Stuff's Guide to Photography

How to take great snaps on any camera, from your phone to a full-fat DSLR.

While we spend a great deal of time figuring out which is the best camera you can buy, the best cameraphone ever made and the only compact you'll ever needwe don't spend a whole lot of time telling you how to use them.

So, in this collection of straightforward mini-guides, we're collecting the best photography tips from Stuff's expert snappers. No long technical explanations, just different ways to try taking photos, with any camera.

We'll be expanding this guide every day over the next week, so keep checking back for more useful tips.

Part 1: it's all about background

In a nutshell, bokeh means blurred background. One of the first things you should learn in photography is that you don't want all of your picture in focus - pick out the details you want the picture to be about and blur the rest, and your picture will have purpose. Here's how.

part 2: learn to zoom

A zoom lens doesn't just magnify things, it changes the way they look. Spend 10 minutes mucking about with the zoom on your compact camera, and you'll find your photos take a big leap forward. Here's the guide.

part 3: go prime

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in photography is to buy a nice expensive DSLR or compact system camera, and then only use it with the simple 'kit' lens that came with it. The first, best upgrade you can make is to attach a prime lens - here's why, and which one to buy.

part 4: pan for gold

Panorama mode might be something you've used once or twice, but it's actually a startlingly powerful creative tool that can create amazing special effects - read this guide, and find out how

part 5: family album

If you're a parent, you probably take an average of thirty billion photos per year of your children. Follow this smart, simple guide and learn to do it properly.  

Part 6: write with light

All kinds of photo-magic can be achieved by simply switching to a slow shutter speed. Find out how to shoot long exposures in our guide.

Part 7: go monochrome

Want to turn your hand to the oldest type of photography? Check out our guide to shooting black and white pictures to add some vintage cool to your snaps.

Part 8: Capture the action

Those athletes just won't stay still enough to let you take a photo, will they? Time to brush up on your action photography with our guide from a pro mountain biking snapper