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50 Incredible Photography Techniques and Tutorials


Over the recent months we’ve been presenting various showcases of photography – while many readers hated the showcases, most readers found them inspirational and perfect for a lousy workday’s morning. However, what we should have done in the inspirational posts is not just provide you with some inspiration for your work, but also present useful photographic techniques which can help you to achieve optimal pictures for your designs. And as requested by many of you, now it’s time to correct our mistake.

In this post we present useful photographic techniques, tutorials and resources for various kinds of photography. You’ll learn how to set up the perfect environment and what techniques, principles and rules of thumbs you should consider when shooting your next perfect photo. This round-up isn’t supposed to be the ultimate one – please feel free to suggest more useful articles in the comments to this post.

Among other things, we cover high-speed photography, tilt-shift photography, black and white photography, motion blur, infrared, night, smoke photography, macro photography, HDR, panoramic photography, RAW processing and others. Hopefully, you’ll find many of the listed tutorials and how-tos useful for your regular work.

1. High Speed Photography Link

Celebration Of High-Speed Photography1
This post is supposed to provide you with some inspiration of what can be done with high-speed photography. It also showcases some truly stunning slow-motion videos.


Home-Made High Speed Photography3 (PDF)
Pictures of high-speed events such as popping balloons, breaking glass, and splashing liquids reveal interesting structures not visible to the naked eye. With this guide you can take your own high-speed photos to captures these ephemeral events. A very detailed tutorial.


Quick guide to Simple High Speed Macro Photography5
This is a quick tutorial to get you started with high speed photography. There are tons of other resources on the web, but most of them are advanced and require special equipment. This one is simple and basic.



2. Tilt-Shift Photography Link

Tilt-shift photography7 refers to the use of camera movements on small- and medium-format cameras; it usually requires the use of special lenses.

“Tilt-shift” actually encompasses two different types of movements: rotation of the lens relative to the image plane, called tilt, and movement of the lens parallel to the image plane, called shift. Tilt is used to control the orientation of the plane of focus (PoF), and hence the part of an image that appears sharp; it makes use of the Scheimpflug principle. Shift is used to change the line of sight while avoiding the convergence of parallel lines, as when photographing tall buildings.

Another, less cost-intensive technique called “tilt-shift miniature faking8” is a process in which a photograph of a life-sized location or object is manipulated so that it looks like a photograph of a miniature-scale model.

50 Beautiful Examples Of Tilt-Shift Photography9


Tilt-Shift Photography Photoshop Tutorial11
This tutorial was produced using Photoshop CS2 on a PC.


Receding Hairline13
With very little effort, you can take existing photographs of everyday scenes and make them look like miniature models.


Free Auto Tilt-Shift Photoshop Action15
Plug-and-play solution for preparing your photos.


3. Black and White Photography Link

Beautiful Black and White Photography16
One of the most beautiful inspirational posts on Smashing Magazine, featuring over 50 brilliant works from photographers across the globe.

Black and White Photography17

5 Black and White Photography Tips18
A short, but useful article by by Darren Rowse, featuring shoot in RAW, low ISO and other techniques. You may also consider reading the articles Key Ingredients for Black and White Images19


Black and White Photography Guide21
Black and white photography starts before the shot is even taken. In this article you’ll find some quick tips on what to look for to ensure the perfect black and white landscape – e.g. camera settings for black and white photography and what filters are good for black and white landscapes.


Digital Black and White23
This site features professional photography articles written by Keith Cooper. It covers black/white-photography-techniques, image manipulation techniques, tools, articles and camera reviews.

The Top 5 Black & White Photography Tips24
Five handy tips to get you going in the right direction: practice, focus on contrast, focus on texture, use color filters and more. If you want to learn more about the actual black and white conversion process in Photoshop, see the article 12 Ways to Make a Black & White Photo25 as well.

Black and White Photography26


4. Motion Blur Photography Link

45 Beautiful Motion Blur Photos27
A showcase of motion blur photos. Motion blur is frequently used to show a sense of speed. You can artificially achieve this effect in a usual scene using cameras with a slow shutter speed. Also Adobe Photoshop can be used for this purpose, though sometimes images may look unnatural and unprofessional.

