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Let there be light

Digital photography has long been a fascinating hobby for many people. The constant upgrade of cameras and equipment can make people nervous about buying a camera, however. Who wants to shell out for a new model that might become out of date very quickly?

This article appears in the January 07 issue of PC Advisor, onsale now in all good newsagents.

PC Advisor magazine's Top 10 Digital Camera chart will help your purchasing decision, featuring as it does models that range from a mere £85 upwards. And the camera reviews on this site take some beating. But if you're someone who enjoys photography without wishing to attain professional status, you may not need to spend anything. It's nice to own a top-of-the range camera, but it's not essential.

Where Adobe's Photoshop CS and CS2 programs are high-end products aimed at professionals – with price tags to match – the company designed Photoshop Elements for amateur photographers and hobbyists. A copy of Elements 5.0 costs £69 direct from Adobe, but you can pick up older iterations much more cheaply on the internet.

Improving images involves enhancing the good parts of a picture, while subduing or correcting the less appealing bits. Your aim is to attract the viewer to the most interesting aspects and keep them there for as long as you can.

In the first of the January 07 issue's two projects, Retouch landscapes and add extra interest, we improved a landscape shot using Adobe's Photoshop Elements 4.0. This is a perfect example of a simple image enhancement.

One thing that adversely affects photographs more than anything else is the quality of light. The warm tones of a summer evening can give almost any picture charm.

However, it is not always possible to capture an image in this way. The weather might be against you, but you can help the situation with Adobe's software. Improve low light, also in the Jan 07 issue, shows you how.

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