General Discussion and Introductions
If you are just getting started with photography, some introductions might be in order. Here you will find guides to getting started in general, or getting started with a particular type of photography. If you are a true beginner, start with the article on “10 Non-Technical Tips for Improving Your Photography Right Now.” In any case, start with these and then move on to more in-depth topics.
- 10 Non-Technical Tips for Improving Your Photography Right Now
- Getting Started with Landscape Photography
- An Introduction to Black and White Photography
- Getting Started With Long Exposure Photography
The exposure controls on your camera control much more than the brightness of your picture. They also control things like depth of field, the amount of blur in your picture, and even the amount of digital noise. If you master just three controls on your camera, you master exposure. It is important, so you’ll find several articles on how it works and how you can master it. First, here are the core exposure articles:
- Understanding Exposure: How your Camera Works
- Controlling Exposure
- Mastering Shutter Speed
- Understanding Aperture & Depth of Field
- Understanding and Using ISO to Get Great Photos
- Do I Need to Learn Exposure?
Once you have digested them, move along to other topics related to exposure:
- Mastering Your Camera’s Exposure Controls (Video)
- An Easy ISO strategy
- Get Proper Exposure by Understanding Camera Metering
- F-Stops Made Simple
- Exposure Scenarios
- Shutter Speed: How Slow is Too Slow?
- Creating Background Blur in Your Photographs
- 4 Ways to Maximize Depth of Field for the Sharpest Images Possible
In these articles, we take a closer look at some of the camera’s controls. There are a lot of buttons and dials on your camera, and there are also a lot of numbers to get familiar with. These articles will help you do that. When you are feeling overwhelmed, be sure to check out the article on how to Simplify Your Camera. The goal is to get you familiar enough with these controls that you forget about them and start focusing on more important things.
- 60 Seconds to Understanding Camera Modes
- Understanding Focal Length
- An Easy Guide to Icon Modes
- Nail the Exposure With Spot-Metering
- The Quick Guide to Bracketing Your Photos
- What The Hell is “AI Servo”? (and other stuff about autofocus modes)
- Exposure Compensation Explained
- Simplify Your Camera
- Nailing the Focus in Outdoor Photography
- Why Not Use Shutter Priority Mode?
- Applying Focus Techniques
- Back Button Focus
Composition might be the most important part of photography, but it is often the most overlooked. Further, what resources there are on composition tend to start with particular devices like shape and line, rather than an overall process and understanding of composition. These articles will get you started with the basics of composing your photographs:
- Applying the Rule of Thirds
- The Critical Importance of Composition in Photography
- A Framework for Composing Your Pictures
- Take the Obvious Shot
- A Process for Working the Scene: Sketching
- Composing Back to Front: The Best Approach to Composition
- Composition: What Do You Do When There is No Subject?
- When It Comes to Subjects, Use What You’ve Got
Color (and B&W)
Color can be confusing. Most digital color is created using a combination of Red, Green, and Blue, which is called the RGB colorspace. But there are a few different RGB colorspaces, and which one should you use? And what happens if you venture outside the RGB colorspace? And where does Black and White photography fit in? Here are some articles to show you.
- Converting to Black and White (Video)
- White Balance Simplified
- What You Need to Know About Color (and what you don’t)
- Do’s and Don’t’s for Converting Your Photos to Black and White
- Simple – But Powerful – Tips for Color Enhancement
- How to Use LAB Color in Photoshop to Add Punch to Your Images (a DPS article)
- How to use Lab Color in Photoshop to Remove an Unwanted Color Cast (a DPS article)
Sharpness and Noise
We all want to take sharper pictures, and at the same time avoid digital noise. That starts with technique in the field, so you find some articles on doing that here. You’ll also find articles on the processing techniques you can use to make your pictures sharper and reduce the amount of digital noise. Recent advances in cameras and post processing techniques have made the tools much more powerful in recent years.
- 5 Steps to Taking Sharp Photos (or at least avoiding blurry ones)
- 7 Steps to Eliminating Digital Noise
- 10 Keys to Successful Tripod Use
- Q&A: How to Get Sharper Photos
- A Simple Rule to Guarantee Sharp Photos
- Understanding Input Sharpening
- Output Sharpening Made Easy
- The Tools for Creating Sharp Images
- Why Aren’t My Pictures As Sharp as Professional Photos?
