Want to learn more about your Canon DSLR without leaving the comfort of its LCD screen? Canon has a series of “on-camera tutorials” that you can load and watch on most of its latest DSLR models. The video tutorials, which cover everything from AF modes to multiple exposure shooting, are meant to be loaded onto memory cards and viewed on-the-go using your camera itself. To find your camera’s tutorials, find and click its model on this products page, and then select “On-Camera Tutorials” at the top. Be warned though: the downloads weigh in at over 150MB each.
Matthew Gore of Light & Matter created this beginner-friendly video tutorial on the three basic elements of exposure: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. It’s explained with easy to understand illustrations and examples, and features graphics and sounds that are reminiscent of old 8-bit video games. You can also find a text-based version of the tutorial here.
Photoshop guru Scott Kelby has released a free iPad app that teaches the lighting techniques he used for various photographs in his portfolio.
The newly released Scott Kelby’s Lighting Recipes is a free iPad app that walks you through twenty shots in thirteen different lessons. With an approximately 45 minute runtime, each lesson has a gear guide, and lighting diagrams, as well as production shots, and the final image. And yes, there is Kelby’s commentary as well.
If you’ve ever tried shooting in a dark location without using flash or a tripod, you probably know how difficult it can be to remove camera shake from your photos. Alex Jansen — a photography enthusiast who’s an officer in the US Army — has written up an awesome tutorial on how you can apply some of the tricks used by rifle shooters to shooting with a camera:
I am by no measures a “pro,” but I understand my fundamentals very well, and this specific set has been drilled into my head so many times that it is now second-nature. I am going to teach you how to “shoot” your camera like a high end rifle because at the end of the day, the fundamentals stay the same in every aspect.
Wanna add some photo-geekery to your Christmas tree this year? Try making custom Christmas ornaments out of strips of film or printed photographs! twinklecat has written up a film ornament tutorial over at Lomography, and Shelley Haganman has an easy-to-follow photo ornament tutorial over at scrappergirl.
Buying an illuminated white background for high-key lighting (or to use as a giant softbox) can set you back hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, you can create something similar on the cheap using simple white bedsheets, some PVC pipes, and some lights. Assemble the PVC pipes into a square frame, stretch the bedsheet over the frame, and illuminate the bedsheet from behind. You’ll want to blow out the white area on the street for evenly white lighting. Check out the full build tutorial over on DIYPhotography.
Here’s an educational time-lapse tutorial by Los Angeles-based architectural photographer Mike Kelley in which he walks through how he goes about photographing buildings. His technique might be described “manual HDR” — after shooting the building over a longish period of time to capture different lightings, he then enters the scene and lights different areas of the building using two Canon 430EX Speedlites. Afterward, he loads the stills into Photoshop and selects different portions of the scene from different photos depending on the lighting he wants. The finished composite photo ends up looking as if it were lit by a large number of Speedlites.
One of the things you’ve likely seen when looking at product or review pages for lenses is an MTF chart, used by manufacturers to give consumers an idea of how sharp a particular lens is. If you’ve never gotten around to learning how to interpret these charts, here’s a helpful 10-minute video tutorial on the subject. Luminous Landscape and Cambridge in Colour have great tutorials on this as well if you’re more comfortable with text-based tutorials.
Photographer Jamie Beck has done quite a bit lately to popularize the “cinemagraph“: Harry Potter-esque photos that are given an extra dimension by adding a dash of animation. If you want to learn how to make your own, Photojojo recently published a great tutorial on how to make them using Photoshop. Photographers Fernando Baez and Christopher Mathew Burt have also published tutorials and some helpful tips.
Here’s a crash course on getting started with using Photoshop Layers and Masks by Sean Armenta of Fstoppers. If you’ve been making edits on your photographs directly without creating new layers, watch this video to have your eyes opened to the power of layers.