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You are hereHome > Digital Photography Tutorials

Digital Photography Tutorials

Photoxels is first and foremost a digital photography site where you will find digital photography tutorials written in easy to understand language. Our One-Pager digital photography tutorials will help you select the digital camera that is best for you and make sense of difficult technical concepts.

Each digital photography tutorial is short, can be read in one sitting, and is immensely practical -- which means you can put what you have just learned to use immediately. Enjoy!

What Is... Aperture?
What Is... Exposure Bracketing?
What Is... Correct Exposure?
What Is... Noise?
Fill-In Flash

Knowing when to use fill-in flash can save a picture from being underexposed in the foreground but correctly exposed in the background. It can also allow you to shoot against the light for more pleasing effects.

Frame Your Picture

The use of a frame can turn an otherwise plain picture into a pleasing one. In this One-Pager tutorial we show you what to look for to create more pleasing compositions using objects that can be used as natural frames. Also, a word of caution about using artificial frames.

Sharpen Your Photos For Display

If you often wonder why your pictures (unretouched, straight out of the camera) do not look as sharp, crisp and lively as some of those you see in photo galleries, maybe it's time to learn about sharpening and USM (UnSharp Mask). We apply the principles laid out by Russell Brown in his excellent Russell Brown Tips and Techniques. It is really quite easy. See for yourself.

Using... Area Focus

Area Focus allows you to focus on a subject that is not in the center of the screen. It is useful in macro photography where depth of field is very shallow and you need precise focus. By using Area Focus, you can maintain your composition and still obtain spot on focus.
Using... Center AF

Your camera is probably defaulted to Multi-Point AF so that the camera will focus on any of the multi (usually 5 to 9) points to obtain focus. But what if your camera focuses on a point that is not on your subject? In this case, switch to Center AF. Rollover mouse over the image to see the desired result. This tutorial illustrates how this technique works.
Adjusting... Levels

Digital Photography is more than just using a digital camera; it also entails some post processing in an image editing software to the image you captured with your digital camera. And it is often not as complicated as you might think it is -- or as some make it to be. In this tutorial, we look at "Levels" and cover the basics of what you need to know about adjusting levels in Photoshop Elements. It's a simple 3-step process that takes barely a minute to perform but that can help you bring back to life pictures you thought forever ruined.
Using The Histogram

We all know and love the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. But did you know that Goldilocks, now all grown up and using a digital camera, can still teach us a few things, especially about how to use the Histogram, now appearing in many consumer digital cameras? Don't believe me? Check out this tutorial for yourself -- and see if you will not forever remember how to read and use a histogram for better pictures.
Understanding... Focal Length
Take TV Pictures

Taking pictures from your TV using your digital camera is not as difficult as you think. You just need to know this one tip.
What Is... ISO?

Understanding White Balance

What is White Balance? Reading what some people write about it, it sounds like a difficult concept understood and used only by professional photographers. Fortunately, our One-Pager™ tutorial on White Balance sheds light on this subject and makes it easy and practical for anyone to use -- and no, Albert, you don't need a degree in physics!

Understanding RAW File Format

Just for the fun of it, to learn something new, to stop getting intimidated by all the "pro" talk about the advantages of RAW, and to earn forum bragging rights, you may want to understand what RAW is, when to use it, and whether to even bother with it.

Depth of Field

What is depth of field, what affects depth of field, and how can we use an understanding of depth of field to take better pictures? This One Pager™ Tutorial will make everything clear from near to far.

Night Photography

Night photography has an attraction all its own. There's something about scintillating lights from office windows hanging in the dark of the night -- a modern version of the starry skies -- that appeal to us. Whether it's a city skyline, lamp posts on a dark and deserted street, or the front of your house all decked out with holiday lights, the challenge of capturing the mood of a night scene depends on whether your digital camera is capable of night photography and on a couple of simple techniques.

Understanding... Exposure Compensation

Most digital cameras provide exposure compensation. What is exposure compensation -- and how do we use it to obtain better exposed pictures?

This OnePager tutorial makes it all clear.

Watercolor Effect Turn a photo into a watercolor painting using the Watercolor filter in Photoshop Elements.

Add A Border

Adding a border around a picture can sometimes be an effective way to highlight the picture. Instead of going automatically with borders that look like traditional picture frames, consider more original and elegant options.

Isolate Your Subject

One way to create impact in a photo is to isolate your main subject. In this tutorial, we use the Radial Blur action of Photoshop Elements to amplify the swirling action of the children sliding down and running back for one more go at the water slides, all under the watchful care of the lifeguard in sharp focus.

Add A Signature

Adding a signature to your images is easy and preserves your copyright. In this step-by-step tutorial we show you how to use the Type Tool to create your unique signature -- and in the process guide you into the basics of Photoshop and demonstrate how to create and use layers, select a foreground colour, fill a background, and create a cool semi-transparent layer.

Color Accent

Tutorial Create: Color AccentConvert a color picture into Black-and-White but leave one color as an accent. In this step-by-step tutorial we show you how to desaturate all colors, except one, so that you get a Color Accent.

Below is our original tutorial.

What makes a great digital picture?

Unlike a silver halide film-based picture where it is of the utmost importance that the picture is properly exposed in the camera, a digital picture is made up of digital pixels that can be manipulated after the fact by an image editing software.

In this three-part series, we will look at some basic principles of photography (Learn); examine some of the techniques we can use to turn a so-so snapshot into a great picture (Imagine); and dabble in an image editing software, in this case Photoshop, to put in the final touches (Create).

Installment 1 - Learn
In this first installment, we will review some fundamental aspects of composition and exposure. We cover three areas: basics, composition, and exposure. Start here to immediately improve your pictures.

Installment 2 - Imagine
In the second installment, we go on a journey of the mind, examine why some pictures stand out from the crowd, and what it would take for our pictures to shine. For example, how many [really good] pictures of the Taj Mahal have you seen in the last five years? Probably not too many. You could count them on the fingers of your two hands. The Taj Mahal is perhaps one of the most beautiful building to photograph, but it seems that all the angles and viewpoints have been tried already. And yet, travel brochures need fresh pictures of the Taj Mahal (or the Statue of Liberty, the CN Tower, la Tour Eiffel, etc. etc.) to include in every new issue of their travel brochures. The challenge, of course, is to take pictures that are not only composed beautifully, exposed correctly, but also original. We explore some aspects of this most important element of picture taking here.

Installment 3 - Create
In the third, and last, installment, we dabble in image editing to put in the final touches. Being able to manipulate an image after the fact is the great advantage digital photography has over conventional film photography. After all, even in conventional film photography, many professional photographers have labored in their darkroom to manipulate the final results using such techniques as dodging, solarization, spot retouching, etc. Just think of an image editing software as an electronic darkroom that does not require messy smelly solutions, darkness and a red light.

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