The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
 
Monday, December 28, 2009
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Photos of Famil...
Q&A 2: Macro Equipment...
Q&A 3: Replacing a CRT...


TESTIMONIAL OF THE WEEK
"This course was excellent! ... Lynne's positive critiques and creative suggestions enhanced the learning experience and emphasized the most important goal of all - that photography is fun!" -Kerry Stewart, student in Lynne Eodice's Learning to Shoot Inspiring Images



SOFT NATURAL LIGHT & BALANCED PHOTO DESIGN
Bold colors, soft overcast light, and fun subjects always make an intriguing combination, writes Kerry Drager in his recent BetterPhoto Instructor Insights photography blog. Read more here...


ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS IN SNAPSHOT
Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 73145 serious photographers.
Learn More...

THIS WEEK'S TIP
Understanding Depth of Field: Flat Subjects ... by Jim Zuckerman
When you photograph anything flat, says Jim Zuckerman, make the back of your digital camera - i.e., the plane of the sensor - as parallel as possible to the subject. This helps maintain depth of field (DOF - the range of sharpness in a scene). Read more in Jim Z's excellent BetterPhoto Instructor Insights blog.


   
Featured Gallery
Frost Covered
© - Rick Joyce

Welcome to the 453rd issue of SnapShot!
Hello,

Best wishes for an outstanding 2010! At BetterPhoto, we are certainly enjoying the holiday season but we're also preparing for another exciting session of online classes! School begins Jan. 6th... ... Also, a big reminder that you have only a few days left to SAVE BIG on Jim Miotke's inspiring Creative Confidence Weekend Workshop, so register today! This will be an intensive weekend of self discovery, where Jim will help you destroy fear and gain the confidence and the competitive edge of the successful creative photographer. See the workshop details here... ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss Jim Zuckerman's Photo Tip, a fine collection of questions and answers, and more. ... That's it for now. Enjoy the rest of the holidays!   Kerry Drager   Newsletter Editor    Where is Jim Miotke? Follow BetterPhoto's founder and president on Twitter: BetterPhotoJim

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

Our online 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. We have 4-week courses and 8-week classes that are designed to get you up and running with your new digital camera. School begins Jan. 6th, but enroll now and get started with an early lesson. There are many awesome reasons to jump into a BetterPhoto online course. Read our Top Ten list... Check out our What's New page for links to photos, announcements, etc.

Photo Q&A

1: Photos of Family in Their Home

I am taking photos of a "mid-sized" family (9 adults, 6 kids) in their living room. They have a large window on two sides of the room - to the north and the east. They would be standing on the south wall, so the light sources would be behind me and to the right of me (we're hoping for a sunny morning!) Would you suggest that I bring in a strobe light or two as well?
Here's my confession: I have strobes in my studio, but I don't use a light monitor. I just have them and my camera set for what works best, so I've never taken my lights anywhere else. What would I set them on? Just experiment beforehand?
I have two Photogenic 1250's and 2 Studiomax 320s. I have shoot-through and reflective umbrellas. I also have a SB800 that I can use on my camera. Would it be enough just to use this on camera?
Thanks!
- Tara R. Swartzendruber

ANSWER 1:
Randy. Thanks for your response. I saw the photo and it looks nice. (you have some gorgeous photos in your gallery!)
A couple questions:
1) what did you use as a diffuser? I don't own one, but perhaps I could make something.
2)the family you "shot" is considerably smaller than the one I have coming up. Do you still think the one-flash system would be OK?
3) Do you mind telling me what your camera settings were? Esp. ISO.
Thanks!

- Tara R. Swartzendruber

ANSWER 2:
Hi Tara. The diffuser I use is one you blow up like a balloon. I like it because it's fols up nicely when not inflated. It's made by Photoflex. A lot of people are using the Lightsphere by Gary Fong. I don't think it would be necessary to use one since I was bouncing it off the ceiling. That seems to work as well as anything unless the ceiling is colored or too high. I used ISO 100 @ f-4.0. The shutter speed only matters if you have a lot of ambient light. I kept mine at 1/250 sec. to prevent blurring from the ambient light. The distance to your subject will control your settings. I shot some larger family shots at this shoot and needed to raise the ISO to allow for the extra distance.
Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.

- Randy  A. Myers
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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2: Macro Equipment

What is better: a macro lens or diopter close-up attachment? I would like to get into macro photography more.
- Pamela R. Frost

ANSWER 1:
I would choose a true macro lens over diopters. The diopters will work for you, but I don't feel they do as good a job. You could also look into close-up/extension rings to use with your existing lenses.

- Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer

ANSWER 2:
I've shot flowers with my macro lens. The lens brings great details into what you shooting. I have a Sony Alpha 700 with a 2.8/100 Sony macro lens - my favorite lens.

- kerby pfrangle

ANSWER 3:
Hi Pam,
Macro lenses are specialized in their design and performance. While diopters like the Canon 500D and extension tubes help a normal lens with closer focusing ability, it is not the same as a true 1:1 macro lens.

