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Learn digital camera techniques and tips that will help you flex your creative skills as well as improve the quality of your images.

Pro Tips: Turning Pro
How a course in photography inspired big changes
Pro Tips: Turning Pro

A mid-career switch from electrical engineering to photography wasn't exactly what Paul Kline had in mind when he began taking pictures again. But photography is how he makes his living now, with corporate and editorial clients demanding his services, including Random House, The New York Times and Ketchum.

The Need For Speed
Must-know techniques for capturing fast-paced action
The Need For SpeedMy guess is that most of you won't be in a situation where you'll be photographing a subject speeding toward or past you at 220 mph, but that's exactly the challenge for Barry Zeek, who specializes in capturing lightning-fast motor-sports action. You may, however, find yourself photographing fast-moving subjects such as darting birds, dashing animals and running athletes or skiers, high divers, snowboarders, skateboarders and wakeboarders flying through the air. Shooting action can be tricky, but with these tips, there's a much better chance that you'll come home with successful images.

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.

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.

Painting With Light
Use a flashlight and colored gels to keep the photography going after dark
Painting With LightI had 30 seconds left. Running through the pitch-black desert night, I stumbled into a prickly pear cactus, but didn't have time to worry about the quills embedded in my leg. I was in pursuit of a masterpiece! I quickly switched gels, aimed and fired. Twelve seconds left. I practically flattened a tripod leaping behind an old juniper. I had to get one more critical burst in...bang, bang, bang...two seconds left.

Available Light Portraits
Learn to make maximum use of natural light to create exciting outdoor portraits
Available Light PortraitsI just love natural light," remarks photographer David Stoecklein, whose modern yet timeless portfolio of the American West is proof he knows how to wrangle available light. Stoecklein is constantly on shoots in areas that don't always have running electricity. No power usually means no studio lighting—but it isn't only for practical reasons that Stoecklein has become a master at using available light to create stunning portraits.

Photographing Festivals
Tips For Capturing The Fun, Action And Excitement Of Special Events
Photographing Festivals

The action, costumes, colors and performances at festivals, special events and reenactments make them a ton of fun to attend and photograph. Taking snapshots is easy, but if you want to turn your snapshots into great shots, you have to pay careful attention to everything that's going on around you, as well as realize the importance of your camera settings and lens choice. After all, you may get only one chance to photograph the event.

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.

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.


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