100 Helpful Photography Tutorials for Beginners and Professionals
Photography as both a profession and a hobby is an incredibly expansive topic that covers a remarkably vast range of subjects from science and art. No matter where you lie on the professional spectrum, there is simply always more to learn. We spent countless hours scouring the web for the best content we could find and share with you, and today we'll help you expand your knowledge with 100 photography related tutorials!
Basic Theory and Technical Info
"There are many composition guidelines which can be applied in almost any situation, to enhance the impact of a scene. Below are ten of the most popular and most widely respected composition rules."
"Graphic illustrations [and explanations] of the difference between RAW and JPEG (also called JPG). Understanding this will help with an understanding of why correct exposure and white balance in the camera are important."
A basic discussion of white balance and how to respond to different lighting situations.
"Use a simple device to get perfect color in all of your shots"
"What you need to know to get the most from today’s amazing high-ISO settings"
"A beginner’s guide to focal lengths and how they affect photographs"
"Today, when describing their photographic style, wedding photographers typically label themselves as either photojournalists or traditionalists. "
"A look at some of the differences between shooting in Ansel Adams’ era versus today"
"Shutter Priority is an auto exposure system in which the camera achieves correct exposure by selecting the aperture after the user has selected the shutter speed."
"Ever wonder what it is that actually makes a camera work? This tutorial will cover the inner workings of a camera, and introduce you into photography basics and the expansive world of taking better photographs."
"Follow these seven helpful tips to improve your night photographs."
"In this tutorial video we’ll give you tips on how to cheat Mother Nature and show you How to Create Your Own Sunshine in the Studio. "
"This case study shows how lighting was manipulated to create the perfect environment for a fashion photoshoot."
"In this lesson, we decided to keep things very simple and just illustrate some uses of this one simple shoe mount flash lighting kit, the XS OctoDome nxt Basic Kit with Grids, for both indoor and outdoor portraits."
A brief discussion on understanding the quality and directionality of light as it pertains to photography.
A basic fashion lighting setup with diagrams and examples.
"When shooting portraits, good lighting is all-important. To make sure you have it, you can buy expensive lighting rigs and multiple flash units. Or you can spend a few bucks and carry just the right mix of sun and clouds in your pack."
"Most of us can’t afford a full lighting rig – however what if there was a way to experiment with the type of lighting gear that pro photographers use without spending too much money? What if you could make it yourself?"
"You’re perfectly outfitted to do a beautiful, classic low-key lighting setup. Your camera’s dedicated flash unit could even be set up off-camera to achieve this result."
"Every man has a unique personality and a story all his own. A portrait should honor the man and the life that’s made him who he is."
"Low light photography can be a lot of fun. And you don’t need to trade your soul for an expensive camera to do it. You just need to have one that has some manual setting options. I’m focusing on digital here, but I think most of what I’m going to talk about will apply to film cameras too."
"Understanding image histograms is probably the single most important concept to become familiar with when working with pictures from a digital camera. A histogram can tell you whether or not your image has been properly exposed, whether the lighting is harsh or flat, and what adjustments will work best. It will not only improve your skills on the computer, but as a photographer as well."
"The highs and lows of lighting - Karl Taylor's back to explain what high key and low key lighting is."
A great in-depth tutorial with plenty of explanation and a bonus video tut at the end.
"You might already know all about histograms, if you don’t it’s well worth getting your head around them because, well, they are pretty awesome. Unfortunately they are often overlooked, dismissed or misunderstood but they are very helpful especially when it comes to strobist photography."
"Here is no doubt that photographing young children can be a challenge, and never more so than when using a low-key lighting setup. So why bother? Because the drama and richness inherent in this type of lighting is SO worth it and because it’s unexpected for high energy children’s photography."
"For starters, I'll walk you through the gear I am shooting with and some basic technical tips, then I'll wrap this up by sharing some ideas on working with the insects and most importantly "containment" during the shoot."
"Macro product photography can be extremely challenging, but also very rewarding. Commercial opportunities for high quality product close ups are strong and growing, both in print and online."
"How to take close-up pictures of small things."
"An article on the techniques involved."
"You must be able to evaluate the potential of a subject. Some subjects you will want to pass over because there is no chance of a good moment or presentation. This is something that comes with experience."
"Shooting all styles of photography is a privilege for me but it seems to be that more true with macro photography. In this 3-part tutorial, I hope to pass along not just my technical knowledge but also my passion for macro photography."
DIY Tips and Tricks
"You can use this technique to take picture of exploding things like tomatoes, water balloons, watermelons, or even your Canon camera as you smash it against a wall for not understanding the menus."
"If you have a telephoto lens and an old 50mm lying around you might want to give this a shot. It's not too difficult of a procedure and probably won't take 2 minutes to read through this. All you'll need is a reverse ring (coupler), a step up ring, and a small piece of cardboard or folded paper."
"You don’t need tons of cash to own effective lighting tools — often you can make them yourself."
