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How-To

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.



Trade Tricks: Selective Focus
Using depth of field creatively
Trade Tricks: Selective Focus

Using selective focus is a powerful technique to help frame and present your subject. Playing with depth of field will help transform your image from one that looks like a quick snapshot to one that shows you've put some creative thought into how you want to present your subject.


Letting Your Image Take Off
Ideas soar when you envision the end result
Letting Your Image Take Off

The opening image for this column was inspired by something that I try to do all the time in real life, with my photography and in the digital darkroom: have fun! The image looks as though my son and I are soaring at top speed high above beautiful blue water in a colorful biplane. It's one of my favorites, which I created after a family trip to the Florida Keys, and it captures the speed, fun, excitement and togetherness of our experience.


September 3, 2007 HelpLine
Getting Back To Backups, Part II


Q) I appreciate your recent advice on keeping files backed up (the June and September issues of PCPhoto). I'd add one more caution: If you're using an automated backup program (i.e,. one running automatically on a schedule), be sure that the program is actually running and that there's still room on the drive to which you're backing up...


Breaking The Rules - 9/3/07
Breaking The Rules - 9/3/07

The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. Likewise, the first rule of photography should be that there are no rules. The problem is, all those rules and regulations we've learned regarding composition and f-stops and shutter speeds do make perfect sense as a starting point.


August 27, 2007 HelpLine
Getting Back To Backups, Part I


Q) You mention the importance of backing up files frequently.  I'd like to share my solution to this "problem." The cost of external drives has been going down as the size of these drives has been going up. (I recently purchased a 500 GB drive for about $200.) I do an automatic backup of my critical files to this external drive every day...


Long-Life Power Play - 8/27/07
Long-Life Power Play - 8/27/07

A friend of mine just gave me the best advice I've heard in a long time: use AA batteries. Sounds simple, but he meant to get rid of my heavy battery packs that give my flash short recycle times and lots of flashes with every charge.


Point And Shoot Like A Pro
Why à la modes?
Point And Shoot Like A Pro

All digital SLR cameras offer the traditional exposure modes: program AE, shutter-priority AE, aperture-priority AE and metered manual exposure control. These are the mainstays of "serious" photographers because they provide control over important aspects of each shot.


Essential Processing Techniques
Tools all photographers should know for adjusting exposure, color and sharpening
Essential Processing Techniques

No matter what camera model you shoot with or file type you capture with, every image needs a little work before it's ready to show. Three key adjustments—exposure, color and sharpening—should be the foundation of your digital darkroom work. The approach to making these adjustments varies depending on the software you use, but the basic principles are the same. We'll look at different solutions for addressing these adjustments and techniques for getting them right.


Knockout Color!
Think color from capture to finish for stunning images
Knockout Color!

Good color in pictures is subjective. Some people like pictures that pop with saturated hues, while others prefer pictures more subdued. What's more, we see colors differently at different times of day—even our mood affects how we see colors. In this article, I'd like to touch on the basics of color in digital photography, with the focus on getting the best possible image at the time of capture. To illustrate the techniques, I'll use some pictures that I took on a recent trip to Panama, where my goal was to take color pictures of the three indigenous tribes: the Kuna, the Emberá and the Ngobe.


Creative Photo Projects
Fun ways to put your photography to good use, from classic to high tech
Creative Photo Projects

Taking, organizing and perfecting your images is a good start, but the best part of photography is getting the "Wow!" from friends and family when you share your shots. Online services and software are making it easier than ever for even casual photographers to create polished, pro-quality slideshows, greeting cards, web-based projects and more.

Part of the fun of photography is putting those finishing touches on an image and then putting it to good use. Here are a few of our favorite ways to be creative with photography.


August 20, 2007 HelpLine
Macro Flash On The Cheap


Q) I've been playing around with the macro feature on my compact digital camera. I have some nice shots, but now I'm trying to work with a flash. All of the shots I have so far are pretty disappointing. The right edge of the scene always seems to miss the flash. What can I do?




 
 

 
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