Monday - Friday 8am - 4pm Pacific Time at 1-888-586-7337. Or you may want to try our very cool CourseFinder... Also, our newest feature - BetterPhoto Clubs - has become a big hit. Learn more about creating, or joining, a BP photo club... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss instructor Jim Zuckerman's excellent tip on shooting action. ... That's it for now. Have a great week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Good news! We've added a new session of outstanding 8-week online photo classes - starting soon! See the schedule of classes... Our online photography and Photoshop classes are so much fun, and you learn a lot in a short time. See our 4-week school schedule! If you haven't recently, be sure to check out the BetterBlogs and Articles sections of BetterPhoto. Both areas have been updated with recent entries from Kevin Moss, John Siskin, Jim Zuckerman, and other pro instructors!

Photo Q&A

1: Pictures on Bright Sunny Days

Hi. I went to a car show on a beautiful sunny day. I took some pictures and I didn't like the way most of them came out. They were either too bright and washed out, or too dark with had lots of shadows. I adjusted and fine-tuned the ISO, White Balance, exposure mode. It helped a little. I didn't have a Circular Polarizer or a hood. Would either have helped me? Thanks!
- Jessica  Wright

A polarizer would have helped a bit in reducing the glare and would saturate your colors. What I believed happened with your photos is that since it was so bright outside, your camera was trying to compensate for it for making the image darker so it wouldn't be washed out (sky would be exposed properly) but the cars would be dark, and vice versa, the cars would be exposed perfect and the sky blown out. I would look for a graduated ND filter, in order to expose for the cars (assuming they are in shadow), with the sky being knocked down a few stops. Hope that helps!

- Julie M. Paney

Hello Jessica,
I don't want to rain on your parade, but photographing automobiles in bright sunlight presents a very real challenge ... specular reflections not being the least of the difficulties. Automobiles run the gambit in exposure latitude, from black tires to VERY bright chrome. Few cameras can handle such an extreme unless you want to do a LOT of work.
All the best,

- Pete Herman
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2: Resizing Digital Photos?

Set up: when you download your newly shot photos onto your computer and then open them up in Photoshop, I go into Image size to resize for best resolution quality. My question is: What's the best way to resize Rebel XTI's digital files when going through this process? Is it necessary at all? The images are in a Raw format at this moment, and I had planned to do my edits and then saving as a JPEG. Is that part correct as well? Thanks!
- Amanda  M. Freese

I would not start working with an image by resizing it. Your images come off the camera with a pixel count (e.g., 3000x2000 or whatever) and that is the real resolution of the camera. The ppi (number of pixels per inch) is really an arbitrary thing - at 72 ppi, 300 ppi or 3000ppi, the image will have the same resolution in pixel count (as long as you don't resample). The ppi just defines how you expect it will be used.
I'd leave the ppi alone and make adjustments to the image (color correction, white and black point correction, dust fixes, small object removal, cropping, etc. see my Correct and Enhance Your Images course. Then worry about resolution at the end, after you know what the purpose of the image is and what output you will be using (these concerns are covered in my From Monitor to Print course, along with helping you iron out color management and calibration issues).
I would NOT save working versions of your image as JPEG for 2 reasons:
1) JPEG will not allow you to save Layered corrections (for the importance of layers, see my Leveraging Layers class).
2) JPEG will degrade in quality with multiple saves - even at highest quality. PSD formats and others like TIFF have compression without loss, while allowing you to save layered corrections.
Now that I've plugged almost every class I do here on BetterPhoto (;-) I hope I also actually answered the question!

- Richard Lynch

See Richard Lynch's Premium BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Richard Lynch:
4-Week Short Course: Photoshop 101: The Photoshop Essentials Primer
4-Week Short Course: From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow
4-Week Short Course: Correct and Enhance Your Images

Oh you have, and I'm glad for the plugs, because I'm enrolling right now. Thanks so much!

- Amanda  M. Freese
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3: Shooting Sports: How to Prevent Blur?

I took pics of football last night - with my setting on "sports". I have never seen such a mess! What did I do wrong? Everything was a blur. Please help!

