The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, December 22, 2008
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Photoshop versus ...
Q&A 2: Yellowstone in Wi...
Q&A 1: Photographing C...

"Outstanding class! Well thought-out appropriate lessons. Fair and relevant feedback with inspirational comments and suggestions. ... This is a must-do course for anyone serious about improving their photography." -Jim Alexander, student in William Neill's Portfolio Development

BetterPhoto is taking its Summit to San Diego, CA! Learn and grow with your creative visions - February 28th, 2009. Sign up now to take advantage of the "early bird special" of $77. Find out the Summit details here...

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.

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...

Photographer's Edge features a complete line of do-it-yourself Photo Frame Greeting Cards for all types of photographers and subjects. Turn your photos into eye-catching cards for any occasion! Learn more...

Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 66230 serious photographers.
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A Christmas Fashion Statement by Jim Zuckerman
Check out Jim Zuckerman's Instructor Insights blog, in which he shares a fun holiday photo and describes how he created it. Read it here...
Editor's Note: Jim Z, by the way, teaches many fine classes here at BetterPhoto, including Photoshop: Creative Techniques and Photoshop: Advanced Creative Techniques.

Featured Gallery
Colors of Christmas
© - Terry L. Ellis

Welcome to the 400th issue of SnapShot!

First off, let me wish everyone a fantastic holiday season! And, for all of you who celebrate it, an early "Merry Christmas" greeting too... Also, our Winter online photography school is going to be BetterPhoto's very best session yet! We have some terrific new courses (see below). School kicks off January 7th, but sign up now to ensure enrollment in your favorite photography or Photoshop class. See the course schedule... ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss Jim Zuckerman's fun Christmas Fashion Statement and a fine collection of questions and answers. ... By the way, if you would like some helpful tips on taking seasonal pictures, here's one of a number of excellent Forum threads on the subject: Photographing Christmas Lights. ... That's it for now. Have a memorable holiday week!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Great news! Our already-awesome line of CameraCourses just got better, with the addition of Learning the Olympus Evolt and Mastering the Nikon D3/D700. Been hitting a wall lately? At BetterPhoto, we have many ways to get inspired. If you aren't receiving daily dose of visual inspiration, for example, you should be! Learn about our free Photo of the Day newsletter at the subscription page. ... In addition, check out the past contest winners and the current Editor's Picks.

Photo Q&A

1: Photoshop versus Elements
Okay, all you Photoshop experts...
I know that full-blown Photoshop has a multitude of features for graphic artists, etc. What I'd like to know is, as a person who is interested in photographic retouching and slight editing (not wholesale swapping of backgrounds, etc.), but who also wants access to things like PS actions, will I ever regret buying PS Elements versus the full monty?
I believe my answer is, "No, you'll be well-served by Elements and will never need full-blown PS for what you want to do", but I wanted to check with others.
- John G. Clifford Jr
I think I am in a unique spot to answer this question. I was a Photoshop snob until 2000, when a publisher asked me if I would write a book on Elements. I'd already published a few Photoshop books and wrote about it in magazines. My knee jerk reaction was to reject even the idea of it, as why would a pro take Elements seriously? But instead I agreed to take a look and see if I could come up with an angle. Within a week, I found that my previous perspective on Elements was all wrong ... the program could do a lot more than most people thought. Not only that, it would do a lot more than the manufacturer said it would. In fact, there were features hidden in the interface that you could access if you knew how that rolled out more of the power of Photoshop and made Elements a serious tool for digital photographers. That was when I wrote the first of my Hidden Power Books. I actually took apart the program folders and explored what could be added to Photoshop to bring back the editing tools I thought I needed. That process of discovery actually changed the way I edit images in Photoshop and Elements for the better while giving me new respect for the program.
That said, I know fully what Elements can do, I think, and what the real limitations are. For example, you can indeed save a CMYK image out of Elements successfully - and no you won't find it on the color mode menu. You can work with channels - in a different way than Photoshop, and I think a better one. You can apply layer masks ... you can run actions ... you can mix channels, do calculations, you can apply obscure features like Blend If, you can work with and combine vector elements. ... some of which require the tools I make available from my elements website: There are tools for every version of the program. They are not plug-ins, really, but actions that you install in Elements to access native features that lie hidden there.

