Wayne asked about how much "correction" I had to do with the shot of Jeffrey receiving his "diploma" in the previous post. Answer: A lot. Here's what the original looked like:
There's a WHOLE lot more going on here than just adjusting the "brightness" slider. Stuff you can't do if you don't have Photoshop CS3 or Photoshop Elements.
When shooting in such bad light with a telephoto, you've got to have the camera settings just right. And you've got to shoot in RAW so you will have enough data to manipulate when you start correcting for the poor lighting. If you capture in jpeg format, you will not able to recover an image like this. A jpeg file doesn't contain enough "hidden" detail for you to work with. The result will be distorted and very unpleasant to look at.
Now, of course, the result of my "pushing" this image isn't by any stretch of the imagination a great picture. But it's certainly useable and keepable. To get really great results you need an expensive f2.8 lens like the Nikkor 70-200mm VR. Maybe one day.