The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, December 03, 2007
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Photographing Mot...
Q&A 2: Scanning Photos ...
Q&A 3: Greeting Cards: W...
Q&A 4: Which Image Editi...
Q&A 5: Arcsoft Camera Su...
Q&A 6: PhotoShop CS2 - B...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"Great teacher, great course! Jim Zuckerman is always reinforcing, timely, supportive, and honest with his feedback. This course is packed with useful techniques. Jim’s instructions are simple to follow, and his response to questions is often immediate. This is not just about Photoshop, because Jim wants you to begin with good images and use these lessons to make them better. ... Thank you, Jim, I'll be back for more!" -student in Jim Zuckerman's Creative Techniques in Photoshop





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THIS WEEK'S TIP
Creative Composition: Putting Your Feet to Work! ... by Kerry Drager
When it comes to simplifying a busy landscape or cityscape scene, a low-tech approach often produces high-level results. Sometimes the best technique is to photograph your subject by zooming in tighter. But, other times, the old-fashioned approach - physically moving forward - not only helps you isolate the scene's essential ingredients, but can also change the visual perspective to your creative advantage. In fact, "moving closer" is often the best advice for stronger wide-angle photos.
Not sure if walking - rather than zooming - will benefit your photo? Then give it a try and see what happens ... if nothing else, you'll get a little exercise in the process!
Editor's Note: Kerry Drager teaches two online courses here at BetterPhoto. See his Creative Light and Composition and Creative Close-ups.


   
Featured Gallery
Lights of Rome
© - Luca Diana

Welcome to the 345th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

What an exciting start to December! Our next online school session gets under way Wednesday (Dec. 5th) with an expanded schedule of courses. So get inspired, have fun and learn a lot this holiday season! ... We're really proud of our virtual classroom, by the way. If you haven't already, take a quick tour and see how our online courses work. ... Also, there's still time to win a BetterPhoto gift card - check out the details. ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss the info on our photography blogs, this week's Photo Tip, and BetterPhoto Radio. And, in the Q&A, instructor-author Richard Lynch offers excellent tips on Photoshop and Elements. ... That's it for now. Enjoy your holiday season photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our December online school is our best ever! We've added some great 8-week online courses to the schedule! Those classes - plus our 4-week offerings - kick off this Wednesday (Dec. 5th). Shop for the holidays online with Betterphoto.com and win a free $100.00 gift card. This drawing ends soon, so act now! More info... Have some spare time? Check out our frequently updated BetterBlogs: Instructor Insights, Digital Photo Blog, and the BetterPhoto Girls Blog!

Photo Q&A

1: Photographing Motion
I have a Nikon SLR D40 and I took some pictures of kids playing basketball. On camera LCD screen, the pics look good, but when I look at the pictures on computer the details of the kids are blurred. Any suggestions?
- Andray Stroud
ANSWER 1:
The blur is due to the shutter speed you used being too slow to freeze the motion of the players. You couldn't see it on the small on-camera screen because that screen simply cannot show much detail.
In order to get proper exposures with a faster shutter speed (where less light will get through the shutter) you need to either add more light (unlikely, since you'd need a really large bank of flashes to achieve that), let more light through the lens, or raise the sensitivity (ISO) of the imaging chip.
The amount of light coming through the lens is defined by the f-stop - smaller numbers mean the aperture is wider open and allowing more light in. If your lens was set at f8, for instance, then you could set it to f5.6 or f4 or whatever and the greater amount of light getting through the lens would counter the fact that the shutter is allowing less. If you are using your lens at its maximum aperture, then you could get a different lens that is faster - but now we're talking money.
The chip sensitivity is the other possibly approach - if you raise that then it will take less light to properly expose and so the camera can use a faster shutter speed. While higher ISO can lead to more noise (which looks a bit like grain) at least you might freeze the action.
As an aside, you might want to set the camera to aperture-preferred mode so that you can manually set the lens wide open and let the meter adjust the shutter speed accordingly. At least this way you will get the maximum shutter speed possible.
- Bob Fately
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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2: Scanning Photos
Many of my older pictures are taken on film. Recently I've purchased a digital camera and uploaded some of those pictures to my Web site as well. When I compare the quality of the film prints with the scans on the site, the film scans look a little fuzzy and less crisp than the original prints. Is this an issue with my monitor, my scanner or something else?
- Eric B. MillerSee Sample Photo - Turbine at sunset


ANSWER 1:
All scans are not created equal. You may be able to get a scan for a few dollars made on an inexpensive flatbed, or a high-end drum scan, and likely other options. The sharpness of the scan result might depend partially on what it was scanned on, and even the talents of the operator (depending on what they are operating).
All that aside, without knowing if you have a calibrated scanner, a calibrated monitor, considered color management options, how you are chosing to embed profiles or not, the question becomes more difficult to answer.
You may want to check out my From Monitor to Print course if several of these may be an issue. The course discusses all aspects of color management as well as resolution and more.
I hope that helps!
- Richard Lynch

