The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, January 07, 2008
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Damaged/Bent Pin...
Q&A 2: Signature Layer...
Q&A 3: Creating My Own C...
Q&A 1: Photographing t...
Q&A 2: Lighting Equipm...

"Rob's Sheppard's course was everything I hoped it would be and much, much more! His lessons were insightful, his assignments were challenging and his critiques insightful. He got me thinking 'outside the box' and challenged me to be a better photographer... I would highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to take their photography to the next level - Thanks Rob!" -student in Impact in Your Photographs: The Wow Factor online class

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Watch the Eyes! ... by Scott Stulberg
When photographing the face, make sure the eyes are critically sharp, advises pro instructor Scott Stulberg in a recent BetterBlog. "We are used to having things as sharp as possible in real life, so even in a two-dimensional form like a photograph, our mind wants that to be sharp too. So keep an eye on the eyes and make sure that you focus on them when photographing the face!"
Editor's Note: Scott Stulberg teaches several outstanding online classes here at, including Eye to Eye: Capturing the Face.

Featured Gallery
Melbourne Colours ...
© - Renee Doyle

Welcome to the 350th issue of SnapShot!

There's so much excitement at BetterPhoto, with the January session of online courses kicking off this Wednesday! We have an outstanding lineup of 4-week and 8-week courses, plus our year-long ClassTracks, See our school schedule... Need help finding the right course? Then phone for advice! Our Course Advisors are available toll free Monday - Friday 8am - 4pm Pacific Time at 1-888-586-7337. Or try our easy-to-use CourseFinder... Have you checked out our new cash contest? Enter today... for your chance at winning up to $1,000! ... And if you haven't read our BetterBlogs recently, now would be a good time - lots of recent entries. ... That's it for now. Enjoy your week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Take your photography - or Photoshop - to the next level in 2008! Our 4-week and 8-week courses start Wednesday (Jan. 9th) ... so enroll today! Make 2008 a photographic year to remember by joining one of BetterPhoto's outstanding year-long ClassTrack programs! Choose from four exciting options: Nature Photography, Photoshop, Making Money, and Customize Your Track. Upon completion, you get a 4-week class AND a Pro BetterPholio - both for free! Learn more... SnapShot is just one of BetterPhoto's free newsletters. We publish three other newsletters on photography and Photoshop. For details and to subscribe...

Photo Q&A

1: Damaged/Bent Pin
I was unable to load memory card into my Nikon D70, and discovered that one of the "pins" (in the memory card slot of camera) is bent, os much that loading memor card is impossible. Help!!! Can it be repaired and, if so, is it worth the expense?
- Celeste McWilliams
This is not an uncommon occurrence, Celeste. To answer your two questions:
- Can it be repaired? The answer is "yes." But, you'll have to send it back to Nikon for repair. This could take a while.
- Is it worth the expense? Now, this is only one man's opinion here ... but the D70 is rather old technology and the newer cameras are faster and have larger files/better quality, and are better built. A D200 can be found used (at a good price) and in good condition since the advent of the D300. The D200 and D300 are both quite superior in every way to the D70, and updating your camera is worth considering. This, obviously, depends on your budget and financial priorities. My daughter just had her D70 converted to a dedicated infrared camera ( and got the new D300. The D40x is also an excellent upgrade to your D70.
- Tony Sweet

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2: Signature Layer
I am wondering how I can create a signature in Photoshop CS3 using a wacom tablet that I can save and then use over and over by moving it into images.
- Cindy Goeddel
I think the easiest way would be to open a blank image and write your signature on a new, separate layer in it. And save it as a psd file so you can just open it when you need it and transfer the signature layer over.
- gregory la grange
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3: Creating My Own Copyright/Watermark
Can you give me step-by-step guidelines on how to create my own copyright/watermark for my photos. I would like to have a mark on the bottom of my photos when I send them off to printing companies ... I have Photoshop CS2. Thanks!
- Melissa A. Heinemann
There are a number of different ways to do this, including making a brush, writing an action, using a droplet, typing it in, dragging/dropping from a template, and probably a few I've not mentioned. And then there are combinations of these (using a layer style with type).
The key here is the implementation will depend on what you envision. Do you have an example of what you want it to look like? If so, I can tell you step-by-step how to do it.
- Richard Lynch

