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Raymond Castillo
Raymond Castillo

Book Review: Digital Photography Expert Techniques

Digital Photography Masterclass is a one-on-one photography course, perfect for readers looking to master advanced techniques.Structured around tutorials, assignments, and projects, and featuring key

Book Review: Digital Photography Expert Techniques

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Whether you're a veteran shooter, a total beginner, or somewhere in between, every photographer needs to be constantly learning and exposing themselves to great work. And to help you do just that, below you'll find the best photography books on the market today.

Get the most from your camera with this guide from award-winning photographer David Taylor Take your photography skills and technique to the next level with this inspiring and informative guide for budding photographers looking to improve their photography repertoire. Featuring a comprehensive range of topics from experimenting with lenses, exposure, and aperture to useful post-production techniques, the easy to follow step-by-step tutorials show you to master the functions on your cameras and develop exciting new techniques. As well as refreshing your existing knowledge, you will learn more advanced skills, such as how to freeze movement, use filters, and create brilliant images from multiple exposures. Flick through inspiring ideas for projects exploring themes ranging from close-ups and portraits to street scenes, landscapes, and the night sky, while useful tips and hints help you to think creatively, and tackle "difficult" subjects. Packed with practical advice and beautiful images, The Advanced Photography Guide will give you the know-how and confidence to produce truly stunning images and develop a distinctive style of your own.

The beginning of the book starts by giving useful pieces of advice while shooting HDR photography. Things like using the right camera mode, how many exposures to take, using bracketing on your camera, and raw vs jpeg are all discussed with advice on what works best for the author.

"Close-Up Photography" is one of four books in the Digital Photography Expert range, all written by professional photographer Michael Freeman and published by Ilex. As the name suggests, this particular book concentrates on the world of close-up, still-life and macro photography from a digital point of view. The book is aimed at the photographer who wants to learn as much as possible about the theory, techniques and beauty of the close-up world. There are 160 pages brimming with 400 full colour photographs, lots of technical tips and real-life case studies to help illustrate the author's points. It's certainly a very well-presented book that belies its 17.95 price-tag, but will the advice inside actually help to improve your photography skills? Read my short review to find out.

"Close-Up Photography" is divided into 3 main sections. The first, Another World, looks at the technical theory of close-up work. The second, The Art of Still Life, looks at the many techniques that go into creating a close-up photograph in an indoor studio environment. The third, Nature in Detail, focuses on capturing the beauty of the outdoor world, where you don't have so much control over the subject. Each section is roughly split into 50 pages of content, and is then split again into double-page spreads. So on pages 54 and 55, the author writes about composing a still life, on pages 56 and 57 he looks at the topic of minimalism, and on pages 58 and 59 props are the subject. This structure is rigidly followed throughout the book, making it easy to follow and also to browse through.

Within each of the 3 main sections, the book covers a wide range of subject matter. In the second chapter, The Art of Still Life, for example, Freeman covers photographing subject matter like glass, jeweler, food, liquids and coins and stamps. In the same chapter, he also introduces techniques about lighting, creating a white or black background, digital composites and backgrounds and settings. Each topic is limited to 2 pages, which makes "Close-Up Photography" appealingly diverse. As with the book "Digital Photography Hacks" which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago, this is one of the main strengths of "Close-Up Photography", but at the same time it doesn't read as though the author has tried to pack too much into it, or on the other hand not included enough information.

Another similarity with "Digital Photography Hacks" is that "Close-Up Photography" is a book that you will probably read by dipping into, rather than straight through from front to back. One of the first topics that I turned to was creating shadowless white photos on page 70, hoping to improve my product photography for the digital camera reviews here on PhotographyBLOG! The book's division into 3 main chapter and then 2 page topics means that you can read a few when the mood takes you, then return to the book later and read a few more.

Interspersed throughout "Close-Up Photography" are a number of Case Studies (7 in total), which are usually a step-by-step guide to a real-life situation. On page 68, for example, there is a case study in which the author presents his tips and techniques for photographing a small jade horse for Smithsonian magazine. The case studies help to bring the book alive and illustrate what Freeman has been talking about in the rest of the book. I would have liked to seen a few more than the 7 that are included though, just because they are such a good idea.

Overall the book is an extremely well-written introduction to the many different facets of close-up photography. Michael Freeman hasn't sold more than 1 million books by not being either a good writer or knowledgeable. Despite being part of a series called "Digital Experts, there isn't actually too much information that is specifically about digital photography - film users will get as much out of this book as digital users. There are a few topics that will only apply to digital users - Composite Focus is a great look at combining two images together to achieve maximum depth of field - but the majority of the book will apply equally to everyone, regardless of the medium that you use.

"Close-Up Photography" is a superbly presented, informative introduction to still-life and nature photography, written by somebody who employs the techniques that are presented in the book on a day-to-day basis. It strikes the right balance between covering as many areas as possible and not skimping on the detail. So OK, if you're only interested in food photography, for example, then this book won't be for you, as there are only 2 pages devoted to that particular area. If you have a more general interest in close-up photography and want a well-balanced, informative introduction to as many aspects of it as possible, then "Close-Up Photography" is a great place to start.

For our 2020 tests, we took the finished books to Taylor McAtee, printing expert and owner of Stretch and Staple, a print shop in Seattle, to compare and contrast print and page quality. McAtee printed several of the images we used in our test albums on fine-art paper as a control. When showing the books to him, we covered up any identifying marks so that he could give his unbiased opinion.

Stunning Digital Photography goes above and beyond your ordinary photographer book. It's also a hands-on, self-paced photography class with over three hours of online training videos and free help from the author and other readers. Written by Tony Northrup, it's a best-seller and one that's very popular amongst photographers worldwide.

The Creative Digital Darkroom takes you beyond the quick tips and gimmicky effects of many digital photography books. Author and artist Katrin Eismann offers some seriously high-profile work, including her own, as examples for teaching you how to use the digital medium to create, edit, and output images that will wow your audience.

Co-authored by photographer and teacher Sean Duggan, the book translates skills, concepts, and nomenclature of the traditional darkroom into digital solutions for photographers who sense that, despite the newness of the technologies at hand, there remains a timeless method for learning and practising photography the right way. It is not a Photoshop book per se, but it does focus on the photographic aspects of Photoshop, something other books claim to do but rarely have the discipline to accomplish.

The Collins Complete Photography Course by John Garrett is like having your own photography teacher and companion. It's an inspiring and practical project-based coursebook that covers everything from basic composition to the latest digital darkroom techniques.

Need to know which digital camera to buy? Want to take better photographs and retouch images? Ready to achieve professional results? This updated edition of The Digital Photography Handbook by Doug Harman will allow you to make the most of all the advantages your camera has to offer - as well as guide you through the latest software to enhance your images, and get professional results with every shot.

This newly revised edition of the classic book The Art of Photography is one of the most readable, understandable, and comprehensive textbooks on photography. And a must-have for anyone who loves photography.

In plain English, Barnbaum presents how-to techniques for both traditional and digital approaches. Yet he goes well beyond the technical as he delves deeply into the philosophical, expressive, and creative aspects of photography. This beautiful book is geared toward every level of photographer who seeks to make a personal statement through their chosen medium.

Digital photography uses cameras containing arrays of electronic photodetectors interfaced to an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) to produce images focused by a lens, as opposed to an exposure on photographic film. The digitized image is stored as a computer file ready for further digital processing, viewing, electronic publishing, or digital printing. It is a form of digital imaging based on gathering visible light (or for scientific instruments, light in various ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum).


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