Shoot A Shot

I’ve been an avid picture taker for a long time, but without ever really knowing anything about what was happening to cause some shots to end up good and some bad. My settings have always been on auto to let the smart camera/phone/etc do it’s thing and be responsible for getting a good shot. I’ve always known though that if I knew more about what was going on I could probably turn some of those good shots into really great ones.

If you’re interested in photography, and consider yourself a simple picture taker as opposed to a true photographer, here are a few free resources – in no particular order – that may help you along the path toward better picture taking.

Photography Tutorials

These tutorials are part of a site operated by Anton Gorlin who describes himself as an Australian landscape and real estate photographer. He’s got some amazing information on his site including cheat sheets that you might find useful and a gallery of his work.

Bastards Book of Photography

Compliments of Dan Nguyen who says he’s a Manhattan journalist this is an open source book on photography that’s free. The book is self-described as one that doesn’t focus on the technical details of photography, but instead has the goal of simplifying photography and explaining through visual examples.

Lectures on Digital Photography

Compliments of Marc Levoy this site definitely focuses on the technical details of taking shots. Having taught as a Professor at Stanford University these lectures are from actual coursework that Levoy provided during his tenure. The lectures are described on the site as an “introduction to the scientific, artistic, and computing aspects of digital photography. Topics include lenses and optics, light and sensors, optical effects in nature, perspective and depth of field, sampling and noise, the camera as a computing platform, image processing and editing, and computational photography. We will also survey the history of photography, look at the work of famous photographers, and talk about composing strong photographs.”


This one is a favorite. Photoskop is an interactive guide that lets you actually work with a photo (one of theirs) so that you can change aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and focal length. You see how each change affects the shot. The best part is that each change in setting comes with an explanation of what is right or wrong about it. Very helpful site.