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3.3 Rating
Shooting the Effects of Global Warming

Gary Braasch follows the evidence; the power of photography does the rest.

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4.6 Rating
Speedlight Tutorial: Artificial Sunlight Technique

David Tejada uses Speedlights to add a late afternoon look to a scene

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4.7 Rating
COOLPIX Cameras and Cool Lighting with Speedlights

Lucas Gilman shows you how to use Speedlights with COOLPIX cameras

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4.6 Rating
10 Tips for Better Camera Panning

Dave Black's tips for camera panning

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4.4 Rating
Understanding Focal Length

Focal length, usually represented in millimeters (mm), is the basic description of a…

Beginner

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3.1 Rating
Photographing People Using Wireless Lighting Techniques

Tom Bol's images inspire new ways of taking a portrait photo.

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4.4 Rating
Flash Photography the Easy Way

David Tejada's easy-does-it flash tips

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4.7 Rating
Joe McNally and the new SB-910 AF Speedlight

Behind the Scenes of a Marketing Campaign Shoot

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4.8 Rating
A Light in the Forest

Rod Planck on photographing critters in the field with a Speedlight

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4.2 Rating
Macro Photography Tips: Photographing Insects and Other Small Creatures

A few quick tips on macro photography

Beginner

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3.3 Rating
3D Focus Tracking

3D focus tracking automatically shifts the focus point to follow the movement of the subject. With the…

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3.7 Rating
Advanced Wireless Lighting

Advanced wireless lighting is the use of multiple Speedlights set up for wireless remote…

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3.9 Rating
No Limits: For Better Photos, Think Like a Photojournalist

David Handschuh on thinking like a photojournalist

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3.8 Rating
For Images with Impact, Consider the Positive Role of Negative Space

Randy Ziegler discusses negative space in…

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4.3 Rating
Which NIKKOR Lens Type is Right for Your DSLR?

Learn what the different types of NIKKOR lenses are and which ones will…

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3.2 Rating
Smart Portrait System

Nikon’s Smart Portrait System incorporates into COOLPIX cameras a series of automatic functions,…

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4.6 Rating
How-To Take Great Photos at the Aquarium

Tips for photographing the fish and creatures that live under water

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3.2 Rating
Shooting Wirelessly with Nikon Digital Cameras and Wi-Fi Adapters

Enjoy wireless transfer of images with Wi-Fi compatible…

Beginner

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4.4 Rating
Summer Lyn: Photographing Babies, Toddlers & Kids

Careful planning or just being lucky—both can work in your favor.

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4.6 Rating
Using the Highlight-Weighted Metering Mode

When to use the D810 and D750's highlight-weighted metering

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4.5 Rating
3D Color Matrix Metering II

This system of evaluating light determines the best possible exposure for a particular…

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4.3 Rating
Photograph the Classic Holiday Light Bokeh Effect

Tips for shooting lights as soft globes of color

Beginner

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3.8 Rating
You’re the Guest: How to Capture Unique Photos at a Wedding

Abby Liga discusses getting great photos when you're a…

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4.5 Rating
Understanding Maximum Aperture

Learn how aperture affects the end-result image.

Beginner

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Take Better Portraits

Learn the elements of a good portrait photograph

It can't be that difficult, right? Your friend/spouse/child asks you to take his/her picture. You have a nice digital camera, so you grab it and take the picture. But you're not happy with the result, and you don't know why. It's in focus and properly exposed; so what's wrong? You've just learned that there's more to a good portrait than getting it technically right.

First, put some thought into the background. It shouldn't distract from the subject. A plain wall, dark green foliage—anything that's simple (without strong lines or patterns) works well. There's nothing worse than a line, pole or branch going through or growing out of the subject's head.

If you photograph someone against a bright background, you may well end up with a silhouette. That's because the brightness can cause the camera to underexpose the subject, making her look dark. You could pop up your Nikon D-SLR's built-in flash or turn on the flash in your COOLPIX or Nikon 1 digital camera to add light to your subject's face, but you'd still have that bright background.

Every Nikon D-SLR and COOLPIX has exposure compensation, so you could overexpose by one or two f/stops or shutter speeds as well. If these methods don't work, then try a different background, preferably something darker than the subject.

Keep in mind that the picture is about your subject. Don't shoot the entire area around them. Get closer by physically moving in or by using a telephoto or telephoto zoom lens. Isolate your subject against that simple background you found. People's heads are vertical, so shoot them that way. Horizontal portraits can look uncomfortable.

Next, consider how the subject is dressed. Solid colors tend to work well in portraits, mainly because they're not distracting (remember that bit from backgrounds, right?). Bright patterns scream out, "Look at me, don't look at the subject!"

Finally, unless you shoot mug shots for the local police department, don't photograph your subject head-on. Have him turn his body a little, maybe 45 degrees away from you, and then rotate his head back to face you. (Tell him, "Don't move your shoulders, just turn your head to me.") It's a nicer, more flattering pose and helps slim people down.

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