The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, August 01, 2011
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Q&A 1: Backdrops and B...

"Thank you, Charlotte, for a wonderful class! I learned exactly what I was looking for ... to feel more comfortable in using Photoshop for my picture processing. I highly recommend this course!" -Rhonda Royse, student in Camera Raw: From Capture to Finished Photo with Charlotte Lowrie

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The Power of Personal Projects
By Charlotte K. Lowrie

One of the best ways to hone your skills as a photographer is to always have a personal project in progress. Pick a subject - -any subject: Maybe it’s a photo story on how an elder copes with living alone, the first months of a baby’s life, how to use color as the subject of a series of images, or the ongoing construction of a new building.
Develop a body of work around the project theme. Then set a limit on the final number of images that you can display. Shooting, editing, and compiling project image into a coherent story is a great way to learn how to tightly edit your work choosing the strongest, most meaningful images. And in the process, you’ll learn which images work and which don’t work, and why.

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Kings of the World
© - Beverley Scott

Welcome to the 536th issue of SnapShot!

Huge news at BetterPhoto! We have an exciting new course on travel and landscape photography - specifically, how to get better photos of places. And it's taught by BetterPhoto's very own Denise Miotke! Get the awesome course details here... ... The wonderful news continues, too: There's still time left to get in on the big course sale: $20 off your next course. Just enter Summer11 in the Gift Card Field when you enroll in any BetterPhoto's courses. See the 4-week courses and the 8-week courses. ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss the work of two top BetterPhoto instructors: Peter Burian's Featured Article ("Best Printers for Black and White Photos") and Charlotte Lowrie's Photo Tip ("The Power of Personal Projects"). ... That's it for now. Have fun with your photography!    Kerry Drager   Newsletter Editor

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto BetterPhoto instructor Peter Burian shares his expertise on getting great black and white prints! Imagine getting a huge boost in your creative confidence! Jim Miotke's inspiring webinar weekend takes place August 13-14. In this virtual workshop, you'll learn techniques designed to help you realize your potential and say "yes" to your creative dreams! If you've been hitting a wall lately, then we have some great ways to get inspired! For example, for BetterPhoto's daily dose of visual inspiration, check out our free Photo of the Day newsletter at the subscription page. In addition, view the past contest winners of our monthly contest.

Photo Q&A

1: Backdrops and Backdrop Stands

Can anyone recommend a reasonably-priced backdrop stand? And a starting backdrop? I've been using a scrim I built in John Siskin's lighting class, with fabric draped over it. I have family coming up and my current approach isn't wide enough for a family portrait - which my sister has requested. Our temps are above 100, so no one is too enthusiastic about an outside portrait.
- Pat Harry

Thanks for responding, Lynn. We have reunions like you mention - sometimes it seems like we could fill a stadium! But this is not one of those, thank goodness. My two sisters will be here with their two girls each, and they want a "generations of the women" photo. There will be 10 of us, including me. I've been wanting to get a backdrop stand and at least one backdrop - so I'm just using this as an excuse. :)
I have the camera, lenses, studio lights, etc. I just don't have a wide enough backdrop for 10 people.
And to answer your question about my sister being aware of the cost, etc. She didn't ask for this - she just asked if I would take the photo. We'll probably end up outside, but maybe not with a P&S. :)

- Pat Harry

Background stands are available from B&H for $100 and more. I recommend that you purchase seamless background paper over muslin. There are no wrinkles to worry about, and they cost considerably less. Get either white or a light grey. The 107" by 12' size is only around $25. Calumet is also another good source.
Lighting that many people can be problematic, so I wish you much luck.

- Lynn R. Powers
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