"Some photographers just prefer having complete control over the lighting. Instead of the hassle and cost of renting a studio, why not create one using a room you already have? The real secret, if there is any, of making portraits in limited spaces is having the right equipment with gear that doesn’t have to be expensive."
Using a cardboard box and poster board to create a makeshift studio.
"If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend money if you can do it yourself and yield the same results. One day I was at my local photography store I saw one of these “Pop-Up” light tents. It consisted of a collapsible white fabric box with a hole in the front and 3 lights – used for photographing small objects in photographic studios."
"A diffuser is designed to soften the effects of the flash by spreading out and dampening down the amount of light emitted, reducing the creation dark shadows while still allowing a subject to be properly lit."
"The following article describes the process for making your own lightbox for small object photography. From start to finish this project should take no longer than 30 minutes."
"Camera shake is a universal problem for photographers, yet many find the traditional tripod to be too cumbersome for everyday use. Enter the string tripod, an easy to make, easy to use little knickknack that might just solve your camera shake problems."
"Make your own for a very very cheap price, about 20 euros. The only thing is that you need to already have a cobra flash."
"What's a bokeh you say? It's that oh-so-wonderful fuzziness in the background of photographs with a shallow depth of field and accompanying starry highlights. You can create you own bokeh effects with a little craftiness."
"If you’re one of those people who has been wanting to get a reflector set but doesn’t want to shed the cash, you should know that there are do-it-yourself options."
"Here is a super cheap way to make a decent looking, cheap and very effective beauty dish for your speedlight. The whole project should take perhaps 20-30 minutes and shouldn't cost more than $10.00."
"After months of photographing my work with so-so results, I decided it was time to invest in a lightbox. And what better way to do it than to Do It Yourself? In search of the perfect supplies, I raided my parents basement and came across my favorite childhood toy: a box of K’nex!"
"Raw Conversion As A Studio Tool "
"Have you looked at a landscape photographer’s photo and wondered how they got the water coming down from a waterfall to look so misty? Or how did they get the ocean in a seascape photograph to look so smooth?"
"Photographer Philipp Klinger gives his advice on capturing elaborate structures.
This photography shows you how to give a city shot a neat miniaturization effect.
"Continuing the Black and White Photography theme we’ve been on lately in the latest forum assignment (where the photos featured in this post were submitted) I thought I’d share five pretty random Black and White Photography Tips."
"When examining their photos closely, almost every photographer has come across a situation in which a colored halo (usually purple, green or red) is apparent around certain elements of a scene. This sort of optic anomaly, more commonly known as color fringing, is known as chromatic aberration. In this article we'll understand its causes and learn ways to easily avoid it both while shooting and in post-production."
"What looks ideal? Rather than tackle the problem head-on, I’ve come up with a few basic guidelines that can yield a profound improvement in your landscape photographs. In fact, it’s as simple as A, B, C: Angle, Balance, and Crop."
"Try this simple step-by-step process for making beautiful monochrome images."
"Tips and techniques for using shallow depth of field to add impact to your macro shots."
"Tips for better technical and creative results shooting video with your DSLR"
"How to capture the essence of your subjects"
"Despite lens makers’ ads to the contrary, photographers don’t always want or need tack-sharp photographs, especially for wedding or bridal portraits. The use of creative or selective blur when applied in the digital darkroom to an otherwise ordinary photograph can create a mood or look that fits an impression of the original image more than its reality."
"In contrast to using fast shutter speeds to freeze action, using long exposures is a very creative means to convey motion in a photograph. A blurred image can be a very impressionistic rendition of movement, giving the viewer a sense of sensation. "
"Using Photoshop to create a classic hand-painted effect."
"Turn a lighting faux pas into an element that adds punch to your photo."
"To be successful, you have to be able to effectively sell yourself. It doesn’t matter if you want to do wedding photography, sports photography, product photography or simply work for the local newspaper – you have to market and sell yourself and your talent."
"When the sun sets and the rest of the photographers pack up for the night, you can get some of the most stunning and unique images."
"A sound trigger and flash snap the moment of impact."
"How to expand your photo’s tonal range when HDR techniques aren’t ideal"
"We have all had the experience of looking at old photographs that transport us back to a different age, whether it is 20 years ago, or 120. It can be very tempting to try to recreate a vintage look, whether for a particular emotional effect or simply because we can. But what are the actual differences, and how can we recreate them?"
"This section is designed to give a better intuitive and technical understanding for photography, and provides a depth of field calculator to show how it varies with your camera settings."
"Shutter Speed, Focal Length, Image Stabilizers and Tripods"
"You can--thanks to Alien Skin software"
"Some people associate fog with inclement weather and avoid the outdoors. Not me. I grab my camera to create some extremely exciting images. Foggy conditions elicit moody and ethereal feelings. The light is diffused and even, but very flat. Knowing how to take advantage of this allows you to create great fog photos."