Motion Blur28

How to Capture Motion Blur in Photography29
Capturing movement in images is something that many photographers only need to do when photographing sports or other fast-moving events.


Professional-Looking Motion-Blur Effect for Your Images31
“In this tutorial we’re going to show you how to create a very popular motion blur effect used in many magazine and various other professionally crafted images.”


Photoshop Tutorials: Create Silky Smooth Waterfalls33
“In this Adobe Photoshop tutorial, we’re going to look at how to give waterfalls a silky smooth appearance, as if the photo were taken with a longer exposure, which would normally require the use of a neutral density filter.”


Long Exposure Photos35
Long exposure can be used to create very interesting photographs. It can be used, for example, to create a bright photo in low-light conditions or to create motion blur for moving elements in a photograph


5. Infrared Photography Link

40 Incredible Near-Infrared Photos36
A showcase of near-infrared photography. Near-infrared images straight out of the camera do not always look good and are usually not as dramatic and beautiful as normally captured images. Hence, a lot of post-processing is done to enhance these images.

Infrared Photo37

Infrared Photography with a Digital Camera 38
Thanks to digital photography, we can take infrared pictures whenever we please, mix them with “normal” ones and see the results on the spot, tweaking the settings to our heart’s desire.


InfraRed photography40
A specialized IR portal, with gallery and forum.


Beyond Visible42
Website about IR, UV and luminescence photography. Here you can found plenty of theory and useful information about IR adaptors for flashlights. Among the resources is a huge collection of links43 related to invisible light photography.

Infrared (IR)44
A gallery with a number of amazing IR photos.


Infrared photography46
Huge article with a number of useful links. Nearly complete list of IR filters and digital cameras that can be updated for IR shooting.


6. Night Photography Link

60 Beautiful Examples Of Night Photography47
60 amazing examples of night photography, created by some hard-working and dedicated photographers. Take a look at their websites and portfolios.


The Nocturnes49
The Nocturnes is an organization dedicated to night photography. Founded by Tim Baskerville in San Francisco in 1991, it has grown to become the premier source of information and education on night photography, as well as an international community for night photographers.


Lost America night photography51
Wandering the deserted backroads of the American Southwest, Troy Paiva has explored the abandoned underbelly of America since the 1970s. Since 1989 he’s been taking pictures of it… at night, by the light of the full moon.


Long Exposure Night Photography 53
This article shows you how to take pictures of night scenes with no moving objects.


Night Photography by David Baldwin55
Night photography of landscapes and architecture.

MalekTips56 (removed due to errors)
Some solutions for avoiding typical problems with night photography.

Learn Night Photography57
Quick and dirty guide to defining exposure time for typical night subjects.


Night Landscape Photography59
Capture stunning landscape images during the black of night.


7. Smoke Art Photography Link

Smoke Photography and Smoke Art60
A round-up of some of the best examples of photos and artworks where smoke dominates.


Smoke Art Photography – An Introduction62
This articles features smoke art photography tips from Stoffel De Roover; it describes the typical setup, important techniques and necessary adjustments for a perfect smoke art photo.

Smoke photography video tutorial63
Video tutorial on smoke photography.

Make: How-To Smoke Photography64
Learn how to create and shoot sculptures made with smoke and how to paint with smoke.



8. Macro Photography Link

25 Beautiful Macro Photography Shots66
A round-up of some truly revealing and inspiring macro photographs which are sure to have you marveling at the world around you.

Spider macro67

Macro Photography68
How to take close-up pictures of small things, by Philip Greenspun69

Introduction to Macro Photography70
Set-up and camera settings for macro photography (8-minute video).

Reversing Lenses for Macro Photography71
A guide to building a lens for extreme macro shooting.


Woven Shadows73
Digital photography video tutorial (48 MB).

Macro photography74
A round-up of gadgets that will help you move really close to your subject.

Captain’s European Butterfly Guide75
Engaging guide for this special kind of hunting (of course, you can use it outside of Europe, too).

