The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, July 06, 2009
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Raw to JPEG vs. S...
Q&A 2: Lens for Cose-ups...
Q&A 1: Printing B&W - ...
Q&A 2: Shooting Cty Li...

"Superb! Masterful presentation of the lessons, awesome and amazing content, this class introduces techniques that improve pictures like no other." -Barbara Tobler, student in Photoshop Toolbox I: Exposure and Color By Lewis Kemper

Gain new insights, get inspired, learn from the pros, and have a fun time too. This grand event takes place July 25th in beautiful Seattle, WA. But that's not all. The optional post-Summit Workshop is a unique event in which you'll spend a memorable day shooting alongside BetterPhoto's pros. Learn more...

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Black and White's Timeless Appeal ... by Deborah Sandidge
Instead of adding creative touches to a photograph, you can subtract something to make an image more powerful - for example, take away the color. Stripped of the emotional appeal and connotations of color, black and white helps isolate the subject. Immediately, other qualities and strengths of the image - such as light, shadow, shape and texture - are enhanced.
A black and white photograph is simple yet sophisticated, has timeless appeal, and in many cases, communicates more clearly with the viewer. Here are a couple of ideas to help you push the limits a little further. Try using HDR for more dimension and detail with your black and white photography. As with color photography, HDR provides more information in the shadow and highlight areas which can create a cinematic image. Traditional black and white infrared photography captivates photographers and viewers alike. Consider using an infrared filter or infrared converted camera to create surreal black and white photographs.
Editor's Note: Deborah Sandidge teaches a terrific new course here at BetterPhoto: Digital Infrared Photography

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 428th issue of SnapShot!

Our July online school session is off to a fantastic start, but it's not too late to enroll! In fact, if you sign up for one of our 8-week online courses today, we will send you the first lesson pronto. You'll then have plenty of time to do the first assignment, which isn't even due until Sunday, July 12. Learn more... ... Here at BetterPhoto, we are looking forward to the July 25th Summit - right in our own "back yard": Seattle. This is the best time of year to visit the Pacific Northwest, and we look forward to seeing you there! ... In this issue of SnapShot, check out the excellent Photo Tip ("Black and White's Timeless Appeal") by new instructor Deborah Sandidge. ... Update: As many of you already know, the BetterPhoto site was down all of this past Friday (July 3th) until early Saturday (July 4th) due to a fire in the Seattle building that houses our servers. The fire took down hundreds of large business web sites, including ours. We appreciate everyone's patience. It was particularly gratifying to receive many kind and gracious comments from the BetterPhoto community. A big "thanks to all!" ... That's it for now. Enjoy your week of photography.

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Then try a 4-week or 8-week online photography adventure! Our courses are affordable, fully interactive, and fit right into your busy schedule. Learn more... With many sleek new design options, our Deluxe and Pro BetterPholios are better than ever! They are great ways to show - or sell - your photography, and are easy to set up and easy to maintain. Plus, a special monthly newsletter for BetterPholio owners offers tips and updates. Compare the options... Check out our What's New page for links to photos, announcements, etc.

Photo Q&A

1: Raw to JPEG vs. Shooting in JPEG
I know that when you shoot in Raw, you have more data than shooting in JPEG format. My question is when you process a Raw file on the computer and then save it as JPEG, does it revert to a same (or similar) quality file as if you had originally processed it in the camera? What is the best way to save it, TIFF? I am more concerned with enlargements as big as 20x30/poster size or larger. I'm shooting with a 40D.
- Manny Valencia
I do my Raw conversion, open in Photoshop CS3 and immediately save the file as a PSD. I'll then do my additional edits, and re-save as a PSD adding layers to my title if I have edited in layers. I'll then flatten the image and save as a JPEG, which is the file that goes to the lab. Yes, I end up with a number of files, but I can also go back and rework them from different points.
- Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer
Re: "My question is when you process a RAW file on the computer and then save it as JPEG, does it revert to a same (or similar) quality file as if you had originally processed it in the camera?"
This is one of those "depends" questions, but the short answer is the images does not "revert".
When you process a Raw image and save it as a JPEG, whatever modifications you made to the image (e.g., contrast, saturation, etc.) are a permanent part of the JPEG image. Your processing may or may not match what the camera does, so the quality depends on additional factors.
If you're shooting JPEG images, quality depends on the camera settings (e.g., profile, filters, etc). The relative quality of in-camera processing compared to what you can do with Photoshop depends on how handy you are with Photoshop on Raw images. Another factor is whether or not your camera settings are appropriate for conditions when shooting JPEG.
- R.K Stephenson
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2: Lens for Cose-ups and Interiors?
Hi All,
I have a Canon 400D camera, and I'm looking for a lens that could work for both interior photography and zoom and macro photography. I did some research and I ended up with "Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens". It seems to be a very expensive. Is it worth it? Or can someone suggest a better replacement without having to compromise image quality? Thanks.
- Asrar Alnajjar
I'm not a Canon user, but the 16-35mm would be great for interior shots. However, it won't cut it for macro photography. A better solution from a cost standpoint would be to look at a wide-angle from an aftermarket company such as Sigma, Tamron or Tokina, and then purchase a true macro lens in a suitable size, say 85mm, 105mm or whatever will work for you. Again, an aftermarket lens will work at a considerable savings.
- Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer
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1: Printing B&W - Contrast Challenges