- Carlton Ward

ANSWER 4:
I agree with all of the previous comments. Diopter filters are much more limiting and the optical integrity of an otherwise great lens can be compromised.
Another option you may want to consider is a reversing ring. When mounted backwards, a standard non-macro lens can focus much closer.

- Bob Cammarata

ANSWER 5:
Pamela: Yeah, if you tried a true macro lens, you would be amazed at the superior quality you would get. The accessories do work, but a true 100mm (or similar) macro lens is a great investment for nature photography.
Sony makes a 100mm Macro lens ($679); Sigma also makes a 105mm macro that is fully Sony compatible ($479).

- Peter K. Burian

See Peter Burian's Basic BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=69365

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Peter Burian:
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography

ANSWER 6:
I agree with Peter and the others. You can't beat a true macro lens. Like Carlton said, the Canon 500D close up lens (filter) is very good. I use the Nikon 5T and 6T close-up filters on my macro to get even closer than normal. The good close-up filters are pretty expensive. The cheaper versions by other companies are not worth the effort. I tried some years ago and they just will not give you the quality you need. You can't go wrong with a macro lens. In addition to the ones Peter mentioned, you may want to check on the Tamron 90mm macro. It gets very good reviews. Good luck with your choice.

- Randy  A. Myers

ANSWER 7:
Thank you everyone ... and Kerby, great pics. I will go with the macro lens!

- Pamela R. Frost

ANSWER 8:
Well, Pam, you have made the proper decision as far as I am concerned. You will be better off getting into macro photography with a lens between 90-105mm. It gives you more working room and you won't have the bugs jumping on you. LOL All of the major players that make macro lenses do an excellent job and these lenses are probably the best lens that they make. Many macro photos are taken with the camera mounted on a tripod. Make sure that it is VERY solid.
I owned a Canon 100mm f2.8 macro USM and used it on both the 20D and 5D with excellent results. You may still find it available, and I recommend it over the newer IS version because the IS is not needed since you are using a tripod and they are $$$ less expensive.
These lenses are also great to use as moderate telephotos but you do not want to use them for close-up portrait because it will show all of the pores in the skin. But if you have a person whose face tells a story with the wrinkles, then use it, but not for a teenage girl or a model.
Do not rely on the autofocus. Make sure that you check to insure that what you want is in focus and manually refocus.
After you get use to taking close-ups and 1:1 macro photos, you can add extension tubes to get an even larger image on your sensor.
I have also heard good words about the Sigma 105mm but the focus is slower than the Canons. Be sure to take the course offered by BP. It will make learning a lot faster and reduce experimentation, and you will have the instructor to answer specific questions.

- Lynn R. Powers
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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3: Replacing a CRT Monitor

Now that my 11-year-old Dell Trinitron monitor has died, I'm looking at a quality LCD, or a little-used CRT. The monitors discussed on Shutterbug and such places are way too expensive.

Has any of you found:
1. A reasonably priced (under $300) LCD that displays accurate color and can be calibrated?

2. A CRT you've been happy with. I am used to Sony Trinitrons. Goodwill and Salvation Army don't carry monitors any more in my area. I guess San Jose, CA is too rich.

One would think that enough demand exists with all the serious photogs out here for a $200-300 graphics quality monitor. Or am I missing some?

- Doug Nelson

ANSWER 1:
Doug: My recommendations are over $600 but if you want a fabulous LCD monitor for digital imaging, see my comments at:

Q and A: What are the best, affordable LCD monitors .....
Peter K. Burian ˇ http://www.photocrati.com/q-and-a-the-best-lcd-monitors-for-photographers/

The Samsung Syncmaster 245T is fabulous!

I don't know if Samsung's less pricey monitors are really great or not, but they make many of them. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=samsung+syncmaster&N=0&InitialSearch=yes

Peter

- Peter K. Burian

See Peter Burian's Basic BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=69365

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Peter Burian:
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography

ANSWER 2:
Peter, thank you. The Samsung 245T is definitely in the running. Also under consideration is a new CRT from Viewsonic, a lot cheaper.

In the past vew weeks, several used CRT's have passed through my hands, all freebies. All are shot, impossible to adjust using the monitor's controls or Adobe Gamma. In all fairness, they are as old as the one that died. No free ride here.

- Doug Nelson

ANSWER 3:
Doug: Yeah, lots of people have old monitors but few of them are worth taking, even for free.

Peter
www.peterkburian.com

- Peter K. Burian

See Peter Burian's Basic BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/mg.asp?id=69365

Take an Online PhotoCourse™ with Peter Burian:
4-Week Short Course: Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels
Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography

ANSWER 4:
Hi Guys,
If you want to belly up the $$ for superior quality monitors, Eizo makes several models (most in the $1000 - $1500 range) but since switching to a 24" IMAC 2 years ago, I am blown away by the Apple monitors. The Cinema Screens are also very popular with photographers but they are $$ as well. Apples are also respected for their longevity. The difference after calibrating my IMAC (w/Spyder2) is very slight as opposed to the big difference I would see with my old Dell monitor using the same Spyder2 calibrator.
Good luck with you decision Doug :)
Carlton

- Carlton Ward
Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com

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