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Digital Photography: A Beginner's Guide Flexibound – 28 Sep 2000
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On the plus side the book is very well structured and presented in a nice user-readable fashion. It's a full color book with plenty of photographs to illustrate his textual information. The pictures also give nice examples of 'good' and 'bad' photos. As a very rough overview of what to look for (lighting, composition, etc) when taking digital pictures I would say this book does a good job.
However, on the minus side I found this book very lacking in practical information on *how* to go about using the information he presents and taking better digital pictures. Sure, lighting is very important and will make or break your picture. But tell me how I should go about doing this.
If you are looking for a book on what do look for when taking digital pictures I think this book will work ok for you, but be very ready to experiment and make a lot of mistakes. However, if you are looking for answers, or information on actually how and/or what to do to take better pictures you'll need to read more information elsewhere.
The strength of this book is that it provides an excellent introduction to the fundamentals of photography. After a short section covering hardware and software, the first main section of the book covers photography, with a 2-page spread on each major point. For example, the first one covers lighting. If you don't get lighting right, nothing else matters - and so many people waste time and film shooting in bad light, or mis-using their flash. He goes on to discuss exposure, composition, depth of field, point of view, and many other essentials. Each of these is clearly (if briefly) explained, with excellent illustrations.
The other major section of the book is an exploration of the digital side (both technically and creatively). In a similar fashion to the points on photography, the author walks through key techniques which can be used to manipulate images on a computer.
My strong bias is that people should focus on taking good photographs rather than on technology. It takes too much editing to make a bad shot acceptable, and editing will almost never give you a really great shot if you didn't get the fundamentals right. This book is written by an experienced photographer and writer, and it shows.
A few notes on what this is NOT:
- It's not a guide to buying a digital camera. But research on what to buy is better done using websites, as the offerings change too quickly.
- It's not a detailed guide to how to use any particular software. This book covers the highlights of image editing on a computer, and gives you an idea of what can be done, so you know what to try and look for on your particular software.
Digital Photography may even seem too simple the first time you pick it up, but that is deceptive. If you master what is here, you will be a very good photographer - because the author knows what he's talking about, and how to explain it simply, and has wisely focused on the key points.
If you are already an experienced film photographer and want more detail on the digital side, consider Freeman's Complete Guide to Digital Photography as an alternative to this.
Now is a good time to give this a try, and Bavister's Digital Photography is great if you want to learn about both the digital and the photography elements. It is a good choice for an adult, or a smart teen with that gift of their first camera.
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