The DS Life: Lights, Camera, Strobist!

The DS Life is a weekly feature in which we scour the known world for narrative images of Nintendo's handheld and handheld gamers. If you have a photo and a story to match it with, send both to thedslife at dsfanboy dot com.

It's easy to tell the work of an amateur photographer from a practiced shutterbug's -- shots are over- or underexposed, still objects appear blurred, and their subjects' eyes have been flashed a demonic red. Sometimes, you'll even spot a murky finger peeking into a corner, confused and out of focus.

Strobist helps you avoid those clumsy mistakes and get professional results with your camera. We're sure that if you follow some of Strobist's tips, the next photos you submit to The DS Life will be picture perfect! Jump past the break and see how Strobist can help you!

We're not quite sure how Tyrthil managed to hold his Nintendo DS in place, sans hands, but we're told that velcro was involved. He took the above two photos as an assignment for Strobist, a community site dedicated to helping photographers get the most out of their strobe lights. Tyrthil's lighting lesson tested his technique with shooting someone using just a single, soft light source against a dark, semi-reflective background.

In addition to providing regular assignments, Strobist has over 600 articles and posts on the topic of lighting methods. The site argues that you don't need expensive equipment to take an amazing photo, and proves it with examples, detailing the process of setting up a shot and explaining why it works. All you need to start taking advantage of these tips is one of these:

Not this Vivitar 285HV strobe unit specifically, of course, but pretty much any strobe that triggers through your camera's PC connection and that you can set to manual power. Once you've got the right device, load up Strobist's Lighting 101 page, and you're well on your way to mastering off-camera lighting!

Rafa Barbera used this setup to snap his picture for the same assignment Tyrthil was working on. We don't really know why the young boy isn't wearing a shirt, but then again, we try to go through our days without wearing pants for as long as possible. Pants always seem to feel like they're holding us back.

Raymond Lemmens took this last photograph using the light cast by a spot flash and two bright screens, capturing this image of a young gamer right before he fell asleep and lost his stylus for the next two days. Don't forget to stow away your stylus before heading to bed; it could end up stabbing you in your ear!

Be sure to add Strobist to your list of bookmarks if you're looking for tips on lighting and discussions with thousands of DSLR photographers, both novices and professionals.