Photography can be a method of documenting news to share it with the world or capturing moments of your life to enhance your own memories. Or photography can be an art form focused on creation, expression, and experimentation. Whatever the basis of your interest in photography, the Internet is your starting point for finding what you want to know. Whether you're just starting to learn about technique or thinking about offering your own photographs for sale, this guide will show you where to look for the information you need.
Photography magazine Web sites and photo blogs are excellent sources of general information, whether you want to learn about techniques or read the latest reviews of cameras and equipment. The other sections of this guide are divided into more specific subtopics of photography, but looking at a few magazine sites and photo blogs can help you get a broad overview of the field.
- Magazines' Web sites sometimes offer more information than the printed publications, and some have forums where you can trade ideas with other photographers. You can also look at their galleries for inspiration and tips from professionals.
- Don't underestimate the value of Web sites focused on a particular type of photography, even if you're not interested in that type. OutdoorPhotographer.com has a wealth of information that can be helpful no matter your subject.
- Photography blogs produced by individuals or groups often have a more informal, friendly tone than magazines. They usually cover a range of subjects related to photography, so if you're not sure what you're looking for, they can be a good way to get some ideas.
For photography magazines ...
, the Internet companion to Popular Photography & Imaging and American Photo magazines, offers an array of tips for improving your photography skills. If you've ever been disappointed by blurry or less-than-stellar photos of great moments, read the articles about how to photograph different subjects and situations, such as parties
, and sporting events
. Check the tabs at the top of the page for an equipment Buying Guide, Message Forums, Galleries, Contests, and more.
's Web site goes far beyond the magazine, with a "How-To" section full of technique advice, a "Gear" section with equipment reviews and photo technology news, and stunning galleries of professional photographers' work.
is a magazine dedicated to digital photography. The Web site features a Learning Center, software and gear reviews, a How-To section, and a Your Best Shots page, where you can upload your own photos.
, a magazine known for terrific images, features a Photography section on its Web site that showcases images from around the world. Check "Milestones in Photography" to see how far the art of photography has come. You can improve your photo skills with the help of the tips section, and browse through free wallpapers to find a great image for your desktop.
magazine's Web site focuses more on showcasing the work of professionals rather than instructional and interactive features, but it does offer a Buyer's Gallery (useful if you're hunting for new equipment), articles from the magazine, and photography news.
Photo Techniques Magazine
, written primarily for the "serious amateur" and professional photographers looking to improve the quality of their pictures, is a good resource for improving your picture-taking technique and your photo printing.
For photography blogs ...
is written by a former freelance photographer. The right-hand navigation includes lists of posts by category, photo contests, and most popular posts.
The Weblog Awards
bills itself as the world's largest blog competition. To see some finalists and winners in the photography blog category, click on a particular year's results and then look for the "Best Photo Blog" heading.
Thirty years ago, the only ways to learn about photography were books, classes, or direct experimentation. Now there are a multitude of Web resources that you can use to teach yourself. Learn how a camera works, discover various techniques and styles, and find tips for taking better photographs with the Web sites below.
- For technique, try looking for discussion forums for people who own your particular camera or brand, which offer an opportunity to share experiences and tips. This can be invaluable for learning about your camera's features and improving your technique. Just search for your camera by name using Google or another search engine along with a phrase like "owners forum."
- Today the majority of photography tutorials are aimed at digital camera users, but they can be useful for film photographers as well, as tips on composition generally apply to both types of users.
- The manufacturer of your camera may dedicate a section of its Web site to tips for taking better photos. This is often marketing disguised as how-to guides, but it can be informative.
- Most of the magazines' Web sites included in the "Where can I find general photography information?" section of this guide have areas with tips on how to improve your picture taking.
For basic information about how a camera works ...
The Buskin Journalism Site
, though directed at journalists, has a concise explanation of how a camera works that's valuable for anyone.
For techniques and tips for better photos ...
Focus on Photography
from Fodor's, the travel guide publisher, gives a variety of tips for taking travel photos, which are informative for general photography as well. Try the Composition section for some basic tips if you're just starting out.
provides a guide to photography for beginners, including an introduction to camera modes and concepts such as exposure and film speed.
