The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, July 27, 2009
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Nikkon Lenses a...
Q&A 2: D-Lighting: Wha...
Q&A 3: Color Change in...

"This course was great. The course was by far the best I have taken from BetterPhoto. John Siskin provided such detailed information that will continue to be valuable to me as I grow in this field. Thanks, John! -Elin Vaeth, student in Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio

Learn new techniques, gain new insights, get inspired, and have a lot of fun too at the BetterPhoto Summit in New York City (Oct. 31st). But that's not all. The optional post-Summit Workshop is a unique event in which you'll spend a memorable day shooting alongside BP's pros. Learn more...

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Graphic Shapes: Photographing Butterflies by Jim Zuckerman
In my online courses, I get a lot of butterfly pictures to critique. These insects are very challenging to photograph, and one of the reasons is that depth of field is usually limited in the field. Wings that should be sharp often aren't. Another reason is that the graphic shape of the wings are everything. If they are angled in an unattractive manor, they just won't look good.

Consider one of my recent images: The wings are nicely spread out and - this is important - I positioned the camera so the back of it was parallel with the plane of the wings. This gave me a lot more depth of field than had I angled the camera to be oblique with the plane of the butterfly's wings. At the same time, the background was nicely blurred for a very attractive backdrop.

Editor's Note: Jim Zuckerman teaches many excellent courses at BetterPhoto, including Wildlife Photography and Self-Discovery in Photography

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 431st issue of SnapShot!

At BetterPhoto, we are taking a few moments to relax after a highly successful Summit. What an awesome experience! It was great to meet so many members, and a huge thanks to all who attended. Now we look forward to our August session of 4-week online courses, which features a wide range of photography and Photoshop classes. ... Of course, we are also looking forward to the next BetterPhoto Summit - Oct. 31st, 2009, in one of the world's most visually exciting cities: New York! ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss Jim Zuckerman's excellent photo tip ("Graphic Shapes: Photographing Butterflies") and some fine Q&A discussions. .... That's it for this week. Have fun with your photography.

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Join us for a 4-week online photography adventure. Our courses are affordable and fit right into your busy schedule. See our 4-week class schedule... Would you like to learn more about exposure, composition, digital photography, Photoshop, or the business of photography? Check out BetterPhoto's quarterly 8-week classes, which return October 7th. You can now follow photographer, author and BetterPhoto founder Jim Miotke on Twitter: BetterPhotoJim

Photo Q&A

1: Nikkon Lenses and DOF chart

Why does the manual for the Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 ED lens have a depth of field chart and the manual for Nikkor 70-200 mm f2.8 G hasn't got one? Is this chart important for getting DOF right, and do other photographers consult these lists when they are out shooting images? Or should I just stick to using the DOF preview button? I use a Nikon D3, btw. Thanks!
- Nadja Meta

The reason is because the combination of (a) short focus turning range for fast AF, plus (b) much narrower depth of field at longer focal lengths so compresses the DOF scale to where it would be unreadable on the 70-200 f/2.8G. Just look how dense the chart for the 24-70 is at 70mm.

- Jon Close
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2: D-Lighting: What Is It?

My Nikon D90 has a function called D-Lighting. What is it used for and when should I use it? Thanks.
- Eric S. Rundle

Take a picture and mess around with the D-Lighting function. It keeps the original pic and makes a copy of the one with the D-Lighting effect!

- Jayne Martin

D-Lighting software balances contrasty situations by simultaneously softening harsh highlights and boosting shadows to reveal greater detail in both. More advanced Nikon systems offer "Active" D-Lighting, which applies a similar effect when you press the shutter.

- Bob Cammarata
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3: Color Change in Digital Darkroom

When I look at a photo in IPhoto, Photoshop and Camera Raw, the colors are the same. When I look at the same photo in Bridge or when I check the preview in "save for the web" (in Photoshop) the colors look dull and off. I calibrated my monitor and I have taken the class From Monitor to Print, so all my color management settings are the same as before. I didn't have that problem before. What's going on? Help!
- Wendy E. Moghadam

Color Management issues can be perplexing. As the course suggests, usually the best way to solve them is to simplify. This means simplify handling and simplifying workflow. From the sound of what you are describing you are trying to pull off something more complex, and that can lead to inconsistency for a variety of reasons.
One thing that is not clear from what you say is what you are doing with the images specifically. Are you opening them in bridge directly off the camera? Does the same hold true for iPhoto and Photoshop? If the way you are handling the images is different, the results can be different. The process needs to make sense from beginning to end, and so does what you are doing with the programs you are employing. If the workflow has redundant points, or is inconsistent, the workflow will not yield absolutely predictable results. That you are involving other programs is complicating the workflow, but it is not clear why you would need all of these programs consistently as there is significant overlap.

The From Monitor to Print course covers color management and success using it with Photoshop/Elements in a closed workflow. This teaches the idea of how to handle images and their profiles in a closed circuit involving Photoshop and prepping images for print or web. While the effort with the images and steps you take should work in any program that is color management savvy, as you add on steps to the workflow you have to be sure all the components of that workflow are working together - no part of the process is an island. I can tell you that bridge is color management savvy, but you need to be sure color management is on. In this instance you need to check the Creative Suite Color Settings on the Edit menu in Bridge. My guess is that you do not have the Color Management set up, and you will receive a warning telling you as much. But again it is not clear why all these programs are involved in your workflow.
Along with questions about the workflow you are using lies the question as to why you are getting a duller result in some instances. The suggestion from the results you describe is that you are embedding a profile that is not always being recognized. It also suggests that the profile is likely a broad spectrum profile like Adobe RGB or Pro Photo. This explains the result in Bridge if color management is not set up because if Bridge is not recognizing the profile, it will assume sRGB and color and tone will appear compressed. The same will happen in Save for Web if the profile is being dropped by the preview because the file is being stripped of the profile.

When using Save for Web, a profile may not be being embedded depending on the file type and settings. A profile needs to be in the image to retain the color correctly for broader spectrum images (e.g., Adobe RGB or Pro RGB, sRGB will be more forgiving). In other words, the images will behave as you have them set up and as you have the different programs set up to recognize them. Web images are typically not profiled as web browsers are not typically color management savvy and assume sRGB.
One thing I recommend both now and in the course is to simplify your workflow. The more programs you juggle, the more likely you will run into inconsistencies and the less likely you are to maintain consistent image handling. And as I recommended in the course, staying closer to an sRGB workflow will tend to yield more consistent results in print and on the web. If you are using Adobe RGB on camera that is fine, but the images should be converted to sRGB in Photoshop automatically if the Color Management settings are defined that way ... and if you are using that path each time in your workflow, you will get consistent results. If you are using different paths in the workflow, the result can become unpredictable.

Color Management starts with calibrating your monitor and defining your Color Management settings, but how you push the image through the process (the 'workflow') is important as is knowing what changes in that workflow will result in. As the course suggested you need to test every change you make, as every change can produce nuance. Color choices you make (using Adobe RGB to capture and converting to sRGB, for example) need to be consistent, or you need to know when the process/workflow will change and for what reason(s).
So to fix this it seems you have to revisit the process defined in the course...look at how you are opening images and the impact of the steps you are using and how you may need to adjust your use of programs and how you handle color management. Something somewhere in the logistics has changed if the results are now different.

- 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
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