The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, March 17, 2008
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Monitor Calibrati...
Q&A 2: Installing Photos...
Q&A 3: Studio Lighting K...
Q&A 4: Photo of the Day:...
Q&A 5: Best Raw Software...
Q&A 1: Photos Aren'...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"Simon has a wealth of knowledge that he likes to share. His critiques were well-worded, and if he felt there were ways to improve the photos, he communicated it in a way that encouraged the student. Two big thumbs up for the class and two thumbs way up for the instructor!" -student in Simon Stafford's Composition - The Essentials course





GREAT EQUIPMENT DEALS FOR BP MEMBERS!
Hunt's is a top retailer for photography gear and a trusted BetterPhoto partner. Each month, Hunt's offers specials just for BP members! Check out the latest deals...


LEARN FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY!
Top British pro Bruce Smith, who teaches BetterPhoto's outstanding Fashion Photography Course, embarks on a U.S. Tour this May and June. See Bruce's calendar of fashion workshops...


TURN YOUR PHOTOS INTO BEAUTIFUL CARDS!
Photographer's Edge features a complete line of do-it-yourself Photo Frame Greeting Cards for all types of photographers and subjects. Visit Photographer's Edge...


ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS IN SNAPSHOT
Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 67935 serious photographers.
Learn More...

THIS WEEK'S TIP
Get Sharper Pictures in Low Light by Brenda Tharp
If you are working in low light conditions, and are hand-holding or using a monopod, here's an idea that will help you get sharper pictures:
Put your camera on continuous frame shooting mode, and hold the shutter release down for three or four frames. The ones in the middle will typically be sharper, as pressing the shutter can cause camera shake, and releasing it can, too. The ones in the middle will be made with the button already down. This works for film and digital SLR cameras, although digital compacts are harder to work with due to the shutter lag.
Editor's Note: Check out Brenda Tharp's gallery and online classes.


   
Featured Gallery
~Peeking~
© - Marcie Fowler

Welcome to the 360th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

We are thrilled to announce that we now have two wedding photography courses taught by top pros! Wedding Photography Techniques: An Introduction by new instructor David Pavol and Digital Wedding Photography by popular instructor-author Paul Gero. ... We also offer many other interactive online photo courses. ... Need help deciding? See our cool CourseFinder! ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss our usual features, including instructor Brenda Tharp's Weekly Photo Tip, plus another fine collection of questions and answers. ... Lastly, if you have questions about BetterPhoto's monthly contest, then don't miss our brand-new Free Photography Contest FAQ Page. ... That's it for this week. Enjoy your photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Make April a month to remember! Take your photography - or Photoshop - to the next level with one of our interactive online courses taught by top pros. Check out our April school schedule... The next session of BetterPhoto's awesome year-long online course program - ClassTracks - begins in April. We offer five exciting options: Nature Photography, Photoshop, Making Money, People & Portraits, and Customized ClassTrack. With purchase, you receive a free Pro BetterPholio; upon completion, you qualify for an additional free 4-week course (for a total $547 value)! Learn more... Give your favorite photographer something really special! Our BetterPhoto Gift Cards are redeemable toward PhotoCourses, ProCritiques, Premium BetterPholios, or Deluxe or Pro BetterPholio web sites. Best yet, no wrapping required!

