Photography Tips

Expert advice from our photo editor.

  • Halo Effect

    Backlighting can often be problematic for photographers, but in some cases, it can make for a beautiful image. When the light hits your subject just right, it can create a halo that seems to add dimension and make your subject glow. The halo effect can be achieved with artificial light by placing the light source behind your subject, but you'll also find it in nature, particularly when the sun is low in the sky.

  • New Heights

    New Heights

    Perspective changes everything. Whether you're climbing up a boulder or crouching in the dirt, it's important to consider angles that aren't just at eye level. While some photographers are naturally tall, others might need some help in the height department. Look around for a structure to climb on, or if you're feeling ambitious, take a stepladder with you. And don't be afraid to get a little dirt on your knees. Sometimes, the most interesting images are found when you get closer to the ground. Photo: Jeff Kida

  • Dutch Tilt

    Dutch Tilt

    Some photographers — like contributor Paul Markow — have turned the tilted horizon into a signature style. While a slight tilt is often reason for a straightening of the horizon during editing, a deliberately skewed angle is referred to as a Dutch angle or Dutch tilt. This technique can add a dramatic quality to an image or create tension and uneasiness, depending on how the new lines lead the eye through the image. However, this unusual perspective is not for everyone, and whether you experiment with angles is based on personal taste and style. Photo: Paul Markow

  • Telephoto Compression

    When it's time to photograph a distant object, photographers will reach for their telephoto lenses, which have a focal length of 70 mm or greater. But those lenses aren't just for distance — they can also be used to compress elements in the frame. The narrow angle of view on a telephoto lens means that the relative size and distance between objects appears smaller, creating the illusion that elements might be closer together than they really are. Photo: Derek Von Briesen

  • Seeing Double

    Seeing Double

    Want to make double exposures in-camera, without using Photoshop? You can, and you just might get a creative boost in the process. Go into your camera’s shooting menu, find “multiple exposure,” then choose the number of exposures you’d like to capture. If you’d like the exposures to be balanced, choose “auto gain.” If not, leave it off.

  • Metering Modes

    Being able to accurately measure light for a given scene is critical to making correct exposures and successful photographs. Most of today’s cameras come equipped with built-in light meters, which can be used in a number of different modes. Evaluative, or matrix, metering is the default metering mode of most DSLRs. It samples light from a number of “zones” within the frame, then analyzes each zone for highlights and shadows, giving you a readout based on those calculations. This mode works well in evenly lit scenes that don’t have a lot of contrast, and it’s a great place for beginners to start.