Although I consider myself quite digital, I've never owned a digital camera before this week. Whenever I needed one, I used one of the kids'. But now that they are older, and my husband and I will be traveling without them this summer, I finally got my very own. To help me update my photo skills, I took to the Internet.
Darren Rowse is the "digital camera enthusiast" behind Digital Photography School, which includes a large tips section and an active user forum. Tips for Beginners is further divided into Basics of Exposure, Digital Camera Settings and Features, Handling and Caring for a Digital Camera, and Common Problems/FAQ. The Forum includes weekly assignments, a place to share your pictures, and a section for member critiques (please read the rules and do not submit more than one critique request per day.)
In support of their digital cameras, photo printers, and printer paper, HP publishes a huge collection of digital photography tips. Highlights include a special section devoted to Kids and Photography, covering taking better pictures of the kids, getting your kids involved in photography, and ideas for fun photo craft projects. For example, their 5x7 Photo Frames are digital borders for your photos that you assemble on the site, and print at home: very cute, very clever.
The experts at National Geographic offer advice categorized by type of photography: landscape, travel, people and portraits, or action. My favorites tips are those in video format, which are listed on their own category page. In addition to the tips, photographer Mark Thiessen answers user-submitted questions in "Ask a National Geographic Photographer." You'll find more to explore in Photo Galleries (look for the link in the top horizontal menu .)
"Taking a great photograph has nothing to do with new cameras, fancy accessories, or rules of thirds. The difference is how you ... the photographer ... see the world and capture it on film."
With this philosophy, Photonhead presents a Beginner's Guide to Photography, Photography Tips, Photo Editing Tips, and (drum roll, please) SimCam. The SimCam (a camera simulator) is an interactive exercise that demonstrates the sometimes confusing concepts of aperture, film speed, and camera shake. Even if you only use a point-and-shoot digital camera, understanding these basics will make you a better photographer.
"The Rule of Thirds has been used for centuries and is probably the most important of all the composition techniques." Richard Schneider's PictureCorrect has oodles of tips, classified Beginner or Advanced, and further divided into topics such as Composition, Common Mistakes, and Light Usage. I also liked their sister site, Picture Social (link at the bottom of the main tips page) where you can post photos and questions, and hang out with other budding photographers.