The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, June 16, 2008
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Sports Photograph...
Q&A 2: Cleaning My Camer...
Q&A 3: Indoor Church Wed...
Q&A 4: Toddler Photos...
Q&A 5: Prints: Borderles...

"I came into this class having never shot in Raw, and now I will never look back. Charlotte's lessons were wonderfully detailed and easy to understand, and they were full of tips I didn't expect. I even walked away with a better understanding of Photoshop. Thank you, Charlotte!" -student in Charlotte Lowrie's Camera Raw: From Capture to Finished Photo course

The award-winning Lensbabies are unique, fun, useful, and affordable SLR lens designed for artistic photography. Check out Tony Sweet's terrific course - Creative Nature/Outdoor Photos with Lensbabies - and his eye-catching Lensbaby image below!

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...

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...

Give your favorite photographer something really special! Our BetterPhoto Gift Cards are redeemable toward PhotoCourses, Deluxe or Pro BetterPholio web sites, ProCritiques, or Premium BetterPholios. Need it fast? Just input "email me the gift card code" in the Additional Comments field!

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.Controlling Depth of Field with P&S Camera! Susan and Neil Silverman
You can achieve images featuring soft, intentionally out-of-focus backgrounds even if you do not have an SLR camera. Here's how to get those results with a point-and-shoot camera:
1) Choose Macro or Close Up mode on your compact camera (most cameras have this feature).
2) Have a scene with a foreground subject, and one or two subjects in the background that are some distance away from the foreground object (you can work with salt and pepper shakers, for example).
3) Put your camera as close as you can to the foreground subject and still be able to focus (the closest focusing distance - your manual will tell you what it is).
4) Focus on your close, foreground subject by depressing your shutter halfway down.
5) Do NOT release the shutter button, but DO re-compose so as to include the background subjects in your image and then completely depress the shutter button.
Editor's Note: Instructors Susan and Neil Silverman teach several online courses here at BP, including Jump Start to Digital Photography and Digital Photography Course

Featured Gallery
New York II
© - Jill M. Flusemann

Welcome to the 373rd issue of SnapShot!

June has been an exciting month at BetterPhoto, but we are already looking forward to our July photography school! In our interactive online courses, 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 Quick Keyworder? It's fun, easy to use, and quite possibly addicting :) Just click on the Win Big Points graphic on the Welcome page of your Member Center (note: for BetterPholio owners or student alumni). Top score wins 50% off a photography course or BetterPholio! Next award ceremony: August 1st. ... Also, be sure to stop by the new BetterPhoto Calendar, which shows classes and workshops led by our pro instructors. See the events calendar... ... 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 July 2nd... BetterPhoto's monthly Cash Photo Contest offers fantastic cash prizes! See all the details... Check out BP's exciting ProCritiques. Upload up to 8 photos and get a critique by a pro instructor!

Photo Q&A

1: Sports Photography
Hi there,
I would very much like to get into sports photography but wondered what the minimum type of camera and lens I would need to capture such fast sports such as soccer. Please could you give me some advice? I have a Canon Rebel and a 70-300mm lens at the moment, and I really want to upgrade. Thanks!
- Samantha Hotch
Since you already have Canon Rebel, here's a very good lens: the 70-200mm F2.8 IS ... just do a google search on it. It's pricy. But it's a fast lens, and for sports photography, especially if the light isn't great, it will help. It's also heavy, so a tripod or monopod is a must!
- Ken Smith
If the games are in daylight, you already have enough. Get better at taking pictures before you get new stuff. If it's night games, then you can look into a lens with a wider aperture.
- gregory la grange
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2: Cleaning My Camera
Recently, I started noticing a spot on all my pictures and it was always in the same spot. I looked at the mirrors on the camera body and saw some dust. I have never cleaned anything but the lens on my camera, and I don't want to ruin the mirrors! What should I do? I am leaving to go on vacation in a week and the only camera store around my house takes two weeks for the cleaning. HELP!!!
- Sarah Baker
Hi Sarah first, do you mean mirror or sensor? Im guessing you mean sensor correct me if Im wrong. Okay, going on this guess, dont let anyone tell you that cleaning a sensor has to be scary or highly difficult. It isnt either of these things, at least not after the first time. I clean my sensor a lot mainly because I end up shooting in some fairly dirty/dusty environments. I use a bulb syringe and the Arctic Butterfly by Visible Dust. I also use the sensor cleaning fluid and swabs when needed. I just got the sensor loupe and already love the thing. I shoot with a Canon 5D most of the time, so am not really familiar with your particular Nikon; however, your user manual will have step-by-step directions for accessing the sensor which is always protected by a cover. Two points Ive learned: make sure you do the cleaning in a clean area no stray animal hair, etc. (weve got dogs, cats, horses, etc.) Make sure you use the bulb syringe first to remove any large particles. Other than this, you shouldnt have any real problems. However, if you still cannot get the sensor clean, you will need to consult a local expert who can see what is causing the problem. Thankfully, I have yet to encounter anything that I could not clean myself well, after getting good advice here once or twice or five hundred times! LOL

Now, if you really are concerned about dirt on your mirror the experts will tell you (correctly) that even touching the mirror is a very BAD idea. Of-course, they are right; however, I have used the bulb syringe to blow dust particles from the mirror surface and have never had a problem. If you do use this method, go very carefully and try not to touch the mirror itself. If there is some sticky dirt on the mirror well, Ive cleaned my mirror with the same stuff I use for my sensor, but, in all honesty, this is really not something Id recommend! Ive only done it in a real pinch, but BTW: dirt on the mirror will not affect the image. It can make focusing tough under some conditions, but will not "write" on the image.

