Couldn’t get into ART 136 but still want to take semi-artistic photos? Got a SLR camera as a present and doesn’t know what to do with it? Never fear. In this digital age, you can learn just about anything on the internet.

While YouTube has plenty of how to guides, most of them are too amateurish and doesn’t explain the mechanics of photography. To be a good photographer means you know how to change aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, etc. Auto mode doesn’t count.

One of the best “how to” photo websites out there is The Art of Photography, taught by Ted Forbes. (The Art of Photography is also a very popular podcast on iTunes.) Forbes, the multimedia producer for the Dallas Museum of Art, knows his film speeds and mega-pixels. His videos start out with the basics, explaining how to get the right exposure and how to meter light. He then moves on to more advanced techniques like tethered shooting. The best part about Forbes’s lessons is that he teaches both film and digital, so you get the complete picture.

Now, after you’ve clicked the shutter and got your picture, the real fun begins. If you’re shooting digital, you can always go into Photoshop. But for those who are not technical enough to use the Magic Wand or interpret a color histogram, there’s Picnik, a website that lets you to upload your photos and autofix/crop/sharpen/do crazy stuff to them. I like to think of Picnik as Filckr’s more creative twin.

One of my favorite features are the different effects under the “Create” tab. Can’t afford to shell out $60 at Urban to buy a toy camera camera? There’s a Holga filter. What to turn your picture into a relic from the 60’s? Use the CinemaScope filter. Or you can be super adventure and try on a combination of filters.

Here are some of my experiments:

The original photograph:

With the Holga-ish filter:

With CinemaScope and Lomo-ish filter: