Read this book

Are you getting into digital photography? Wish that your pictures looked better? I know I do. Every time I see one of those pro shots — especially if they were taken in a place I’ve taken a picture — I wonder how they got it? What techniques did they use? What about the technical specs (e.g. f-stop, aperature)? This is what frustrates me.

Normally, I’m not big on books. They rarely give me the information I really need. I’ve got lots of photography books — presents from various people, and a couple I’ve bought myself. But they’re more artsy than anything else. Which means “mostly useless” for what I truly need.

What I truly need is time with a pro. Someone who I can go shooting with who can give me all the little tips and secrets that make a mediocre shot look a million times better.

Problem: I don’t know any pros.

Until now.

In some small way, I’ve met Scott Kelby. Not in person (though I think I’d like to), but through his book: The Digital Photography Book.

Yes, I know what I just said about books. This one is different. It’s a book written by a pro who is trying to explain digital photography without using all the technical mumbo-jumbo that loses we amateurs. I read almost the whole thing last night. I’m writing crib notes from it. And it’s going to change the way I take pictures.

Some of the things he writes about, I already knew (e.g. using polarising filters, keeping your ISO as low as possible, using a cable release for long exposures). Many other things I didn’t — exactly which f-stops to use for specific kinds of pictures. How to shoot weddings (important, since I’m tapped for Tamara’s wedding). The best time to shoot landscapes (and it ain’t when you think it is).

And the reasons why.

That’s the key thing. Many of the other books tell you how to do something. But it doesn’t sink it because it’s not really clear. Scott covers it, often liberally laced with wry humour. (Humour I not only understand, but appreciate.)

Best part? The book’s only about $20. If I’d been smart, I’d have bought it online. But I was in Chapters and got to thumb through it — the only way for me to know if a book is any good without a recommendation. So this is my recommendation to you — if you’re starting into digital and would like to do a better job than you’re currently doing, buy this book.

You can thank me (and Scott) later.

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