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Whether you're just learning photography basics or you need some advice on an advanced photo technique, our How-To section offers tips for shutterbugs at every level.

Setting the Mood With Color - 2/2/09
Mismatching white balance makes for great color effects
Setting the Mood With Color - 2/2/09Sometimes the right white balance creates the wrong picture effect. When I recently photographed a puppet-maker’s shop I found the place fascinatingly odd—a workshop combination of cobbler, toymaker and sculptor. I realized that these interesting pieces could be photographed to look a little more interesting—even strange and disconcerting.

Master high dynamic range imaging to enhance tonal range or create hyperrealistic effects
HDRHigh dynamic range (HDR) imaging is one of the most exciting and inspiring (and misunderstood and maligned) recent technological developments in digital photography. At its simplest, HDR is nothing more than a series of field and postproduction techniques to increase the overall range of luminance values captured and reproduced in a scene. HDR imaging techniques can eradicate clipping, minimize noise and pull up exceptional detail and color throughout an increased luminance range. Depending on your vision, the HDR process can produce subtle and photorealistic results or extreme surrealistic images that blur the line between “photo” and “graphic.”

Make Amazing Digital Photos Without A Camera - 1/26/09
Use your scanner to make great scanograms
Make Amazing Digital Photos Without A Camera - 1/26/09In the early years of photography, avant-garde artists realized that they could create pictures without even using a camera. Man Ray was a master of making Photograms—interesting images he created by placing objects directly on photo paper and recording the shadows and silhouettes. Photograms remained popular for decades, and they still are today.

Cool Motion Special Effects Created In Camera - 1/19/09
Zoom blur adds interest to images through movement
Cool Motion Special Effects Created In Camera - 1/19/09Blurry pictures are usually an unwanted side effect of an improper exposure. Sometimes, though, creative photographers rely on motion blurs to help tell the story. One of the best in-camera blurs is the zoom blur.

Create Crazy Color Film Effects - 1/12/09
Computer-based cross-processing emulates darkroom technique
Create Crazy Color Film Effects - 1/12/09A decade ago, in the pre-dawn light of the digital revolution, creative photographers were utilizing every method under the sun to keep their images from getting stale. One of the most popular color techniques in fashion, advertising and commercial photography was the art of cross processing—developing color print film (c-41) in slide chemistry (E-6), or vice versa.

Five Fixes for Point-and-Shoot Macros - 1/5/09
High-magnification Tips for Every Compact Camera
Five Fixes for Point-and-Shoot Macros - 1/5/09There seem to be a million mode settings on most digital cameras, including the tiniest of point-and-shoots. One of those modes is likely to be represented by an illustration of a flower. It’s Macro Mode.

Break The Rules For Creative Compositions
The Rule of Thirds is Sometimes Better to be Broken
Break The Rules For Creative Compositions There are some unbreakable rules of photography: always use the correct exposure, never allow blur to ruin your shots, and adhere to the rule of thirds to ensure you create crowd-pleasing compositions. Of course, the best part about all of these rules is breaking them—especially the aesthetic ones.

12 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Camera - 12/22/08
How to buy the perfect camera
12 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Camera - 12/22/08Every new iteration of digital cameras seems to be light years ahead of the previous generation. While it makes the selection of cameras much better, it doesn’t make it any easier to answer the simple question, “Which one is right for me?”

Setting The Stage
Environmental portraits tell a story with setting, props and creative light
Setting The StageEnvironmental portraits—photographs of people in a surrounding that relates to who they are or what they do—have been the staple of newspaper and magazine photographs since the halftone process enabled images to be reproduced in those mediums. Early practitioners such as Yousuf Karsh and Arnold Newman traveled the world, combining their incredible sense of composition and attention to detail with masterful lighting setups.

Thinking Ahead For Better Photos
Envision the end result, and you’ll see your world differently
Thinking Ahead For Better Photos Ansel Adams, one of the greatest photographers of all time, was big on thinking ahead, or as he put it, envisioning the end result. I’m also big on envisioning the end result, as illustrated by the picture of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco that I used to open this column. It’s one of my favorite images from a recent trip.

Get The Right Light
Finding and creating soft, flattering light for portraiture
Get The Right LightOne general question I’m asked frequently while teaching photo workshops is, “How can I improve my images?” Participants expect to hear answers like, “Try a different lens,” or, “Change the composition.” True, these things may help, but many times I reply, “Try shooting the subject in better light.”


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