The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Signed Releases f...
Q&A 2: Engagement Pictur...
Q&A 3: Selling Photos in...
Q&A 4: Best Lens to Capt...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"You can't hope for a better instructor than Brenda! Not only are her lessons enlightening, her assignments are fun. Her feedback is worth the price of the course itself. She tells you what works and why, and what you should try to avoid next time and again why. That is what I needed!" -student in Brenda Tharp's Creating Visual Impact course





PERFECT FOR ANY OCCASION: BP GIFT CARD!
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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...


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...


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THIS WEEK'S TIP
A Tripod's Key Companion ... By Kerry Drager
Even with a tripod, it's still possible to jiggle the camera accidentally while taking the picture. One accessory - the cable shutter release - lets you record a sharp image via a hands-off operation. Another option is a wireless remote shutter. Also, some SLRs have a lock-up mode that reduces the possibility of vibration when the mirror flips up during slower exposures or when using super-long telephotos. In a pinch, use your camera's self-timer (although this definitely requires a stationary subject).
Editor's Note: Kerry Drager teaches these BetterPhoto courses: Creative Light and Composition and Creative Close-ups


   
Featured Gallery
Last Light-El Capitan
© - Floyd Hopper

Welcome to the 370th issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

Now is the time to start taking your photography - or Photoshop - to the next level! Our June online school session begins next week (on the 4th), and we have such an awesome schedule of 8-week classes and 4-week classes. ... If you need help choosing the class that's best for you, then try our very cool and very easy-to-use 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... That's it for this week. Have fun with your photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

BetterPhoto courses are designed for everyone from the novice shutterbug who wants to improve family and vacation photographs to the professional photographer developing a portfolio of photographic masterpieces! See our school schedule... Master photography or Photoshop in one year! 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. Learn more... Are you making use of all of our awesome free features here at BetterPhoto? For example:
- Did you know that BP publishes three other newsletters besides SnapShot? For details and to subscribe...
- The new BetterPhoto Quick Keyworder can be found on the "Welcome" page of your Member Center (assuming you are a Premium, Deluxe and Pro BetterPholio owner, or a course alumnus). Click on the Win Big Points graphic to see the "what, why and how" details. A word of caution: Our keywording feature can be addictive :)

Photo Q&A

1: Signed Releases for People Pictures
I would like to take more "on the street" people pictures for my portfolio, and to enter into contests. But, I'm having a problem getting them to sign releases allowing me to do so. Any tips for getting people to sign the releases.
- DENNIS E. GRANZOW
ANSWER 1:
First, ask them for permission to photograph them before you start blasting away. Engage them using a compliment like "great hat, Carmen Miranda would be proud of that one" or if you come across someone walking their pet gerble, "that's a great gerble would you mind if I photograph you?" AND offer an incentive like "I'll pay you a buck if you sign a release so I can enter it into a contest." You'd be doing well to get a 50-60% success rate.
With that approach, you avoid the panhandling scenario, complement them and offer them money in about one or two brief sentences without wasting their time. The people that agree will generally be quite pleased with your offer and flattered. Carry some cards, offer to send (not sell) them a small print of your efforts like 3x5 after you present them with the release to sign.
What you absolutely want to avoid is sniping them with a telephoto from like a block away behind a lamp post and then walking up to them and ask for after the fact permission by saying something like: "Hey dude, I just photographed you from two blocks away, sign this release." That approach tends to arouse suspicion in most people.
OK, so not everyone knows who Carmen Miranda was. Just try "nice hat".
Good luck.
M.
- Mark Feldstein
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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2: Engagement Pictures for a First Timer
I have been asked to take my friends' engagement pictures, and honestly, I am nervous. I typically photograph wildlife and landscapes but occasionally dab in photographing people. We are going to be outside at early afternoon in Alaska. I have constructed a homemade silver reflector, and it works well. Do you have any tips for good poses or anything dealing with photographing people for engagement pictures? Any help I can get would be GREATLY appreciated. I'm hoping to make this a great time for my friends. Thanks!
- Brad A. Harr
ANSWER 1:
Search BP for engagement photos. Having a few initial poses in mind helps you to get going and will also get those creative juices flowing. Know your equipment. Be aware of backgrounds (no trees coming out of their heads). Remember to keep cropping in mind and leave room around the edges for it. Most of all just have fun. If the couple has some crazy ideas of poses they want to do, go with it. If it's possible to have an assistant, that would definitely help. In most shoots like this, I always start out a little nervous but once you start shooting, it just begins to flow and always turns out better than you thought. Good luck and hope to see some of your photos.
- Michael  Wasson
ANSWER 2:
You probably know what you're doing, Brad, but in case you need reminding: set ISO 100 or 200, WB to daylight, a longish focal length like 80 or 100mm (35mm equivalent) for a flattering perspective, and remember to use fill-flash when useful. And shoot in RAW.
Got an assistant to hold the reflector? (Your very own wireless remotely controlled intelligent soft fill light ;-) )
A circular polarizing filter is probably not a good idea for skins. But, if you're at the seaside or at over 3,000 feet altitude, a UV filter probably is.
Could be a fun gig!
- W. Smith VIII
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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3: Selling Photos in a Gift Shop
I would like to place my photos on different gift items like pillows, cards, calendars, etc., and have them in gift shops around town. How would I go about doing that??
- Jamie Lee Costello
ANSWER 1:
First, you'll need the programs and a printer that prints on fabric. Second comes the demographics. You need to know your area and the common pricing for this type of product. The demographics are very important. If you overprice your product, you will not sell. If you underprice, you can slit your own throat financially. The programs for cards and calendars are easy to find. Fabric, not so much. Have fun and keep shooting,
Mark H.
- Mark R. Hiatt
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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4: Best Lens to Capture Art?
I have a Nikon D70 and I would like to know the best recommended type of lens to use for photographing fine art for reproduction. I'd be looking for very little distortion, clarity, sharpness and fine detail. Most images would be shot between 2' and 15' from the camera.
- Bill Griggs
ANSWER 1:
Hi Bill,
I have an article here about lighting art copy work, and you can see it at: www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=170. The best lens for copy work is a macro lens, like the Micro Nikkor 60mm. The key is to get a fixed focal length lens, not something that has as many functions as a Swiss army knife and also does macro. 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 2:

Ideally you want to minimize perspective distortion. That dictates stepping back as far as possible and using a focal length as long as possible. Obviously, a tripod is a no-brainer. As is a bubble level. Lighting is next... You have only started, Bill!
Not so long ago this was the preserve of large-format photographers with bellows cameras that were tiltable along 3 axes (what is the plural of 'axis'?). And their stunningly magnificent very large size prints have yet to be matched by anything digital!
Have fun!
- W. Smith VIII
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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