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50 Incredible Photography Techniques and Photo 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 photography techniques and photo tutorials 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. [Content Care Oct/28/2016]

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.

You may want to take a look at the following related posts:

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 Photography5
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 Photography6 (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.

photography techniques7

2. Tilt-Shift Photography Link

Tilt-shift photography8 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 faking9 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 Photography10

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

photography techniques12

3. Black and White Photography Link

Beautiful Black and White Photography13
One of the most beautiful inspirational posts on Smashing Magazine, featuring over 50 brilliant works from photographers across the globe.

Black and White Photography Techniques14

5 Black and White Photography Tips15
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 Images16


Black and White Photography Guide18
This photography technique 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 White20
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 Tips21
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 Photo22 as well.

4. Motion Blur Photography Link

45 Beautiful Motion Blur Photos23
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 Blur24

How to Capture Motion Blur in Photography25
Capturing movement in images is something that many photographers only need to do when photographing sports or other fast-moving events.


Photoshop Tutorials: Create Silky Smooth Waterfalls27
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 Photos29
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 Photos30
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 Photography with a Digital Camera 31
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.


Beyond Visible33
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 links34 related to invisible light photography.

Infrared photography35
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 Photography36
60 amazing examples of night photography, created by some hard-working and dedicated photographers. Take a look at their websites and portfolios.

The Nocturnes37
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 photography39
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.


Learn Night Photography41
Quick and dirty guide to defining exposure time for typical night subjects.


7. Smoke Art Photography Link

Smoke Photography and Smoke Art43
A round-up of some of the best examples of photos and artworks where smoke dominates.

Smoke Art Photography – An Introduction44
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 tutorial45
Video tutorial on smoke photography.

8. Macro Photography Link

25 Beautiful Macro Photography Shots46
A round-up of some truly revealing and inspiring macro photographs which are sure to have you marveling at the world around you.

Spider macro47

Macro Photography
How to take close-up pictures of small things, by Philip Greenspun.

Reversing Lenses for Macro Photography48
A guide to building a lens for extreme macro shooting.


Macro photography50
A round-up of gadgets that will help you move really close to your subject.

Captain’s European Butterfly Guide51
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 Cameras52
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 deviantART53
A number of excellent photos, forums and technical articles.


Macro Photography Tutorial55
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 Pictures57
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 Tutorial59
HDR how-to guide, mostly related to Mac users.


HDR: High Dynamic Range Photography61
HDR how-to guide with Photoshop CS2

HDR tutorial62
Tutorial on HDR with free-of-charge software GIMP and Qtpfsgui


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.

RAW Processing Workflow Using Phase One’s Capture One 464
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 List70
“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 Photography71
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.


Digital Photography Tutorial – Panorama Stitching73
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 GIMP74
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.

12. Special Photography Techniques Link

Architecture photography, a beginners’ guide75
Insightful tips for photography of stationary subjects by Michael Jenkins. You may also want to learn how to shoot statues76, buildings77 and piers78.


Guide To Architectural Photography80
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 Photographers82
“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.

10 Top Photography Composition Rules83
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.


Footnotes Link

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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 front-end/UX workshops, webinars 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 like High Speed and Motion blur photography a lot !! also i like the outcomes of Aerial photography.

    DKumar M.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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

  6. 6

    Fantastic compilation of links !
    Great article.

  7. 7

    Thx for article, its very useful for me :)

  8. 8

    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..

  9. 9

    fantastic work. Thanks a lot.

  10. 10

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

  11. 11

    Jonas Stensved

    April 22, 2009 7:06 am

    Fantastic article! Awsome collection with wonderful inspiration :)

  12. 12

    Amazing post guys!

  13. 13


    April 22, 2009 7:09 am

    Great stuff:

    Bookmarked and Tweeted for others to share. =)

  14. 14

    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.

  15. 15

    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 ;)

  16. 16

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


  17. 17

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

  18. 18

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

  19. 19

    Great article.

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

  20. 20

    Siouxie Boshoff

    April 22, 2009 10:45 am

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

  21. 21

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

  22. 22

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

  23. 23

    Awesome collection of links – great job! Thanks!

  24. 24

    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!

  25. 25

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

    Thanks S

  26. 26

    Great collection, thank you.

  27. 27

    Wonderful collection of tutorials! Thanks.

  28. 28

    Waho !
    Very complete article.
    Thanks !

  29. 29

    Very nice…thanks!

  30. 30

    Thanks for the great photography post. Also I love the little warning about people who may not like HDR. HDR is GREAT as long as:
    1. Don’t try and fake like that was just ‘straight outta’ the camera’.

    2. Don’t overdo it: (a little HDR goes a long way)

    Thanks also for the DIY lighting hacks. Extremely valuable!!!

  31. 31

    Template Library

    April 23, 2009 4:46 pm

    That was awesome..

  32. 32

    Anders Fredriksson

    April 24, 2009 12:38 am


  33. 33

    Great article!

