The weekly newsletter on the art of photography from
Monday, January 02, 2012
Featured Gallery
Welcome Note
This Week's Tip
Updates From BetterPhoto
Q&A 1: Photographing F...

"Composition - The Essentials is a really incredible course, and I cannot recommend more highly for new photographers, or beginner photographers who are new to This was my first photography course of any kind, and I was amazed at how much Simon Stafford was able to teach in just four weeks!" -James Lagan


The Best Subject Placement
By Susan and Neil Silverman
The more that the subject is NOT placed in the center or the "bull's eye" area of the photo, the stronger the image will be. It is really easy to have the subject in the center because most of the cameras have the focus sensor in the center. But if you press your shutter button halfway down to focus on your subject and then WITHOUT releasing the shutter button, move your composition to have your subject out of the center and then complete the pressing of the shutter, your subject will be focused and out of the center.
Placing your subject off-center adds more energy and dynamics to a photo. This is not to say that it should always be this way; there are times when having the subject in the center works the best. But to help liven up your images and create some diversity and energy, then it's usually best to go off-center.

Featured Gallery
Going Up
© - Maria Coulson

Welcome to the 558th issue of SnapShot!

Happy New Year! Make 2012 a photographic year to remember by joining one of BetterPhoto's online photography courses. Each class is focused on teaching you how to improve your skills and knowledge through exciting weekly assignments and helpful critiques by top professionals. You must act fast, however, since classes start Wednesday! See our school schedule... ... In this issue of SnapShot, don't miss these excellent articles: A Strong Case for Using a Tripod by Lynne Eodice and White Balance: Optimize the Colors by Peter K. Burian. Plus, be sure to check out Susan and Neil Silverman's Photo Tip ("The Best Subject Placement"). ... That's it for this week. Enjoy your photography, and best wishes for an outstanding new year! Kerry Drager Newsletter Editor

Jim Miotke
Where Is Jim?

Updates From BetterPhoto "Images made under different types of illumination with Auto White Balance may exhibit an unusual color cast," points out instructor Peter K. Burian. "You can minimize such problems by using other White Balance options. And as a bonus, you can also use them as 'filters' for creative effects." Read Peter's awesome article on White Balance. Although tripods can be cumbersome, there is a good case for using a tripod all of the time – and that’s because you will be free to use nearly any exposure combination! Read instructor Lynne Eodice's excellent article! Here's a great answer from instructor Jim Zuckerman:
    "Online photo courses are like virtual classrooms but not in real time. Other students can see your pictures, read the instructor's critiques, and comment on your work. Similarly, you can comment on the pictures of other students. It is a unique and wonderful learning experience.

    "One of the great things about these online courses is that students participate from all over the world. In a single lesson's uploads, you may see pictures from Bryce Canyon or Brazil, or from Singapore or South Carolina. It's a very stimulating environment, and it will help you become the photographer or digital artist that you would like to be."

Photo Q&A

1: Photographing Four Kids

Hi There,

I'm shooting four kids for the first time (ages 9, 5 and two 3 year-olds, so they won't be sitting still, I'm sure). Is it better to use a 50mm or 85mm lens? What are the best settings? Lower aperture and higher ISO to compensate for shutter speed? Pics will be taken both outside and inside. Also, the position of the sun is not optimal at this location. Sun is behind me when looking at the house. Suggestions for positioning would also be appreciated. I'm not a professional but hope to be some day. :-) Thank you!

- Noelle Rosenberg

Hi Noelle,
I would get the 9-year-old to stand and hold a white balance card so that you can get your exposure settings adjusted. Then, when you are ready, bring in the younger ones so that you can get focused and take the shots quickly when you get them all posed and looking in your direction.
I prefer a longer lens because the compression of longer lenses makes portraits look a bit better, IMO. I use a 70-200mm lens for portraits. Beware of shadows if it is sunny and the direction the light is hitting the kids. If one subject is too close to the other, they often create shadows on the person next to them as well so a little space and staggered heights between them is optimal so that the light is more even.
You may need to use a flash for fill light depending on the light available. If shooting under a shade tree, you often get spots of light between the leaves, and fill flash is crucial for these type shots.
If they are all close to the same plane, you may shoot at f/4.5 or 5.6 but if they are not - f/7.1 or f/8 may be a safer bet to get all in focus. This also depends on your specific lens characteristics. Most of my lenses work great at f/7.1 for getting sharp subjects with a nice bokeh background, if the subjects are 8-10 feet in front of the background.
Take a 4-foot ladder and shoot a few from above as they look up to the camera. Or lay on the floor with all of them laying side by side with a line of their faces next to each other. Try a few fun/creative shots as these often get the kids' attention and more emotional looks.
Hope this helps.

- Carlton Ward
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 2012® - All Rights Reserved.
No part of this newsletter may be copied or published without prior permission.
BetterPhoto is a trademark of®, Inc.