Sometimes you need more than a guide to specifics in using a digital camera for ambitious image making. It is possible to overload your brain with info on lenses, lighting, camera controls and the rest of the tech jungle.
Sometimes it’s better to just look behind the curtain and pick up some tips on how to make good photos great. As the book says!
Author Peter Cope makes the point early in the book that during the 2012 London Olympics ‘exciting, emotional and iconic images flashed around the world …’
He observes that ‘What made these images unique and different from those that press photographers’ captured was that most came from amateur or casual photographers … grabbed shots ‘taken on a purely opportunist basis.’
Little thought went in to these ‘point and shoot’ pictures, much as they may have been enjoyed. But sometimes we need more: photos rather than snaps. Cope’s book sets out to help you not only shoot technically excellent photos but to create images that have something to say. The layout of the book is ideal for the purpose: for one thing, the size is enough to accommodate large pictures along with concise blocks of text that explain the issues.
For example, the page on red eye from flash suggests ways to avoid the dreaded issue: increase the ISO; use an external flash unit; and — last resort! — remove it in post.
Similarly, with the chapter on how to conceive great landscape photos which, after people, are possibly the most photographed subjects there are!
Cope’s tips go this way: great landscape photos should be in sharp focus from the nearest point to the most distant; follow the rules of composition closely, including the rule of thirds; use lead in lines to draw peoples’ attention to the landscape’s main subject; shoot at different times of day; watch the effect of weather on the scene; use polarising or graduated filters.
You won’t find much specific techy stuff in the book, except for a few pages on such matters as lens choice, exploiting your camera’s aperture controls, mastering ISO settings, astro photography, macro photography and then there’s a longish section on software manipulation. Most of the book is encouraging, handholding help.
The techy section also includes includes optimum ways in successfully sharpening an image, using ‘auto fixes’ such as auto enhance, auto tone and auto levels. Some will shy away from such easy fixes but, in Cope’s view, if the ‘adjustment works and delivers a great image’ — use it.
Within its pages are chapters on a whole variety of people photography, along with subtle suggestions on how to deal with human subjects. Like: shoot plenty of shots of children … they move fast! And, when shooting people at work, shoot fast! In straight portrait photography, establishing eye contact can establish a strong connection or sometimes be unsettling.
There are also whole pages devoted to ideas like ‘transplanting’ a whole sky, creating scenes that might otherwise not exist … if it were not for the magic of our old friend Photoshop!
An excellent publication that’s highly readable just as a book or as a complete reference guide.
Oh and it would make an excellent ebook that you could take with you on a shoot!
Author: P Cope.
Publisher: David & Charles.
Distributor: Capricorn Link.
Length: 144 pages.
ISBN 1 4463 0300 9.
Price: Get a price on 100 Ways to Make Good Photos Great