  34. 34

    Excellent… Article.. Thanks…

  35. 35

    Boris Jacquin

    April 24, 2009 2:43 am

    How about actually using the camera as opposed to a retouching software. Real photographers can achieve most of all of the above on film. Motion-Blur Effect is easily done with a slow shutter speed and zooming, for example. Add to this a bit a of crafty panning and a slow flash sync and you get what real photographers actually want to achieve. A good picture straight out of the camera. So how about ditching your PCs for a sec and really learn how to take proper photos?

  36. 37

    Maxime Lacroix

    April 24, 2009 8:23 am


    I’m a long time reader and this article is VERY nice!

    I think another thing that would be interesting to add to the Special Issues section would be automotive photography. We don’t find tutorials about that very often and I think it’s an important side of the photography.

    Thanks a lot for the great article again,

  37. 38

    Michael Garmahis

    April 24, 2009 12:07 pm

    Thanks for including my HDR tutorial!

  38. 39

    great site..i find this very useful..i would like to try some of the tricks youve mentioned here for a more awesome picture. Im just a beginner and just starting to learn photography.

  39. 40

    Thank you verrrry much for this great post :-)
    I loved it the most….
    You’re making wishes true .. Bravo !

  40. 41

    Robert Kruh

    May 11, 2009 1:00 pm

    Excellent stuff … Thanks for sharing!

  41. 42

    Wow! Great techniques. Thanks for sharing these!

  42. 43

    Great list of tutorial and resources for photographers. All useful and some much more to add. Please keep adding to the list!

  43. 44

    Wow. This is incredible. I had no idea this wealth of training was available. I’ll be here often!

  44. 45

    Awesome tutorial!

  45. 46

    Very nice links. Am i missing something or are there only 12 techniques shown wher the title says 50??

  46. 47

    Very nice collection. Thanks!

  47. 48

    Greate post!
    I would like to test them all.
    Greate job!
    Thanks for sharing.

  48. 49
  49. 50

    All of us have ventured out and can find, quite easily, astounding and inspirational photography – and also find ourselves discouraged without the added benefit of HOW to do it too. Seeing is nice, understanding is rewarding – thanks for a good article.

  50. 51

    Excellent tips. Very useful for a novice such as myself.

  51. 52

    great hot . i must ll try your entire techniques.
    Thank you

  52. 53

    Brain Hit tips.
    I’m very impress

  53. 54

    amazing! but am i missing something? It says there are 50 techniques….but i only see 12?

  54. 55

    Great techniques. Thank you for sharing!

  55. 56

    Vedat Konyalı

    January 26, 2010 7:28 am

    Very useful source of information.

  56. 57

    I learned a lot of useful and excellent techniques. Thank you.

  57. 58

    This was awesome. Thank you!

  58. 59

    Great information.
    Thanks for sharing.
    One remark:
    The Link “Free Auto Tilt-Shift Photoshop Action”
    Plug-and-play solution for preparing your photos
    lead to ?

  59. 60


    March 13, 2010 11:38 am

    looking amazing thanks for that some nice pictures

  60. 61

    Huzefa Akhter

    March 14, 2010 2:18 am

    Night photography has always fascinated me, I am going to try out some tips from the links given here,

    Thanks for the Info.

  61. 62

    Tajudeen Liadi

    March 16, 2010 3:06 am

    An interesting article for mind inclined unprofessional Photographers like me.
    Please interact with me on my email.
    Thank you.

  62. 63

    Very useful source of information.

  63. 64

    MaleeQ Ismail

    May 1, 2010 7:22 pm

    i do like photography since i was in school.. now, i’m only using Canon 1000D for the beginning.. still lot of things to study.. hope somebody can show me the way..

  64. 65


    May 3, 2010 1:53 am

    Like this post!

  65. 66

    Valuable details! Most appreciated….

  66. 67

    This is absolute crap.

  67. 68

    Leandro Monteiro

    June 28, 2010 4:42 am

    Muito interessante o post! Congrats! Thanks!

  68. 69

    Farhan Ashraf

    June 28, 2010 1:55 pm

    which would be the best user friendly photo editing software for amateur photographers ?(except for Photoshop)

  69. 70

    I was going to say this :D

  70. 71

    so good . . .

  71. 72

    Well you can’t please everybody. Eitherway the tips were good if not best and the comments about manual photography – well I would agree, real photographers don’t really need photoshop for them to be able to come up with a good piece. Practice makes it perfect I reckon!.

  72. 73

    Not criticising, but this is 50 tutorials for 12 techniques right? Or am I missing some ”next page” option?

    Great post though, links are all really useful :)

  73. 74
  74. 75

    so fantastic…i love those pictures, tnx for sharing

  75. 76

    Great post! Hope you’lle enjoy my international forum for photographers ;)

  76. 77

    Thank you very much for the post. I enjoyed it.
    And its quite informative too. Anyway,
    all posts in smashingmagazine are definitely attractive,
    informative and marvellous!

