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by Chuck McKern

With over 12 years of retail and professional experience Chuck thought he'd heard it all - until he took this job.

Send us your questions for either the Beginner or Advanced columns by clicking HERE.  Please include as much detail about the technique, camera, lens, or film as you can so Chuck can answer your questions. 

I'm a high school senior and have been in our photography club since my freshman year. I recently shot some nudes of myself and my friend. We're both 18. The camera shop where I usually get my film developed refused to give me the prints unless my parents came and got them and they told me that any other nudes I brought in would be destroyed.

They said they're not comfortable developing nude prints of anyone who is under 21 but I thought you only had to be 18? They said they're worried that the photos could be considered child pornography because we're together in some of the photos but the photos aren't sexual and we're both adults. I'm really happy with the way these shots turned out and I want to try more. I'm an adult. Am I going to have this problem anywhere I go?


I am going to assume that you are in the United States. Laws on nude photography can vary from state to state and country to country. As far as I know, the legal age is 18 in most states. Companies that do film development all have their own guidelines on printing nude photographs. Most companies will print artistic nudes without any questions as long as the subjects appear to be of legal age and their are no illegal activates taking place. So most labs shouldn't have a problem printing the type of photos you have described.

The best way to avoid future problems is to talk to your local lab before giving them your film. Ask what their policies are. If there are any local legal restrictions they'll tell you about them in advance. Your most accurate source of information at the lab will be the manager, so I would talk to him or her directly. Tell them that you have artistic nude photos and you want to know what their policies are.

To me it sounds like the lab you used is being over-cautious. If the shots are not sexually explicit or suggestive, it legally is not pornography, regardless of age.

Is their any way I could get pictures back that I deleted on my camera? And if their is a way, how?


It depends.

There are several programs that are supposed to work for recovering files that have been accidentally deleted from memory cards. There's Lexar's Image Rescue, Photorecovery from LCTech, and Photo Rescue.

All of these programs will be able to recover some deleted files. But if you've taken any other photos on that card since deleting the image(s) your chances of recovery are significantly diminished.

I am a studio photographer for a chair manufacturing company. I use a Nikon D1X with 2 ACUTE 2 flash heads. The camera settings are as follows 50mm, 125 ISO, 1/250 sec, and f13. Also the studio is painted in a cool grey. I have recently had a color shift to magenta. It is more noticeable on the fabrics due to their texture (I think). How can I cure this so we don't have to do so much color correction in Photoshop?

Any help is most appreciated.
Sasha Horwitz

The first thing that I would check is the white balance. Make sure it didn't get switched inadvertently. Another factor that can cause color shifts is the age of the flash tubes. Some flash tubes, as they get old, can cause a shift in their color temperature. If you just changed the tubes and the problem started after the change you may have put in tubes that are not color corrected. This means that they are not guaranteed to be daylight balanced.

If you find out that the white balance is set correctly, and you want a temporary solution until you change tubes, assuming that this where you find the problem, the Nikon D1x has a manual white balance adjustment, so you can adjust the white balance to match the strobe.

Finally try shooting a "white card" with your D1X. Once you calibrate the white balance to correctly expose the white card, save that setting, and use it for all of your shots.

I have the Nikon D100, and I love shooting candid portraiture. My usual subjects are children in action. When I started loving photography I started with digital, moved up to digital SLR, so I don't have the background film-based knowledge of how to use the film speed settings on my camera to my advantage. Can you give me an idea of when to use different film speeds and what difference it'll make to the shot? And on a side note, why doesn't the D100 allow you to shoot at an ISO equivalency of 100?

Heather McClelland

The ISO ratings allow you to adjust the sensitivity of the image chip to allow shorter exposures in lower light conditions. There is a similarity to film when going to a higher ISO, you will loose some clarity and pick up some grain in your images in the form of digital noise. The trade-off is greater shutter speed at the expense of giving up a bit of image quality. Experiment with each ISO setting to get a feel for how much noise each setting introduces into the image. It will be most noticeable in dark and continuous tone areas. The D100 also has a noise reduction setting that you can turn on that reduces the amount of digital noise in your images.

The D100 doesn't have an ISO 100 setting because the "native" light sensitivity of the image sensor is roughly equivalent to ISO 200. Higher ISO settings are achieved by "overdriving" the sensor, which is why some noise creeps in at higher settings.

I recently acquired a Canon Powershot G2 digital camera which has a hot flash shoe. Naturally, a manufacturer says: don't use any but our flash guns with our camera because damage might occur. However, I have several perfectly good flash guns already and am wondering whether the Nikon SB-25, for instance, and/or the Vivitar 285 would be safe to use with this camera, and if so, whether any of the auto features would be retained.


