The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, August 16, 2010
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Capabilities of M...
Q&A 2: Camera settings...
Q&A 1: Shooting Real E...

"I never thought I would get the hang of Photoshop - it appeared too complicated. However, after 8 weeks under Kathleen Carr's instruction, I have learned ... and I love it! Her critiques were always encouraging and course lessons easy to follow. I am inspired to learn more. She is an awesome instructor who goes the extra mile to help you 'GET IT'!" - Caroline Boath-Colley, student in Beginning Photoshop for Photographers

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Capturing Close-ups: Getting Creative in S.F.
In her BetterPhoto Instructor Insights blog, Deborah Sandidge describes a photo outing in a San Francisco gift shop. Check out her shooting workflow - from camera choice to composition to depth of field - and a captivating picture of a smiling Buddha statue. Read more here...

Featured Gallery
always together
© - Zaw Min (G.T.S)@ Johnson Li

Welcome to the 486th issue of SnapShot!

This fall, Jim Miotke is hitting the road with his Creative Confidence Weekend Workshops. Get the tools you need to stop those self-doubts and to experience a career-making breakthrough! But the seats are going fast, and you must hurry to take advantage of the low Early Bird pricing. See the exciting workshop details here... ... Gain the secrets of success with landscape shooter William Neill! Check out Jim's fascinating interview with this BetterPhoto instructor and Outdoor Photographer magazine columnist. ... If you have a few moments, be sure to stop by the Team BetterPhoto blog - lots of interesting things to read and see! ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss This Week's Tip by Deborah Sandidge and Jim's Featured Blog in which he debunks the "M" (manual) mode. ... 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:

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto

BetterPhoto's next online school session kicks off Sept. 8 with an awesome schedule of 8-week courses and 4-week courses.

Not sure? There are lots of great reasons to take an online photography class. Read our Top 10 list here...

Often when talking with beginning photography students, Jim Miotke hears them say they do everything using the "M" manual exposure mode. Says Jim: "Can we tear apart and destroy this myth once and for all? I'm sick of it." Read more at BetterPhotoJim... One of the cool benefits of being a Masterpiece or Basic member, a student, or a Deluxe/Pro owner is access to the BetterPhoto Forum. Simply click the "Discussions/Q&A" tab in your Member Center.

Photo Q&A

1: Capabilities of Macro lenses
I'm thinking of purchasing a 100mm macro lens. In addition to close-up photos, can a macro be used for any other types of shots?

Rob Warwick

- Rob Warwick
Of course, although a regular lens of the same focal length may have better optics at longer focal distances. But then again, those differences may be measurable in a lab test situation but not readily apparent when you're looking at the actual photos.
I have a 50mm macro that I got because I like using that focal length for regular pictures and the added plus of macro.
- Gregory La Grange
Hi Rob,
I love my macro lens. I shoot lots of flowers and also use it for portraits especially of children.
"Center" is the monthly theme category for the August contest. Check out my post on the Aug. entries to view what a macro lens can do. I have several flower centers posted on the first page.
The macro lens is a really a fun lens to own and use....
- kerby pfrangle
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2: Camera settings
Fundamental question. I have pretty good success with one-subject portraits. What I am really trying to fine-tune is family portraits - my subjects are not equally sharp. I have an awesome lens, Nikon 85mm1:1.4D, I also have a Tamron70-200mm 1:2.8, Sigma 18-200mm 1:3.5-6.3, and Nikon 35mm1:1.8G, all for a Nikon D80 body. I dream of once crossing over to semi pro, but I have a lot to learn. What lens do you recommend for available-light photography, more specifically beach? Then what focus settings? Thank you for your help!! Thank you for your time.
- Sharon M. KamholzSee Sample Photo - Family portrait

Hello Sharon,
Learning proper exposure is the basis of all that is photography, and BetterPhoto has lots of great courses that will take the mystery out of it all and make you confident with your camera.
Your photo needs more DOF (Depth of Field). With a group photo like the one, you posted, a shallower DOF like f/2.8 has a limited plane that will be in focus so unless everyone is equally the same distance from the lens, some will be less sharp. The easy fix is to increase your DOF to maybe f/8 or f/11, and I would even go f/16 if you have enough light to keep your shutter speed fast enough.
Jim Zuckerman teaches a great exposure class and also has a book on the subject. Take his class, you won't regret it :)
I shot a photo of a small group on the fly at a festival (a snapshot really) but at f/7.1, I was able to get the five friends in focus as they were close to the same plane :)
Love in Light,
- Carlton WardSee Sample Photo - SCI - Hornings Hideout

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1: Shooting Real Estate Photography

I have a Kodak DX-7630 6.1 megapixel camera. A realtor friend of mine asked me to shoot some houses for her she has for sale. Is 6.1 megapixels up to the task? What setting should I put it on?
- Lisa Archer

Yes, your 6.1 megapixel camera is up to the job unless the photo is going to be on the glossy cover of one of the more expensive real estate magazines.
Set your camera for landscape or the automatic program setting. Take your photos during the time of day that the sun is lighting up the front of the house but not at midday.
I see that you have been a member since 2005. May I suggest that you take a basic photography course here at BetterPhoto so that you can learn how to use Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, and the best lens for better photographs. You will enjoy photography a lot more and feel more satisfaction when you control the photograph and not the camera doing all of the thinking.

- Lynn R. Powers

Thank you for the comments and your suggestion. I am definitely going to take one of the classes this Fall.

- Lisa Archer

Start noticing how light falls on houses, what strong directional light does, what diffuse morning or evening light does. Light that is too strong will white out wall or window surfaces. You'll know this is happening because the histogram or flashing burnout warning in you playback mode will tell you. Excess shadows have to be tamed, too, or you'll lose detail.
Most zoom lenses show some degree of barrel distortion at the wide end. Shoot though a window or archway with the straight edges near the edges of your frame to see if this happens. If you see these lines bowing outward, you can control it in your imaging program, even the less than $100 Elements.

- Doug Nelson
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