The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, October 05, 2009
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Best Portrait Len...
Q&A 2: Photo Paper Sizes...
Q&A 1: Advice for Offi...

"I was skeptical with learning photography online, but was pleasantly surprised with how much I learned from Vik Orenstein on photographing children. Her critiques were all about making you a better photographer. Friends and family have been impressed with my new skills as well and have asked me to photograph their children... Thanks, Vik!" -Patricia Shewchuk on Photographing Children and Babies

Learn to capture images with the WOW factor at the next BetterPhoto Summit! We have a motivating day of presentations on Oct. 31st, followed by an exciting Optional 1-Day Workshop on Nov. 1st. Check out the details...

Have a few minutes? Check out the BetterPhoto Instructor Insights blog!

Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 71291 serious photographers.
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Photographing Reflections ... by Deborah Sandidge
Reflections are one of my very favorite ways to portray a subject. Opportunities are everywhere, from the smallest puddle to the open sea. The slightest breeze can alter the outcome. The patterns change from mirror perfect, to painterly all within a few minutes. The results are always serendipitous and random, which makes photographing reflections so interesting to me. Mornings work well as the water is often the most calm. Depending on the angle, a polarizer may help by reducing glare on the water, try it and see. Happy shooting...
Editor's Note: Deborah Sandidge teaches an excellent online photo class here at BetterPhoto: Digital Infrared Photography

Featured Gallery
Lone Tree
© - Alan C. Carmichael

Welcome to the 441st issue of SnapShot!

At BetterPhoto, we are gearing up for a very thrilling month! October kicks off this Wednesday (Oct. 7th) with our Fall online school session. But you'll need to hurry, since some classes are already full, while others are filling fast. In fact, our courses are by far the best way to hone your photographic skills - you'll love the direct interaction with master photographers, the personal feedback, and the flexible method of instruction. See the course listings... ... Wrapping up the month will be the BetterPhoto Summit in New York City. You'll learn new techniques, gain great insights, get inspired, and have a fun time too. Besides the awesome presentations on Oct. 31st, the optional post-Summit Workshop (Nov. 1st) offers the opportunity to spend a memorable day shooting alongside BP's pros. Learn more... ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss Deborah Sandidge's Photo Tip, and some fine questions and answers. ... That's it for now. Enjoy your week of photography, and be sure to catch me on Twitter: BetterPhotoJim

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our online photography courses are truly MOTIVATING! You'll get direct access to REAL PROS. See courses by category... Make creative use of fast exposures to freeze the action and slow shutter speeds to convey soft or blurred movement. Join new pro instructor Doug Steakley in his outstanding 4-week online photo course: Photographing Motion Gain new power in your images through the understanding and choosing of lens aperture. In Rob Sheppard's new 4-week online photo course, you will learn how to make images that grab viewers’ attention - by the creative use of f-stops. See the course details...

