The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Permission Requir...
Q&A 2: Suggested Color T...
Q&A 1: Night Pictures...

"This is an excellent course! ... Rob Sheppard's course really helped me learn about the importance of choosing my subject and using different techniques to take better photos." -Sharon McDonald in Impact in Your Photographs: The Wow Factor

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.

Learn how to make a part-time or full-time income through a stock photo agency! Jim Zuckerman's exciting new 4-week class launches Nov. 5th. Learn more...

Give your favorite photographer something really special! Our BetterPhoto Gift Cards are redeemable toward PhotoCourses or BetterPholio web sites. Best yet, no wrapping required!

Check out the BetterPhoto Quick Keyworder Game! Look for the Win Big Points graphic in your Member Center (note: for BetterPholio owners or student alumni). Top score wins 50% off a photography course or BetterPholio!

Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 66400 serious photographers.
Learn More...

Techniques for Creative Halloween Photography by John Siskin
John Siskin is a popular BetterPhoto instructor who takes photographic lighting very seriously - except when he's having fun with it, that is! See John's tips and pics for capturing eye-catching Halloween pictures.
Editor's Note: John Siskin teaches two excellent courses here at BetterPhoto: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting and Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 392nd issue of SnapShot!

We are so thrilled with the success of our 4th annual BetterPhoto Summit this past weekend. What an incredible experience! I really enjoyed meeting so many members at this very special event - thanks to all who participated! ... Now, onward and forward ... I'm excited about the publication of my new book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Children. Act quickly and you'll get a numbered, autographed copy - and 24% off if you purchase before October 31st! Buy the book today... ... The next session of BetterPhoto's online photography courses is coming right up - next week, in fact (November 5th). Our awesome online photography courses give you personal interaction with top pros - regardless of where you live. See our school schedule. By the way, if you miss this Nov. 5th start date for 8-week courses, you'll have to wait until January for the next 8-week session. ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss instructor John Siskin's excellent Weekly Photo Tip on Halloween photography. Check it out below. ... That's it for now. Enjoy your week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Learn to capture terrific pictures of kids in Jim's The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Children! Get 24% off if you purchase before October 31st. Learn all the details... At BetterPhoto, we have four great courses on landscape photography, all very different and all taught by top pros: An excellent course by BetterPhoto's popular instructor team - Susan and Neil Silverman - has a new name: Jumping into Digital Photography (formerly "Jump Start into Digital"). Check out this fine class...

Photo Q&A

1: Permission Required?
I have a beautiful picture of an old barn that I took while traveling in the middle of nowhere through the country. I looked in every direction for a mile or so to find the owner of the barn without success. Must I have permission from the owner of a building before including the picture in a book or selling it for a profit on cards or in a calendar?
- D. C. LeJeune
For most commercial purposes, the short answer is "yes". Talk to a lawyer specializing in intellectual property law in the state where the barn is. Do a public records search to find out who owns the land the barn is on. Get a property release.
Take it light.
- Mark Feldstein
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2: Suggested Color Temp of Studio Lights
I am looking to purchase continuous studio lighting. One of the many questions that I have: What is the suggested color temperature? Also, which is better, fluorescent or tungsten?
- Rachel Larson
Hi Rachel,
Many of my students have purchased the Alien Bees, particularly the B1600. They are a good value, a little cheaper than a buck a watt-second.

Ansel Adams used to talk and write about pre-visualization - the process of looking at something out there and deciding how you want the finished image to look. That process is very important in photography; it means that the photographer has creative control of the image. Without pre-visualization, most of what you do is taking pictures, but with pre-visualization, you will soon be making pictures. Continuous light allows the photographer to use the same process used in taking pictures: you shoot what you like. While I would say that any shot where you set-up the light is a made photograph, continuous light requires less pre-visualization. Strobes require you to see the light in your mind first, and then create the light for the subject. They depend on a talent for pre-visualization. I also refer to this as beginning your shot in the studio in your mind, examining what you can do there first, and then you move lights. Clearly, strobes require more experimentation and practice.

Others in this discussion have already discussed the advantages of strobes, but I would like to add one more. Strobes are instantaneous light. The duration of a strobe is generally around 1/1000th of a second. As a result, you do not need a tripod, and you do not need to worry about your subject moving. If you work with continuous lights, whether they are fluorescent or quartz, you will often find yourself needing to work at a shutter speed longer than 1/60th of a second. Which can cause a lack of sharpness due to movement.

Regarding your original question about color temperature. Years ago, I used to do a lot of very critical color work. One of the problems I had was that some of the material I shot had optical brighteners. These work like the phosphors in fluorescent tubes that Alan mentioned earlier. They absorb ultraviolet light that we can’t see and emit light in the visible spectrum that we do see. The strobes I had back then had a higher color temperature and a high UV yield. This caused color shifts in my subjects as the UV changed the color balance when it hit the optical brighteners. You could not filter this out at the lens, since the light was shifted to the visible spectrum by the optical brighteners at the subject. As a result I got strobes with UV covers and a color temperature of 5000ºK, and have used these warmer lights ever since. Most modern strobes do not have this problem, but I get strobes that match the balance I’ve been using.

Thanks, John

- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Basic BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
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1: Night Pictures

How do I take night action pictures? I was taking pictures of my daughter's flag football game and the pictures were blurry. I have a new Sony A700 and not quite sure how to use all the features. Can someone help? Does anyone know a good hands-on class to take? Thanks!
- Cindy D. Prokop

Blurry pictures are usually from camera shake and are especially noticeable at night when you have to use a slower shutter speed due to lighting conditions. Try boosting the ISO setting on the camera. A higher ISO makes the camera more able to use less light. On the downside, it also introduces graininess into the pictures. So it is a trade-off, blur vs. grain. One note ... be careful to put the ISO setting back to normal after the event. I lost a batch of pictures the day after an evening event when they came out terrible because I forgot to put the ISO back to 200.
Don't use the automatic settings, but try shooting in Shutter Priority mode. A general rule of thumb is set the shutter speed to 2x focal length. So a 120mm lens would require 1/250 shutter speed.
You might also try using a monopod to help study the camera. These are very helpful if you have a large zoom lens.
Lastly, the amount of light thru the lens is controlled by the aperture. Most kit lenses have a higher aperture value. Look on your lens where you might see numbers like 4.5 or 5.6. Purchasing a lens with a lower number, like 2.8, will allow in more light and possibly help capture the evening flag football games. As the 2.8 lenses are pricey, see if your local camera store will let you rent one for an evening so you can try before you buy.

Editor's Note: At BetterPhoto, we have a number of exposure and lighting courses, as well as a class devoted to sports photography.

- Curt Morris

Hi Cindy,
"How do I take night action pictures? I was taking pictures of my daughter's flag football game and the pictures were blurry."
If you can use flash, use an external flash gun and a Flash Extender. If you can't use flash, set a very high ISO (1600 or 3200), and aperture priority (Av) on largest aperture (lowest number). Make sure the shutter speeds aren't slower than 1/125th. Get a noise reduction app for post processing.
You may find your lens' maximum aperture opening is not large enough. Best aperture is F/2.8. You may find you need to purchase a lens with that capability!
"I have a new Sony A700 and not quite sure how to use all the features. Can someone help? Also, study the manual. Practice all that is in it. Work through it from cover to cover.
Have fun!

- W. Smith VIII
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