Macro Photography Tips for Point and Shoot Digital Cameras76
Most of the articles here are geared to DSLR owners. But they are also useful for macro photography with compact cameras, too.

Macrophoto Journal on deviantART77
A number of excellent photos, forums and technical articles.


Macro Photography Tutorial79
Short review on insect shooting, and amazing photos by M. Plonsky, PhD.



9. HDR Link

If you don’t like these kinds of photos, please move along. No complaints will be accepted.

35 Fantastic HDR Pictures81
This post covers 35 beautiful and perfectly executed HDR pictures. Some of them may look surreal, too colorful, even magic or fake, but they are not. Keep in mind that they’ve all been developed from normal photos; not a single image is an illustration.


HDR Tutorial83
HDR how-to guide, mostly related to Mac users.


HDR: High Dynamic Range Photography85
HDR how-to guide with Photoshop CS2

In-Camera HDR detailed tutorial86
YouTube video tutorial

HDR tutorial87
Tutorial on HDR with free-of-charge software GIMP and Qtpfsgui


HDR Tutorial89
Tutorial on HDR with Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop CS2 and Photomatix Pro



10. RAW Processing Link

A raw image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor. Raw image files are sometimes called digital negatives, because they serve the same role as negatives in film photography. But unlike negatives, these files need much more processing.

Choosing RAW Image Processing Software91
The most expensive multi-function RAW processing software is not always the best for converting the wide range of current RAW image file formats.

RAW Processing Workflow Using Phase One’s Capture One 492
Capture One 4 is more than just a rewritten version of Phase One’s Capture One LE. It offers improved speed and quality of RAW conversion, and it builds on its strengths as a RAW-processing workflow tool.

Aperture, Lightroom and Capture One review:

A full-range review of three of the most popular and powerful tools for RAW processing

Lightroom Presets: The Ultimate Free List98
“The biggest, most updated list of free Adobe Lightroom presets. It’s true you can have too many, but this is the best jumping-off point for finding new presets. Taste as many as you like, then tell us your favorites.” Note that the presets don’t work with RAW and JPEG files the same.


11. Panoramic Photography Link

A panorama — or panoramic photo — is usually made by stitching several pictures taken with the same camera into one.

How To: Panoramic Photography99
Making a panoramic photo really is only taking the pictures, stitching them together on your computer. The more effort and attention you put into the first step, the easier the second step will be and the more realistic your final photo will look.


Taking Panoramic Landscapes – The Easy Solution101
Panoramas have a reputation for being hard to take. Dedicated panorama cameras are available, but unless you’ve got at least $1000 to spare, you probably can’t afford one! But you can take panoramas with any kind of camera.


Digital Photography Tutorial – Panorama Stitching103
“Many digital cameras, even some budget-priced pocket compacts, have a feature known as “Panorama Stitching” mode. If you haven’t experimented with it yet, it is designed to help with a particular type of photograph, or rather series of photographs, in which successive shots are taken as the camera is panned across a scene.”

Building Panoramic Images in The GIMP104
Panoramic landscapes make for some amazing photos. There’s nothing like the relaxation and tranquility felt when gazing over the sweeping wilderness, save for the hassle of actually getting there. Using a digital camera, it’s possible to stitch photos together to simulate the expensive effects of a landscape filter.

The easy way is to use Pandora. Pandora is a plug-in for The GIMP that tries to match the edges of the photos, using a best guess at where one photo ends and the next begins.


12. Special Issues Link

Architecture photography, a beginners’ guide105
Insightful tips for photography of stationary subjects by Michael Jenkins. You may also want to learn how to shoot bridges106, statues107, buildings108 and piers109.


Guide To Architectural Photography111
Despite architecture’s diversity there are a number of simple rules that apply in most situations, or will at least get you thinking more deeply about how you can best portray a particular piece of architecture.


DIY Lighting Hacks for Digital Photographers113
“Lighting can be the difference between a good shot and a great one. Walk into most professional photographers’ studios, and you’ll be confronted with truckloads of lighting equipment. To the average hobby photographer, it’s enough to make your mind boggle — and make your stomach turn as you think about the cost of it all.