Photo Q&A

1: Best Portrait Lens?
I've finally saved enough money to buy some really great glass. Now the question is what should I get? I'm looking for the top recommended portrait lenses for Nikon. Thank you!
- Lisa C. Lloyd
DX (eg. D90) or FX (eg. D700)? AF motor in the camera, which can use any Nikon AF lenses? Or D60/D40 and D5000/D3000 which can only autofocus with lenses having internal AF motors (AF-S)? Or are you willing to work with manual focus only (eg. the very fine Zeiss ZF primes)? Studio (primes) or photojournalist style (zoom)?
- Jon Close
I currently have a D90, but intend to upgrade to D300s within the next couple of months. I'm fine with manual focus. Photojounalist.
- Lisa C. Lloyd
Both are DX. Usual suspects are 35 f/1.4 (whole body, groups), 50 f/1.4, 85 f/1.4 (tight head shots), or one of either the 17-55 f/2.8 or 24-70 f/2.8 zooms. IMHO, YMMV.
- Jon Close
What is the difference between DX and FX?
- Lisa C. Lloyd
FX and DX difference:
Good question because these terms define the image dimensions of the digital chip. Knowing your chip’s dimensions is a critical step when it comes to lens selection.
We select lenses for tasks like wide-angle, normal, portrait, and telephoto. Without knowledge of your chip dimension, you will not have a clue.
Normal: By tradition a camera is said to have an angle of view that is considered normal if the focal length approximately matches the diagonal measure of the chip or film. By normal, we are talking about a camera that matches the human experience as to angle-of-view. Suppose you are standing, peering out at a vista, through window glass. You could draw the outline of objects with a wax pencil on the glass. If you do, you have drawn the perspective of the human experience. Such a view and perspective is approximately duplicated when your camera is fitted with a lens with a focal length that about matches the diagonal measure of the film/chip format.
For the full-frame digital with a format of 24mm by 36mm, the diagonal dimension is 43mm. This being such an odd size, the architect, Oskar Barnack, inventor of the Leica 35mm camera, mounted a more practical 50mm lens. This format is know as "full frame" or FX.
For the FX format, 50mm is "normal".
Wide-angle is 70% of this value or shorter - thus, 35mm or shorter.
Telephoto is 200% of this value or longer thus 100mm or longer.
For technical reasons, portrait is approximately 250% of normal; however, this value is extracted from the actual diagonal measure. Thus it is 107mm. Since this is such an odd value, we traditionally round to 105mm.
DX was derived from a failed hybrid film format of the late 1990s introduced by Kodak and Fuji and others. The camera used 24mm film and the format dimensions were 16.7mm by 25.1mm. The film had a special magnetic coat so it could record both chemically and digitally. Although this idea was a failure, the format lives on in the DX models. Format dimensions are 16mm by 24mm diagonal 30mm.
As a result, wide-angle is 20mm or shorter.
Normal is 30mm.
Telephoto is 60mm or longer.
Portrait is 75mm.
Many might quarrel with the 70% - 200% - 250% values, however they are based on good science. Let me add that photography is both an art and a science, so you are free to choose lenses based on other parameters.
Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)
- Alan N. Marcus
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2: Photo Paper Sizes
I am looking for photo paper that is available in sizes 8x10 and 11x14. Why is this so hard to find? Any suggestions as to where I can get this and what is the best to get?
Thank you in advance.
- Jennifer Dent
I don't believe anybody makes it. Get 8.5x11 and 11x17 or 13x19, and a paper cutter. Or get a long ruler and a sharpee and hand cut.
Try Ilford. Their Galerie or Printasia. See if Best Buy has it. I like Pictorico also, but you'll probably have to order it online.
- gregory la grange
Thanks. I ended up printing on a 13x19 and cutting it down. I did get a paper cutter but it was not wide enough. I need to get a sharpee.
Thanks again.
- Jennifer Dent
Occasionally, I have picked up Epson glossy paper in the 8x10 size at Staples or Best Buy. They also have it available online.
- Agnes M. Fegan
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1: Advice for Office Furniture Shoot

Hi. I'm going to be shooting some office furniture. We're hiring a studio (100sqm) that comes with an infinity curve, 1x 600w, 2 x 400w ( I also have 2 x 400w lights), brollies, silver brollies, octo box... Any idea's/tips on
a)lighting set-up/positioning of lights.
b)I'm going to shoot with a Canon 5D Mk II. I have a 24-105mm IS L lens (will this be wide enough so that I don't get the "keystone" effect on legs?), or shall I shoot with my Sigma 17-70 lens? The client wants the images on a nice crisp white background, for use in brochures etc.
Any tips or suggestions will be greatfully accepted.
- Robyn Gwilt (formerley Ball)

Hi Robyn,
You will want to use a longer focal length, rather than a shorter one to reduce any keystone affects. Regardless, you will probably need to use Photoshop to perfect the perspective of your product. I would start by placing a large light source - perhaps a big umbrella - above the subject. You could use a boom for this, but you may be able to find a position with a regular stand that will work. You will need another light, probably about level with the product; the best position will depend on the reflections in the product. Of course, you will need a couple of lights on the background, or you will need to clip the background out of the image. I prefer clipping, since it lets you drop in anything, and the background light can sometimes be too bright. Product photography is fun!

- John H. Siskin

See John Siskin's Basic BetterPholio™:

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with John Siskin:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Business to Business: Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
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