Monday, January 17, 2011

Life Guide to Digital Photography by Joe McNally

LIFE Guide to Digital Photography: Everything You Need to Shoot Like the ProsThere are a lot of ways to learn photography. One way that I really like is by reading a book about it, whether it's a how-to book, a Photoshop book or an inspirational book.

One such nice book to read is Joe McNally's The Life Guide to Digital Photography.

At the start of the book, Joe said that:

"Good pictures demand care, and truly good pictures are hard to make."

I heartily agree with this statement: it is not enough to own the latest and greatest camera, you actually need to develop the eye for making great photos. I should know - two years in and I still have a lot to learn about photography.

The book is divided into six major parts: Light, Lens, Design Elements, Color, Composition, and Joe's Last Tips. Joe discusses how to get the proper exposure, how you can take control when the camera gets tricked and how to have a simple studio set up.

He discusses how elements get together to bring a more compelling photo, how a change of lens can change the picture, and how motion, or lack of it, can add drama to a shot.

There are a lot of beautiful pictures and Joe put the camera settings for each picture. The photos are beautifully composed, of course, and they serve as great inspiration to those who want to go to photography. If nothing else, if you are not really into photography, then this book can serve as a collection of beautiful pictures.

Joe has a lot of tips on the properly-named section "Joe's Tips". He has a checklist of things you should look out for or things you should do before you actually press the shutter. There is also a "Do this first" section that adds more to the techniques that you could learn from reading the book. The tips are very helpful, timely and very insightful. But, if you are looking for diagrams and photos of set ups, then you should look for other books. There are no diagrams here and no discussions on how one photo was taken. Well, buy a book that tells you how to set up your speedlites or strobes after you buy Joe's book. It is that good!

And as a last word, I would like to quote a passage that Joe wrote in the book. I know that video capture is now deeply ensconced into DSLRs and might threaten job security for "purely" stills photographers. But this passage is, for me, an assurance that "stills" are here to stay:

"The beauty of the still camera is its unparalleled ability to observe and distill."

This book is highly recommended for those who wants to start their photography adventure. This is also highly recommended for those who simply wants to be inspired by beautiful pictures.

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