The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, February 25, 2008
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Using a Pentax F...
Q&A 2: Portrait Photogra...
Q&A 3: Infrared Effects ...
Q&A 4: Metering in Studi...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"This has been such an outstanding course - excellent! I would highly recommend it to anyone interested it moving up the next few notches in people photography. I would take another lesson from Scott in a second. Thanks so much for the great experience!" -student in Scott Stulberg's Eye to Eye: Capturing the Face





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THIS WEEK'S TIP
Make Money with Your Photos ... by Jim Zuckerman
"It is extremely fulfilling to earn money with your passion", says top pro Jim Zuckerman in his Feb. 24th Instructor Insights blog. "The pictures that sell donít have to be from far away places. They can be taken in your neighborhood, in your backyard, or even at the grocery store. ... Once you push yourself to take the plunge and put your work into the marketplace, itís exciting to reap the rewards".
Editor's Note: Learn more in Jim Zuckerman's excellent Making Money with Your Photography course.


   
Featured Gallery
Dawn-Portland Headlight
© - Alan L. Borror

Welcome to the 357th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

As February winds down, we are gearing up for an awesome March online school session. In fact, now's the time to take your photography - or Photoshop - to the next level! See our outstanding 8-week classes and 4-week courses. ... School begins March 5th, but if you need help deciding, then check out our very cool CourseFinder. And, don't forget: We offer payment plans for all classes. ... Congratulations to the January winners of BetterPhoto's first monthly Cash Photo Contest! To enter the current contest... That's it for now. Have a great week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our awesome online photography courses give you personal interaction with successful professionals and published authors! We have a variety of photography and Photoshop classes for all skill levels.See our school schedule... With purchase in our awesome yearlong ClassTracks program, you receive a free Pro BetterPholio, and upon completion, you qualify for an additional free 4-week course! Learn more... Check out BetterPhoto's daily dose of visual inspiration, plus our PhotoFlash and Digital Darkroom monthly publications. These newsletters are free! See the subscription page...

Photo Q&A

1: Using a Pentax Flash on a Canon Camera
I would like to know if I can use a Pentax AF-360FGZ flash on a 20D camera? Thanks.
- Linda Bukovac
ANSWER 1:
If it fits the hot shoe and the contacts line up, then it doesn't have to be in a dedicated mode. If it has manual or simple auto functions, you can.
- gregory la grange
ANSWER 2:
Hi Linda,
what Greg says is right: it CAN work. But it's a pain! The 20D is a good camera, and it deserves a matching flashgun. Why don't you have a look at Ebay for an affordable Canon Speedlite? Have fun!
- W. Smith
ANSWER 3:
I concur. Just get a Canon-compatible speedlight. Still, the AF 360FGZ will work in its manual output (1/1, 1/2 ...) or non-TTL AUTO mode. Set the 20D for Av or M mode so that you can manually coordinate the ISO and aperture setting with the AF-360FGZ. Flash exposure compensation is possible by varying the ISO and aperture from the camera's settings. You'll have to set the speedlight's zoom manually to match your lens. Other features such as AF assist light, high speed flash sync, 2nd curtain sync, etc., will not be enabled.
- Jon Close
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2: Portrait Photography
I was asked to do some headshots for a Realtor for his business cards (in addition to photographing his home). I will have a Nikon D100 and an SB-80 Speedlight. Should I bring along my tripod? How can I avoid shadows if I photograph him against a wall? What settings should I use? help!! :)
- Rebecca C. Barnini
ANSWER 1:
Hello Rebecca,
"How can I avoid shadows if I photograph him against a wall?"
Answer: Don't photograph him against a wall. If there's enough light, shoot the pic without flash. Meter directly from his skin tone, set camera on manual, back up, re-compose and shoot.
Unless you are shooting slow shutter speeds for the house (you didn't say interior or exterior), you don't need a tripod.
All the best,
Pete
- Pete ****
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3: Infrared Effects in Photoshop Elements
Is it possible to create an infrared effect in Elements? All the tutorials I've found online suggest using a channel mixer, which from my understanding is only available in Photoshop CS2.
- Sara Shortt
ANSWER 1:
Sara,
You can mix channels in Elements, you just need to know how to separate them as layers and how to use calculations. You don't say what version of Elements you have, but I have free tools on my site and other tool sets that may help. See: hiddenelements.com
Conversions are not 1-to-1 when you don't capture infrared light in the first place. Converted digital cameras can do a good job depending on the model. You'll need a filter as well, and some patience. Purely digital conversions often rely heavily on the red channel and perhaps even invert the blue, but there is often a lot to what shots you are trying it with and what type of IR you are trying to imitate.
- Richard Lynch