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Just to give you the option of re-using:
1. Create a new image at the size images normally come off your camera. Call it Copyright.
2. Choose the type tool.
3. Type in your copyright (©). As Cherylann said, press Alt, and then 0,1,6,9 to make the copyright symbol on a PC. On Mac, press Option+G. (I have instructions for copyright symbols here: Copyright Symbols).
4. Change the font and color.
5. Position the copyright.
6. Save the image to a safe place, like MyDocuments, or create a MyLibrary folder in the Photoshop program folder.
Now, whenever you need a copyright, you can open the image you want to copyright, open your Copyright image, be sure both can be seen on screen (tile the images), hold down the Shift key and then click-and-drag the type layer from the layers palette for the Copyright image to the image you want to apply the copyright to. Having the separate image in a unique place on your hard drive will allow you to create an action that will open the image and apply it for you with one click. You can also do this whole thing with scripting.

Options also include applying layer styles. For example, say you want the copyright to appear ghosted: apply a bevel and then reduce the Fill (Photoshop only - not Elements) to 0%. You'll see the image through the copyright.
If you apply the copyright and it isn't sized properly, use Transform (Edit>Transform for Photoshop) and Scale it. You can use the Shift key to be sure the scaling is proportional.
I hope that helps!
Richard Lynch

- Richard Lynch

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1: Photographing the Moon

I am a little bit confused. While shooting the full moon at night, I also wish to include the foreground details also. But giving more exposure, the moon is then overexposed. I can capture the moon itself well but photographing the moon with foreground details? How is that done? Thanks!
- Chandragopal Shroti

The problem you are facing is due to the large difference between the brightness of the moon and the darkness of the foreground. This exceeds the "dynamic range" of any film or digital chip made today. The system simply cannot properly capture the details of both the bright and dark areas simultaneously.
Since you can't darken the moon, you have two options: 1) You could add light to the foreground (using a flash, say) in order to bring the illumination of the foreground closer to that of the moon; or 2) You could take two exposures, one of the foreground with its proper exposure and another of the moon, and then blend the two.
While there are some promising future technologies that will increase the dynamic range of digital imaging chips, today there is no easy way to get that entire scene in one shot.

- Bob Fately
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2: Lighting Equipment: What Wattage?

I am in the process of trying to set up an 8 x 12 room in my house to take portraits and just getting ready to order the backdrops and lighting. I see wattage for 1800 and up. How would I know what I needed for that size room? I am hoping to find a lighting kit that is not too terribly expensive to start off but am lost on the wattage size for this room. It seems that most kits come with 3 lights. There is one window but it will be covered. Thank you!
- Debbie 

Hi Debbie,
There are several different types of light used for portraiture, and though they often discuss wattage with these pieces of equipment, the meaning is not always interchangeable. That makes things more difficult. For instance, if you choose to get strobes, which is a very good idea, the lights are measured in watt-seconds. This is because the lights only have a duration of about 1/1000th of a second, so a regular wattage rating would be meaningless. These lights are good because they don’t produce a lot of heat and because they stop action. I generally suggest that my students get a 600 watt-second light, and then when they need more lighting get a couple of 200 watt-seconds light. Alien Bee and Calumet are both good suppliers, in my experience. Others may differ because of their own experience.
These articles here at BetterPhoto may be helpful: and I also have articles about working with one strobe, making light panels, and making and lighting backgrounds. (Note: See BetterPhoto's articles page.)
You can also work with continuous lights. Many people like these because it is easier to see the light you are photographing. The problem is that unless you use very large lights with limited diffusion or a high ISO you will have to work with a tripod, and heat may be a problem. I have some of these lights, in 600 watt power levels, they could be used for portraits, but I wouldn’t do it. These lights are less expensive and they certainly have advantages for learning lighting. There are also fluorescent lights for photography. For several reasons, the biggest of which is color consistency, I don’t like these. You need less watts to get the same light, but the spectrum of the light isn’t continuous.
I should also mention that I teach a course here at BetterPhoto in beginning with lights. You can take the class with just clamp lights from Home Depot and learn what you might need for your purposes. I often help students select lights! The class is called Understanding the Tools of Lighting
Thanks, John Siskin

- John H. Siskin

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