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The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby – Review

‘What digital photography book should I buy?’

I get asked this quite a bit by readers and while I’ve read quite a few good ones am always on the look out for more recommended resources. So I thought I’d open up the question to readers – what digital photography books have you found most helpful? Leave your recommendations and reader reviews in comments below.

To start the conversation I thought I’d post a reader review of The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby. This review was left in our forums by forum member ny156uk who won this book in a competition here at DPS. I hope you find it helpful.

The Review

The book is set as if you are a buddy of Scott’s out on a shoot. Each page is another tip/’technique’ so you get headings like “When to Shoot Flowers” or “What to Shoot in Bad Weather”. The book doesn’t explain ‘technical’ information about how cameras work/why X creates a small depth-of-field etc. instead it focuses on what settings/things you need to do to capture a specific look.

Throughout the book there is light-hearted humour. This appears to be an attempt to make the book less reference-y. I quite like the less formal approach, but imagine for some the humour may diminish the otherwise clear writing style.

Each chapter spans a specific area covering off the usual (weddings, landscapes, sports, nature, flowers, travel and portraits). It also has a ‘photo recipes’ section with several very beautiful photos, each containing a breakdown of what compositional elements/features make the shot and how to replicate it.

Throughout the book you are presented with short snappy stories from the perspective of a pro, situations they have gotten into and some rather unique little tips (there is a photo showing a method of wrapping your camera-strap around your arm that is said to achieve a sturdier grip for hand-held shots).

Top things I learnt from The Digital Photography Book:

  • A yard of black velvet/valour set a few feet beond some flowers will make a nice dramatic background to your flower shots
  • Don’t cut off people at joints. Always try to cut-off body parts in the middle (between elbow and shoulder/between wrist and elbow etc.)
  • When shooting forests, it is often best not to include the forest-floor
  • When shooting on overcast/cloudy days try to frame your shot to minimize the amount of sky on view
  • Dusk and Dawn are the best times to shoot (emphasised a lot throughout the book)

I found the book an enjoyable read and much of what was suggested was either new to me, or was expained in a more simple way than I had previously encountered. The book requires virtually no technical knowledge, but does focus more on owns of dSlr cameras, but many of the techniques noted could transfer over easily.

My rating: 9 out of 10 stars

This book is one of the best selling digital photography books ever – and for good reason. It’s a must read for those starting out and intermediate photographers alike.

I guess this a little odd, but at the end of the book there were 5/6 pages of adverts. Whilst not a big deal it makes the book feel more like a ‘magazine add-on’ than a real book. Daft of me i’m sure, but i’ve dropped it a star for that reason.

Get your copy of The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby.

Have you read any great digital photography books? Give your recommendations with your reasons why in comments below. Looking forward to discovering some great digital photography books.

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Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse

is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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