Cambridge in Colour
is written by an independent photographer. The site provides a variety of highly detailed, technical guides for understanding how digital photography works and composing and editing your digital photos.
is a library of information on digital photography. The site offers a multitude of information, ranging from how to use your camera to how to store your photos. This site is unique in that the "courses" can be read for free on the web or purchased for download or print delivery in book format.
offers beginning and advanced techniques for improving your digital photos. The site also features a Q&A forum where you can get assistance with your photography and image-editing questions, a Learn section for beginners and intermediate digital camera users, a nontechnical digital photography glossary
, and more.
contains numerous resources to help you take better pictures. Learn about light, composition, and posing under the "Subjects" and "Techniques" sections, and look up photography terms in the extensive glossary. Some content is for paying members only, but the free content is worth looking at.
For alternative photo processes ...
offers an overview of alternative photo processes [http://www.alternativephotography.com/process.html] like albumen prints and photogravure, as well as how-to guides for using these old techniques for photo creation and a gallery of photographs created with alternative processes.
The Victoria and Albert Museum
's Exploring Photography section details the various photographic processes and has section of photographers' individual experiences.
Ready to buy? A variety of Web sites exist to help you navigate the potentially overwhelming world of cameras and equipment. They offer professional product evaluations, user reviews, price comparisons, and sometimes even news about the latest technological advances. Here are our favorites.
- Unfortunately for those who prefer the traditional film camera, most camera review Web sites are dedicated to digital cameras; you will have to dig a little deeper to find reviews of traditional or 35mm film cameras. A few of the Web sites below offer reviews of this type, but also try Amazon.com for a good selection of reviews written by camera owners.
- When assessing products, look for both in-depth professional reviews and user reviews. This will enable you to get a more detailed, systematic evaluation as well as hear from people who own and use the product regularly.
- Keep in mind that the newest or most technologically advanced camera is not always the best. Depending on your needs, a model even a few years old can be as good for your purposes as this year's, and at a lower price.
For camera and equipment reviews ...
Digital Photography Review
is perhaps the most thorough selection of digital camera and equipment reviews available on the web. The reviews are very detailed and users can contribute their own feedback
, so you can get a good sense of owner satisfaction for particular cameras. The site also features galleries of photos taken by particular cameras as well as an active discussion forum.
Digital Camera Resource
offers reviews, a buyer's guide, and forums, plus price comparison powered by PriceGrabber.com. Digital Camera Resource is part of the "big four" digital camera sites, and features products "regular" consumers will likely want, rather than high-end cameras that cost upwards of $5,000. There isn't much technical jargon in these reviews either, so they're useful for even those brand new to digital cameras.
features reviews and news on digital cameras and equipment. The site includes a list of what it deems the best cameras, a digicam dictionary, a section on digital camcorders, and more.
's equipment reviews cover digital and 35mm cameras and equipment, and the site includes guides on how to select a camera, where to buy, and other topics.
is yet another source of digital camera reviews, with photo tutorials, news updates, and forums.
has news, product reviews, tutorials and forums on digital photography equipment. This site is unique in that it categorizes cameras by their main characteristics. The "Cool Tools" section will help you supplement your digital camera with some accessories, and features a shortlist of best picks.
, widely respected for its detailed electronics reviews, includes a decent-sized section of cameras and photography equipment.
Various Internet directories provide lists of photography schools organized by geographic area. Some sites also offer courses you can take yourself, either in a scheduled timeframe or at your own pace.
- Consider your needs, particularly whether you want academic credit for a photography course, in which case you will probably need to attend an accredited university.
- To get more information about a particular school you find using either of the first two sites below, go straight to the school's Web site and request it instead of filling in forms on the directory Web site. You'll save time and be sure that your information isn't being shared with any other parties.
- Your local universities or high schools may offer community and continuing education classes in photography. A quick Web search is often enough to find out, but you may need to contact the school directly if its Web site does not include these categories.
To find real-world courses in your area ...
lists schools by state and country, with brief summaries and contact information for each one. The directory is slightly limited in its results, but can be a good jumping-off point.
's guide is organized by state and is also searchable by type of degree and country. Again, if you don't find what you're looking for, consider doing some local research.
For online courses ...
The Academy of Art University Online
, based in San Francisco, has an Online Award of Completion in Photo Digital Imaging. To receive the award, you must complete three online photography courses.
Numerous online tutorials are available to help you learn how to use photo software to enhance your photos or remove red-eye. There are also free web-based photo editing systems that allow you to upload your photos and edit them within your web browser.
- If you already own photo-editing software, check out the manufacturer's Web site to see if they have a user guide beyond the help files it came with. Or search for the name of your software with the word "tips" or something similar.
- You don't have to rely on expensive software for editing your photos. Software like Photoshop is full-featured and may provide more options than you'll ever need, but there are also good free software programs out there with advanced features. Try paint.net.
