The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, April 28, 2008
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Wedding Territory...
Q&A 2: Backdrop for Diff...
Q&A 3: Panning: How to D...
Q&A 4: Do I Need a Licen...
Q&A 5: External Flash fo...

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Photographing Friends by Ibarionex R. Perello
My friends know that if they are going to hang out with me there is a high likelihood that Im going to take their picture. I always have my camera with me and there are times when Im just inspired to make a picture. It could be because of the way they look, the light or the setting. Whatever is inspiring me, Im always eager to take advantage of those opportunities to make a nice image.
I often try to find objects like walls or fences for people to rest against because when they do, they appear to find a little security and comfort positioning their bodies against or behind such objects. I think it leaves the subject feeling less exposed and vulnerable and provides me with a very pleasing portrait.
Always having my camera and looking for opportunities for good photographs is key if I expect to improve my skills as a photographer. And the fact that I can produce nice portraits of my friends makes it all the better. Have fun with your friends!
Editor's Note: Check out Ibarionex Perello's outstanding online courses, including: Portrait Photography Using Available Light and Posing and Portraiture Techniques.

Featured Gallery
Sunset at the Portland Head Light
© - Eric Severson

Welcome to the 366th issue of SnapShot!

Now's the time to take your photography - or Photoshop - to the next level! Our May online school session begins next week (on the 7th), and we have such an awesome schedule of 8-week classes and 4-week classes. ... If you need help deciding on the class that's best for you, then check out our extremely cool CourseFinder. ... Also, we are really proud of our virtual classroom, so if you don't know how BetterPhoto's online classes work, then take a quick tour... Congratulations go to the March winners of the Cash Contest and Free Contest for their inspiring photos. ... That's it for this week. Have fun with your photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Imagine getting direct feedback on your photos from a famous professional photographer - regardless of where you live! Our online photography courses give you personal interaction with successful pros and published authors. But act now, since school starts May 7th! See our school schedule... Meet people with similar interests. Learn and gain new skills together. Share and discuss photos. All this in the BetterPhoto Clubs! 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.

Photo Q&A

1: Wedding Territory
I recently shot a wedding, where I encountered an individual who was very enthusiastic about jumping into my frame. What is the best way to deal with over-zealous photogs who are not supposed to be there? I have never told a couple that cameras are not allowed. Does it have to come to that? Besides, I do not want to become the camera police. All suggestions appreciated. Thanks!
- Beth Huling
Hi Beth,
I don't know that I have ever done a wedding that didn't have 1 or 4 people wanting to shadow me as I was shooting. I make myself very clear that they are welcome to shoot, but DO NOT get in my way in the process. I will ask them to stand behind me as I shoot and get their shots that way. When doing portraits, I ask them to refrain from shooting until I have taken my shots and then if the bride/groom or group doesn't mind posing for a few more moments to allow their friends to get a couple of shots, it's fine by me.
If I am in a time crunch, then they will just have to shoot from behind me.
Like I said, I see this at every wedding, so I make my boundaries very clear to the organizer and ask that she assist me with keeping this issue in check. Add this note to your check list, Beth, and let the organizer tell the friends beforehand to allow you to do your work unimpeded. Having a good and competent organizer will make your shoot much easier, but they tend to be hit and miss as well.
This is where Todd's previous advice may save the shoot, if it's out of control - just point to the contract to try to get things in control. But I don't know that I would walk off the shoot (liable or not), because a lot of wedding business is word-of-mouth, and your ability to rise above the challenges can win you a lot of future business. My .02 cents. - Carlton
- Carlton Ward
Make sure they let you shoot first so they don't trigger your slaves. How many of us have had that happen?
- Mark R. Hiatt
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2: Backdrop for Different Dance Costumes?
I will soon be pohtographing dancers - children of all ages in their recital costumes. All of the costumes are different colors and textures, depending on the number and I'm lost as to what general color would work best for everyone. Help please.
- Daphne Mills
Ask yourself whether you want the colors to harmonize or contrast with each other. If you have a neutral light grey background, you can make all kinds of different pastel colored backgrounds with colored gels covering your background lights.
Have fun!
- W. Smith VIII
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3: Panning: How to Do It?
Purchased a Fujifilm Finepix S700. I am trying to do panning but I am getting confused with it. I have tried different shutter speeds and aperture settings, but it seems I'm doing something wrong, any advice or info would be great.
- Carlene M. Shea
Select a shutter speed and the camera will pick the corresponding f/stop (provided it is within its range at the set ISO rating).
For panning to get a relatively focused subject against a speed-streaked background you will need a slowish shutter speed, like 1/30th or 1/15th, and practice tracking your subject evenly while exposing.
You'll have many, many misses and just very rarely keepers. But when you do, they'll be great! It's worth the effort, so keep at it!
Have fun!
- W. Smith VIII
W.S. is right about speeds when panning. Anything slower than 1/4 sec is quite difficult. Anything faster than 1/125th won't get you the effect; so use speeds between the two. It is possible to do a very slow pan, but that will require a tripod with a fluid head, a steady hand when panning and some serious ND filters.
Panning takes practice, so just go practice tracking your subject. Start by keeping the subject centered. When you are good at that, you can move on to off center tracking for more creativity.
Your shutter speed as well as the effect you get will depend on the subjects speed. A human runner can easily be panned with a nice streaked background at 1/15th sec. An Indy race car will produce the same effect at 1/125th since the car is going 200 MPH!
all the best,
- Pete H
It's all in the "follow-through" (...just like golf.)
When you practice panning on moving objects, time your exposure to keep up with the speed of the passer-by so it will remain within the same portion of the frame during the time the shutter is open.
When you press the shutter on an SLR, the viewfinder will black out when the mirror flips up and the shutter opens. With a successful pan, you will see the subject re-appear in the same position in the viewfinder after the exposure ends.
The speed at which it's traveling (and also the distance from the subject to the background) will determine the degree of background blur you will achieve. Your practice session should include having your subject in the front third of the frame ( it appears to be running or driving INTO the scene rather than OUT of it).
A good panning tripod head will eliminate camera-shake on those longer exposure times with slower subjects. As others have mentioned, this technique takes a good deal of practice to get decent results.
- Bob Cammarata
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4: Do I Need a License?
Do I need a license if my photography business is on location only? I dont have a studio but someday I would like one. Do I need one now?
- Christine M. Bossie
It depends on the state, county and city where you live. In most places in the U.S., chances are yes, you do. While it's a way for government entities to generate additional income, it's also another way for them to protect the citizens.
Even if you don't have a storefront or studio, your home address becomes your business address, which may open a separate can of worms, again depending on where you live. Oh, and btw, if you're required to have one and don't and get popped for, say, shooting in public without a permit, the fines and back tax assessments can be considerable.
Before you do this, I strongly suggest you talk to someone - whether a business consultant, accountant, or local lawyer - to find out the requirements you need to meet before hanging out your own shingle. That would include county and municipal fees, taxation and insurance requirements. It'd be consulting fees well spent.
take it light.
- Mark Feldstein
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5: External Flash for my Canon?
I would like an external flash for my Canon Rebel XT, and was hoping for some suggestions from all the professionals on I am a novice who is in the process of developing a portfolio, so I do not have a lot of experience with external flashes, but will need one that works best for my skill level as it develops. Thanks for your input!
- Amanda Perin
Hi Amanda,
You should probably start with the latest version of the Canon 580,. While it is expensive, it does have power and auto features that make it good to use outside and in doing events. Thanks, John Siskin
- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Premium BetterPholio™:

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
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