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Monday, April 25, 2011
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Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: To Upgrade or Not...
Q&A 2: How does DPI rela...

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Composition: Don't Stop Now ... Keep Shooting!
By Kerry Drager
Whenever I find a photogenic (and static) scene that really motivates me, I work it every which way I can within whatever time constraints I have. This means exploring different compositions and different focal lengths, and maybe even going for a different angle to the sun. But this process also might mean the following:
- Try different f/stops ... in order to experiment with the depth of field (the range of sharpness in a scene that has front-to-back depth).
- Try different shutter speeds ... in order to experiment with subject motion - by freezing the action or by showing a soft blur of movement.

Featured Gallery

Welcome to the 522nd issue of SnapShot!

By popular demand, we have brought back BetterPhoto's huge course sale! We're giving you $20 off on your next online photo class. When enrolling in the course of your choice, just enter Spring11 into the "Gift Card Code" field on the Checkout Page. But you'll want to hurry, since this special offer ends this Friday, April 29th, at midnight. Also, see our entire online course schedule here... ... In this issue of SnapShot, be sure to read instructor Deborah Sandidge's article: "Photography at Twilight: A Magical Time!" ... 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

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto Many photographers pack up their gear right after sunset. However, as Deborah Sandidge points out in her excellent BetterPhoto Instructor Insights photo blog, "the most magical time to make pictures can be twilight!" Start getting a handle on the basics of exposure - right now! This new course - Pro Tips for Great Exposure with Lynne Eodice - is designed for beginners and anyone else who would like a refresher course on the fundamentals of exposure. Lewis Kemper's excellent online course - The Photographer’s Toolbox for Photoshop: Exposure and Color - is fully interactive and includes video lessons!

Photo Q&A

1: To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade?
I am currently using a Nikon D90 and I am thinking to upgrade to a full format - D700 or even D3x or D3s. I am just not sure if it will make a difference at the amateur level, where I am. Thoughts welcome.
- Axel Scholz
Not an easy question to answer, Axel. Most importantly, WHY do you want to upgrade? What would the D700 do for you that you find lacking in the D90?

I'm an enthusiastic amateur with a D300. It's not a full capture camera, and I've been wondering about the D700, which is, but have decided against it for now. Many reasons why - maybe they'll help you.
Even at 11x17 inch prints, I'm perfectly happy with the results, and I can't imagine how they could be better. I know my camera well, with all its quirks. It's lighter than the D700 and fits perfectly in my carry-on luggage. The D700 has nothing more I want, even though there are times I wonder if a full-frame model would make a difference. Then I say to myself, make a difference to what? And I can't come up with a satisfactory answer.
Some of my lower-end zooms would be a problem on a full-frame model, so depending on what you presently have, that may be an issue for you. But all my good lenses are not digital-sized, which will be great when I eventually switch. And I will when one of my two camera bodies breaks down or when the new high ISOs become so noiseless and fast that I can't resist whatever the D700 will become next.
I really hope you're not feeling you don't deserve a new camera because you think your photography isn't good enough. Your galleries are wonderful, a treat for the eyes. Or even worse, I hope you don't think more expensive equipment will magically make your photography better.
Professionals take the cost of their stuff off their income tax. That's the most important difference between them and amateurs, not the skill and the heart it takes to make good photography. So being at what you rate as "amateur level" shouldn't be a consideration. What you need, you want, you can carry, and you can afford should be your considerations.