Photo Q&A

1: Monitor Calibration: What to Buy?
I'm looking at buying a spyder program to calibrate the color on my monitor as I am having severe issues. Let's just say the photos I edit look 100-percent great in Photoshop, but then the color changes in windows and so forth. I'm looking to get something that will calibrate the monitor perfect. I have looked at a few spyder programs but want to know which will work best and most accurately while letting me do nice quality prints.
- Kevin Harley
ANSWER 1:
Hi Kevin, I have Colorvision Spyder2, and it is easy to use. This will set up a profile that you will assign for your monitor and then you set your printer to the same profile (I name my profile Spyder2) and then what you see on your monitor will match what you print. Once you set your computer color to the Spyder2 profile, your colors are set to that profile. It doesn't matter if you are using Photoshop, Windows picture viewer, etc. ... because the monitor itself is calibrated to that profile.
Richard Lynch teaches a course that would help you with this called From Monitor to Print
- Carlton Ward
ANSWER 2:
Carlton,
Thanks for mentioning the course! Anyone looking for an inexpensive option from ColorVision, the Express will calibrate your monitor and build an ICC profile to begin you on your way through color management. You can get an express for about $70 on Amazon. For color accuracy, it will be the best money you ever spent if you do not currently calibrate at all.
- 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
Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool
Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool
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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2: Installing Photoshop CS3
I have Photoshop CS3 ready to install, but have Elements 5 in use now. Checking the Internet, I see there has been problems with this installation. I think I should uninstall Elements 5 completely before installing CS3. Is this correct? Any suggestions or best procedures would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
- Denny E. Barnes
ANSWER 1:
Denny,
I use multiple versions of Photoshop and Elements, and keep them all installed at the same time. While you will not be able to run different versions of the same program, you can run Elements and Photoshop simultaneously - which I do quite often on Mac and PC. There should not be issues installing both ... though I admit I am not on Vista. I use Mac OS 10.5 and Windows XP.
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
Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool
Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool
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:



3: Studio Lighting Kit
I'm seriously thinking about buying the Novatron D1500 Studio Four Head Kit w/ Wheeled case. Is this a good choice? Does anyone own this kit that could possibly give any pros/cons about it?
- Amanda R. Milam
ANSWER 1:
While I don't own one, IMO Novatron is a very good system with numerous accessories available, well-made and durable. I know a lot of pros who have Novatron lighting and they like them a lot.
And, just for kicks, if you haven't done so already, you might take a look at either Bowens monolights or even Calumet Travelers. John Siskin, who teaches lighting here, and I both also like the Norman packs systems like the P800 and I have a special affinity for Norman and Speedotron pack systems with at least 2000 w.s. Monolight systems are pretty easy to expand on. So you can start with say 2 lamp heads and get more later without a huge investment now.
Essentially, which lighting you get depends on what you plan to shoot now and in the future, whether it's expandable with additional heads, how powerful the heads are and who services them in the event something goes kaputsky.
Remember, Amanda, everyone sells cases. That's just a bit of glitz they throw in with the deal. Try and get as much light-bang for your bucks. Used equipment cases abound, even at B&H or Adorama.
Your thoughts here are good ones though.
Be well.
Mark
- Mark Feldstein
ANSWER 2:
Hi Amanda,
I know Novatron to be good gear, though I have never owned any of it. The thing I would mention is that if you want one more head you will need to buy another power pack or buy a monolight. If you started with one monolight and built a kit from there, say with the Calumet Travelites or the Alien Bees, you would almost certainly pend more. But you might spend the money over more time and create a lighting kit that is fitted specifically to your needs. I also noted that the kit weight is 64 pounds, worth considering. Also, can you stand on the case? I never get lighting cases I can’t stand on.
Thanks, John
- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=158091

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
4-Week Short Course: Understanding the Tools of Photography Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
4-Week Short Course: Understanding the Tools of Photography Lighting
ANSWER 3:
Hi Amamda,
The four heads will do well for a small studio. You will be happier with monolights for wedding portraits. It is easier to set up the power. Thanks, John
- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=158091

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
4-Week Short Course: Understanding the Tools of Photography Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
4-Week Short Course: Understanding the Tools of Photography Lighting
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

Answer this question:



4: Photo of the Day: How Do I Subscribe?
I would like to receive the Photo of the Day via email. What do I need to do?
- Marilyn C. Beasley
ANSWER 1:
Go to this BetterPhoto
subscription page.

