The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Pro vs. 'Begi...
Q&A 2: ISO Variations...

"I thought that this was a brilliant course. The instructions were clear, crisp and concise. ... I also found Charlotte Lowrie's feedback to be extremely constructive. Definitely a course I would recommend!" - Rajiv Chopra, student in Camera Raw: From Capture to Finished Photo

Sean Arbabi has posted some interesting BetterPhoto blogs.

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Compositional Choices by Deborah Sandidge
Finding a great subject is essential in photography. How to compose for a great subject is the next challenge. Your first instincts about composition are good to follow; but also push yourself to additionally compose your subject in different ways. You might surprise yourself with what choice you like best.

Here are a few ideas… If your first inclination is to photograph in landscape orientation, let portrait orientation be your next choice. Try tilting your camera to the left or right to compose diagonally. This simple step often creates a more dynamic image. What happens if you use a LensBaby? Go for selective focus and softly blur all elements except your subject. Use a wide-angle lens for a composition that tells the whole story. Try isolating a section of your subject using a zoom lens. Compose for the rule of thirds, and then break the rules. Move around your subject, find light that is different, and photograph the shadows. Change your perspective by moving to your left, right, up or down. Photograph your subject in HDR, infrared, use multiple exposures, pan your subject, or consider a panorama.

These compositional choices and techniques will expand the creative opportunities you have in photographing a great subject.

Editor's Note: Deborah Sandidge teaches an awesome course here at Digital Infrared Photography

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 429th issue of SnapShot!

Indulge your creative passion at the next BetterPhoto Summit - July 25th in Seattle! Learn from the pros, meet fellow members, and give your photography a giant boost. Let me share this response from previous Summit participant Susan Patton: "It was such great fun shooting with other BP enthusiasts and rubbing shoulders with the 'big guys.' Everyone was friendly, fun, accessible and willing to share... and share... and share." Check out the details on the July 25th Summit and also the awesome Best of Seattle workshop on July 26th - a memorable day in which you'll shoot alongside BP's pros. ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss new instructor Deborah Sandidge's excellent Photo Tip on composition and creativity. ... That's it for now. Enjoy your week of photography!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Make this August a memorable month with a 4-week online photo adventure! Our courses are affordable and fit right into your busy schedule. Learn more... You can now follow photographer, author and BetterPhoto founder Jim Miotke on Twitter: BetterPhotoJim See our What's New page for links to photos, etc.

Photo Q&A

1: Pro vs. 'Beginner' Camera?
I've noticed "beginner" rated cameras that have more "pro" features (higher MP mostly). Are there more distinguishing features that qualifies a "pro" unit from beginner or intermediate? And does it really make a difference when it comes to quality shooting?
I am an "intermediate" aspiring to be "pro" - at least on a beginning rung of that ladder. I currently shoot with an Olympus e500 8MP - wanting to move that unit to "backup" status and add a more sophisticated unit. I would like to move to 15MP with IS - a strong zoom with macro, neutral density and polarizing filters and would greatly welcome guidance. I am even thinking of waiting until a more "pro" unit with 25-30MP might be justifiable as a business expense...
- Christine Zipps
The first things that makes a camera classified as a pro unit is usually pixel count and if the body is made of metal(aluminum, titanium...) and not plastic.
But other stuff is a higher sync speed, faster frame rate, and a wider ISO range, and typically you have more effort put into a pro body to have the best picture quality. And usually pro models don't have a pop-up flash, because a pro wouldn't find it useful.
But that's part of marketing. To make a living is to be a professional. And to make a living, do you need to have the most pixels and most expensive camera? That's relative.
- gregory la grange
Christine, you could probably extend this to lenses. There's also a big difference optically and in light sensitivity, between the "kit" lenses and the more pro lenses that can cost $1000 or more!
- Ken Smith
Amateur cameras have scene modes and other gimmicks to get photographers out of thinking for themselves. You've shown yourself to be way beyond needing these crutches. As long as you can control shutter and aperture, ISO, white balance, can opt for RAW output, and can hold the camera steady - either by hand or with a tripod - it matters a lot less whether your SLR is a "pro" model. I don't know of a bottom-of-the-line or mid-level SLR that doesn't give you total control in these areas.
Take a look at what Henri Cartier-Bresson was able to accomplish without capturing 5 or more frames per second, and no auto focus.
- Doug Nelson
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2: ISO Variations
I recently started a photography business and currently own a Nikon D80. I like it for the most part, but I recently phootographed an event at night and I am not satisfied with the noise levels at higher ISO ratings. It was my understanding that ISO was a standardized measure, but I have seen images on BP taken with higher-end cameras at high ISO with practically no noise. When I am ready to upgrad,e how can I determine that the new model will perform better at higher ISO ratings?
- Anthony L. Mancuso
You can read reviews on cameras and see what is said about the performance at high ISO, magazines and forums. Other than that, I don't see any other way of checking it without actually using a camera. And that would take a friend, or renting, or taking a card to a camera store and asking if you could take some high-ISO pictures in the store and then take the card home to see what they look like.
In the meantime, you can make sure your exposures are correct with your current camera. Maybe think about noise reduction software, because that could have been used on the pictures you saw.
ISO is supposed to be standardized, but that's light sensitivity. Noise will depend on you taking the picture, and with digital, the camera and how well it handles it. How well film is with grain depends on the film. Some are better than others.
- gregory la grange
Anthony, you can also use noise reduction software, like Noise Ninja. I use it on every photo that I work on. And with NJ, you can download the ISO profiles for your specific camera. That way, if the ISO was 1600, you call up the ISO profile at 1600 and NJ applies it to your photo. And you can just apply it to certain parts of your photo. There are other noise reduction programs out there so check around. It's definitely a tool you should look into as it does work quite well!
- Ken Smith
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