- Kay Beausoleil
There is a saying among full-frame users that goes like this, "I went to full frame and never looked back." When they go out the door, the full-frame camera is almost always their first choice. Now that I have said that, do not get rid of the D90 unless you have to in order to afford the D700 or the D3. I still have my 40D for certain occasions.
The reason to keep the D90 is for taking photos of wildlife, not in zoos, air shows, birds or want the greater working distance with a macro lens. For everything else, the D700 is the best bet.
I came to digital and the cropped sensor after using a 35mm camera for decades. The lack of a smaller depth of field that I thought I should have wasn't there. I had a long learning curve, plus the fact that I had never used a camera with autofocus and all of the other bells and whistles that my Canon 20D did. I did know composition, understand ISO, aperture, f/stops, and depth of field, and understood how they worked together with various lenses. You may also have a learning process with the full-frame camera. I would suggest you check every control and take test shots as well as do a lot of chimping to learn how each adjustment affects your photos. I wouldn't even download these but only reformat the card in-camera, which you should always do anyway. Reformatting that is. :=)
If you use a wide-angle of 17-22mm with your D90, you will love the wider view with the D700. When going to 17mm, be careful that your feet aren't in the photo. With a portrait lens, you will find that your DOF preview will come in handy to both insure that the lens is closed down enough and make sure the background is blurred.
When it comes to working with the photos while doing your post processing, the photo is much cleaner even at ISO 1600, it is easier to work with, and the enlargements made me feel like I was a real photographer again. You will find it a pure joy to use. And that is why it is always the all-around camera for me. If you purchase a 300mm lens for it, you will be in hogs heaven and it gets better with the addition a 1.4X teleconverter.
Now this is from a staunch Canon user. The D700 will give you the same feeling and joy that I have. I only hope that you have the correct lenses for it. I knew from the git-go that I would eventually change to a full-frame camera and purchased both EF and the "L" lenses while I still had the cropped camera. The Canon cropped cameras will take both the lenses for the cropped camera and those for the FF cameras.Lynn

PS: If you do get one, let me know how you like it after a couple months of use.

- Lynn R. Powers
Thank you both for your input. This is really helps to consider. Still not decided, but on the way.
Thanks again.
- Axel Scholz
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2: How does DPI relate to KB or MB?
I am trying to understand the relationship of DPI to a digital image size. What does it mean in KB or MBs??
For example, if an image is 1.2mb, what is its DPI???
- Linda A. Sandbo
Kb/Mb is file size. That's different than image size. You can increase a file size by doing a whole bunch of Photoshop things to it, but not do anything to the image size.
Your DPI is your resolution. So you can take a 5mb file with 500 dpi. And we'll say that image at that resolution is a 4x6. You can increase the image size all the way to a 20x30 just by typing in new dimensions, but your resolution will go way down to about 100dpi. But the file size will stay the same.
Different example: You have a 5mb image that you want to upload to a website. Your website displays images at 480x720 pixels. What you do is downsize the image by getting rid of pixels that aren't needed. In that case, you're getting rid of information in the file, making the file smaller. And also making the image smaller.
Third example: Same 5mb file, but you can retain the image size. And you can reduce the file size by saving it, and in the window where it has the 1-10 option of saving the file, you pick 2 instead of 10. Your new file will have the same image size, but a smaller file.
- Gregory LaGrange
The only place DPI is important is when printing. Your meta data will tell you the dimensions of the photo in pixels. For the ideal prints, the DPI will be from 300-360dpi. I found that I can print down to 200dpi and still have a good but not ideal print. I tried once, only, at 140dpi and it was terrible.
Take the pixel count for each dimension and divide by 300 and that will give you the size print that you can make at 300 dpi.
Example: Pixel 3750 x 2500
3750/300 = 12.5 inches
2500/300 = 8.33 inches
That is the largest photo you can make at 300 dpi. I can routinely get that with a Canon 20D with an 8MP sensor even though the photo size 9.375 MP.
If you are unable to get the size photo that the customer wants at 300 dpi, it will be necessary to either down-rez or up-rez your photo. It can be done with Elements or CS, but I do not know how, so I send it out to get it done to a pro lab - NOT WallyWorld, Costco, or the local one hour labs. There are also programs such as Genuine Fractals that you can have as plug-ins that make it much easier.
By the way, that is generally the DPI required as the minimum resolution for a print when they are to be used commercially.
- Lynn R. Powers
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