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100 Clever Digital Photography Ideas [Book Review]

100 Digital Photography Ideas.jpgOne of my faves is lists of ‘clever’ ideas and hints on how to improve your digital photography, so this book hit home immediately.
Author Cope recalls that ‘there was a time, not so long ago, when photography was in serious decline …. Although cameras were becoming easier to use … people were just not buying them as they once had.” Digital cameras and photography arrived just at the right time.

Cope’s book is an absolute treasure house, beginning with a camera parade that identifies the various camera types (camera phones, compacts, bridge, DSLR etc) and their capabilities. For example: camera phones are not ideal if you need control over your picture making, whereas DSLRs are far from ideal if you want to be a discreet snapper.

Then follows single page helpers on such tasks as shooting for eBay auctions, making identity/passport photos, recording a car accident, making a home inventory, etc.

The tips keep coming: when shooting table top subjects (models etc), locate the camera at table top level, use the widest lens angle and smallest aperture; when shooting jewellery, especially rings, focus on the gem and let the band go out of focus; shoot kids at eye level, focus on their eyes, use the zoom’s mid range, blur the background, avoid flash etc; when shooting sports choose a fast shutter speed, move in close, follow the action, know the event.

A useful chapter on colour matching explains how you can colour match a house’s interior and its contents in the pursuit of the correct colour paint or furnishings. Digital cameras are far from perfect when it comes to precise colour rendering so the book suggests using a card colour checker containing colour swatches to help the paint mixer.

There are ideas on how to make a photo comic strip, shooting in the city, capturing landscapes, making atmospheric shots in low light, being aware of cultural sensitivities, finding your way home in a strange city by shooting a ‘photo trail’ … and here’s one hint that retail outlets will ‘love’: take a shot of the product you crave in-store so you can duck home and buy online with accuracy!

Then you can buy accessories to perform some unusual photo tricks: shoot ultra low angles with mini tripods or photo clamps, acquire a door spyhole lens, magnifying lens, Lensbaby or similar so you can shoot ultra closeups of bugs and the like.

Shoot the seasons: while a snowy landscape is entrancing, the high brightness can fool your camera’s auto exposure function: use the snow/sand setting; shoot rainbows by turning your back on the sun; summer time shots can be improved by using flash in people shots to fill in the heavy shadows; when shooting sunsets you can improve the rendering by slightly underexposing the shots.

Shoot a ‘flickback’ video by combining a sequence of stills that, when played back as movie, confer movement … a bit like a high speed slide show.

Some useful tips on future proofing your shots follow: shoot RAW as often as possible; shoot at the highest resolution; shoot lots!
Share your photo online via flickr or YouTube, etc: select your best shots; remember you don’t have to make your Web photo gallery public; some Web sites let you photo share so others can order prints.

There’s heaps more: add borders to some of your favourite shots; add a keyline or a frame; crop shots and straighten horizons of sloppily composed shots; create a scrapbook.

Overall, the book is chock full of information and, in one respect, is less of a book of tips and hints and more an encouragement on how to maximise your photo pursuits.

Top book!

Author: P Cope.
Publisher: David & Charles.
Length: 144pages.
ISBN 978 1 4463 0216 4.
Price: Get a price on "100 Clever Digital Photography Ideas: Getting the Most from Your Digital Camera and Camera Phone at Amazon

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Barrie Smith
Barrie Smith

is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

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