Manufacturers always put warnings like that in their equipment mainly because they only run tests with their own products. Name brand flashes like the Vivitar 285 should be safe to use.

These flash units are designed as a "standard" flash, meaning that they are not geared toward any specific system. They will not work with Program modes, Aperture or Shutter Priority modes. The Vivitar should work with your G2 in manual mode. This isn't as accurate as using the camera's built in flash meter but you should be able to get acceptable results.

But I would'nt risk using the SB-25. The pin systems for the Nikon and Canon flash head are different. The center pin is a firing pin, but the others are used for other information between the camera and flash. This is where there would be an increased risk of voltage issues or other problems that could damage the electronics of the camera, the flash, or both. I wouldn't risk it.

Is the 16mm f/2.8 mounted on a D100 equipped to Handle a Large Group lets say 35 people..retaining sharpness at the outer edges of the lens

Hubert Williams

I am going to assume you are referring to the Nikon 16mm f2.8 lens.

When a 16mm lens is mounted on a Nikon D-100, it will give you results similar to a 24mm lens. Can you shoot a group of 35 people with a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera?

In most situations yes. A lot of this depends on how you arrange the group and how far you can get from them. I personally have been able to shoot larger groups with a much narrower lens. You should be able to get acceptable edge sharpness from that lens on a D100. Remember the D100 only uses the center portion of the image from the 16mm lens. Any light fall off or loss of sharpness would occur in the areas that will be cropped out by the D100.

Does the Canon EX series ring-flash work in TTL with the macro 100 canon and the new Canon D10 ??

Franco Piemontesi

The Canon EOS 10D is designed to work with the EX series flash units, therefore there should be no problem with TTL compatibility with the EX series ring flashes.

Do you have a good method for calibrating a digital photo printer (Epson 2200) to PS 7.0 without buying expensive matching software? 


I'll assume you're running Windows, as the Mac makes this process much easier. 

You can calibrate a any monitor to work with any printer. The process can be a bit of a pain but its far from being rocket science. 

Reboot your machine so that there are no other programs running. Click the right mouse button on the screen background. A menu will pop up. Click on Properties. This will open a window titled "Display Properties". In the upper left will be a tab titled "Settings". 

Click on the tab and the window will show your screen settings. In the lower right corner you will see a button titled "Advanced". Click on it and a second window will open. 

First pick the Color Management tab. If a floppy disk or CD came with your monitor that contains ICC profiles, make sure the proper ICC (color matching) profile is installed for your monitor. If not check the "downloads" section of the manufacturers Web site to see if their is an ICC profile for your monitor. If one is available install it on your system and reboot. Either way reopen the display properties window and move to the next step.

Pick the tab titled "Color", "Gamma", or something similar. This screen will be a little different on every computer. Click on that tab and you should see a window similar to the one here (remember every computer is a little different). This window allows you to adjust how colors are displayed on your monitor. Click on the check box at the bottom that links the colors together and you can vary how your screen looks. Adjust your screen alternating between several images you're familiar with until you're happy with the way the colors and contrast look. You can also use the button controls on the front of the monitor to control brightness, contrast, etc.

Once your monitor is dialed in you'll find that there is a similar set of controls for your printer. Go into PhotoShop. Choose Print from the File menu and then click the Properties button. This will open the screen that allows you to choose the type of paper you're printing on. Below the paper type you'll see some items you can click off. Choose Custom. This will change the screen and a new button will appear titled Advanced. Click on Advanced and a window will open that allows you to change the color balance on your printer. The controls that do this are shown here. You can also save color balance settings here. 

To calibrate your monitor to your printer start with the monitor color balance using the color chart in the dialog box or an image that you are very familiar with if none is provided (as detailed above). Get the colors close to where you want them to be and don't touch it for a day. Tomorrow you'll come back with a fresh eye and dialing in that last 5% to make it perfect will be much easier. Now do the same with the printer controls. Work the controls until the image you see coming out of the printer is as close as you can get to what's on the screen. 

You can create a test strip of primary colors in Photoshop or you can use an image. I know folks who favor both methods. 

Patience is the watchword here. You can make yourself VERY crazy trying to get it perfect. A better plan is to get 95% there and let it sit for a day again. Coming back fresh will make a huge difference. 

Two final things to remember. Prints can look a little different the next day when the ink has fully dried, and the colors will look very different under indoor lighting versus direct sunlight.

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