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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.

Perfect Architecture Shots - 6/16/08
Seven simple steps for correcting vertical convergence
Perfect Architecture Shots - 6/16/08 Some photographers spend a lot of their time keeping things straight: horizon lines, roofs and walls, interior decor… No matter how straight the line started, leave it to the camera to make it crooked. One of the best ways to deal with these off-kilter angles is to correct for them in the computer.

A common example of crooked lines that should be straight is in an architectural photograph. Even if you're not an architectural pro, sometimes the goofy convergence that shows up in shots doesn't do a scene justice. When this optical distortion strikes, try these few simple steps to correct for that vertical convergence-and then apply the same principles to fix all sorts of other distortions in your pictures.

Create Faux-Infrared Images - 6/9/08
Get infrared film effects from digital shots with a few image-editing tricks
Create Faux-Infrared Images - 6/9/08 Not everything in the digital era is better than the film equivalent. Think of black-and-white infrared film, for example. This analog process created totally unique results that were as much fun for the great photos they created as for the surprises they delivered along the way. When you clicked the shutter, you never knew exactly what you were going to get.

Though the surprise isn't quite the same, you can actually create similar infrared effects in the computer. True infrared film records light that's invisible to the human eye-in the reddest region of the light spectrum. Similar in-camera effects can sometimes be created digitally (depending on a particular CCD's sensitivity to near-infrared light, or whether you've had it converted to a true IR sensor), but why not skip the in-camera filtration techniques and turn any image into infrared after you've got it in the computer?

Hot Hyperreal Sharpness Effects - 6/2/08
You’ve seen this hip look everywhere. Now you can make it your own.
Hot Hyperreal Sharpness Effects - 6/2/08 Fashionable trends make their way into all aspects of life-from clothing to television to music and art. The hot trend right now in photography seems to be a hyper-sharp look that's everywhere in advertising and editorial. It's tricky to describe, but it looks like a super-detailed, overly sharp image with extra detail in the shadows and what appears often as heightened grain. [To see examples, check out the work of Matthew Clark, Mitchell Funk and Gary Land in recent issues of PCPhoto and Digital Photo Pro.]

The Secret To Stronger Compositions - 5/26/08
Simplify your shots with shallow depth of field
The Secret To Stronger Compositions - 5/26/08One of the simplest ways to improve your photographs is exactly that: simplicity. When things aren't working and you feel like your composition is too cluttered, go minimal. Step back, examine your scene, and figure out how you can boil it down to the essential details. One of the best ways to do that, of course, is to pick a single detail and use a shallow depth of field to isolate that detail from its surroundings.

Ten Tips For Better Low-Light Photos - 5/19/08
It’s easy to make great shots in great light, but what about when the light’s barely there?
Ten Tips For Better Low-Light Photos - 5/19/08Low-light situations can be tricky, but they can also make for great shots you're up to the challenge. Here are ten great ways to turn low-light situations into fertile ground for fabulous photos.

1. Don't fight the light-think about new ways to make your compositions work. Maybe a silhouette is the perfect solution; it's often ideal when the day's last light is silhouetting a unique shape like a tree or a skyline or a body. Whatever the case, go with the sillo and you'll not only create an interesting shot but you'll get to hand-hold the camera because of the faster shutter speed it enables.

Darkroom Effects Improved In The Computer - 5/12/08
Mastering the art of digital solarization
Darkroom Effects Improved In The Computer - 5/12/08 Sometimes digital techniques are barely adequate stand-ins for their original chemical counterparts. Other times, however, the computer provides so much control that the old darkroom method pales in comparison. Sabattier and solarization techniques are the perfect example of the new method improving on the old.

In the darkroom, solarization (or what is technically called the Sabattier effect) is achieved essentially by re-exposing the print or negative to light during processing. This made parts of the print reversed, turning dark areas light and light areas dark. The first time you create this effect in the darkroom it's very exciting. The first time you do it in the computer it makes you wonder how anyone ever accomplished anything in a darkroom.

Color Saturation: Getting It Right
For the best color in your images, learn to use these techniques and don’t overdo it
Color Saturation: Getting It RightWhile black-and-white photography has enjoyed a rebirth of interest, color is still how the world appears and is mostly photographed. Yet colors you see and experience often don't quite translate to the picture you compose. We also sometimes want to interpret the world's colors in ways that better express how we felt about a subject.

Ultimate Portraits
10 essential tips to work like a pro when photographing people
Ultimate PortraitsNo matter what you like to photograph, chances are, at some point you'll find yourself shooting a portrait. Imagine being in the middle of composing that stunning Patagonia landscape image, when a weathered gaucho on his horse gallops up, providing a rare shot of those rugged cowboys. Or maybe you're walking in the French Quarter of New Orleans and a jazz musician on the street gives you a stoic pose. And who hasn't taken a few shots of their family and friends? Knowing the basic principles of creating a strong portrait is a valuable skill for all photographers.

June 2008 HelpLine
Get The (Focal) Point?

Capturing talent
Q) I want to start shooting photos of local bands and some other bigger acts that come through my area on a regular basis. I'm new to the D-SLR game and still learning all the things I can do with my camera. So I'm looking for some advice on what settings to use while in this type of situation. Of course, it's low-light and fast-moving action, along with light changing all the time. I'm in the market to buy a new lens specifically for this task, but would love to also use it in the field for the nature photography I'm starting to enjoy. I'll have access to the sides of the stage and the front of the stage on the calm side of the barrier, so I'd think that my shooting distances could range from about six to 25 feet.

Make Your Subject Stand Out
Focus the point of interest in your photos with these easy techniques
quick fixOften, one of the main goals when composing a picture is to make the subject stand out from the background and surroundings. This is especially true in sports photography, where the photographer wants to isolate the subject from a distracting background, such as when a football player is running in front of a cheering crowd.

Making A Connection
One well-traveled photographer shares her insights on approaching, composing and lighting memorable portraits, and on learning from the pros
Making A ConnectionNew York-based Dutch photographer Mirjam Evers has traveled and photographed in more than 50 countries, focusing her camera and her eyes on creating environmental portraits and travel, documentary and adventure photographs. She's able to transcend cultural and language barriers with an intangible spirit that comes through in every portrait.


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