I can't seem to resolve the issue of increased contrast I get when printing my B&W images. On my home HP printer, they appear as they do on my monitor but this is a low-budget printer and I don't intend to print anything significant from home.
At the local camera shop, all of my shadows lose their detail and contrast is bumped up. This is less apparent when using a simple 1 hr. lab at a drug or convenient store but still recognizable.
I realize the labs have different settings in their print processing which may affect the outcome, but I don't have this issue with my color prints. Has anyone else experienced this problem and possibly found a "standard" approach to ensure your prints match your original image?
I noticed that MPIX offers an option to not apply their processing adjustment for prints. Perhaps all I need is for the lab to print my images "as is". If anyone has used this specific aspect of the service, I'd appreciate your feedback.
- Ron Evans

Hi Ron,
All of your local photofinishing shops have likely dumped their black & white printer/processor. Once upon a time all these shops maintained two separate printer/processing machines. One that accepted black & white photo paper and one color paper. The printer/processor exposes negatives onto light sensitive paper by projection and then conveys the paper into a series of chemical baths. Printer/processors thrive on volume. When the volume of black & white petered out, maintaining the machines became a burden. Too bad, these workhorses produced the best mass black & white photofinishing.
The one-hour shop resorted to a special color compatible paper that yields black & white images. While the results are substandard compared to the real thing, these materials provide a reasonable imitation. The hue of the prints will be somewhat warm, not the cold black & white you likely covet. Again offering this serve is volume related. You need to ask the shop how they craft their black & white.
One-hour shops can output black & white on standard color photo paper. Getting the setting right is no easy task as there is a tendency to output prints with a color bias. The countermeasure is test and test again. Many modern shops now output using an inkjet print engine. Again, getting a true natural black & white is not easy.
Your best bet is a pro lab with an old-fashioned black & white printing set-up. They exist, and you can find them on the web or ask the local camera shop.
Good luck to you.

- Alan N. Marcus

I'm not sure that you are at a dead-end here, but unless I am mistaken, you are talking about two different things? If you are submitting digital images it is not likely that a service is turning them into and printing from negatives, as that is an expensive process and may not even enhance the results.
The processes for digital images will usually be either output to inkjet or output to laser light printers. I prefer the latter, though the true high-end of the former is very good. The problem with the former is that you have to balance all the inks. This doesn't always happen. Generally when printing B&W to the latter, I tone my images anyway ... tritone, and quadtone. These tonings can be subtle and may help keep you away from issues where color balance gets out of whack ... that is, treat the B&W image like a color one, and stay in control of it. If you get color results, the same techniques will work for getting results in black-and-white. Clever use if tone colors can get you exactly what you are looking for. Printing in ink, it should not matter that paper is meant to take color or B&W, and a service should be able to set up so that only black inks are used.
You will need to calibrate, and set up color management appropriately. You will also want to request from services that they DO NOT make compensations...many of which will be automated especially in non-pro shops. If after asking for no adjustments, your B&W images are still coming out more contrasty even with a calibrated monitor and the proper color settings and embedded profiles, then it may be time to try another service.
At a good service, they will be doing a lot of prints for pros and non. If you ask them specifically for suggestions, they may point you toward machines and processes and papers they have that can get the results you want. It is a good reason to pick a respected local shop where you can visit and see what they have and what they do.
The problem may be how you are trying to print rather than that you are trying to print B&W.
I hope that helps!

- Richard Lynch

See Richard Lynch's Basic BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Richard Lynch:
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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2: Shooting Cty Lights/Skyline

How do you shoot a city skyline at night? I don't know where to start and I don't want to get those "flashes" of light of the lamp post or highway light poles. How do I avoid or get rid of the overpowering lights?
Thanks for any help or advice,
- Victoria HuntressSee Sample Photo - Boston>

Flares from streetlights aren't always bad. I usually like them for the atmosphere they give. But if you want to eliminate them totally, you'll have to do your picture taking at a different time than the middle of the night.
Go out just as, or soon after, the sun goes below the horizon. You'll have a small window of time where you can have the red/orange glow of sunset or the deep purple color right afterwards. This will let you balance the ambient light with the street lights and you won't get the flare from the lights.
Too much flare will also depend on the scene. Trying to get the exposure for the building facade can be too long an exposure for any street lights (especially if they are close to you), signs, or the windows in the building. Some skylines or cityscapes don't have very much light shining on the surrounding buildings that you can get in a general one-shot exposure for the whole scene. And it can require some work with Photoshop (dodging and burning), or combining multiple shots of varying exposures so that you can record the exterior of the buildings, the office lights that are on inside the building, and the small areas that are just lit by a lamp post.

- gregory la grange
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