The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, May 19, 2008
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Home Studio: Mono...
Q&A 2: Flash Photography...
Q&A 3: 35mm Slide Conver...
Q&A 1: Macro Photograp...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"I thought this course was amazing. ... This course taught me much more than I expected to learn and has sparked a passion in me for practicing and learning more about photography. ... Everything at Betterphoto was done so professionally - from helping me to select the right course to all the assistance during the course from the instructor." -student in Peter Burian's Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography course





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


TURN YOUR IMAGES INTO EYE-CATCHING 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...


PHOTO SHARING MADE EASY
We have many exciting online options for showcasing or selling your work - from a sleek gallery to a full-fledged Web site. Learn more...


ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS IN SNAPSHOT
Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 67218 serious photographers.
Learn More...

THIS WEEK'S TIP
The Power of Personal Projects by Charlotte K. Lowrie
One of the best ways to hone your skills as a photographer is to always have a personal project in progress. Pick a subject - any subject: Maybe it’s a photo story on how an elder copes with living alone, the first months of a baby’s life, how to use color as the subject of a series of images, or the ongoing construction of a new building. Develop a body of work around the project theme. Then set a limit on the final number of images that you can display. Shooting, editing, and compiling project image into a coherent story is a great way to learn how to tightly edit your work choosing the strongest, most meaningful images. And in the process, you’ll learn which images work and which don’t work, and why.
Editor's Note: Charlotte Lowrie teaches some excellent online courses here at BetterPhoto, including Camera Raw: From Capture to Finished Photo.


   
Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 369th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

The excellent news this week involves a big event for next month: our June online school! At BetterPhoto, we are getting ready for this next session of interactive photography and Photoshop courses, in which you get feedback from established professionals with all the convenience of the Web. Learn more... Have you had a chance yet to check out BetterPhoto's newest features? The BetterPhoto Calendar is a great way to keep up with instructor classes and workshops. And the BetterPhoto Quick Keyworder is fun, easy to use, and quite possibly addicting :) It's located on your "Welcome" page (assuming you're a Premium, Deluxe and Pro BetterPholio owner). ... Lastly, if you would like to meet people with similar interests, learn and gain new skills together, share and discuss photos, then join - or form - a BetterPhoto Club. ... That's it for now. Enjoy your photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

"It's like traveling around the world to study with the best in the business without the jet lag and price tag." That's what one student has to say about BetterPhoto's interactive online photography and Photoshop classes. School starts June 4th. Check out the details... Enroll in our awesome yearlong ClassTracks program and you'll receive a free Pro BetterPholio. Then, upon completion, you'll qualify for an additional free 4-week course! The next session begins June 4th. Learn more... Congratulations to the winners in BP's monthly Cash Photo Contest! To enter...

