The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, August 31, 2009
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Do Bifocals and P...
Q&A 2: Shutter Clicks...
Q&A 1: Good Initial Le...
Q&A 2: Editing Softwar...

"I can't believe this course was available at a low cost! A wealth of knowledge was given by a proficient professional who was willing to give of his time and share valuable sports photography information. ... I loved the course!" -Linda Warren, student in Basics of Sports Photography with Newman Lowrance

Learn new techniques, gain great insights, get inspired, and have a great time too. The next BetterPhoto Summit takes place Oct. 31st in one of the world's most visually exciting cities. But that's not all. The optional post-Summit Workshop (Nov. 1st) is a unique event in which you'll spend a memorable day shooting in New York City alongside BP's pros. Learn more...

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Photographing Classic Cars with Character by Deborah Sandidge
Here are a few tips and hints on photographing classic cars: Shoot low and level to the car, get in close, and use a wide-angle lens.

A wide-angle lens can create distortions that give more personality to your classic car subject. A polarizer can reduce unwanted reflections and let the beautiful car color shine through. Use a tripod, and shoot for HDR to capture maximum detail in the shadow and highlight areas. Vary your point of view, photographing not only the entire car, but also the fabulous details such as hood ornaments, taillights and fancy grillwork.

Avoid undesirable background distractions, and that can be a challenge at a car show. Here's a hint if you can't avoid distractions: Try replacing the background in Photoshop, or blend it away using a blur effect. Are you up for a little fun in Photoshop? Change your car color using the Replace Color tool.

Have fun shooting!

Editor's Note: Deborah Sandidge an outstanding class here at Digital Infrared Photography

Featured Gallery
The eyes of Venice Carnival
© - Alain Boussac

Welcome to the 436th issue of SnapShot!

Great news: We're having a $20-off course special at BetterPhoto! This is a limited-time offer, so be sure to check out the Back to School details below. But wait, there's more! You'll also receive this free gift with purchase: a downloadable collection of the Top 20 photography tips, insights, techniques from BP's pro instructors. In one of our 4-week online photography courses (which kick off this Wednesday, Sept. 3rd), you'll learn in the quickest, easiest, and most enjoyable way possible. Now, with all these incentives, how can you miss? ;) ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss Deborah Sandidge's photo tip - "Photographing Classic Cars with Character" - in addition to a fine collection of questions and answers. ... That's it for this week. Enjoy your photography, and have fun signing up and saving money!

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Enroll in a September class and get a $20 discount off one of's FAMOUS ONLINE PHOTO COURSES! These courses are truly MOTIVATING! You'll get direct access to REAL PROS. Photo assignments and instructor critiques keep you on track and INSPIRED to go out shooting.

This is a special offer available for only a limited time! Our 4-week short courses kick off this Wednesday (Sept. 2nd), but sign up before Thursday (Sept.) 3rd at 9pm Pacific time to take advantage of this offer.

To get the discount, enter 20offSept09 into the "Gift Card" field on the Checkout page.

Each week, receive an inspiring lesson and assignment. Then get expert feedback, while interacting with your pro instructor and classmates. Learn how these online photo courses work! For links to photos, announcements, etc., stop by our What's New page.

