Pro Secrets to Dramatic Digital Photos [Book Review]

Pro Secrets to Dramatic Digital Photos [Book Review]

Pro Secrets to Dramatic Digital Photos.jpgThere is a wealth of difference between a pro and an amateur photographer. On assignment, the pro leaves home with a target, an aim to bring back the best efforts with his camera, in order to please his or her client. The amateur takes things a little less seriously, arriving back at base with images that will please the photographer and not necessarily anyone else.

This is not to say that the pro doesn’t shoot images purely for personal satisfaction … they do! And occasionally an amateur wins a paid assignment.

But skim through the examples in Jim Zuckerman’s book – Pro Secrets to Dramatic Digital Photos – and you will see the main stream that runs through his and many pros’ work: consistency.

The book is comprised of 15 steps; the author suggests you follow the guidelines in it and predicts “you will immediately see a quantum improvement in your photography.” Well, we’ll see.

Early on Zuckerman stresses you don’t have to have the most expensive photo gear; the success pictures depend on the artistry of the photographer.

He asks what makes a great picture? Begin with a great subject, in an appropriate environment, with great lighting and composition. And of course, properly exposed and focused.

Inject a feeling of great design in a photograph. Use colour for impact. Shoot against the light. Move in close. Choose the time of day carefully. Capture motion carefully. Control the highlights in an image. Compose classic landscapes. Be careful with backgrounds. Look for unusual backgrounds.

The examples in the book are dissected and analysed, then info is given as to how the shot was made, with data about lens aperture, shutter speed etc that was used.

There are plenty more tips and hints in the book. But don’t expect much in the way of technical expertise — it’s not that sort of book.

One for the more advanced photographer. Excellent and encouraging illustrations.

Author: J Zuckerman.
Publisher: Lark Books.
Length: 176 pages.
ISBN: 978 1 60059 638 4.
Price: Get a price on Pro Secrets to Dramatic Digital Photos at Amazon.

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

Some Older Comments

  • Barrie Smith March 5, 2011 07:58 am

    I agree. As I've often said: It's not the car, it's the driver.

  • Jordi Nuñez March 4, 2011 10:05 pm

    I've bought the book now and I have to wait 2-3 weeks to have it. I will expose my opinion when I have it.

    Thanks for the recomendation.

  • Rick Rouse March 4, 2011 02:24 pm

    It sounds like this book is packed with great tips, but I already know which of them I agree with most: The artistry and skill of the photographer is a lot more important than the equipment used. A gifted photographer can create a masterpiece with a $100 point & shoot digicam.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck March 4, 2011 09:10 am


    I follow Jim Zuckerman's work closely as a source of knowledge and inspiration in my own efforts. Did you know that his images, articles and photo features have been published in National Geographic Society, Outdoor Photographer, and Conde Nast Traveler. And he has authored 12 book? Wow!

    From the above he suggests "Inject a feeling of great design in a photograph. Use color for impact. Shoot against the light. Move in close. Look for unusual backgrounds"

    I tried to take these tips into account of this unusual window at a Winery in Napa

    "Windows Web Site" Prager Winery, CA:

    I cant wait to read this new book and put more of his advice to work!

    regards, Erik

  • Wedding Photographer New York March 4, 2011 07:51 am

    The books seems to be very interesting. I guess it is a good buy. Thanks