In consideration of all that, here is what I am fairly certain cannot be done in Elements:
-Create actions (I've done it, but the process is ridiculous, and I'd never want to explain it to anyone who was not already a programmer)
-Work with scripts and custom script additions

* Edit 16-bit images with layer support

* Work with 3D models (PSCS Extended)
-Do graphics for web design (Image Ready until PSCS2, and then the features were rolled into PSCS3 as the Image Ready program was discontinued.
-Sophisticated video support
-Medical imaging support (PSCS Extended)

Other things I would tend to want to use Photoshop for rather than Elements:
- Volume CMYK editing work
- Bezier vector tool applications (there is a Paths plugin for Elements, but it comes with little support).
- I feel the color management in Elements is slightly lacking ... but the proper understanding and effort can overcome that issue.

I may have missed a few minor things here and there will be specific tools you will not have access to if you are used to working in Photoshop. Some people find that to be a huge drawback, but my impression is that just about anything you need to do in normal photo correction can be accomplished. In fact my Photoshop Courses here on are open to Elements and Photoshop users because the techniques I prefer are so similar and applicable to both programs, without requiring any modification to the program as is.
So, for the most part I completely agree with your quote: "you'll be well-served by Elements and will never need full-blown PS for what you want to do"...In fact I may be the one who started saying that 8+ years ago. You will be good with Elements, unless you want to definitely record your own actions, have the need to work in and edit CMYK images, are interested in scripting, video, 3D modeling, web design, architecture, medical imaging, and more complete high-bit support (16 and 32 bit). That may sound like a lot, but none of it is necessary to editing photos, and if none are an interest, I am not sure why you'd need more than Elements.
I hope that helps!

- 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
Read this Q&A at

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2: Yellowstone in Winter
Hello, I'm trying to plan a vacation to YNP for photography in late January or February. I've spend a bit of time searching for info for access to YNP places to stay, places to shoot, etc. If anyone has spend a few days to a week or so at YNP could you please give some of your thoughts on airports, places to stay, etc. From the research I've done so far, it looks like the cheapest flights are into Jackson Hole. Since the southern entrance is closed to motorist the drive around to the northern entrance looks like it could take several hours at best. Gardiner seems like a popular place to stay on the northern end. Any suggestions would be most welcome. Thanks, Owen
- Owen Dawson
We have always stayed at West Yellowstone. West entrance is there, closest to all the Yellowstone attractions and actually nice little town, not as expensive as Jackson. You can also snowmobile around town in West Yellowstone and snowmobile around the outside the park to Island Park. It's Montana, so if you like to gamble some, they have slot machines in town, good food and the people are great. You have Pocatello, Butte or even Boise or Salt Lake City airports within a relative short drive. They have a nice Best Western just yards from the West entrance that is nice.
- Vicki Day
Vicki, Thanks for your response. Have you been there in the winter? All the maps indicate that all entrances except the northern & NE entrance are closed to vehicles from Nov to April.
- Owen Dawson
It's car travel it is closed to. The whole park is close to car. Only way in is motorcoach (bus on skis) and snowmobile. Try the Kelly Inn in West Yellowstone. I live in Northern Utah so we go there every year.
- Vicki Day
Hi Owen and Vicki,
Great subject! Also, Owen, check out BetterPhoto instructor Jim Zuckerman's BetterPhoto Trip Planner on photographing Yellowstone in the wintertime:

- Kerry Drager

See Kerry Drager's Basic BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Kerry Drager:
4-Week Short Course: Creative Close-ups
Creative Light and Composition
Read this Q&A at

Answer this question:
1: Photographing Christmas Lights

Help! I recently bought the Canon S5 IS digital camera and want to take pictures of outside Christmas lights. However, when I put it on the fireworks setting, the pictures turn out blurry. Carrying a tripod with me is not an option. I know I will probably need to set it to manual and set everything, but I don't even know what aperture, shutter speed or ISO to even start with. Thanks!
- Cindy Zimbelman

You can start with ISO 1600, shutter speed 1/60, f/2.8 ... Re-consider the tripod.

- gregory la grange

A smaller aperture setting will expand the Depth of Field and create little starbursts of light off the most vibrant, brighter features of those displays. Set the aperture (in aperture-priority AE) and be prepared for a multi-second exposure time. This, of course, means that you WILL need that tripod.

- Bob Cammarata
Read this Q&A at

Answer this question:

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