See Richard Lynch's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=121428

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
ANSWER 2:
As Richard pointed out, the quality of scanned images varies depend on the type of scanner you use. Also, did you do any post-processing after you scanned the pictures? I also use a film scanner. I have to do some basic post-processing for every single scanned image - contrast, resize, sharpening. I have looked at your windmill picture. Maybe a little sharpening is necessary. Hope this helps.
- Andy 
ANSWER 3:
Dedicated 35mm film scanners tend to deliver a sharper scan. Flatbeds these days, especially from Epson, can do a decent job, if you don't demand extreme sharpness beyond about an 8 x 10. All scanners, however, require knowledgable, judicious use of Unsharp Mask in Photoshop or Elements.
- Doug Nelson
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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3: Greeting Cards: What Goes on Back?
For those of you who print and sell greeting cards, what do you put on the back? Your name? URL? Do you put a copyright on the photo itself? Or on the back? I'm making cards for my mother to send for Christmas. I want my name on them, but at the same time I don't want to be tacky about advertising on a Christmas card. Thanks!
- Pat Harry
ANSWER 1:
I put my name, my Web site URL and the title of the photo. (I use Photographer's Edge cards.)
- Carolyn Fletcher
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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4: Which Image Editing Program?
Hi all,
Just after some advice about which processing/editing program I should get. I have a really old Photoshop version and find it a bit annoying.
I want to know what everyone out there uses? What is the best version of Elements?. Isn't it just a simplified version of the regular Photoshop with a few more "fun" features?
I want something I can make good collages and frames around my pics with, but also adjust levels, etc., but something newer than what I have! Thanks!
- Ben F
ANSWER 1:
Ben,
I use Photoshop and Photoshop Elements depending on where I am and what I'm doing. I have many versions loaded at any given time because I teach (Elements 3 to 6 and Photoshop 7 to CS3). These are my preferences, and part of the reason I would suggest one or the other is that they are also widely used in the industry. What this means to you is broader availability of help, tutorials, books and courses (such as those I teach here at BetterPhoto!).
For most people, I suggest going with Elements unless you have specialized needs such as medical imaging, Web design, providing CMYK files, or advanced scripting needs. Elements is a powerful program that's great for all aspects of image editing.
Elements 6 is the newest version just out for PC, and it looks like Adobe will be picking up the slack on their Mac offering by releasing Elements for Mac sometime in 2008!
If you have specific questions, I'd be glad to answer them.
- Richard Lynch

See Richard Lynch's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=121428

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
ANSWER 2:
Ben, you may be able to upgrade for discounted price. So check with Adobe first if you decide on Elements - which is all you'll need ... it's great!
- Oliver Anderson
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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5: Arcsoft Camera Suite Vs. Photoshop Elements
I recently read Jim Miotke's book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Digital Photography, which is a really great and helpful book. Jim recommended starting with Photoshop Elements, but I currently have Arsoft Camera Suite that came with my Canon Powershot G6. Is there are a major differences between the two? Would it be worth it to upgrade to Photoshop Elements, or should I stick with the one I have for now? I should note that I still consider myself a beginner. I'm really interested in learning how to take great photos without much digital editing, but I'm also very interested in graphic art/design. Thanks in advance for your help. :o)
- Jennifer H. White
ANSWER 1:
Jim may have a somewhat different answer, but my take is this:
If there is nothing you are yearning to do with image editing that you can't already do with your image editing package, don't look to upgrade or change it. While it may be easiest to learn a more popular package, learning what you have may prove educational and can give you a broader perspective on editing. All packages are not the same and can't do the exact same things.
That said, I don't use ArcSoft, but I hear it is a good package. Elements is generally all you will need ... that I'm sure of, since I've written 3 books about it! I hope that helps!
- Richard Lynch

See Richard Lynch's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=121428

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
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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6: PhotoShop CS2 - Blur
How do you soften/blur the edges of a picture? I usually select the middle of my picture, and then inverse and blur. The problem is you can see the oval outline and it does not look natural. Thanks for your help.
- Missy P
ANSWER 1:
Feather it so the edges aren't defined.
- gregory la grange
ANSWER 2:
Gregory's suggestion to feather the selection will work if you just want to blur the edge. The steps following your method are:
1. Make your selection.
2. Invert your selection.
3. Choose Select>Modify>Feather and feather the selection (you will use more feathering for larger images.)
4. Blur

A similar way to do this depends more on layers:
1. Make your selection
2. Invert your selection
3. Copy and Paste.
4. Blur.

One of the advantages you have here is that the change you are making ends up on a separate layer, you can reduce the opacity (to make it act more like a soft-focus effect, for example), change modes, mask, and apply other adjustments to the blurred or original areas independently.
Another of the many great uses for layers. I show many more in my course:
Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool

- Richard Lynch

See Richard Lynch's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=121428

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
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

Answer this question:

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