Whilst browsing in Waterstones this weekend I was pleased to find another volume from Scott Kelby. I have bought both of the earlier books, all entitled ‘The Digital Photography Book’ and have to say I’ve learned heaps from them. The style of writing is so easy to read and the tips and information priceless for those, like me, eager to know more about how to take better images.
This book, volume 3, leads on from the earlier versions and spends a good deal of time going over studio work, flash and lighting, portraiture, product shots and lenses. If you think you know all about these things, think again. Scott doesn’t go into deep theory about any of it, but gives practical hints and tips on how to achieve consistently good results. The emphasis is on giving simple information, much the same as you might get if you were right next to him on a shoot.
I think I have got so much more to learn, and am pleased to find books like this that take me on another small step. Much of what the book tells you is actually obvious the moment after you read it – I had a lot of moments where I smiled to myself and said ‘so that’s how…’
Throughout the book are useful tips and links to online resources, and I found myself downloading things I wouldn’t normally have looked at, including updating the firmware on my trusty D200. I also spent a few hours with the camera just going back through the settings and finding ways to get better quality out of the shots I take. I would think that had I not read the book, I wouldn’t have bothered! I even found myself playing with HDR (High Dynamic Range) images, taking five bracketed shots and using Photoshop to set up the HDR stuff. OK, so I wasn’t on a shoot, and was playing around in my garden, knowing full well the light wasn’t right, but it was a chance just to test out the process. It worked as Scott said it would, and I feel more confident about working with HDR as a result.
I even got out my SB800 flash unit and re-read the user manual. Boy… that’s not much fun in there! However, I found ways to get it working that I hadn’t tried before, and whilst I am far from confident with flash units, I found I enjoyed trying things out. It was a bright sunny day, and I had a perfect chance to take dozens of images to test out things like fill in light, remote triggering and manual control of the unit.
So, thanks again Scott – volumes one and two are perfectly complemented by volume 3. What I need now is a trip to the US to sit in on a seminar, or for you to visit the UK and run some sessions over here!