Joan, when you put your camera on "sports" setting, all the camera is doing to attempting to give you a shutter speed fast enough to stop action. If your light levels are not high enough, it won't do you any good. Another possible problem is the fact that you were shooting at night. Because you are shooting under lights while the rest of the night is surrounded in darkness, your meter does not handle it well. I suggest going on the field if possible, or as close as possible and getting a reflected meter reading off someone close to you, or simply by holding your hand in front of your lens about 6 inches and meter from that, then use manual mode. Make sure that the light hitting your hand is the same as what is reflecting from the players.

- Dennis Flanagan

I was using XTI 400D, ISO 100, lens EF75-300mm and also tried the 18-55mm lens. It seem to take better pics on auto but was very dark, I have not had this camera very long at all. I have never done manual settings before, but it looks like I really have a lot to learn. Thanks


First off, don’t get discouraged. Action photography is tough at best - especially at night at a high school football stadium.
ISO 100 will not usually do it with night action photography, even with a 2.8 lens. You have to crank up the ISO to 400, 800, 1600, etc., depending on the lighting. Most high school stadiums are not lit well at all, which creates major problems for photogs. A flash can help - but, depending on where you are shooting, may not be advisable. A monopod will help, but they take some time to get used to. I hope this helps.

- Todd Bennett

P.S. High ISO = noise. You have to be aware of that. You have to decide between the amount of noise, blur, etc., that is acceptable. All of this depends on your intended use.

Editor's Note: Also check out two excellent courses: Basics of Sports Photography and Photographing Fast-Action Sports with a Digital SLR.

- Todd Bennett
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4: Digital Camera for Temporary Storage?

Hello: I need to transfer a few non-photo files between computers, and I don't have a flash card at the moment. Is it OK to use a digital camera with its flash card as a temporary transfer device, or is there potential for damage?
- Jody W. Hanley

I think I'd take the time to drive to (insert your favorite electronics shop here) and spend 40 bucks on a San Disk 2gb flash drive and not risk it. Best Buy has 2gb PNY's for 25 bucks.

- Todd Bennett

Yes, you can use the camera's flash card as transfer memeory, but I agree with Todd. Thumb drives are too cheap and convenient to not use.

- Jon Close
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5: D-SLR vs. Compact Digital: Image Quality

I have a Nikon D200 and a Canon Powershot S5 IS. The D200 image size is 12.907 inches by 8.64 inches at 300 ppi. The Canon's image size is 18.133 inches by 13.6 inches at 180 ppi. When I downsize the images from the Canon to 12 inches by 9 inches at 272 ppi, the quality is not as good as the D200. Why is there a difference in quality?

P.S.: I also have a Nikon D70 and it also has better image quality than the Canon. The D70 is 6.1 megapix and the Canon is 8 megapixels. Thanks in advance.

- Karen Slagle

The D-SLRs have better image quality because they have much larger digital sensors. The sensors in the D200 and D70 are 23.7mm x 15.6mm, while the sensor in the S5 IS is a tiny 5.93mm x 4.46mm. Even at the same or fewer total megapixels, the larger sensors will capture greater dynamic range with far less digital "noise".

- Jon Close

The larger sensor is part of it, but also the image quality is not directly correlatable with pixel (photosite) count.
First, if you're making a print, always set your print to the printer's native resolution, or an evenly divisible portion thereof. For instance, I have an Epson R300 that has a native resolution of 720 dots per inch (dpi). I generally print at 360 dpi and will down- or up-rez my image to get the pixel count I need. I use bicubic sharper for down-rezzing, and (preferably) Lanczos or bicubic smoother for up-rezzing. (You don't want to use bicubic sharper for uprezzing because it adds sharpening artifacts that get very visible as you resize.)
Another factor with the small-sensor digicam is that the lens is diffraction-limited at a much lower aperture than on a D-SLR. Your D200 is diffraction-limited between f/11 and f/16, while your Canon digicam is diffraction-limited by f/5.6!
The third factor is the quality of the lens. A good D-SLR lens (not the "kit" lenses that many D-SLRs ship with) provides a very high-quality image that is noticeable on larger prints.
When printing at 4x6, I can't tell a difference between my 6 MP Fuji F30 and my D-SLR. Once I get to 5x7 the difference is there... and it is really apparent on an 8x10.

- John Clifford
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