- Camera manufacturers often have editing tips on their Web sites. The same can be said for manufacturers of photo printers; for example, Hewlett Packard has a section of its Web site devoted to digital photography that's so helpful we've included it below.
For photo editing guides and software ...
has both basic and advanced photo editing guides. Once your pictures are edited, you can also learn how to organize them and share them online with family and friends.
's Digital Photography section has helpful tips for improving photos and even restoring them. Note that a great deal of the advice HP provides applies to its own photo editing software.
has won various awards for features and ease of use, and the site has an active forum where users trade tips and tricks. The free software download is for computers that run Windows.
is a free Web site that works on Windows, Mac and Linux. Upload a photo and make all kinds of improvements directly in your web browser. There are also demos you can play with to test out the system. You must register to use this site, but registration is free.
is another photo editing Web site that allows you to upload and edit a photo in your browser. Pixer has a few more advanced features than Picnik has, and you can use it without creating an account.
A variety of Web sites exist that allow you to upload and share your photos. Some provide an interface primarily for the purpose of organizing and sharing (emailing snapshots to your family and friends, for instance). Others are more "gallery" oriented, allowing you to upload your best pictures to share with a wider range of people for feedback and critique. These are recommended if you're serious about improving your technique or your primary purpose in taking photos isn't simply documenting your life's moments.
- Some photo sharing and storage Web sites offer premium services for a fee, but the free Web sites offer enough services to satisfy most. Others provide a limited amount of free storage and require a monthly or yearly fee for usage above that amount. Test-drive a few different sites to see which appeal to your needs.
- Most Web sites have a system that allows you to order prints to be delivered by mail. These are comparable to the quality of typical in-store prints, and in some cases you can even pick them up at a store.
- Some Web sites that use a gallery format for showing off your best photos or those that exist for the purpose of critique may require you to apply for membership and be approved rather than simply register to use them. There is generally little advantage to them compared to the free Web sites.
For general organization and sharing ...
lets you upload photos by e-mail, Web, or camera phone; organize into collections and sets; set topic tags and privacy controls; and even map the locations where your photos were taken. Go to the Map page
and you can explore all geographically tagged photos on the site.
has a similar uploading system as Flickr, and you can store and share your photos in the same way. Unlike many photo-sharing sites, you can edit your photos directly on the Web site. You can also order prints and personalize mugs, mousepads, and more with your photos.
is preferred by many users for its streamlined black interface and features that go beyond those found on most photo storage sites. While many other sites are free, Smugmug's membership plans start at $39.95 a year, but you may find the premium features worth it-for example, the site keeps four backups of each of your photos in three different states.
is one of the best interfaces available. Install the program on your computer and it will organize your photos automatically without moving them from their original locations. Uploading to the Web for sharing is straightforward, and there is a unique Timeline view that lets you see your photos in chronological order.
lets you upload and organize photos, and it provides free, unlimited hosting for your Web site, blog or auctions. Fotki also features blogs and forums to encourage the social networking aspect of photo sharing.
Kodak EasyShare Gallery
(formerly Ofoto) is a relatively basic and straightforward Web site for sharing, storing, and ordering photos. There are no bells and whistles here, but you may appreciate the simplicity (and occasional discounts on prints).
allows you to send photo e-cards, create full-screen slide shows, and keep a photo blog in addition to basic storage and sharing. You can get a free trial, but after that, membership fees are five dollars a month.
features the standard organization and sharing features of other sites, but also offers printed photo books, calendars and gifts-and for convenience, you can order photos and pick them up at Target stores.
For feedback and critique ...
feature lets you create an account to upload your photos for critique and view other users' photos so you can critique them. The layout is subtle and more streamlined than many other such Web sites. You must register (for free) to use the uploading feature; if you use the site heavily you'll be asked to subscribe, which costs $25 per year.
is another sharing and critiquing Web site with a simple design and layout. A 30-day trial membership is available, after which you'll pay either $23 or $60 per year depending on the amount of photo storage you require.
has a fairly active critique forum where you can post your photos for feedback. You must complete a free registration process before you can post your photos for critique.
runs a weekly theme-based or technique-based photo challenge. Viewers then have the chance to vote on submissions for each challenge. This can be a fun way to get feedback and learn from the winners.
is one of the most popular art gallery Web sites. Because it includes more than photography, you may not find the audience you're looking for, but it can still be a good way to showcase your work. You may register to participate at this site for free, or pay a yearly membership of $29.95 or less, depending on the length of the subscription
When you want to expand your creations beyond simple prints, you can turn your photos into photo books, calendars, stickers, posters and more.
