The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, May 23, 2011
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Taking Pictures i...
Q&A 1: Camera Settings...

"This class covers basic concepts in shooting, but does it in a way that brings them to life. ... The instructor is very responsive. Excellent skills course!" -Dianne E. Arnold, student in Doug Johnson's Creating Depth in Landscape Photography

What an exciting goal that Ansel Adams had: Create a masterpiece every month! Now BetterPhoto is paying homage to this legendary photographer with our Masterpiece of the Month Membership. Learn more about this inspiring photographic community...

Get word of your product or service out to a rapidly growing list of over 107814 serious photographers.
Learn More...

Compositional Choices
By Deborah Sandidge
Finding a great subject is essential in photography. How to compose for a great subject is the next challenge. Your first instincts about composition are good to follow; but also push yourself to additionally compose your subject in different ways. You might surprise yourself with what choice you like best.
Here are a few ideas…
- If your first inclination is to photograph in landscape orientation, let portrait orientation be your next choice.
- Try tilting your camera to the left or right to compose diagonally. This simple step often creates a more dynamic image.
- What happens if you use a LensBaby?
- Go for selective focus and softly blur all elements except your subject.
- Use a wide-angle lens for a composition that tells the whole story.
- Try isolating a section of your subject using a zoom lens.
- Compose for the rule of thirds, and then break the rules.
- Move around your subject, find light that is different, and photograph the shadows.
- Change your perspective by moving to your left, right, up or down.
- Photograph your subject in HDR (high dynamic range) or infrared, use multiple exposures, pan your subject, or consider a panorama.
These compositional choices and techniques will expand the creative opportunities you have in photographing a great subject.

Featured Gallery
Edge of reality
© - Robert Bemus

Welcome to the 526th issue of SnapShot!

We are celebrating BetterPhoto's 15th anniversary year in a big way, including brand new, updated, and/or revamped online courses. Check them out: Adobe Lightroom: A Comprehensive Look (new and improved - with video); Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels (updated with newest models!); Learning the Canon Digital Rebel Camera (updated with newest models!); Pro Tips for Great Exposure (all new); The Creative Use of Shutter Speed (updated and improved). ... In this edition of SnapShot, be sure to check out Jim Miotke's "Debunking the Camera-Brand Myth!" article and Deborah Sandidge's "Compositional Choices" tips. ... That's it for this week. 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 Canon? Nikon? Olympus? Or ... ? Let's get right to the point: The camera brand you use matters a lot less than you might think! Check out Jim Miotke's blog... Treat yourself to an easy gift-buying experience, while also giving your favorite photographer something really special. With our affiliate program, you simply post links on your own website that encourage people to visit BetterPhoto. When a visitor finds through your website, and then makes a purchase, you will be awarded a commission. Now how awesome is that!?!

Photo Q&A

1: Taking Pictures in a Church
I've been practicing taking pictures in the low light of a church and can't seem to get good color. My settings are ISO 1600, 1/125, f/2.8. and custom set my white balance using my on-camera flash. Does using the external flash make the difference???
- Edna L. Salazar
Hello Edna,
The flash will make a difference, but get a white balance card and this will allow you to set your custom white balance correctly. I bought a white balance target that came with a DVD from Photovision.
It's easy to do and a must to get correct colors when shooting :)
Hope this helps.
- Carlton Ward
I also used an Expo Disc for white balance but those colors are coming out with a bluish hue. I'll try the card and compare the difference. Thank you!
- Edna L. Salazar
Edna, shooting in RAW will also help during post processing. You can tinker with the white balance in any RAW editing software.
- Usman Bajwa
Which parts of the pictures are off? 1600 with f/2.8 sounds like it might be a mixing of colors.
Are you getting the color you want for the foreground and orange tint for the background? Or are you getting a main subject that looks like good color (mostly white or light colored) but maybe some edges, slight ghosting, or darker parts that look orange?
And when you used the Expo Disk, did you balance for the lights in the room with the Expo Disk and then use the flash?
- Gregory LaGrange
Read this Q&A at

Answer this question:
1: Camera Settings for Low Artificial Light

Does anyone own the Sony Cybershot DSC-WX5? If so, here is my question/dilemma: I am attending a graduation party in a week, which will be held in a hotel ballroom - nothing but artificial light and probably low light at that (to be held at night). Which of the scene selections would be best to use for shooting in those conditions? ISO, low light scene with noise reduction, no tripod, or perhaps another setting? I appreciate any help anyone can give me - thanks!
- Laura Kalcheff

Hi Laura,
I see that this camera has adjustable ISO settings so I would bump the ISO to 800 or 1600, and if it is still too dark, you can go to 3200 (max for the Sony Cybershot DSC-WX5), but it will probably be noisy (grainy).
Try leaving the shooting mode at Intelligent Auto as you may have a combination of tungsten and fluorescent lighting to deal with.
Good luck.

- Carlton Ward

You're kind of limited with your options. But based on what the camera offers...try this: iAuto, ISO 400/800 (800 max lower is better for less grain). Run your EV comp at -2 with your flash on. If -2 is too dark, try minus 1. That should offer you a handheld aperture/shutter combo that should render your images somewhat clean.
Good luck! Don't be afraid to try different things.

- Josh Voyles

Also, if your flash is too strong (i.e., close-ups), you can affix a piece of wax paper over the flash to diffuse it. I've used wax paper with pleasing results, though now I use a Puffer that fits in my hotshoe.

- Josh Voyles
Read this Q&A at

Answer this question:

Unsubscribe | Change Email Address | SnapShot Archives | Recommend to a Friend

If you use a Challenge-Response system for email, please make certain that you can receive our email by adding to your Allow List.
The sender of this email is the®, Inc., 16544 NE 79th St., Redmond, WA 98052

Copyright 2011® - All Rights Reserved.
No part of this newsletter may be copied or published without prior permission.
BetterPhoto is a trademark of®, Inc.