Digital photography made easy?

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Digital photography made easy?
Digital photography made easy?

Digital photography made easy?

Scott Kelby is not a blank slate in the professional photo scene, as he made a name for himself as an author of computer books and above all as an author of practical titles on image processing with Photoshop and editor of the magazine Photoshop User. His "The Digital Photography Book", which was published in the USA in 2006, is now also available in German.

The author reveals tricks and techniques of digital photography in an entertaining way on around 200 pages. His goal, he says, is to teach everyone what it takes to work like a pro. It provides information about cameras and equipment as well as the basics of (digital) photography - exposure, shutter speed, aperture, depth of field and resolution - and finally about special photographic subjects.

Get started "Pro tips for really sharp photos". It's all about accessories such as cable releases and tripods, the right aperture and ISO values, sharpening in Photoshop and "shake-free" photos by hand. The following five chapters are dedicated to special motifs: flowers, weddings, landscapes, sports photos and people, with the topic "weddings" being a very special one.

Oddly enough, the 7th and 8th chapters then deal with general topics again: problem avoidance, sun visors, backups and energy saving as well as eliminating the "red eye" phenomenon, before moving on to "The advantages of digital world" and encouraged to experiment.

The author then returns to the motifs: "Holiday and city photos" - more of a variety chapter - deals with various aspects that would have been better de alt with in previous chapters. In the penultimate chapter "Printing like a pro and other cool tips" Photoshop is the focus, but there are also hints about megapixels, about printers and printouts, photo paper and equipment.

Then it gets down to business: Using 14 of his own pictures, the author summarizes his tips and uses certain motifs to describe the origin, technology and design elements - perhaps the most useful chapter in the entire book.

The volume is easy to digest, full of color and has a clear layout. A photo on the respective topic, a few lines of text, possibly a "memory box", but all in all very little reading material and thus more of a book to leaf through. Unfortunately, the language is sometimes very flippant, which is probably primarily due to the translation from the American (and the mentality of the American author). Sentences like "Tip: Talk about glass instead of a lens in the photo shop", "Make sure that the salesperson has that 'You belong to the club' smile on his lips" or "There are important reasons why you should wear a baseball cap (correct would be "baseball cap"; note.i.e. Rez.) to wear: 1. It protects you from the sun and 2. It looks pretty cool" feel kind of awkward.

Some terms such as "aperture" and "f-stop" or "low-down" and "darkening filter" are used misleadingly or incorrectly (this one is correctly called "neutral gray filter"), and megapixel resolutions are not given in centimeters as usual, but given in inches. In addition to the linguistic gaffes, the choice of topic also seems somewhat arbitrary. For example, the keywords architecture, night, animal shots or still life are missing or just the normal family or children's photo. And besides, some information on the topic of archiving would have been useful.

The sub title of the book is "For digital SLR cameras" - which is also mostly true, but they seemed to want to meet all requirements and added in the lower corner: "Also excellently suitable for compact cameras". A double-edged sword, because while the general tips may also be of some use to compact camera owners, the author basically assumes in his instructions that lenses can be changed, lenses screwed on and various apertures, times and ISO values can be set as desired. The majority of the photographing population is unlikely to own one of the expensive tens of thousands of pixel mega cameras with interchangeable lenses. On the other hand, many of the tips are of little use to experienced photographers with such high-tech equipment. They know all about programmes, times and apertures, light and choice of subject: they are not the right target audience either.

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