Marc Levoy, the Stanford professor behind the “Frankencamera” project, teaches a course on digital photography called CS 178. The class website is a treasure trove for anyone looking for some great free education in photography:
An introduction to the scientific, artistic, and computing aspects of digital photography – how digital cameras work, how to take good pictures using them, and how to manipulate these pictures afterwards. Topics include lenses and optics, light and sensors, optical effects in nature, perspective and depth of field, sampling and noise, the camera as a computing platform, image processing and editing, history of photography, and computational photography. We’ll also survey the history of photography and look at the work of famous photographers.
Think you know all there is to know about digital photography? Try answering these 10 final exam review questions (answers can be found here). Leave a comment telling us how many you got right!
Here’s a short and sweet video in which famed wedding photographer Joe Buissink shares some advice regarding the “psychology” of wedding photography, or how to capture genuine emotions and expressions on camera. The tips he shares are useful for other kinds of photography as well, not just wedding or engagement photography.
Online SLR Camera Simulator is a neat flash app that helps teach the fundamentals of using an SLR camera by letting you tweak different variables and settings, then showing you what the resulting photograph would look like. It’s a great way for any beginner to become more familiar with a camera’s controls, though nothing beats going out and practicing by taking real photos — though this app would have been a lifesaver before the digital era.
Photoshop is a pretty resource intensive program that can slow down to a crawl when you’re working with large and/or many files. Aside from beefing up your hardware specs to provide the program with more memory or disk space, there’s also a number of Photoshop and operating system preferences you can adjust to make sure the program runs as smoothly and quickly as possible. The Photoshop performance team recently published a helpful guide with 19 adjustments you can make, which range from optimizing cache level to turning off thumbnail display.
One of the big advantages of digital photography is that EXIF data is embedded into your images, allowing you to easily learn when and how (and more recently where) a particular photograph was captured. If you still enjoy shooting film, then a solution is to jot down notes about your photography while you’re shooting. The “Field Notebook” is a nifty little notebook published by Etsy user fabriKateShop you can use to record “EXIF data” by hand — especially useful for when you’re taking a film photography course. You can find them for about $12 each over on Etsy.
Pick&Zip is a simple web application that lets you easily download Facebook photographs with a few clicks.
You can download photos tagged with your name, your own albums, photos tagged with friends’ names, or your friends’ albums. After selecting the photographs you’d like, you can download them as a ZIP or PDF file.
I just tried it out, and the service works pretty well, allowing you to pull photos at the highest resolution Facebook stores (720px) quickly to your computer without having to click and download individual photos.
Something that’s slightly annoying is that you can’t seem to download all possible photos with one click, but must “select all” on each individual page. The app is pretty useful, nonetheless.
Here’s a useful tool you might want to bookmark: findexif.com. It has a super simple web interface in which you simply paste a URL to a photograph in order to display the EXIF data embedded in the image. It should work for any photograph that hasn’t had the EXIF stripped out for some reason, and can be a great way for you to learn how certain images were made. Here’s an example page showing the EXIF data of a photograph I made a while back.