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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.

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.”

January/February 2009: Helpline
Digital Differences
January/February 2009: HelplineWhile you can use lenses designed for "full-frame" 35mm-sized sensors on smaller-format (APS-C) sensors (subject to the telephoto, or magnification effect), the converse isn't true. For example, the Canon EFS 18-55mm IS, included in the EOS Rebel XS kit, is designed specifically for use with APS-C-sized image sensors, like those used in the Rebel series.

Once Upon A Time In The West
Re-create the look of early photo printing techniques
Once Upon A Time In The WestHowdy, pardner! I’m glad you could join the posse in the search to rustle up new creative imaging ideas. You’re riding with some talented folks. By now you may have guessed that, like many kids who grew up in the 1950s, I have the soul of a cowboy rustling around inside me.

Five Ways To Shoot Good Photos in Bad Weather - 12/15/08
Change your Tactics With the Weather to Get Great Pictures.
Five Ways To Shoot Good Photos in Bad Weather - 12/15/08You’ve got a day of outdoor shooting planned, and you’ve been looking forward to it for a while. Then on the morning of the big day there’s bad news: the weather isn’t cooperating.

Get Great Black & White Shots Every Time - 12/8/08
Customize with Channel Mixer for Grayscale Conversions
Get Great Black & White Shots Every Time - 12/8/08Converting color photos to black & white is a tricky proposition. On one hand, it’s one of the easiest one-click changes to accomplish in Photoshop: Image>Mode>Grayscale. Done. Now you’ve got a black & white version of your previously color photo.

Better B&W Prints Thanks to Digital Toning - 12/1/08
Master Traditional Darkroom Effects with Photoshop’s Duotone mode
Better B&W Prints Thanks to Digital Toning - 12/1/08

The digital darkroom was a giant step forward in retouching and printing for most photographers. The one area that has always lagged behind, however, is black & white (or monotone) printing. Sure you can make great black and white images in the computer, but it has always been a challenge to get them out effectively.

The Best Light Source…Ever - 11/24/08
Make every image great with the simple beauty of window light
The Best Light Source…Ever - 11/24/08

Almost no light source is as flattering for portraits as a soft light. Studio professionals use softboxes and bounce cards to achieve this look, and it occurs naturally outside on cloudy days too. On sunny days this soft light can be found in open shade. This great light is all around, but what do you do without resorting to watching the weather or purchasing expensive strobe lighting and accessories?

Rock ‘n’ Roll Photos
Cool enhancements for jazzing up digital images
Rock ‘n’ Roll Photos

Check out my photograph of a young musician who was performing at a local park. My son thinks the photo rocks. He likes the spotlights shining on the subject, the blurred motion of the rocker’s hands and guitar, and the red-hot border that frames the image. He also likes the way I composed the picture, tilting my camera down to one side to create what’s called the disequilibrium effect. What’s more, he likes the way the young rocker is brighter than the background, which makes him stand out prominently in the scene.


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