Friday, July 2, 2010

Recommended Reading - Technical

The technical aspects of photography seem daunting to a lot of new photographers. From a technical viewpoint the basics are really rather simple and can be conveyed without much muss or fuss.

One of the best at doing that is Bryan Peterson. Bryan is a successful professional photographer that also has a gift for explaining technical aspects of photography in easy to understand ways. I recommend three of Bryan's inexpensive, yet information packed books:

Understanding Exposure
Understanding Exposure may be the most recommended book for new photographers in the history of digital photography.
Bryan explains there are a number of combinations of the exposure triad settings of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO that will yield a correct exposure of the your scene, but only one of those combinations will be the correct 'artistic' combination of settings.

Understanding Exposure will show you the how and why to making professional looking images.

Bryan covers aperture, shutter speed, light, special techniques and filters, and finishes up with section devoted to film vs digital.

Learning To See Creatively

If you haven't heard it already you will eventually, but someone will remark that a photographer has a good 'eye'.

A good 'eye', or the ability to see a small part of the real world as a photographic image is something that can be learned. It isn't an innate ability one has to be born with.

Learning To See Creatively helps you develop your 'eye' by showing real world examples of lovely images made by simply seeing what is around us.

Bryan starts by discussing lens use and then covers elements of design, composition, understanding exposure options, and finishes with the magic of available light.

Beyond Portraiture

More and more of today's new photographers are making portrait images of friends and family.

Even if your primary camera is also your cell phone this book will help you make better people images.

As always Bryan packs his books with plenty of great example images to help you make great images too
Since many new photographers eventually give serious consideration to making money by doing portrait photography, this is a a book to keep on the shelf for ready reference and guidance.

The Photographers Eye by Michael Freeman

Michael Freeman's book is sub-titled: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos.
Michael starts with a quote by Paul Strand, who helped establish photography as an art form in the 20th century, " you build a picture, what a picture consists of, how shapes relate to each other, how spaces are filled, how the whole thing must have a kind of unity.", and then goes on to explore the actual process of making photographs.
Because a photograph can be made in an instant without thought, doesn't mean the photograph will be pleasing to look at. Most of us weren't born naturally gifted photographers, so we need help learning the elements of design and composition and the thought processes that do result in photographs that are pleasing to look at.  

Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Books

Scott Kelby, of Photoshop® instruction book fame, also has a sweet 3 book series that is essentially a collection of "How To" digital photography tutorials in book form. The size of the books makes it easy to find a place for one or more of them in your camera bag so they are handy for on-location reference.

Where everyone learns Photoshop - National Association of Photoshop Professionals