Photo Q&A

1: Home Studio: Monolights
I'm looking to start doing some studio photography at my house. I would also like some control over the light for more artistic shots too. I'm looking at monolight set-ups and getting a little overwhelmed. How many w/s do I need to get started? Money is an issue and don't want to buy something I don't need right now. I have a Canon Digital Rebel xti.
- Steve  Wilcox
ANSWER 1:
Hi Steve,
Because there are many variables and lighting set-ups, I highly recommend investing in John Siskin's Understanding the Tools of Photography Lighting 4 week course.
John will give you a lot of information (on top of the information packed lessons) and show you how to get started inexpensively as well as preparing you for long term investments to start building a lighting system to fit your future needs.
I took this course a while back and I am still working through a lot of the information and building my own lighting system. The course will give you a better overall understanding and you will no longer feel so overwhelmed about how you want to achieve a specific capture with your photography.
- Carlton Ward
ANSWER 2:
Hi Steve,
Thanks Carlton! To answer your question, Steve, start with one light with at least 600 real watt-seconds. Although you may not need the power for most of your work, if you get a group shot you probably will need the power. Second and third lights can be much less powerful. You should check out my article about shooting with one light. I will include a link to that and a few more articles here:
www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=129
www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=156
www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=148
I hope these articles help!
Thanks, John Siskin
- 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
ANSWER 3:
Would a white cotton sheet serve as light panel material? Because of the diversity of a basic 600 w/s strobe vs. the usually more complicated strobe such as the SB-800, would these strobes generally be compatible, realizing many functions will be disabled?
- Bernard 
ANSWER 4:
Thanks for the input. It's a huge help!!
- Steve  Wilcox
ANSWER 5:
Hi Bernard,
White cotton is a good material for a light panel. You can use a proprietary strobe with a monolight, but the proprietary strobe needs to be controlled manually.
Thanks, John Siskin
- 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
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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2: Flash Photography: Stroboframes
I am in the market for a new Stroboframe but there are too many to choose from. I shoot mostly weddings with the occasional family or senior picture sessions on location. What are your suggestions? I need to be able to switch from horizontal to vertical and back quickly, and I would like it to fit on my tripod with ease. Thanks.
- RANDI SUE MANNING
ANSWER 1:
Hi Randi,
I don't use a flash bracket. Too cumbersome for fast event work (like weddings). For vertical image orientation, I use my flash gun wirelessly (IR trigger) in my left hand off-camera and simply keep it over my head (and over the camera) and pointed at the subject. It's a tried-and-tested method of operation that was already used by photo journalists in the twenties of the last century, and it works well for me.
Have fun!
- W. Smith VIII
ANSWER 2:
I prefer the Seigelite frame with a Lumiquest Promax system for my flash, but that's just my preference. You may want to go to a camera shop and try as many as you can and see which one feels best if you are serious about getting one. My shoulders aren't what they used to be or I'd probably go with W's suggestion.
Have fun and keep shooting.
- Mark R. Hiatt
ANSWER 3:
I have both Stroboframe and CB Junior (BH Photo), the CB is better in every way and I use it both vertical/horizontal with no problem ... plus, it's priced fair.
- Oliver Anderson
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

Answer this question:



3: 35mm Slide Conversion
I have thirty years of slides in my closet and would love to convert them to digital files on my computer for viewing and for making photo copies. I have seen a device at Brookstone that claims to provide this option and have seen the Nikon Coolscan. I think both do the job but there is a $400 price difference and am asking if anyone has the experience to know if the low end is sufficient or that I should continue to save up funds to buy the high end device Iahtexon
- David Hultsman
ANSWER 1:
First of all, choose the ones you really want to scan. You will drive yourself and maybe others around you nuts trying to do each and every one of them. Trust me on this, I'm 61, and many, many of mine were junk and not worth the effort.
The Nikon Coolscan is a great choice. The next best thing, for about the same money, is the Epson 700, a flatbed that lets you do a dozen at a time. The Nikon does a bit better job (not noticeable unless you want to print at 16 x 20) but is slow, as you do them singly. The Epson is a lot quicker and a lot easier to learn. Check out my comments on scanning and the Epson on my web site. I can't criticize the Brookstone, but it sounds like something in the in-flight catalogue, an unknown.
- Doug Nelson
ANSWER 2:
David,
I used the Cool Scan for a couple of years. Now that I have gone digital, I don't use it much. I found that the quality of the scan was great, but it is slow.
- Donald  R. Curry
ANSWER 3:
You can do a search here at BP on "Scanning Slides" and get a lot of great information. I agree with Doug that your editing process should be brutal. If you are like most of us, you likely have several versions of the same scene. Scan only the best. Those that are exposed properly and are tack-sharp will scan well.
Don't forget to clean your slides before scanning them. Brushing each side lightly with a dry Q-Tip, then giving each side a blast of compressed air will remove dust specs and other surface contaminants.
- Bob Cammarata
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

Answer this question:
1: Macro Photography: Extension Tubes

I have the Nikon D50 and have the Sigma 105mm 2.8 DG macro lens. I would like to buy a extension tube for it. I want to get even closer than I am now on details and insects. Can anyone help me on what one woul be best and where I can get it? Thank you so much!
- Carol Sawyer

ANSWER 1:
Extension tubes typically come in sets of three so you can choose the degree of magnification of your macro subjects. You can even stack two (or all three) extension tubes for those cooperative bugs that will let you get REALLY close.
Keep in mind, though, that it's difficult (or impossible) to hand-hold a 105mm with 'tubes and expect decent results. Every millimeter of extension of the lens robs light and depth of field, so unless you have a flash ring or other means of illumination, you will be shooting your macros stopped-down in natural light.
For this, you will need a tripod or other support and a subject that's completely immobile during exposure.

- Bob Cammarata
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

Answer this question:

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