Due to a couple comments by some not-so-nice people in various threads here in the modding section, and the general feeling (with plenty of exceptions) that many modders simply don't know/care how to make good pictures digitally, I present a basic guide on taking digital pictures in low-light and up-close environments. First, the disclaimer: I am by no means a professional photographer, nor do I think my word on the subject is final. There are plenty of people here better suited to writing this guide than I (our own g-gnome the ex-photog modder is the first person that springs to mind), but I see a need and know a few tricks to fill that need, so here goes. I am perfectly willing to edit in anyone else's tips, and constructive criticisim is appreciated. Camera specific tips are also appreciated, as I've only personally played with a few different digicams. This tutorial assumes you have a digital camera, a computer, and some form of photo editing software. I personally have a Fuji FinePix 2650 (2mp, 3x optical zoom, point-and-shoot for the most part), an Athlon based system running Gentoo Linux, and I use The GIMP for photo editing (though I'm equally as good if not better on Photoshop in winders). If you are stuck using a camera phone or webcam for still shots, I'll see if I can't throw a couple tips at the end (I don't own a camera phone but I have been forced to suffer with a webcam for a while). Part 1: General Tips Hold the camera steady. Hold the camera steady with both hands, with your elbows either resting on something solid (table, desk, whatever) or close to your body. Don't hold the camera too tightly, relax and just take the picture. Use of a tripod (mini desktop tripods are cheap and easy to use and screw into the standard hole found on most cameras) is highly recommended, though I don't own one and have been able to manage. If you can't seem to hold the camera steady, try setting it on something and then taking the picture. For even better steadyness, set it on something (or a tripod) and use the time delay. This assures that you're not touching the camera when the shutter is open. Take lots of pictures. Most of the time when a picture is blurry, it won't show up as much on the little 1-2" LCD on the back of the camera. Take as many pictures as you feel necessary of each shot you're trying to capture. This is digital photography, excess pictures can be deleted, and due to the law of averages (and/or some other math mumbo jumbo I don't remember) you're more likely to get one good shot if you take several to begin with. Try different lighting/angles when taking your pictures, too. Taking pictures of your shiny new paint job straight on with a flash is a sure way to end up with a not-so-great picture. Experiment when taking the pictures, then decide once they're uploaded to the computer what came out best. Have a decent backdrop. While not necessary for work logs, having an appealing (or at least uncluttered) backdrop can make pictures much better looking. Showing off your ub3r1337 Lian-Li with watercooling and 2984 bl00 CCFL's amid a pile of old comic books, dirty socks, and old pizza boxes is NOT how to win accolades from the modding community. You don't have to go all out with the sheets and white paper and all that, just have a clean/neat backdrop such that the focus of the picture is what you're trying to show us, the audience. Heck, even a clean carpet is better than the aforementioned clutter. Learn your camera. All cameras have different functions and features, and even identical models might react differently in the same conditions. Learn the functions and limitations of whatever camera you're using. If your webcam doesn't like low light (and most of them don't), take your pictures on a bright sunny day with the windows open. If your camera doesn't have a macro mode for closeups, find other ways to get small subjects clear (I have a few hints at the bottom of this). If your camera doesn't capture the shade of red paint you're using, learn how to edit color balance after taking the picture; very few people want to hear "it looks better in real life". Be a perfectionist. If your only source of showing off mods is the Internet, put your best foot forward. Don't hesitate to retake the same picture 23 times till you get it right, nor should you worry about spending 10 minutes in photoshop tweaking it till it looks like the real thing. Think of how long before Orac3 was finished and when he actually put up the article. 2 weeks? Don't spend that long on 3 pictures in a work log update, but do take the time to make it look good. If we put a quarter of the effort into the picture-taking as the mods themselves, we'll end up with some darn nice eye candy.