Photo Tutorials That Will Actually Help You Take Action (and better pictures)

Posted on April 11, 2014 by Matt Hunckler

I both love and hate the internet.

As a beginner photographer, I feel so lucky to have access to millions of learning resources online. At the same time, the web can feed me its morsels of information until I’m gorged, exhausted, and uninspired.

That’s why I love it when I find tutorials that are easy to follow and actionable. I’ve nearly worn out my poor little MacBook surfing the top (and bottom) sites on photography. I found some tutorials that appeal to the three roles I find myself playing as someone trying to capture some magic through my lens…

in-pursuit-of-magic-photo-tutorials

The Novice

We’re all novices at something in life. One of the beautiful aspects of photography is the passion that lies behind the lens. But it can be tough to capture that in a photo.

Having passion to fuel your growth, as a photographer is the first step and now its time to expand on your skill set.

Lets start with camera exposure. This aspect is basic, but it’s essential in making your photos come alive.

As we know, some things are out of our control. In the world of a photographer, natural light is one of those uncontrolled variables. However, this tutorial provides you with a metaphor that will help you recognize what is in your control, how to manage those aspects, and how to let go of things things beyond your influence. So, let’s think about it as if you’re collecting rain in a bucket.

When collecting water you may not have control over the rainfall but you do have control over the size/width of your bucket, the time you want to leave your bucket outside, and how much water you want to collect. The same applies to these three factors:

  1. Aperture (size of bucket)
  2. Shutter speed (duration)
  3. ISO speed (how much you want to collect)

Get the full tutorial here: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/camera-exposure.htm

If video is more your speed, you might enjoy this simple overview:

The Traveler

Every traveler knows that you don’t need a camera to create memories while our adventuring. But it sure does help to capture them.

The question is: how do you get quality photos without being weighted down with equipment? Etienne Bossot, a travel and commercial photographer, shares some tips in avoiding this common conundrum.

This lesson touches upon the repeated hassle both beginners and experts make while jet setting. Bossot encourages his readers and fellow photographers to capture moments with 1 to 2 lenses your most comfortable with. After all, those moments are fleeting. Don’t let your gear prevent you from capturing those experiences.

Read the whole lesson here http://digital-photography-school.com/the-worst-mistake-a-travel-photographer-can-make/.

If you’re like me and like to spend time outdoors during your travels, you’ll dig these natural lighting tips from award-winning photographer Bob Holmes:

The Editor

We have our photos. Now what? Really helpful tips for editing can be found at http://www.thephotoargus.com/tutorials/40-stunning-photo-effect-photoshop-tutorials-edit-like-pro/. With so many editing effects hiding behind the menus of  Photoshop, it’s hard to know where to start.

Don’t get me wrong. Having a lot of editing options is nice but it can be overwhelming when you aren’t 100% familiar with the program.

Let’s start by narrowing down some options. With more than 40 trending effects, this post by Nancy Young organizes each effect with a photo attached to a link specific to each effect. These range from retouching images to adding movie-like effects to your photos. I particularly like the “Learn How to Recreate The Instagram Nashville Effect in Photoshop” lesson because I am an instagram fanatic and enjoy all the filters, especially when posting my sketches.

Photoshop isn’t the only way to go. If you’re a beginner or just a photographer on a budget, you might like using Gimp, which is open source. Here’s a great beginner tutorial on photo editing with Gimp:

What about you? Do you have a favorite tutorial? Whether it’s a beginner lesson or advanced wizardry, drop it in the comments below so we can share as we all learn!


  • Alejandro Machado

    Thanks for the tutorials, I’ll check them out!

    I really enjoyed this short series:
    http://photography.bastardsbook.com/

    • http://www.repurify.com Hunckler

      Great addition, Alejandro. I really like the photos in these guides. Thanks for sharing!dition. I really like the photos in these guides. Thanks for sharing!

  • Muhammad Farooqi

    great tips by Bob Holmes… I would love to re-quote his words..
    ..”you can’t play violin within a week.. but you pic a camera and want to become expert with in a wheek” that’s not gonna work.. really great words..

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