The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
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Q&A 1: How to Shoot Indo...
Q&A 2: Color Temp with P...
Q&A 1: Plug-Ins for El...

"What an amazing class! ... I really liked Richard Lynch's teaching style - very thorough but realistic also. My only regret is that I did not take the class sooner!" -Cheryl Gould, student in Photoshop 101: The Photoshop Essentials Primer

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Photographing People: Soft Light ... by Sean Arbabi
A common blunder that occurs when people photograph their family or friends is they position themselves between the sun and their subject, with the sun at their back, providing the most light on their subject’s face (imagine the sun behind you as you take a portrait of your family in front of you with full sunlight on their faces). This often causes the subject to squint heavily, since they are forced to stare directly into the sun, and the light now created on the subject and surroundings is flat and boring. Instead, try photographing them in soft ambient light - that is, non-directional light where it is equally intense everywhere, such as shade or the diffused light from an overcast sky. This offers little or no shadows on a face, providing beautiful soft light complimentary for most people.
NOTE: Sean Arbabi is the author of The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure (new from Amphoto Books) and is also the instructor of Better Exposure: How to Meter Light.

Featured Gallery
Gold Coast
© - Chad Galloway

Welcome to the 404th issue of SnapShot!

What an exciting goal that Ansel Adams had: Create a masterpiece every month! Now BetterPhoto is paying homage to this legendary photographer with the launch of our Masterpiece of the Month Membership. As a Masterpiece member, you'll receive monthly assignments, private newsletters and video tips, and be eligible for rewards not offered with a basic membership. How cool is that!?! Learn more... ... In this issue of SnapShot, check out the Weekly Photo Tip on photographing portraits in soft light and a fine collection of questions and answers. ... That's it for now. Have fun with your photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our awesome online photography courses give you personal interaction with successful professionals and the flexibility and convenience of the Web! See our school schedule... Would you like to show - or sell - your photos in an extremely sleek and cool way? Our great-looking Web sites - Deluxe and Pro BetterPholios - are quick to set up and easy to maintain!

Photo Q&A

1: How to Shoot Indoor Computer Work Station
I have been asked by a friend to shoot a picture of a 911 call center. He wants a picture of a dispatcher at his work station in low light. He does not want to see the flash. I will be using a Canon 30D. I don't have a flash yet. I experimented shooting my computer using one shot and also HDR. I am buying a Canon Flash. Thanks for your help!
- Rich 
I did a shot like this three years ago for our dispatch center. It was for a city magazine. I was told they wanted something that captured the essense of the dispatch center. That's what we photographers do; we have creative control for the client. I'll tell you what I did, but not sure if that will help you.
The room I shot was pretty dark with just CRT's and control lights on their consoles. Guess what? There are fluorescent lights over head. The first thing I did was turn them all on.
I took a shot of the room, focusing on one works tation in the foreground using a wide-angle lens. I referenced my camera on a particular spot with a tripod. I took another at a slow shutter speed and asked some people to just walk thru the shot as this would capture the hustle and bustle with image blur.
Lights off now. Same shot but exposing only for the CRT's. Another shot exposing for the lights on the radio dispatch board.
Another shot with the operator sitting at his position with a muted flash to rim light him.
I layered all the files and burned in the CRT, the lights on the board, the operator and the people moving thru the frame in the background.
Of course, I shot all this in Raw format so I could correct color temp differences.
Shazam! Easy as pie.
- Pete H
Hello Rich,
I also did a similar shot of a call center and used a 580EX mounted on the camera (bounced off a 10' ceiling for illumination of the work space) and a slave 430EX (positioned at the side to illuminate the people sitting at the workstations with a thin shoot through umbrella to diffuse). With a little tweak of my Raw image in Adobe Camera Raw, it came out sharp and nicely exposed. I did bracket some shots for possible HDR but didn't need to go that route.
I did also shoot different exposures for the CRTs, but since the work station was the focus and not details of the CRTs, I didn't need to use layers to blend them together as Pete did in his shoot.
Just another option for you to consider. Good Luck!
- Carlton Ward
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2: Color Temp with Photogenic 1250
Does anyone know the specific color temp of a Photogenic 1250 strobe light? Someone suggested that strobes should say their color temp output in their material, but I can't find any info about this. I still struggle with WB in the studio, having tried auto, flash and daylight. I'm wondering if I set a specific number if that would help. Thanks!
- Tara R. Swartzendruber
Most studio strobes will center around 5,500K or daylight (+-) 200K.
Deviating downward will cause a slight blue shift, upwards, a slight shift to the red.
Neither excursion will give you poor color balance.
- Pete H
Hi Tara,
Just wanted to mention that shooting in Raw will allow you to easily change/correct color balance after the shot with Photoshop ACR or other RAW editing software.
- Carlton Ward
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1: Plug-Ins for Elements

I have Photoshop Elements 6. I have trouble downloading a plug-in. Can anyone help me with this? I am also looking for a dreamy effect that will work with this software. And any other plug-ins that will work.
Thank you!
- Carol Sawyer

I don't know which plugin you are talking about, but if it is truly a plugin you will want to store it in the Elements plugin folder, and unless it is badly configured (which is possible) or named the same as another plugin, both should show in the program AFTER RESTARTING the program.
You can add a lot of things to Elements, including styles and effects, actions, shapes, brushes and more.
If you are looking to be creative with the program, plugins are really a substitution for learning to use the program to its abilities - and I'm not sure they are always a good choice. My opinion is it is best to make the effort to learn what you can do before adding plugins, as plugins, as convenient as they may seem, add more to learn - not less. You'll find that by learning the program you can make more personal effects and results, and you won't have your image effects looking canned.
I hope that helps!
Richard Lynch

PS - I have some tools on my Elements website ( for all versions of Elements users who want more Photoshop-like power out of Elements. These aren't magic effects, but a means of empowering Elements users to have more of the tools you have in Photoshop so you can work with Photoshop tutorials and instructions.

- Richard Lynch

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