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4: Metering in Studio
Hi There,
I would like to know if the camera meter has any effect on the final image. Is there a particular setting a 30D should be on? I have heard that your working aperture is measured from the main light? Also when using a bowens gemini kit 5600k, should I manually set the white balance to 5600K or leave it on auto WB? Any help with this is greatly appreciated. I'm a bit confused!
- Jax 
ANSWER 1:
Hi Jax,
Better yet, donít buy a meter. The students I have often use the meter to make bad photographs. Meters do not tell you how to set your lights; your eye and the proof image from the camera, or an image with the camera tethered to the computer can tell you how to set the lights.
The key is to see the quality of the light, hard or soft, and the relative values of light in the shot. You have to really look at the image to see this. The meter will not tell you very much about value and less about light quality. The histogram helps as well. Here is some information from my Understanding the Tools of Photography Lighting course here at BetterPhoto.
In teaching this class, I keep trying to find ways to say that you have moved into the land BEYOND metering. When you use a strobe meter, you get a response that tells you how to make a middle density, but it doesnít tell you how to make it look right. There is no automatic way to make it look right, only the application of brains can do that. When I make a shot with strobes and a digital camera, the first thing I do is to put the camera on manual and I will pay no attention to the meter in the camera. The only things I pay attention to are the proof image on the camera back and the histogram. More than metering, these two things tell you about your image.
Let me suggest a plan for seeking the right exposure: 1) set the shutter speed to the sync speed; 2) set the aperture to your middle aperture, whatever that is on the lens you are using; 3) take a picture, it will be wrong; 4) move the aperture dial to let in more or less light based on the test exposure. You can look at the histogram to help determine how much to change the aperture, but the proof image should tell you if you need to change a lot or a little; 5) more test exposures and changes of light placement and light power until the strobes are right; 6) change shutter speed to balance values between existing light and strobe light - this will require more test pictures.
This same technique will work if you are mixing strobes and daylight. This was why the Polaroid bill was so high with film cameras, but with digital, these test exposures are free, so we should not be afraid to make them.
This is the essential trick with strobes, to evaluate and change our images in search of the right levels for our lights and our exposures. With the histogram and the proof image on camera or in the computer, we have better tools for creating the right exposure than any meter could give us, but it does take repeated testing.
Thanks, John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

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ANSWER 2:
Cheers guys, that helps alot. I recently had a session. I'm new to the Bowens kit but have been getting great results. I have my Canon Eos 30D set to 'K' and Colour temperature to 5600. When I opened my shots there was what seemed like a colour cast slightly orange. I corrected it in photoshop and the backround turned from grey to blue(the background is white.) Do I need to manually adjust the white balance for every different light setup or adjust +/- 300 as the bowens specs say? And leave it at that one set up regardless of background colour, coloured gels? I need to be able to open perfectly balanced images as I dont have time to batch colour correct and besides it destroys the pics anyway. And 1 more thing the depth of my studio is 8 ft. Is it possible to turn the white backround black for portraits. using a softlite reflector and a taper softbox( I could use a reflector?) I tried opening up the aperture and making the lights dim but I still get greyish. Cheers again..Jax
- Jax 
ANSWER 3:
Hi Jax,
If color is critical, you will probably need to shoot a white balance, done with a gray card, before every significant change. Especially if you are adding gels to the lights. Remember: light bounces, particularly in a small space. Some digital cameras allow you to add preset color balances that will match your strobes; this is good for general work, but not good enough for critical work. In an 8-foot studio, you will not be able to turn a white background black if you want to have any light on the subject.
Thanks, John
- John H. Siskin

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