- Irene Troy
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3: Indoor Church Wedding - No Flash Allowed
My son is getting married next week, and I've just learned the church does not allow flash photography. I've never shot indoors like this and would appreciate any advice. I have a Pentax K10D, Pentax 18-55, Sigma 70-300, Sigma 105. Any advice urgently needed so I can practice first.
- Mike  Lavigne
Hi Mike,
It obviously depends on what light IS available, of course. Is the ceremony in the daytime? Does the church have large windows to let in light? Or is it gonna be at night? And what light is there available then?
If you want to practice which is a VERY sensible idea I'd recommend going to the church, if possible, tomorrow! Or as soon as possible, anyway - at around the same time the ceremony is going to be so that you may find similar lighting conditions. And shoot whatever is at hand to be shot, although preferably people.
Set your camera to ISO 800 or 1600, and shoot Raw. Find support wherever you can. A tripod is best. Monopod next best. Pay attention to your stance: pull your elbows into your sides, and control your breath if you must shoot unsupported. Use the Pentax 18-55, and the Sigma 105. Forget the Sigma 70-300. Use Av, aperture priority, set to F/4.0 or F/5.6. Try to keep the shutter speed at 1/60th or preferably 1/125th. Then shoot away and rush home to your PC to see what worked and what didn't. And learn.
Have fun!
- W. Smith VIII
Thanks very much for the help. It is greatly appreciated. The service is at 7 pm so still light out. My son says the church has large stained glass windows in front and on the the sides, so it's whatever evening light comes in. I haven't seen the church yet. He says no problem using the tripod. It's a small wedding - immediate family only - so not formal. Thanks again, this is a big help...
- Mike  Lavigne
Good you mentioned the stained glass. That's gonna play havoc with your white balance if you have it set on AWB, Auto White Balance. Every frame could be different. So set the WB at Daylight, to have it firmly anchored. And shoot RAW of course.
And with a tripod you can, of course, also use 1/30th of a sec shutter speed. I wouldn't go slower. Not because of camera shake, there can hardly be any left, but because of subject movement. Try to catch people in instances where they pause their movements. Those moments often last not even 1 second, but they're there! Watch for them. Observe. It's very effective to use them.
Can you get to the church at 7 pm one of these days for a light and settings check, and test run?
- W. Smith VIII
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4: Toddler Photos
I have been asked to take photos in an outdoor setting for their 2-year-old son. Does anyone have any suggestions for toddler shots?
- Heather House
I'm fairly new at "taking" pictures, but the more I take of my just turned 3-year-old son, the more I want to take!! Kids are so much fun. Go to a nice park and just let the child be themselves. Kids are unpredictable ... that's what is so fun about them and why you can really get some amazing shots. Especially around the age of two, their facial expressions are endless, and you never know what your going to get from them.
I have some photos in my gallery if you want to take a look. Nothing too spectacular - still learning my camera. Play around! It'll be so much fun!! :)
Good luck!!
- Mandi M. Wiltse
I have 3 grandsons ages 3, 2, and 1. I find that always keeping the camera in my hand or very close is best. And sometimes, it's click, click, click, click ... there are always some goods shots after filling the card :) Posing them is a pain, so spontaneous and candid shots seem to prevail.
- Kathryn Love
Make sure you talk with the parents and have this scheduled for a time of day when the little guy is happy. My toddlers were usually better in the morning rather than evening (unless it was after a nap). If you do some posed shots, make sure to get some of those candid shots in as well. With young children, I get better results and more cooperation if I'm willing to let them choose some of their own poses.
Also, to get the kids warmed up, I sometimes let them take a picture with my camera. I keep the strap on my neck and all ... I just let them look through the viewfinder and push the button. At 2, he may or may not be a bit young; I did this with a 2-year-old a few weeks ago and it really helped break the ice!!!
Make sure Mom and Dad are dressed for the occasion. I know this photo shoot is all about the toddler, but when young children are fussy, they ease up when Mom or Dad holds them. Parents often like these shots a ton because they show that special bond they have with their child (last time I did pics of just the child, Mom wasn't dressed up or with makeup .... one of the larger prints she wanted was the pic with her and son ... I had to do more touch-up work in Photoshop, because she wasn't ready).
- Cherylann Collins
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5: Prints: Borderless, Ratio
I was wondering why when I shoot pictures on my D300 and get them printed, there are always white borders around the pictures. Can you not get borderless prints with digital?
- Becky Eastham
Becky, your question topic says "print sizes," but you didn't mention a print size in your question. To answer your question about getting borderless prints with digital: Yes.
Now, as to what you are getting from your print service, you need to take that up with them. Perhaps you need to specify borderless.
What you need to ensure is that the photo is set to the specific aspect ratio for the print you want.
- John Rhodes
Hi Becky,
You are asking: How do we avoid or circumvent a format mismatch when ordering prints? Your camera, the Nikon D300, has an image sensor that measures 15.8mm by 23.6mm. Thus, the format ratio is 23.6 15.8 = 1.5. Its nice to know the format ratio because we can use simple math to calculate what print size we need to order to avoid a format mismatch.
First, we decide on a paper width. Lets say the lab has 3 1/2 inch width paper in stock. We multiple 3 1/2 x 1.5 = 5 1/4. This tells us that if we order a print on 3 1/2 inch stock, the length must be 5 1/4 inches.
Lets try another width. The lab has 4 inch paper in stock. We multiply 4 x 1.5 = 6. Thus, we can order 4 x 6 prints.
Table of perfect format matches for your camera in inches: 3 1/2 x 5 1/4; 4 x 6; 5 x 7 1/2; 6 x 9; 8 x 12; 10 x 15; 11 x 16 1/2; 12 x 18; 14 x 21 ... Note: all lengths are 1.5 times the width.
Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)
- Alan N. Marcus
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