Editor's POTD Notes: Also check out the Photo of the Day Archives. The POTD newsletter is intended to inspire and motivate photographers. POTD selections are chosen from contest entries.
- Melissa Papaj
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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5: Best Raw Software for a Budget?
I have a Pentax k100d super, and was curious about the best raw editing software for someone on a budget of around $200- $300?
- Jason R. Mcbride
ANSWER 1:
Others will argue for other packages, but why not consider Adobe Photoshop Elements? Elements 6 PC or Elements 6 Mac may not have every conceivable control, but has most of the important ones. Get the tryout version and see if it does what you need. It will leave room for growth in other areas, and is WAY under your budget.
Do you use the software that came with the camera? If not, why not?
- 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
Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool
Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool
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:
1: Photos Aren't Sharp

I was wondering what one has to do to get crisp and clear pictures out of a D-SLR. I have a 20D with a Canon 28-135 f3.5 IS lens. I usually shoot under P mode, and increase ISO when it gets a little shady, but even in sunlight, they dont turn out crisp. I always have the IS on and I use L quality. I don't get it. Any ideas?
- Alex B. Smith

ANSWER 1:
Hi Alex, You should go to a camera store and ask if you can use one of their 28-135mm lenses and go outside and do some test shots to compare if you may have a soft lens. Use a tripod and shoot at various focal lengths & apertures at a brick wall with both lenses (like 50mm at f/8 or 75mm at f/4) and look for differences. I am not familiar with the 28-135 but I turn IS to OFF when using a tripod with my IS lenses. Sometimes you just get a bad copy of a lens.
You mentioned you use "L quality". I am not sure what you mean by this because L is a distinction of the best Canon lenses and the 28-135mm is not an L lens nor in the same league as the 24-70mm f/2.8 L or the 24-105mm f/4 IS L lenses. These 2 lenses will give you much sharper images because they are built better and are higher quality throughout. My friend used the 28-135mm and he was able to produce sharp images but he recently upgraded to the 24-105mm, so now his 28-135mm doesn't make it out of the bag anymore.
And, even with a sharp lens, digital images often require some sharpening when processing the images with Photoshop or other editing software. I doubt that your problem is the 20D itself, and it is most likely your lens is a bit soft or possibly you are using too slow of a shutter speed while hand-holding for a shot.
Also, learn to shoot in TV, AV or Manually and avoid P setting if possible. I don't want to discourage you and please ask if you have other questions. I have had "soft" copy lenses before and had to trade them out, and I have also made plenty of mistakes while learning to get sharp images with proper exposure.
Hope this helps - Carlton

- Carlton Ward

ANSWER 2:
Agree with Carlton. Additionally...
- Are you using a "protective" UV filter? Try without.
- P mode often chooses to wide-open aperture. As good as the EF 28-135 is, stopping down to f/5.6-8 (choose Av instead of P) will be sharper than at f/3.5-5.6.


- Jon Close

ANSWER 3:
Hi Alex,
Everyone has chipped in with a lot of great information. I would add 2 other things to the discussion and that would be to maybe use some fill light (look into investing in a 430EX or 580EX flash), and I would also remove the UV filter. When I first started out, I bought UV filters for all of my lenses. I no longer use them at all. Placing another optic (the filter) in front of your lens can make images worse if they are not the highest quality filter. Since I am now shooting with mostly L glass, I don't use any UV filters at all (I keep my lens hood and lens cap on all the time anyway for protection) and only use a top-of-the-line circular polarizer (B&W Kaeseman 77mm) and sometimes ND filters for doing waterfall/landscape images and ALWAYS with a tripod. I do believe one of the biggest differences between a pro and a hobbyist is that the pro will lug their tripod with them everywhere.
I have also noticed that my 40D does perform much better at higher ISOs than my 20D. This technology will continue to get better & better. I also use the histogram to view my images on my LCD screen rather than trying to see details of a photo on a 2.5" screen. The histogram will give me much more real information about the image.
There are lots of threads and online classes here at BetterPhoto that address many of the specific issues we are discussing, so keep reading and asking questions.

- Carlton Ward
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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