I am studying up on my digital photography skills. Now that we have a good, new, expensive camera, I need to make sure the shots I take are worthy of it. I’m reading “The Digital Photography Book” by Scott Kelby first.
It seems the first part of a continuously growing series of books. What appeals is the very to-the-point advice, although I find the over-wrought attempt at humour early in the book a little distracting. Most of the chapters focus on one type of photography, or one specific skill: 1 – taking sharp pictures, 2 – photographing flowers, 3 – wedding photography, etc.
This seemed somewhat narrow at first, but a lot of the tips carry over well outside the designated topic. For example, “wedding photography” has a lot of good tips for photographing people in general in a variety of out-and-about settings. Perhaps Scott chose the specific topic because of the high stress levels and “must-get-it-right-ness” of the situation.
Some of the content can seem a little dogmatic; taking all pictures with a tripod can seem like over-kill (and he does temper it with tips for when there is no other choice than to forego the tripod), but the fact remains that whenever it is possible to use a tripod you get better results because it leaves more room to dial the ISO back down and reduce the amount of noise you might get.
On the other hand, some of the recommendations seem quite unconventional to me as well… flowers look better after the rain. So, when you want to take pictures of flowers bring a spray bottle along so you can make your own rain.
And others quick-shot tips clearly come from professional experience, but merely sound odd. Taking outside pictures of people, you can get better results with an indirect flash because it eliminates harsh daylight shadows on the faces. I would never have considered flash something you’d use when there is already plenty of light out.
There are another 6-7 chapters to go, but I think I like the style of the writing, even when it is perhaps a little more verbose than necessary. The author seems to have felt like a book has to have a narrative throughout. I think this book would have been just as strong, if not stronger, if the narrative was left to the opening of each chapter followed by just a series of well-labelled quick-fire tips.
Having said that…
I will be reading the rest of the book. I will be practicing the tips in each chapter. I will try to blog my successes and failures with these tips as I go along.
And… I think I’ll probably end up buying the remaining (currently) 3 further volumes in the series for whatever nuggets they may contain as well.