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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.

October 2004 HelpLine

White-Balance Settings

    * Understanding White Balance Can Help
      You Better Deal With Color In Your Photos

The Critical Adjustment: Levels & Black
When the darkest and brightest parts of a photo are adjusted properly, the image will look and print better
The Critical Adjustment: Levels & Black

Despite the special features of today's digital cameras, many photographers have found the results from camera to print disappointing. Certainly, it's essential to calibrate your monitor and run tests with your printer, but that's not enough if the blacks of a photo aren't set correctly. I've seen poor prints from photographers puzzled by the fact that they did all the necessary calibration and "matched" the monitor, and still had lackluster results. I've even been surprised to find this problem from top pros who are now shooting with digital cameras.

Seeing In Black & White
Create striking monochromatic images from your color digital photos
Seeing In Black & White

Black-and-white images always have held a special place in photography. Although color photographs comprise the majority of the images that are created and printed, a monochromatic print produces a much different reaction than does a color version of the same scene.

Trade Tricks: Got A Light?
Control contrast and color with your built-in flash
Trade Tricks: Got A Light?Although the best light of the day is often that of early morning or late afternoon, the duration of such light is very short. More often than not, you're shooting the majority of your images during midday when the light is harsh and contrasty. This is easily evident in portraits where strong shadows under hat brims appear. One of the best tools for making the most of midday lighting may already be in your camera: the built-in or auxiliary flash.

Trade Tricks: The Selective Focus Technique
A key photographic technique to distinguish your subject from its surroundings
Trade Tricks: The Selective Focus Technique

One of the challenges we face as photographers is making the subject stand out from its surroundings. An effective way to do this is to use the selective focus technique, which allows us to choose one part of the image to be sharp and in focus while making the rest out of focus. It's the opposite of getting a lot of depth of field. While this technique lets the viewer know what's important in the photo, it's also a way to make interesting compositions that can't be duplicated any other way.

Understanding Image Sensors
The sensor is the soul of your digital camera and knowing how it works will help you to compose better images
Understanding Image Sensors

Sophisticated technology goes into the design and manufacture of your digital camera. Understanding some of that technology can help you to predict how the camera will fare when you're shooting in a variety of situations. For our annual How-To issue, we're including this article on the anatomy of an image sensor.

The Magic Of Histograms
Learn to read your camera's histograms and get the best exposures possible for your subject
The Magic Of Histograms

Modern digital cameras do an impressive job in getting an acceptable exposure for most images. There's a difference between an acceptable exposure and an exceptional exposure, however. The best exposures make maximum use of the capabilities of the camera sensor and internal camera processing while causing only a few problems when printing or working on images in the computer.

Your Guide To Camera Modes
Get better images more easily with your digital camera’s pre-programmed settings
Your Guide To Camera Modes

Who needs all these modes?
You might ask yourself this question when you pick up a digital camera loaded with custom exposure settings.

November 2004 HelpLine

Digital Terms

    * A Quick Guide To Some Common Terms
      Associated With Gear That You Might Buy

December 2004 HelpLine

Cold Weather And Digital Cameras

    * Winter Wondering
    * Changing Backgrounds
    * Cropping Problems?
    * Resampling For Size

Trade Tricks: A Personal Photo Book
Display and store large prints in a way that’s both archival and convenient
Trade Tricks: A Personal Photo Book

Now that archival-quality, large-format prints cost only a few dollars and can be produced quickly, I find myself creating many more prints than I'm able to frame and display. The cost of framing prints hasn't declined, nor do I have much wall space left in my home to display my newly printed images.


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