The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, October 20, 2008
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Fast Enough Shutt...
Q&A 2: How to Make Eyes ...
Q&A 1: Model Release F...
Q&A 2: Photographing A...

"I could not have been happier! Thank you ever so much for a wonderful class. I truly did enjoy it and was also amazed at how fast the time went. You have helped me tremendously with your insight and critiques. Thank you again!" -Ron Scarbel in Photographing Children and Babies with instructor/author Vik Orenstein.

With the Composer, Lensbaby introduces a completely new lens, based on a ball and socket configuration that delivers smooth selective focus photography with unparalleled ease. The new Composer retains its position after being bent and is easy to use even with one hand.

Hunt's is a trusted BetterPhoto partner, and a sponsor of the BP Summit. Each month, Hunt's offers specials just for BP members! Learn more...

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Adding Keywords to Files In PS Elements ... by Richard Lynch
Adobe has had a somewhat confusing implementation for Elements users on PC who want to sort their images with keywords. Click here to learn how to add keywords on your PC and get them to work in both Editor and Organizer!
Editor's Note: Richard Lynch teaches many courses here at BP, including Correct & Enhance Your Images and Photoshop 101: The Photoshop Essentials Primer

Featured Gallery
Y-1002, Mirrow Lake, Yosemite
© - Marianna Safronova

Welcome to the 391st issue of SnapShot!

Exciting times at BetterPhoto, as the 4th Annual Summit is just about here! This jam-packed photography conference takes place this Saturday (Oct. 25th)in Monterey, CA. But if you're thinking of attending, sign up now, since seating is limited. If you have friends or fellow club members, there's an awesome group discount too! See the Summit details... ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss instructor Richard Lynch's excellent photo tip ("Adding Keywords to Files In PS Elements") and a fine collection of questions and answers. ... That's it for now. Have a great week of photography. And for those attending the Summit, I look forward to seeing you in Monterey!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our 8-week courses will be taking a break in December, before kicking off again in January 2009. So if you want to join the 8-week fun in '08, enroll now in a November course! BetterPhoto's 4-week courses, however, will be offered both in November and December and on into '09. A reminder that our very cool Community page is continuously updated. Access the page via the Community tab near the top of any BP page, or click here... If you aren't receiving BetterPhoto's daily dose of visual inspiration, you should be! Check out our free Photo of the Day newsletter at the subscription page.

Photo Q&A

1: Fast Enough Shutter Speed?
I want to be able to photograph my friends at their dance studio, obviously indoors. But when I set the shutter speed high, it shows up that the photo would be underexposed. (I have a manual film camera - Nikon FM10.)I have checked the camera manual but it hasn't gotten me anywhere. I just want to know how I can set my shutter speed high enough to capture a jump in mid-air or a balance, but I can't do it if I under-expose my film. HELP!
Thanks, DP
- Dara R. Purves
The following will help you get the shot:
1. use flash to freeze the action.
2. Use the fastest film speed you can.
3. Use the fastest lens available to you (i.e., the one with the widest aperture).
4. Become familiar with the dance moves, in order to know when there's that split-second pause, then get the shot. Also, it's helpful to know what spot the dancers will be in for the shot that you what.
5. if you can, check out the lighting before the event using the same light, so that you will know what you and your equipment are capable of achieving.
- Bernard 
I'm not familiar with your camera, but if you can adjust the ISO higher, that could help. But, by doing so you induce more grain so it's a trade-off.
- Ken Smith
Hi Dara;
If you can use a flash, I suggest it. Also, you may be able to find wide-aperture lenses on eBay or Amazon. Vivitar built some pretty good and very affordable ones. I purchased a Vivitar Series-1 70-210mm f2.8 zoom for my Minolta on eBay for $59.99. It is an excellent action lens. A high-powered flash will help immensely, too. I suggest a guide number of at least 105. I don't know how close you can get to the dancers. A high-power flash set to auto should at least be able to set itslf to the distance with you just setting the aperture. Although a high-power flash can get a little pricey, it will be well worth the investment.
- Mark R. Hiatt
Greetings Dara.
The trick to shooting dance photography is to fire the shutter at the height of the movement and use a moderately fast ISO film. All the black-and-white dance photography on my web site is shot on Tri-x 35mm film rated at ISO 250. My shutter speeds, on a tripod, were at about 125th of a second, and most were made using available light at f5.6. For color, though I rarely shoot that of dance companies, I like the Fujicolor 100 and bump it to ISO 200.
If you use flash (with permission of the dance troupe, of course), you should do that during a dress rehearsal/photo call. Bernard is right in that you should try to catch a few rehearsals to see where the choreography goes.
And if you shoot with a strobe, you can take advantage of stage lighting combined with the flash to allow some motion to blur while freezing other motion. I've got a shot like that on my site too from "West Side Story". The way to do that is measure the ambient light in the scene, shoot at a slow shutter speed, say 1/15th of a sec., a reasonable f-stop to get some depth of field, like f-8, and then at the same time, pop your flash.
One other thing is to sync your flash with your camera, your need to work at a shutter speed that will support the flash, I think on the FM it's got to be no higher than 1/60th of a sec.
Remember, too, that to get this type of photography down requires a fair amount of practice/experience and to some degree experimentation. It's a lot like sports photography and developing your sense of timing. Film is your cheapest commodity ... use a lot of it and get contact sheets printed instead of prints. I'm sure you'll get some good shots.
Take it light.
- Mark Feldstein
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2: How to Make Eyes Brighter
Is there a way to make eyes brighter/more blue in a photo? I have PSE6. Thanks!
- Tara R. Swartzendruber
Pretty easy fix Tara.
"Select" eyes. "Feather" about 3.
"Levels" up in RGB mode master.. then select "blue" from drop down box. Pull right side slider to the left.
That's one way, and by far the easiest.
- Pete H
One of the oddball solutions I came up with for this is as follows:

