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Photofocus Episode 33

Show notes by Bruce Clarke ()

This week we kick things off with a question about metering modes:

Question One – Metering Modes

Several people wrote in to ask what metering mode they should be using when operating their camera.

Jules: Normally I leave it on average metering and don’t change it since I tend to shoot in manual mode most often. I’ll take one shot in Aperture priority, check the histogram, make my assessment of the scene and then switch back to manual mode.

Scott: I tend to use Matrix metering since I’m usually photographing wildlife and don’t have a lot of time to switch modes as the birds are flying by.

Question Two – Focal Length

Jared in Indiana asks: Will there be any difference taking a photo at 100mm using a 70-200mm lens and a photo taken at 100mm using a 55-135mm lens assuming all other things are equal?

Jules: The answer is no but the thing to think about when choosing a lens are the other features. For example, my 70-200mm has IS and opens up to 2.8 whereas the 55-135 goes wider.

Scott: In terms of composition, 100mm is 100mm is 100mm. The quality of these two images may not be the same due to the quality of the lens (e.g. sharper, brighter, etc.).

Question Three – Un fogging a Camera Viewfinder

Tom Timson asks: How do you un fog a camera viewfinder when you’re shooting outside in bad weather?

Scott: The easiest solution I’ve found is to wrap your mouth around the viewfinder and suck. That will remove all the moisture from the viewfinder and clear it up. There are some solutions that you can put on the viewfinder that are supposed to prevent it from fogging up but I’ve found you have to reapply these solutions often.

Question Four – Limited Edition Prints

I’m thinking about jumping into the deep end and selling prints of my work. Many times you see artists do a run of a print and they will label them (eg. 1/100). Does this mean you can’t print them again or can you do another run in a different size?

Jules: I haven’t done this but one time I took a road trip and did an exhibit at a cafe and sold a few of them but it never occurred to me to sell more of them.

Scott: I do about 9 gallery prints per year and typically limit my run to 100. Your state may have rules and legislation about this so if you say it’s limited and you make thousands then that could be fraud. I will make 100 prints and that includes all sizes but there are some people who will print 100 in one size and 100 in another size but I don’t find that to be ethical. In reality I don’t think you should worry about it too much. I do a pretty good job with limited edition prints but it’s taken me over 10 years to get to that point. If you’re really worried about it, go ahead and do a run of 250. Also, don’t just number the print, you should also include a certificate of authenticity.

Question Five – Calming Down a Bride and/or Groom

How do you calm down a bride and or groom to make their portrait?

Jules: I encourage all of my clients to do a first look and about 95% of my clients see each other about 2.5 hours before the ceremony and you’d be surprised how much that helps. Usually we’ll set something up for them to see each other for the first time. I just stand back and let them have their moment with no guests around. Most of my clients also do an engagement session with me and read my blog so they are comfortable with me by the time the wedding rolls around.Even if I don’t get to shoot with them beforehand, most of my clients get to know me through my blog or when they first meet me and I find that they are similar to me in terms of personality. If they are feeling a bit uncomfortable in front of the camera, I’ll usually give the groom an assignment that encourages them to get snuggly with one another and that usually helps the situation and gets them relaxed and comfortable with each other.

Question Six – Stocking and Selling Prints

Kyle from Taiwan is going to try and sell some prints and he would like to know if he should have some prints on-hand or just get prints done as they are ordered?

Scott: I would only have stock on hand if you are going to do an art fair or an art gallery where they need to have the prints right there. Otherwise, there are a myriad of online solutions such as Photoshelter, Shutterfly and Pictage that will allow people to go online and order prints. I would offer them in a variety of sizes but try to simplify the choices.

Question Seven – Filters in Post vs. Actual Filters

Dan in Nebraska asks: I use Tiffen filters in post. Are the ND and Polarizing filters sufficient in post or should I invest in actual filters for my lenses?

Jules: When I shot film I used filters a lot. I’m normally a big fan of getting it right in the camera but now with digital I think that post processing might be the way to go with filters as you have a wider range of choices and can experiment to get the look you want.

Scott: The only filters I ever use in the field are circular polarizers and neutral density filters. As for Dan’s question whether the filters in post will mimic using filters in the field – yes on the sky but nowhere else. A polarizer cuts through glare and while you can mimic that in post, the glare is still in the picture.

Question Eight – Storing an Old Camera

Ralph Foss in Bangor Maine has a Nikon F from 1970 that he wants to put in storage. The camera doesn’t have any batteries so that won’t be an issue but Ralph is mainly concerned with moisture and dirt.

Scott: I believe that if you’re going to put something into long term storage you need to look at a lot of factors. If it’s particularly humid, then you run the chance of getting mold. If you put in an environment around 72 degrees with 78% humidity and that doesn’t change much then you can probably get away with having it in a plastic bag. If the environment is changing, you may want to get a humidifier to help maintain a constant humidity level or a de-humidifier if it’s too humid.

Jules: I keep all my cameras and lenses packed in my bags at all time in the closet. If he’s keeping it and not going to shoot with it, then being able to preserve it might not be as big of a deal.

Question Nine – Size of Image vs. Quality of Image

Is there a correlation between size of image and quality of image?

Jules: Yes, I think there is a difference. I made the mistake of shooting my first wedding with the 5D Mark II set on the sRAW setting rather than the full RAW setting but post processing seemed to make it fine for a 10×13 album.

Scott: Yes, there is a correlation. I think the real question here is can I get away with small file size and still get quality. If the output is going to be an 8×10 album then you can probably get away with a smaller file size. If the image is going to be blown up for a 30×40 canvas then you can’t. I always try to capture in the biggest RAW file format and the biggest color space I can so I have the most to work with. When you work in a program like Photoshop, every single change takes some image quality away. The only exception is when I’m shooting fast action sports and need that fast buffer.

Question Ten – Mac vs. PC for Post Processing

What’s the difference between using a PC vs. a Mac for post processing of images?

Scott: The main difference is that there happens to be a lot of software in the old days that was only developed for Macs but now most if available on both platforms. It depends on what you want to accomplish. I think Macs are designed around imagery and a very large percentage of photographers tend to use Macs. Having said that, if you use a Windows based PC then I think you’ll be just fine. If you like Aperture then you’ll have to use a Mac.

Jules: I use a Mac but I have lots of friends who use a PC and both seem to be fine.

Question Eleven – Tripods for Wedding Photographers

Do wedding photographers need tripods?

Jules: You don’t need a tripod but I do bring one to every wedding that I shoot. I like to have them for specialty shots like room shots. You are competing with the Uncle Bob’s of the world and you need something to differentiate yourself. They are also good for venue shots after the sun has gone down and you want to get a shot with that nice deep blue sky.

The Blog

Wrap Up

We want themes and questions from you. Be sure to visit the blog at for articles, how-to’s, videos and more. You can also subscribe to the blog on a Kindle. Email us at [email protected] follow us on Twitter. Don’t just take pictures – make pictures.

Jules Bianchi is at

Show notes by Bruce Clarke