  77. 78

    Erik Kerstenbeck

    November 18, 2010 10:05 am


    This is an awesome collection of tips. I will go over this many times, try some techniques and refine the results. I like to shoot wide angle HDR Landscapes using a Sigma 10-20mm, tripod, mirror up, live view, remote release. I like the undersides of piers for their colors and textures like the one here at Redondo Beach, CA

    Regards, Erik

  78. 79

    incredible techniques and information, thank you very much for the post

  79. 80

    this is very good and all but what techniques are there such as the 3r grid thing and the line to make you want to look more xxx

  80. 81

    i love ur………. photoz………………………….**

  81. 82

    Your hard work is well appreciated.Excellent information.. macro style in one page,.

  82. 83

    Anil Kumar K.S

    January 1, 2011 4:02 am

    Very good posting. I liked very much, hence adding a thanks for the efforts.

  83. 84

    Bulwark Exterminating

    January 3, 2011 3:23 pm

    That is some seriously amazing work. And thanks for the tips on macro photos for insects. That will come in handy when doing posts of pests. Now, even the pest control guy can be a little bit artistic.

  84. 85

    Hey its really interesting to know about these techniques. I also try it.

  85. 86

    It goes without saying that this is a wonderfull article, loved every word of it. well done!!

  86. 87

    These tips are cool and very helpful especially for us beginners.Really love Photography !!♥

  87. 88

    it’s excellent tips for beginner photographer as it would value for them to see what techniques would make picture differentiate. Very Nice Summary!!

  88. 89

    Great job guys..

  89. 90

    Gostei muito!!!!!

  90. 91

    Sushant Marasini

    February 24, 2011 2:38 am

    This is really an interesting article.

  91. 92

    I love this article and all it has to give in terms of links to very detailed summaries and tutorials. It has helped me as well as some of my own readers do well with their photography. My blog also has some interesting tips concerning photography.

  92. 93

    Amazing techniques! Mad genius at play!!

  93. 94

    hhhhhmmmmm…. its nice i learned a lot ^^ keep it up

  94. 95

    i love to hear from this webpage everyday :)

  95. 96

    I’m pretty new to DSLR photography and I love this site.
    An incredible collection of useful information.
    Thanks a lot for gathering it.

  96. 97

    cool. me too ^_^

  97. 98

    thankx for the amazing visual treat .

  98. 99

    I’m new to photogrphy, so I love this site. It’s most useful for us, thank you all.

  99. 100

    Your Inner Song

    October 7, 2011 9:19 pm

    Amazing! I seriously dont even know where to start!? too much good stuff. I’ll be focusing on one section a week

  100. 101

    wow! so so so nice! amazing… <3

  101. 102

    L o v e l y.

  102. 103

    its amazing! i am also new in photography i love it!..i want to learn more!!

  103. 104

    Abhishek Singh

    December 13, 2011 2:51 am

    I am doing a project on image processing. Can you please tell me which image format is fastest+take less memory for image processing. I have to continuously take image and process that image.

  104. 105

    Hi there…this is a gud way for us (newbies) to learn more from the pro’s….
    just some question regarding the title was “50 Incredible Photography Techniques and Tutorials”….was it the technique includes the tutorial that made the total of 50 or it just me that cant find the rest of 38 technique? coz i just saw there were only 12 technique been mention above…im sorry couldn’t find the rest….if only someone can help me…thanks…. :)

  105. 106

    Yep, it is indeed a good reference for as beginners. Love the article and the photos.

  106. 107

    Cool beans.

  107. 108

    edward kevlin

    May 1, 2012 7:59 pm

    very very good fotos regards edward

  108. 109

    AMAZING Keep em coming

  109. 110

    Maxwell Okpanachi

    January 21, 2013 12:19 pm

    Wonderful photographs, could you send me some of your pictures please?

  110. 111

    I have just started a blog I hope that it can be half as useful to other people as this one is to me and others. Great work!

  111. 112

    David Hardwick Photography

    April 9, 2013 7:47 pm

    Some very interesting lessons. I will have to try these when I have some time. Thank you for the information.

  112. 113

    Wow. Even though this is an old post I do still think that it is useful. I have read and used a lot of these techniques for a while now and none have steered me wrong. Cudos to the writer.

  113. 114


    May 24, 2013 3:25 am

    I love it..pretty nice…

  114. 115

    Christopher Prins

    May 25, 2013 10:18 am

    Great round up Vitaly. Love the night photography category.

  115. 116

    very useful techniques.thanks for the information

  116. 117

    really amazing………….

  117. 118

    The amount of photographers who say they don’t like bright sun light and would rather shoot in cloudy conditions I find astounding, granted, bright light can bleach

    out certain areas, but it equally creates amazing contrast and shadows that can really make an image pop.

  118. 119

    Raveena Virk

    July 16, 2013 9:21 am

    This is a really interesting article. Thanks for giving me good tips.

  119. 120

    Hi ,

    Great reviews and notes to make a different photography loved the points mentioned above, Thanks for the help

  120. 121

    Hi I am 13 and just starting out do you have any tips for me I don’t any equipment. But I have my camera!

  121. 122

    I am a first year student photogragrapher, and found for this
    so informative, while doing some research in class a classmate and I saw some smoke photography and woundered how it was done.



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