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I sat and read this little guy from front cover to back cover and, I enjoyed pretty much all of it. In the real world, I am just passing the beginner stage and I can happily say that I’d have been through that stage a lot quicker if I’d bothered to read this book first!
The book starts off with the basics, which is where we all start, right? The basics – Kicking off with “which camera is right for you”, looking at the differences between digital SLR cameras, compacts and there’s even a quick word on camera phones.
Once you’ve had help choosing your camera, the book goes on to explain what and where everything is – with good cross referencing to your cameras manual, you can be sure that you’ll know where everything is on your camera by the end of chapter one. Looking at everything from batteries to wireless transmitters, The Digital Photography Companion covers it all.
Chapter one is a good quick reference guide if you’re out in the field and need to know something quick! – The book is small enough that you can pack it in most camera bags and use it as and when you need it.
Chapter two takes over and you’ll find yourself knee deep in “how to use all the buttons” I am still coming to terms with some of them.
A short funny story… a good mate of mine and I went to a “photographic assistant” course the other day here in London and when asked to use the tutors camera half way through the day to take some portraits, we all sort of looked at each other blankly, wondering how it worked – the menu differences between Canon and Nikon threw us into a proper spin! – It was amusing… I guess you had to be there…
Anyway, I digress… So, as they say in the book – this chapter will basically tell you when to use certain features, for example, you learned where the flash button was in chapter one – now chapter two will tell you where to use it! You’ll learn about Bokeh, Burst mode and bracketing! There’s a great little table with explanations on what will happen to your photo if you’d selected f2 as opposed to f16. Also with tips on how to erase your memory cards and why. Running through how to recover photos from a corrupt memory card and processing a HDR image in Photoshop, this little book really seems to cover it all.
Chapter three goes most of the way teaching you to shoot like a “Pro” There is some debate what a “Pro” might be these days, but this will tell you how to take architectural photos, loads of very important camera techniques. I love the way Derrick tells a story, he almost reminds me of me. One of the little pieces on “Take Passport Photos and Self Portraits” he finishes it with “Don’t forget to smile, or at least not to grimace – you want governments to let you into their country!” I’m glad I didn’t read this bit before I took on my threesixtyfive challenge! (I think I smiled in about thirty of my threesixtyfive self portraits) There are a couple of other interesting pointers throughout chapter three, my fave being “If you pack an amateur camera and act like a tourist, you will probably draw less attention from security”.
A very easy to read book with pointers for everyone from what to buy, right through to printing or emailing your shots to someone after you’ve edited them in any one of the pieces of software that the book covers, from Adobe Lightroom, Bridge and Camera Raw to Apple’s Aperture and iPhoto and Microsoft’s Expression Media. The book even shows you how to take a photo for eBay, something I’ve not really put too much thought into until reading about it in the book – My try at shooting for eBay below (The phone is still for sale!!)
Everything I’ve taken an age to work out for myself in my first year of photography is right there, in print. If I’d picked up this book as (more of) a beginner, it really would have made things a lot easier!
If you’re a beginner, go and buy yourself this book – it really is worth every cent, though, if you’re a bit more advanced, there may be a better book out there for you.
The Digital Photography Companion is currently on Sale at Amazon for $16.49.