- Most photo storage and sharing Web sites either offer services to make nifty goodies out of your photos or are associated with other Web sites that do. Investigate the one you use to see if it has any special deals or associations.
- In addition to the Web sites below, general arts and crafts Web sites may also contain ideas for fun things to do with your photos.
For items you can create and order online ...
offers the ability to make and order photo books, stickers, canvas prints, and more. The site is designed to work with Flickr and certain other photo organization Web sites so you can easily work with your photos, or you can upload them directly to QOOP from your computer.
lets you make MiniCards, NoteCards, and StickerBooks. You can import your photos directly from one of their partner Web sites or upload your own, and they have artwork for you to choose from as well.
will create T-shirts, bags, and even postage stamps from your photos. There is also a gallery option so you can sell your creations.
To make fun creations yourself with your own materials ...
is a newsletter and blog devoted to all the fun you can have with your photos. Each newsletter (and the "Archives" page of old newsletters) has a variety of ideas for photo creations. Learn how to make wineglass photo frames
, coloring pages
, or lenticular images
(the pictures that change when you look at them from the left or from the right) from your photos. Note that the site's language is not always wholesome.
shows you how to make and print full-size posters from your photos, using only your printer.
Family Portrait Artists
shows you how to make colorful pop art-style images from your photos with your graphics software.
The Internet provides many resources for buying photos for your own use and for selling your own work, as well as tips for how to get started buying or selling. Stock photography Web sites are numerous. Some cater to businesses and have monthly or yearly payment plans, while others operate on a per-image basis. We've chosen some of the best for the general public below.
- If you want to sell to a stock photography Web site, make sure you read the guidelines. Most sites clearly specify the format and type of photos they accept. Some have different needs than others.
- Most of the sites below require free registration to buy or sell photos.
For the basics of selling ...
has a good basic overview of selling your photography, written by Andrew Hudson, the author of numerous photography books.
Digital Web Magazine
has a concise guide to making your own stock photography, covering topics from color correction to archiving.
To buy or sell photographs ...
is a stock photography site where you can buy or sell. Buyers can select from more than 400,000 royalty free images; artists receive 70 percent of the sale price of each photo. The site's design and navigation make it a pleasure to use.
boasts over two million royalty-free images, with prices starting at a dollar each. Fotolia claims to be the largest micro-priced stock photography resource on the Internet.
is a smaller stock photography Web site that is more community-oriented than the rest. Members can post comments on each other's photos, and each photo is linked to related images so you can easily see others like it.
is a well-organized site with photos starting at a dollar, and no extra membership fees. It also includes video and illustrations.
is a free stock photography Web site with more than 250,000 images. You choose the photo you want to download and it's on your desktop in a matter of seconds, no payment required. For this reason, the site is probably less appealing to photographers than those looking for images.
You'll probably meet a few photographers before you finally select one, but the sites below can you help narrow your search or give you a jumping-off point. Not only can you explore databases of photographers that include their online portfolios or links to their homepages, but you'll also find tips and advice for choosing a photographer.
- Your friends and family are good sources of information as well. If someone you know had strong feelings in either direction about the person she hired, take note. Even if you don't come across that same photographer, you'll get an idea of what to look out for in an interview or on a Web site.
- Make sure you have all the details in place before a big event, and make your expectations known. Do you want photos of certain people or combinations of people? Should the photographer take pictures of everybody in attendance? If you state what you want clearly beforehand, you're much more likely to get it.
lets you search for professional wedding photographers by state. The site also includes tips for making the most of your wedding photography and questions to ask potential photographers.
's international database contains listings for more than 20,000 professional photographers. Search for wedding, portrait or other specialties by country, state, or zip code.
The American Society of Media Photographers
(ASMP) tends to have higher-priced professionals than other resources, but this may be the closest you'll find to the best in the industry. The directory is searchable by location, metro area, and specialization, and results include links to their Web sites and thumbnails of their work.
Photography enthusiasts often have Web sites focusing on famous photographers and their works, and some museums dedicate portions of their Web sites to supplemental material to enhance their photography exhibits.
- You'll have more luck searching if you narrow your topic somewhat. Look for photographers from a particular country or time period or those using a particular method or focusing on a specific type of subject.
- Search for "photography museums" and look at their online exhibits to get an idea of what's out there.
For the history of photography...
A History of Photography
details the development of photography until the 1920s and includes an alphabetical list of significant people in the history of photography.
For notable photographers and their works ...
provides an extensive alphabetical list of famous and influential photographers, linking to external sites.
Most Recent Guides