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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.

Effective Flash
Five ways to improve your flash photography
Effective Flash

I'll be the first to admit, old-school flash photography intimidated me. Just the thought of figuring out guide numbers and flash charts put me in a cold sweat. If I was in a spontaneous shooting situation, say, photographing a colorful market, I just put my flash away and shot using available light. This resulted in a lot of mediocre photographs.

Build A Better Backup Plan - 12/10/07
Build A Better Backup Plan - 12/10/07

It's a shame that being a digital photographer entails a whole lot more than just shooting pictures. Concerns over where to store all those photos-not to mention how to make sure they're around in years to come so that you can find them-are as much a part of photography today as ƒ-stops and shutter speeds ever were.

Calibrate Or Die - 12/3/07
Calibrate Or Die - 12/3/07 If you work for a photo magazine, the number one question you get from everyone you ever meet is "What camera should I buy?" How come nobody ever asks about the importance of color-managed workflow?

How Zebras Help You Take Better Pictures - 11/26/07
How Zebras Help You Take Better Pictures - 11/26/07Part of the fun of being a professional photographer is whipping out a light meter. It looks a little mysterious and makes clients feel like they're getting their money's worth.

Mr. Wizard Says: Use Your Flash Outside! - 11/19/07
Mr. Wizard Says: Use Your Flash Outside! - 11/19/07

I am a recovering television addict, having acknowledged my problem and cancelled my cable service. I think it stems from an adolescence in which I stared at "educational programming" for hours on end.

Saving A Backlit Shot
Get better results with one of the trickiest shots in photography

Quick Fix: Saving A Backlit ShotOne of the most challenging situations for a photographer is getting a good exposure of a subject when shooting into the sun. That's because the contrast range between the background and the backlit subject is usually too great for a good exposure of both the background and the subject. 

December 2007 HelpLine
Smart Upgrades

December 2007 HelplineStep Up To A Larger Filter

Q) I'm about to purchase a 28-75mm lens for use with my digital SLR. It has a 67mm diameter lens; however, I have a 77mm circular polarizer that I would like to use with the new lens. I also plan to purchase a 67-77mm step-up adapter so that I can use these larger filters on the smaller lens. My question is, how will the quality of the image be affected by not using the exact size filter required, i.e., a 67mm polarizer on a 67mm lens?

Trick Shots: Action
Stop fast action with these tips on everything from shutter speed to lenses
Trick Shots: Action

From baseball to soccer, race cars to dance, flying birds to breaching dolphins, the world around us is filled with action that just demands to be photographed. In this article, we'll give you tips and techniques on how you can improve your action photography and increase your percentage of great shots. And while it can be frustrating—everyone, even the pros, have their share of missed shots—you'll get better with practice and experience, so hang in there if your first efforts aren't perfect.

Trick Shots: Snow
Jump in to winter photo opportunities with these tips
Trick Shots: Snow

Taking pictures in the snow is cool, literally and figuratively speaking, but snow scenes present certain photographic challenges. First, all that white can fool a camera's exposure meter into thinking that the scene is brighter than it actually is, therefore setting the camera for an underexposed picture. The remedy: Set your exposure compensation dial to +1. The increase should give you a better exposure, which, of course, you can fine-tune further with exposure compensation and in the digital darkroom.

Trick Shots: Low Light
Discover how high ISOs can improve the quality of your photographs
Trick Shots: Low Light

While recently critiquing the work of one of my students, I noticed that several of his images lacked sharpness, which I immediately attributed to camera shake. We looked at the images' EXIF data to find out at what shutter speed he was shooting while using a 200mm lens. He had been shooting at 1⁄30 sec.—far too slow a shutter speed to use with a telephoto, particularly without the camera being mounted on a tripod. When I asked him why he didn't increase the camera's ISO for a more reasonable shutter speed, his response was an all too common one.

Favorite Features: A Tiny Point & Shoot - 11/12/07
Favorite Features: A Tiny Point & Shoot - 11/12/07I'm a big American. I like big cars, big burgers, big houses and big hair. But for some strange reason I also like really tiny cameras.


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