Photo Q&A

1: Do Bifocals and Photography Mix?
I have just returned from the eye doctor and have been told I should wear progressive bifocals. Right now, I have no glasses but I need a slight corection for both near and far sightedness. I tried different types of contacts, but the eye doctor said they were not for me. I am panicked that this will completely hinder my photography. Any good experience out there?
- Julianna J. Collett
Hi Julianna,
One of my best friends wears bi-focals and he is an extrordinary photographer. My eyes are not 20-20 either but I check/adjust my diopter enough so that my subject looks sharp through the viewfinder. I do notice that after looking through my 100-400mm lens for too long that it takes a little while for my eye to re-adjust itself when I put the camera down.
You will be fine, maybe just a little time to get used to them :)
Maybe more people here who wear glasses will chime in.
- Carlton Ward
I have worn progressive lenses for years. The only thing that I have found that can create a problem is the frame style. With frame styles for women being smaller, it is difficult sometimes to get the best "line" of sight in the glasses. Older frames which were larger gave made photography a little easier. Oh what we do for style!
- Dalne M. Dola
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2: Shutter Clicks
Hello, BP members. I keep hearing people ask about how many shutter clicks are on your camera!! I own the Nikon D300. Is there a way to tell how many shots have been taken?? Can someone please clear this up for me? Thanks!
- Richard Jackson
Unless you've always been keeping up with your file numbers, you won't be able to tell how many times you've clicked the shutter. Even on consecutive file numbering mode, it will eventually turn over and start back at zero. You can only guess.
Camera shutters are rated for how long they'll last. Like belts on you car motor. Top-of-the-line cameras have sturdier built shutters, so they're rated to last for more times you click a picture. Maybe 300,000 (100,000 for a lower-level camera).
You can try and keep track, and do routine maintenance for any amount of time you want, like every 50,000 shots. Some people do try keeping up with that. But most people, even myself, will just shoot and if a problem ever comes up, get it fixed.
- gregory la grange
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1: Good Initial Lens for Mark II?

I have recently upgraded from the Canon Rebel to Mark II. I own Cannon macro lens 100mm 2.8, which has been serving me very well for macro shots. Since I invested in this great camera, I do not mind my first "overall" lens to be within a slightly higher price range. Should I go for prime lens, or choose the range of focus? I need something for interior shots and landscape. Should I go for a wide-angle lens?
- Margaret Kennedy

Lots of wide-angle to short tele zooms would fit the bill for you. On a 5D II and willing to be "within a slightly higher price range," the usual suspects are the EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM and EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM.

- Jon Close

Hi Margaret,
I agree with Jon. I have the 24-70mm, and it is on my 1Ds most of the time. If you want to go wider, the 16-35mm f/2.8L or the 17-40mm f/4L are great choices. I have the 17-40 and I have taken lots of wonderful landscape shots with it. It is also cheaper than the 16-35. Since I usually use a tripod and more DOF with my wide-angles, I don't see the necessity of having an F2.8.
Congrats on your new camera :)

- Carlton Ward

Margaret, Canon's "L" series lenses are their better ones optically. A super general purpose lens is their 24-105mm L lens. And the 17-40mm is great for wider angles. Congrats on your Mark II!

- Ken Smith
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2: Editing Software: Photoshop, Elements, etc.

I've been using Corel Paintshop Pro for the past 2 years and feel very comfortable with it, but I've been considering getting Photoshop to be able to do more things. Should I go with PS Elements or should I go to a full version of Photoshop? Oh, I have a small portrait business that is growing, so I would consider myself semi-professional.
- Jodi M. Walsh

This is really a frequently asked question. My pat reply is that if you don't know which to get, get Elements. Get Photoshop at 10 times the price when you are sure you know why you are getting it. But I also have to agree with Dan. PSP is a capable editor. In fact, I edited a book by an author writing on PSP, and I never used PSP before the editing. It is pretty amazing how similar the products are, or I'd never have gotten through the edit.
All that said... NO MATTER WHAT software you choose to use, you have to learn it to get the most from it. Most people dabble at the surface, and then wonder why less expensive programs can do the same things they do in an expensive one. Learning the software will require effort, time, and practice.
Any of these programs are tough to learn to use to their utmost. Lots of people pump Lightroom based on ease-of-use, but frankly ease usually means you are giving up control. I do not use Lightroom, and I don't feel that I need it. There is nothing it will do for me that Photoshop cannot.
As far as Elements being "elementary" and not running actions, I don't think these positions are accurate. I wrote several books on how to use Elements as an advanced editing tool, and part of that is based on the program running actions. Most of the things that people say you can't do in Elements can be done ... you just need to know how. Elements users can get free tools from my Web site that add in many of the more powerful features: The tools are actions I created in Photoshop to run in Elements.
If you do decide to get Photoshop, save the money and DO NOT get the Extended version. That is $300 more for tools you will likely never use as a digital photographer. Most people seem to want to pay the extra $300 because they get more. You get 3D tools, analytics, and a few other things. The Extended version is for specialty needs, not for image editing.
I hope this helps!

- 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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