"A step-by-step guide to capturing that perfect motion shot."
"Summer is a perfect opportunity to photograph children at play"
"Change the time of day and date of a picture"
"A Basic Photo Gear Recipe for Beginners and Pros"
"Whether it’s your focal subject or a supporting element, these quick tips will get your feet wet"
"How to use strip lighting in the studio, hosted by Light Tec in Dallas, Texas. Light Tec offers photo lighting equipment and training."
"A behind the scenes look at a photoshoot with professional Denver based photographer Adam Bonilla."
"This how-to video from John Mireles of the Photographer's Toolkit is part of a series about using the histogram to create properly exposed images with your camera. This first installment explains in simple language what is the histogram and how to read it."
"This video shows you in simple steps how to do close-up using Micro-Nikkor and third-party close-up lenses and how to do 1:1 magnification. Remember, this tutorial is for controlled situations (which means we won't show you how to do bugs, portraits, or pets at 1:1 magnification). Enjoy!"
"Terry Watson shows his technique for doing Smoke Photography"
"In this Digital Photography Tutorial we look at a quick & simple and very flexible way to manipulate colour within an image.Step behind the scenes on pro photo
shoots with our unique digital photography tutorials."
A detailed introduction to macro photography.
"Photography Tutorial - This image was shot for a Pentax advert in the UKs DSLR User Magazine. We've also used it in our downloadable photography course Digital Photography Exposed."
"This is a tutorial on how to take nightscapes using bulb. In this video I describe how I capture star trails, how to set up your camera and how to light subjects in your image."
"This month's lesson teaches the difference between hard and soft light. Light is a main ingredient to any photograph and this video gives you a better understanding. Enjoy"
"Using the smick.co.uk 120cm octagonal softbox Gavin Hoey shows how by just using this one softbox and a 400Ws studio flash head for his studio lighting setup to produce some quality portraits. Live action show shows how Gavin uses several different lighting setups and shows you just how to produce quality results in a simple to understand way."
A video explaining the basic gear and techniques you need to be familiar with for professional lighting.
"Photography lighting can be natural light, ambient light or studio light, which should include a main light, a fill light and a back light. Create subtle shadows and perfect lighting with helpful tips from a freelance photographer in this free video on digital photography."
"A trend that is becoming more and more popular in Photography recently is a vintage/film/retro style. You can see examples in Urban Outfitters, Nylon Mag, Anthropologie, etc. One of the major elements in this style is the light leak."
Focus stacking: a macro photography technique.
"Create a larger, more sophisticated studio photography lighting setup but still use simple materials."
From the Archives: 10 Awesome Phototuts+ Articles
We don't want to toot our own horn or anything but we firmly believe we have some of the best free content on the web for photographers. Below are ten excellent articles from our archives that you should definitely take a loot at.
"Other than a subject, you’ll need a background, some light and some props. Props are really optional, but I’ll cover them later as well. Where most photographers get hung up is the light."
"By applying the simple rules of Hyperfocal Distance you can be sure that you are shooting images which are sharp from foreground to background on almost every occasion. I will be using an image that I took recently of Castlerigg Stone Circle to show you how you can put these simple rules into practice so that you can obtain maximum depth of field (DOF) in all your landscape images."
"Do you ever see a picture and wonder how the photographer obtained perfect lighting on a subject? You might be asking "What kind of flash does he use?" or "What are the settings on his camera to get such lighting?" In this tutorial, I will be explaining the secrets to turning your pictures into perfection. "
"Light has the ability to create many different types of dramatic effect, though there is none as vivid as cross polarization. It awakens the imagination with its vibrance of colors. Though this technique was popular 20+ years ago, it seems to have been lost in the digital shuffle. This tutorial will walk you through the process and equipment to experiment with cross polarization."
" This tutorial will give you a better understanding of focus and sharpness, and hopefully help you take photographs that you’re very happy with!"
"So why does black and white photography command such acclaim? One reason is that colour is a distraction. It takes attention away from the visual building blocks of a great photo; texture, tonal contrast, shape, form and lighting. A photographer shooting in black and white has to learn how to use all these elements to create a memorable image."
"Adobe Camera RAW (not to be confused with RAW picture format your camera takes) is a powerful tool for editing and tweaking your photography. The software gives you artistic control over your files while still maintaining the original photo. I like to call it non-destructive editing."
"Flatter your portrait subject with the perfect background, even if you don’t have professional backdrops or lighting. A little exposure and composition know-how can get you a long way toward a beautiful portrait background"
"This tutorial will make for a fun weekend project that has the potential to spark your imagination, teach you some interesting lighting techniques and even give you some great shots for your portfolio. It’s a great way to spend a few hours, experimenting and honing your photography skills."
Share Your Favorite Tuts!
The huge list above barely scratches the surface of the excellent free tutorials you can find online. Leave a comment below with a link to some tutorials or blogs that you've either written or have helped you out a lot as a photographer.