Let these articles introduce you to the joys of photographing at night. If you are busy with work and family obligations, photographing at night will give you more opportunities to get out and shoot. In any event, scenes that appear drab during the day suddenly look dramatic at night. Take advantage of the recent advances in technology to get some stunning photos during the other half of your day.
- Getting Started with Night Photography
- How to Photograph the Night Sky
- How to Photograph the Moon
- Photographing the Milky Way: A Checklist and Some Resources
- How to Photograph Fireworks
We all break out our cameras when heading out of town or out of the country. Vacations and holidays are perhaps the time most people use their cameras. In fact, many people buy cameras on the eve of big trips. When you do so, you want to get the best pictures possible. Here are some articles to help you plan your travel, find the best photo spots, and get the stunning pictures you are after.
- Books on How to Photograph a Particular Location
- The 5 Best Resources for Planning Travel Photos
- 7 Ways to Remove People from Your Travel Photos
- Travel Planning for Photographers
- My New Top 8 Travel Planning Tips for Photographers
- 8 Travel Experiences You Don’t Want to Miss
Outdoor photographers are always dealing with problems related to the limited dynamic range of cameras. A bright sky and a dark foreground present a constant challenge. You will face it in nearly every picture. There are several ways to overcome it though. Here are the articles that will equip you for dealing with dynamic range problems:
- Understanding Dynamic Range (and Avoiding Blown Highlights and Black Shadows)
- The Quick Guide to Bracketing Your Photos
- An Introduction to HDR
- Creating Realistic HDR Photos Using Photomatix Pro
- Creating Realistic HDR Photos Using Photoshop
- Lightroom HDR
- Solving Dynamic Range Problems In-Camera: The Graduated Neutral Density Filter
- Uncompromising HDR
Lighting and Flash
There is a school of thought in photography that you shouldn’t be chasing locations, but rather you should be chasing the light. Of course, there are others who bring their own light with them. In any case, the importance of dramatic lighting cannot be denied. Here are a few articles on finding and creating great light for your photos.
Post Processing Courses
If you are unfamiliar with the world of post processing, it is time to dive in. A lack of time really holds many people back from getting started. If that is you, I have created courses to help you. The first is on learning Lightroom, and it is designed to show you everything you need to know in under an hour. The second is on learning Photoshop Elements. That might also be useful for those of you wanting to learn full Photoshop as well.
Post Processing Techniques
Once you have dove into the world of post processing, there is a lot more to learn. Here are articles on some of the more important aspects of post processing. These articles focus on something everyone wants to know about (removing unwanted items from your pictures) and the most powerful tool in all of post processing (the curves adjustment layer in Photoshop). More to come as well.
- Introducing: The Histogram
- A Basic Lightroom Edit (Video)
- Best Practices for Eliminating Spots in Photoshop
- How to Remove Unwanted Items from Your Pictures
- Getting Started Using Curves Adjustment Layers in Photoshop
- Adding Texture To Your Photos with Curves Adjustment Layers
- Video: Getting Started Using Curves
Now that you have created some great photos, it is time to display them. We live in an extraordinary time when you can share your photos with the entire world and it costs very little to do so. These articles will show you how to create your own online portfolio website, and also show you what you need to know in terms of sizing those photos for the web.
Despite the wonders of digital display, everyone loves the photographic print. Historically, creating a print has been very difficult, but it is getting easier. Ink jet printing has come a long way, and you can make stunning prints in your own home. You can also outsource the work to others and get great results at good prices, if you know where to go. Whether you do it yourself or have others do your printing for you, these articles should help.
- Finding the Best Online Printing Lab
- Testing the Online Photo Labs (Video)
- The Complete Step by Step Process for Making a Print Using Lightroom
- Testing Cheap, Off-Brand Printer Ink
Photography has always been a little technical. Some aspects of photography have gotten simpler as the technology has evolved, but others haven’t. Further, modern cameras have essentially become little computers. It is important to understand some of these technical aspects of photography, and these articles will help you do so.
- 8-bit vs. 16-bit: What Does It Mean to Me?
- A Simple and Cheap Backup Strategy
- Raw vs. JPEG: The End of the Debate
- Using a Tilt-Shift Lens to Maximize Depth of Field
- Banding: How to Avoid It, How to Get Rid of It.
- Should You Turn Off Image Stabilization When Using a Tripod?
- Computers for Photographers: What to Look For