In this post, I’ve found 10 DIY flash and lighting hacks that put some of these lighting techniques within the grasp of the rest of us.”


10 Top Photography Composition Rules115
This post reviews important rules of good photography, such as Rules of Thirds, balancing elements, leading lines, symmetry and patterns, viewpoint, background, depth, framing, cropping and experimentation.


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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Some of these are interesting. Thanks SM…cheers!

  2. 2

    I’m not an expert in photography, but these are fantastic I think!

  3. 3

    I’m going to try out the high speed photography!

  4. 6

    I like High Speed and Motion blur photography a lot !! also i like the outcomes of Aerial photography.

    DKumar M.

  5. 7

    Great post! I have tried almost all of these techniques. In fact some of my favorite photos use the above techniques!
    High speed High speed
    Motion blur Motion blur
    Night Night
    Macro Macro

  6. 8

    Hi. the “45 beautiful motion blur photos” links goes to “25 beutiful macro photos”, could you fix it? I would like to see those 45 motion blur photos, hehe

    (SM) Fixed, thanks.

  7. 9

    Lailson Bandeira

    April 22, 2009 5:36 am

    I’d love to see about light painting…

    (SM) Will be done in one of the next posts.

    Reply: Thanks, I’ll be waiting anxiously! =D

  8. 10

    Fantastic compilation of links !
    Great article.

  9. 11

    Thx for article, its very useful for me :)

  10. 12

    Thanks guys for this awesome post…..
    It came out right when I needed.
    Especially for the photography hacks, coz I’m sure everybody knows that photography is expensive..

  11. 13

    fantastic work. Thanks a lot.

  12. 14

    Hehehe he he – you could see that chicks boobs he he he

  13. 15

    Fantastic article! Awsome collection with wonderful inspiration :)

  14. 16

    Amazing post guys!

  15. 17

    Great stuff:

    Bookmarked and Tweeted for others to share. =)

  16. 18

    I do night photos three times a week for two years now. Some words ref. to the many bad tips of MalekTips:

    #2: Use Night Program or Scene Mode
    No! There is the manual mode and nothing else.

    #3: Look for Bridges
    Look for bridges on Flickr. There are millions.

    #4: Don’t Always Rely on Flash
    Flash does not belong to night photography. As a night photographer you will never use it.

    #5: Increase Your ISO
    For heavens sake! There is 100 (or 50 if you have). If your photo gets too dark, the exposure must be longer. If you can’t focus, take a pocket lamp with you: Switch the lamp on – focus – hold – switch lamp off – shoot.

    And please, do not label yellow flat snapshots as “night photography”.

    (SM) Thanks, after careful consideration it was removed from the post.

  17. 19

    Man, the info here is mind blowing. A bit too much to take in to be honest!

  18. 20

    I totally agree with Helen.
    I would add :
    #13 : Shoot Many Photos to Help Compensate for Camera Shake
    Ooops… I would rather say : 1 take a remote with you, and 2 mirror up if you can !!!
    And the tripod is an obvious requirement for (or against !) camera shake ;)

  19. 21

    A good technique for great photos is to use polarizing filter for your lens, check here everything about it

  20. 22

    Wow, this article is amazing. I love the smoke photograhic techniques.


  21. 23

    Very very great post ! Thx !!

  22. 25

    your site is really amazing, how find you the time to detect everyday wonderful Websites???
    Thanks a lot for these great job!

  23. 26

    Bloody brilliant!! This was something I’ve been looking for a long long time.

    Thanks S

  24. 27

    Great article.

    For fake tilt-shifting you can do some online if your copy of photoshop is too ancient at

  25. 28

    Stunning! Thank you so much for providing such useful information. Very inspiring!

  26. 29

    Again a great article… i have been using some of the techniques mentioned here.

  27. 30

    Wonderful collection! I think it will take a time to lokk at all of the links! Thank you!

  28. 31

    Great collection, thank you.

  29. 32

    Awesome collection of links – great job! Thanks!

  30. 33

    I have never posted comment before, but this post is really great! All looks interesting, am excited to test some out!

    Thank you SM! A great job!


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