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” 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.
3. Black and White Photography Link
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
6. Night Photography Link
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.
Night Landscape Photography
Capture stunning landscape images during the black of night.
7. Smoke Art Photography Link
Smoke Art Photography – An Introduction61
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.
8. Macro Photography Link
Macro Photography Tips for Point and Shoot Digital Cameras75
Most of the articles here are geared to DSLR owners. But they are also useful for macro photography with compact cameras, too.
9. HDR Link
If you don’t like these kinds of photos, please move along. No complaints will be accepted.
35 Fantastic HDR Pictures80
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.
In-Camera HDR detailed tutorial
YouTube video tutorial
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.
RAW Processing Workflow Using Phase One’s Capture One 489
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 List95
“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 Photography96
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 Solution
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 Stitching98
“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 GIMP99
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’ guide100
Insightful tips for photography of stationary subjects by Michael Jenkins. You may also want to learn how to shoot bridges101, statues102, buildings103 and piers104.
Guide To Architectural Photography106
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 Photographers108
“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 Rules110
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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Hold on, Tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? Like SmashingConf New York, on June 14–15, with smart design patterns and front-end techniques.