Treasure Trove of Photo Tutorials

Just about everyone I know got a digital camera for the holidays this year. For some folks, it was a replacement or even a second camera. For others, it was a first-ever digital camera. For those people, I've been trying to round up some online resources they can use to master their new gadget. But then I got to thinking: Why share these awesome video tutorials, tips and tricks, and Web forums with three or four friends when I can give them to all of you as well?

So this week, please enjoy my roundup of Web sites that I suspect you'll want to return to throughout the year.

Video Tutorials

I love video. After all, why read about a technique when you can see it demonstrated? That's why you should make a point of visiting 5minArts Photography. This site is jam-packed with user-submitted videos about everything from cooking to pet training to playing musical instruments. The photography-oriented videos include advice on using Adobe Photoshop, handling your camera settings, and taking portraits and close-ups. Best of all, no video runs more than 5 minutes, so you can learn in bit-sized chunks.

Get Help from the Institute

One of the oldest photo-related sites on the Web is the New York Institute of Photography. Sure, the site's goal is to get you to sign up for photography courses, but you can get tons of free advice by flipping to the NYI Photo eZine. Another cool option: the NYIP Podcast.

Listen to Your Photo Advice

If you are jazzed at the thought of getting your photo info in podcast form, you might like to know that there's more--a lot more--where that came from.

Apple iTunes is packed with digital photo podcasts, like Adobe Photoshop Quicktips, Podango's Digital Photography Podcast, and the LightSource Studio Photography Podcast.

Photography Grab Bag

Looking for a digital photo project that might be just a little unusual or off the wall? I'm never disappointed by Photojojo, a wonderful online newsletter that rounds up cool photo ideas and projects from around the Net. You can subscribe, or just scour the archives to read past newsletters.

Don't Forget About These

Still not satisfied? Then try some of these other sites on for size.

If you're a fan of the free, powerful, open-source photo editing program GIMP, be sure to check out Gimparoo, a blog that specializes in converting Photoshop tutorials into procedures you can perform in GIMP.

Of course, a relatively small number of us use GIMP. For more mainstream photo editing advice, check out sites like Photo.net, Geoff Laurence's Photo Tutorials, and Tutorial Outpost.

And of course, there's this newsletter that you're reading on very own computer display, right now. If you don't already subscribe, you can do so at PC World. You can also browse old newsletters, a year at a time, going all the way back to the newsletter's first issue in 2001.

Do you have a favorite online source for digital photo tips, tricks, or tutorials? Tell me about it and I'll share it with the world in a future newsletter.

Hot Pic of the Week

Get published, get famous! Each week, we select our favorite reader-submitted photo based on creativity, originality, and technique. Every month, the best of the weekly winners gets a prize valued at between $15 and $50.

Here's how to enter: Send us your photograph in JPEG format, at a resolution no higher than 640 by 480 pixels. Entries at higher resolutions will be immediately disqualified. If necessary, use an image editing program to reduce the file size of your image before e-mailing it to us. Include the title of your photo along with a short description and how you photographed it. Don't forget to send your name, e-mail address, and postal address. Before entering, please read the full description of the contest rules and regulations.

This week's Hot Pic: This week's Hot Pic: "A Shenandoah Fall," by Lucas Smith, Herndon, Virginia

Lucas says that he took this photo with his Canon SD410. He writes: "The colors in the Shenandoahs reach their peak during the beautiful fall months. I was lucky enough to go there on a misty foggy weekend. While it didn't afford the usual majestic overlooks, it did provide some unique shots in the soft filtered light. I particularly liked this one as it created a sense of wonder as to what I would discover just around the bend."

This Week's Runner-Up: This week's runner-up: "Paris Collection," by Peter Shmiro, Roslindale, Massachusetts

Peter took the photo with a Sony DSC828. He writes: "I took this photo at a store window on Newbury Street in Boston. It was part of the Boston Museum of Fine Art exhibition on French designers."

See all the Hot Pic of the Week photos online.

Have a digital photo question? Send me your comments, questions, and suggestions about the newsletter itself. And be sure to sign up to have the Digital Focus Newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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