1. create a new layer at the top of the stack.
2. paint with white over the eyes (yes, the whole thing).
3. blur so the edges get nice and soft.
4. change the layer mode to overlay.
5. lower the opacity till it looks pleasing.

This will usually whiten whites, and can brighten colors, but it depends on the exposure. It also serves to pull up sunken eyes a bit. You'll be surprised how rough you can be with the application, but take care not to blow out detail with too much opacity.

- Richard Lynch

See Richard Lynch's Basic BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Richard Lynch:
4-Week Short Course: Correct and Enhance Your Images
4-Week Short Course: From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow
4-Week Short Course: Photoshop 101: The Photoshop Essentials Primer
Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool
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1: Model Release Forms...

Hi Everyone:
I'm new at the business angle of photography so I'm not sure when's the best time to get the subject to sign the actual release form.
I'm finding, however, that my present method of giving them a self-addressed-stamped envelope to mail the signed form back to me at their convenience isn't working very well.
They either forget, take months to send it back to me, or I never hear from them again and my countless phone calls to please send back the signed form are ignored.
Should I have them sign the form as I'm handing them the prints, before they've even seen the images?
Many thanks.
Beth Howe
- Beth Howe

Hello Beth,
The best time to have someone sign a model/property release is before you take their photo. If you want to take a photo of someone that doesn't know they are being photographed, etc., offer them a free print for their signature and ask for their permission b/f you take their photo.

- Cindy L. Sperko
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2: Photographing Action

What camera settings should I adjust my camera for actions shots? I am trying to get pictures of the softball team in action but my pictures are turning out blurred. I have my ISO set to 400 and I am using a tripod but they are still blurring.
- Cora Jordan

To eliminate blur and stop action, you need a faster shutter speed - 1/250 and faster should be fine. In daylight, ISO 400 should normally allow very fast shutter speeds unless your lens is set to a very small aperture (large f-number).

- Jon Close

Hi Cora, I can't really answer anything to be honest, but if you have figured out this dilemma, could you let me know? Because I am in the same situation. Thanks, DP

- Dara R. Purves

Quit using automatic settings and shoot manual. Or at the very least, put your camera on Shutter Priority mode and shoot at 1/125 of a second. Softball action isn't fast enough that you need a faster speed than that. If you have the light to shoot a higher shutter speed, go for it.

- Dennis Flanagan

"and I am using a tripod but they are still blurring."
The tripod has nothing to do with blur due to subject motion. Your tripod only prevents the camera from moving.
You need a faster shutter speed. I don't think 1/125th is quite fast enough to stop the swing of the bat etc., but 1/250th should be fine.
If you can't get 1/250th, you need either a wider aperture or raise the ISO more.

- Pete H
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