The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, April 13, 2009
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Buying a Camera O...
Q&A 1: Need Lens Sugge...

"John was an excellent instructor in all ways. His personal touch, timely and appropriate critiques made learning very enjoyable. I was really glad I enrolled!" -Susan Brown, student in An Introduction to Photographic Lighting by John Siskin

At BetterPhoto, we have a fine line of online photography classes on nature and travel.

Have some spare time? Check out our Instructor Insights photography blogs!

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Graphic Design and Architecture ... by Jim Zuckerman
Finding strong graphic design when you are shooting architecture and cityscapes is a lot easier than when photographing nature and wildlife. Architects are very much aware of beautiful lines and shapes and they design their buildings.

Indeed, architects work to incorporate strong graphic design in the doors, the windows, the facade, and the overall shape of the structure. Buildings built on a tight budget usually have to sacrifice the beauty of an elegant or captivating design, but many older works of architecture as well as modern engineering marvels are truly stunning.

Even though a building or skyline is graphically dynamic, the way you compose the photograph still has to be carefully considered. You don't want to include distracting elements like power lines, out-of-focus trees in the foreground, and unattractive shadows. I feel that too much concrete or asphalt is a problem as well. Don't include a lot of the street in the foreground so it dominates the picture. Our attention should be drawn to the lines of the building.

Editor's Note: Learn more about Jim Zuckerman and his excellent online courses!

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 416th issue of SnapShot!

Give your photography a creative jolt at this Sunday's BetterPhoto Summit! Learn from the pros and meet fellow members at this jam-packed photography conference, which takes place April 19th in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida. And, at the optional Post-Summit Workshop, you can spend an inspiring day shooting with the pros. See the Summit details... ... In this issue of SnapShot, be sure to check out Jim Zuckerman's Photo Tip on capturing graphic design. ... That's it for now. I look forward to seeing you in Florida!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Learn from the pros, meet fellow members, and give your photography a giant boost this Sunday, April 19th, in St. Augustine, Florida! That's the very cool site of a very hot event: the next BetterPhoto Summit. But seating is limited, so sign up now! Learn more... Our online photo courses offer personal interaction with top pros! See our school schedule... If you've been hitting a wall lately, then we have some great ways to get inspired! For example, for BetterPhoto's daily dose of visual inspiration, check out our free Photo of the Day newsletter at the subscription page. ... In addition, check out the past contest winners of our monthly contest.

Photo Q&A

1: Buying a Camera Online?
I'm looking at investing in a newer camera, and I'm wondering if it's worth looking at Craigslist or eBay to try to get a deal. Any suggestions?
- Jodi M. Walsh
Hey Jodi,
I would never buy a camera from craigslist. You are dealing with regular Joes there and nothing to protect you should the deal go sour! Ebay is okay ... just be sure to look at the feedback. I had looked on Ebay to buy my new camera, but I ended up going with Amazon because the price was right and I wanted specific things, not a big package deal. The nice thing about eBay is that you do have some protection and using PayPal is the way to go in that place. If you are just getting a camera body, then it should make your shopping easier ... just shop around for the best price with a reputable dealer. I, for one, wouldn't buy a used camera from an individual, but would buy one refurbished by the manufacturer from a dealer. :~)
- @imee c. eisaman
I would be hesitant buying camera bodies from anyone not reputable. B&H is always good when it comes to reliability, price, availability and service.
For used lenses and accessories, though, I have had consistant success shopping from eBay. Wise buyers can find great deals on used glass there.
- Bob Cammarata
I bought my first 2 Nikons, an N80 film camera, then a D70 a couple years later, on eBay without any issues. Both were slightly used, supposedly back-up cameras for pros who had upgraded to newer technology. In both cases, I got them at good enough prices that they were worth a gamble. Performance from both of them has been flawless. I've since upgraded to a D300, which I bought new from Adorama. I've also purchased used Nikon lenses on eBay without issue.
Having said all of that, you have to be careful, research the seller as much as possible and watch for gray market items. There are a lot of good people selling on eBay, but there are a lot of others as well. I have found eBay a good way to stretch the equipment budget, but may have been lucky.
- Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer
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1: Need Lens Suggestion for Shooting Weddings

I have a Canon Rebel XT and using Tamron AF18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 lens. I would like to get another lens but not sure what to get. I'm thinking about getting a fast lens since I'll be doing a wedding soon where the lighting is very dim. Can anyone suggest a lens that is going to be inexpensive but will give me a good quality? I think I would like to keep it under $500 if possible.
- Carrie Bayless

Hi Carrie,
For weddings, I mostly use my 24-70mm f/2.8 L and my 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS gets a lot of wedding use as well but both of these lenses are expensive.
The Canon 50mm f/1.4 or 85mm f/1.8 are great prime lens options and do well in low light. They both cost around $350. I really like the ability to zoom as you cannot always be at a good range or position when shooting weddings, and for using primes, and you may have to do a more cropping in post processing. But these primes are fast and great in low light.
If you are starting to build your lens arsenal, both of these lenses will serve you well. Try to stay away from EF-S lenses if you ever think you may go to a full frame camera (like the 5D or 1Ds series). Lenses will be with you for a very long time even though your camera will be outdated in a couple of years, so investing in quality lenses (L class) is a smart option and retain their value (unlike outdated cameras).
Good luck, Carrie!

- Carlton Ward
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