The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, April 05, 2010
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Directing Portrai...
Q&A 1: Macro Photograp...

"Charlotte Lowrie is THE instructor! ... This class delivered way more than the course outline says - it makes you an expert in Raw, from capture all the way to printing. I got a lot of value out of it. This course was a turning point in my photography!" - Nessrine Ismail El Guindi, student in Camera Raw: From Capture to Finished Photo

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Emphasizing Texture in Close-up Photography
An image in which texture predominates can be just as creative as one that features the subjectís overall shape or pattern, writes Lynne Eodice in BetterPhoto Instructor Insights. When itís emphasized, texture can give your subjects depth and a sense of three-dimensionality. See Lynne's blog here...

Featured Gallery
Little Italy Reflection
© - Kathy Salerni

Welcome to the 467th issue of SnapShot!

What an awesome week at BetterPhoto! Our April 4-week school session kicks off this Wednesday, and there's even more good news: Purchase any online course (4 or 8 week) through April 7th and get $20 off! Just enter the promo code Spring20 in the "Gift Card Code" field when checking out. ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss the photo tip by instructor Lynne Eodice ("Emphasizing Texture in Close-up Photography") and the entry by instructor Vik Orenstein ("Backgrounds for Studio Portraits: Tips from a Pro!"). ... Have a few minutes? Be sure to stop by Team BetterPhoto's blog, in which BP team members share their thoughts, interests, and tips! ... That's it for now. Have fun with your photography!†† †† Kerry Drager†††† Newsletter Editor †† †† Where is Jim Miotke? Follow BetterPhoto's founder and president on Twitter - BetterPhotoJim - and in his blog:

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Updates From BetterPhoto

Our online photography classes are truly MOTIVATING! You'll get direct access to REAL PROS. See our 4-week April session... Too Soon? Check out our 8-week courses, which kick off on May 5th.

$20 Off on all courses: Our 2 Day Spring Sale applies to both 4-week or 8-week classes purchased through Wed., April 7th. Be sure to enter the promo code Spring20 in the "Gift Card Code" field when checking out.

If you're a portrait shooter, check out Vik Orenstein's excellent BetterPhoto Instructor Insights blog:
Portrait Backgrounds: How Selection Affects Sales Go ahead, have a life! That's because, at BetterPhoto, we offer online classes according to YOUR schedule. Find out the details...

Photo Q&A

1: Directing Portrait and Model Shoots
I want to take a course in learning more about posing and directing portrait and model photoshoots. I have a problem with directing photoshoots. It seems I clam up a lot when it comes to directing a photoshoot. I would love to take a class to learn more and grow in this area. Any suggestions would be so appriciated!!
- Sherry L. Davis
Hi Sherry,
It came as a shock to me, but subjects actually want to be directed. Under normal circumstances people donít want to be told how to stand, but put them in front of the camera and that is exactly what they want. I often ask people to move slowly from one pose to another or repeat an action this helps. Hereís some information from one of my classes about posing:
A portrait should invite a stranger into a more intimate relationship with the subject. It creates an almost formal introduction to the subject. You may want to examine the portraits taken by a guy named Karsh; he was an absolute master at this. Plus he was terrific at posing people. Can you imagine posing John Kennedy, Fidel Castro and Sophia Loren?
You can get the subject to stand up; this gives structure to the body. The background should be out of focus. This makes the portrait feel more three-dimensional. I also crop in on the subject. If there are some soft catch lights in the eye that is better. Catch lights are a really important thing in a photo they make the eye appear lively.
A pose is not very flattering when the body is flat to the camera; this generally makes people look broad and fleshy. If you get the subject to stand up and place his/her body at an angle to the camera, then turned her/his face toward the camera, the shot will work better. Turning the head makes the neck tighten up, reduces double chins.
There are a couple of small things I would consider: first straighten the tie. Remember people look at the details of a portrait more carefully that they look at a person in life. It is considered impolite to stare at a person, but it is perfectly acceptable to examine a photograph. There can be a particular difficulty with a womanís make up. Women do make-up to be seen a few feet away, often this is too garish for a photograph. Make-up for a portrait must be very subtle.
It is one of the great pleasures of a photograph that you can look at someone in great detail without violating their personal space. When we do photography we break down a wall around a person. In order to do that effectively we need to see the subjectís face, as it will appear on a print. To make an intimate portrait we need to have some intimacy with the subject. Thanks...
- 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: Getting Started in Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
Read this Q&A at

Answer this question:
1: Macro Photography

I love taking pictures of flower closeups, but I usually only do it with my point-and-shoot Canon using macro. I don't currently have a macro lens for my Canon Rebel XS and want one. What type of macro lens should I use? What size and brand do you recommend for the sharpest photo? Can you please explain why you picked that particular lens too?
Thanks so much!
- Erica T. MacDonaldSee Sample Photo - Closeup Flower 2>

See Sample Photo - Closeup Flower 1>

Hello Erica,
There are a bunch of threads already on this subject, you can always search for a topic (macro lens) and read through them.
I have the Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens with a Pro-Master ringflash (the store didn't have the Canon MR-14EX). The lens is a 1:1 lens with focusing distance at about 1 foot away. They also just came out with an L lens with IS for shooters that use their macro lens for other type of shooting. I see no reason to upgrade to that lens as mine is sharp and I always use a tripod & manually focus - so I am not shooting fast paced like at weddings, etc..
There are a couple of courses here at BP for macro photography. There is a bit of a learning curve but once you have a few basics down, you can create some great macro images.
I have thought about selling mine as I want to get the Canon 180mm L macro lens.

- Carlton Ward

Hi Erica,
I was out playing with a Zeiss Luminar lens, basically a microscope lens mounted on my camera. I am a little closer than 1:1 with the set-up I used. There are a lot of fun things you can do with microscopes. Here is an article on the subject: There are a lot of very creative ways to do micro work that donít rely on proprietary lenses.

- 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: Getting Started in Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio See Sample Photo - Lizard

The Sigma 105mm is very nice as is the Sigma 180mm ... and Carlton has already mentioned the Canon 100mm lens. All these are great lenses and John has a creative idea too!

- Ken Smith

A lens reversing ring is another commonly used technique for shooting close. These rings come in a variety of camera mounts and thread sizes and can be used to mount a standard lens backwards to increase image magnification. (A trade-off is that your ability to lock in on critical focus will be limited to moving the camera and tripod back and forth.)
Another option is to extend the rear element with a set of extension tubes or a bellows assembly. Depending upon the lens focal length and amount of extension, extreme magnifications are possible with no glass elements to compromise the integrity of the lens.
(...just my $.02)

- Bob CammarataSee Sample Photo - 1:1 Lifesize

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