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Monday, July 26, 2010
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Q&A 1: Lens for Wedding...
Q&A 2: Best Way to Back ...
Q&A 3: Horse Portraits w...

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Welcome to the 483rd issue of SnapShot!

Talking about a fascinating adventure! BetterPhoto Founder Jim Miotke has embarked on a series of interviews with master photographers. Jim asks them about the mindset they use in order to capture great photos - again and again. First up is BetterPhoto instructor Ibarionex Perello, who shares the secrets of his success. ... In this issue of SnapShot, instructor Peter Burian tackles an annoying problem many of us have encountered: why a DSLR camera sometimes refuses to autofocus. Also check out my own Photo Tip on graphic design, plus a nice selection of questions and answers. ... 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

"Why does my digital SLR camera sometimes refuse focus?" Peter K. Burian answers this question in his excellent new Betterphoto Instructor Insights blog! Then try a 4-week or 8-week online photography adventure! Our courses are affordable and fit right into your busy schedule. Learn more... Check out the Team BetterPhoto blog, in which BetterPhoto team members share their thoughts, interests, and tips!

Photo Q&A

1: Lens for Weddings, Events, Portraits
On a limited budget. When photographing weddings, events or portraits, what lens would you recommend? Or which lens would I be able to use for a majority of situations?
- Julie A. Tamblin
Hello Julie,
This all depends on what quality of work you want to produce, because the glass makes all the difference. Being a Canon shooter, I started out with a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 ($400) and the Canon 70-200mm f/4 (non-IS version) for $600. I eventually replaced both lenses with the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L ($1300) and the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ($1900), and I use both of these lenses for the majority of my work at weddings and other events.
Primes are cheaper, but then you have to rely on your legs to get your distance and framing, which is not a bad thing. But having two camera bodies with the 24-70 and 70-200 allows me to shoot people right in front of me, and the candid shots of people further away without having to move a lot. I do carry a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 (it's better than the Canon 1.4) and works well indoors without a flash. I also carry a 100mm 2.8 macro lens with a ringflash and a couple of tripods.
Wedding photography is critical in that you only get one shot at it and a bad day on your part could possibly ruin a beautiful day for the couple if you don't get the shots or they are poor quality. I carry 3 camera bodies, several quality lenses, 2 speedlights, along with plenty of CF cards and batteries. So in case something fails, I just grab a spare and keep shooting. I sometimes bring my Alien Bee strobes and backdrops if the venue is conducive for setting up a place to shoot the group shots and portraits. I usually bring them along anyway, just in case the weather turns foul and our planned shoot outside in front of the pretty bushes, has to be moved indoors.
Hope this helps, and I have a lot more on this subject if you would like to know more of my thoughts.
I hope this helps Julie!
- Carlton Ward
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2: Best Way to Back Up Raw Files
When I travel, I download my Raw files to my laptop so I can convert the good ones to JPEGs. When I get home I like to put the Raws on my main desktop to keep them there. (I planned on deleting them off the laptop.) I was using a memory stick to to this. Now the files appear to copy to the memory stick (of course you can't view them in Raw), but when I copy them to my desktop and try to open them in Canons DPP, they don't open. The first 10 percent are OK, then the rest are just an X. I tried to go back and delete the files, but they were all corrupted. Everything worked fine for the JPEGs. Is there a better way to transfer the Raw images from one computer to another? And I would like to keep the Raws backed up so I can delete some of my 1000's of old photos off my desktop.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
- Dawn M. Dorland
That should have worked fine. I use USB flash drives and CF cards to move files around all the time. I've never had a problem. Make sure you give the files time to completely transfer before removing the memory stick.
- Randy  A. Myers
Hello Dawn,
I had a laptop hard drive fail after downloading 1200 images taken at the Northwest String Summit in 2006 (bluegrass festival in Oregon) and even after paying a bunch of $$ to a PC recovery shop, they could not get them back as the drive was fried & I lost them all. After downloading them I intended to back them up to another external drive but I had another shoot, so I deleted my CF cards and then my laptop failed. I lost about 1200 photos. They were very good photos and they are gone, gone, gone. I will never see them again.
If and when this ever happens to you, will learn quickly to backup everything as soon as you can. I have an Iomega 320GB & an older Lacie 120GB portable hard drives that I carry with my laptop (MacBook Pro) and they are fast (firewire) & do the job until I get home and add them to my 2 Iomega 1TB hard drives attached to my 24" IMac. I have 1 drive that looks exactly like the other drive as any hard drive can fail so if one does, I still have the other. I also burn DVDs of my raw images and keep these at a friends house in case there is a fire & I have a book of his DVDs for the same reason.
I have lost lots of images over the last 10 years due to corrupt CF cards (be sure to always power down the camera before inserting/ejecting a card from the camera). I am happy to say that since losing those 1200 photos in 2006, I have not lost one since :)
I also use Photoshop and in Bridge (File>Get Photos from Camera,) it launches the Adobe Photo Downloader and I select the folder and name and direct them to a folder in one of my portable external drives. I don't have that much space on my internal HD anyway and afterwards, I burn the raw images to DVD in case the HD fails.
Hard drives (both portable and desktop external HDs) have gotten so cheap and they are easy to use.
I also have an 8GB Sandisk thumb drive but I never use it for transferring images as I can just plug my portable external drive to my IMac and copy them over to my other drives. I don't have read/write problems and have not experienced your issue with some images being readable and others aren't, so as Randy stated, make sure they are completely transferred.
Hope this helps!
- Carlton Ward
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3: Horse Portraits with Backdrop?
Hi all. A friend of mine thinks (strongly) that I should start going to horse shows, setting up a huge canvas backdrop, and offering to take portraits of the horses. She insists I could make a ton of money doing this. If I decide to do this, how big a canvas would I need for a backdrop? I mean, these are some pretty big horses! Have any of you ever tried this? Thanks!
- Bobby R. Strange
Why the backdrop at all? Seems to me it would just be asking for trouble, with the wind factor and the spooky nature of some horses. You could probably find a pretty good background outdoors somewhere around the area, or if not, you could just blur the background enough to get rid of anything distracting. Just a thought.
- Carolyn Fletcher
Yeah, I was kinda thinking that as well. The only reason she had mentioned a backdrop is because she had seen another photographer use one and it made the shots look more like studio portraits. But it does seem like it could be a lot of trouble.
- Bobby R. Strange
That's an interesting proposal. Having shown horses most of my life (until raising kids became more important), I cannot imagine getting my horses to stand still near a flapping backdrop. It would work for some horses, particularly those trained in competitive trail and such, as they are used to flapping stuff. I just had a vision of an Arabian horse owner trying to get his high-strung young halter horse to stand on the backdrop ... it could be quite entertaining! That being said, I imagine if the horse could sit still, it would make for a great and different portrait. Would love to see the work of the other photographer who did this!
- Leslie J. Morris
I would prefer a natural background. However, maybe you could look into digital backdrops and photograph the horse, then do the photoshop thing to merge it and the digital backdrop. There's no reason you can't create your own series of digital backdrops as far as that goes. You then have options for the customer.
- Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer
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