Let's talk books

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by illy ash, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. illy ash

    illy ash TPF Noob!

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    Hi all. Have been lurking on and off for ages, but this'll be my first post.

    Over the past year I've played with the idea of taking my photography beyond a hobby, and have generally been soaking in as much skill sharpening stuff as possible. I bought a shiny new SLR, added "ISO" and "aperture" to my everyday vocab, tamed my digital development lab from a ferocious beast into a snuggly kitten and worked my way through a couple of books ranging from the, "Duh, I knew that!" simple to the, "Huh? What?" technical. And I feel a bit stuck and unsure where to go from here. My skills certainly need a whole lot of improvement, but I'm not sure what to do beyond ordinary, "Just keep taking pictures, dummy!" practice and generally monkeying around with the equipment I have now. So I got to thinking and decided what I really need is another, slightly different photography book. Since there are far too many photography guides out there to pick and choose from, I thought I might need a little help, and I came here to ask you fine people what you might recommend.

    Here's what I'm looking for: something that's nicely written in a down to earth, easy to understand style that covers any and every aspect of day to day general photography with the aid of lots and lots of exercises and practices for the reader to do. This is the most important bit. I learn much more from doing than I do from being told how to do. Between a wonderfully articulate professor's lectures and a completely incoherent person telling me to do something with no explanation, I'm going to get more out of the latter. Basically, I'm looking for a photography course in written form, as comprehensive as possible. I do want something that goes beyond the basics, but a book that starts small and builds from there is definitely a winner. Since I'm working entirely with a digital SLR, I'd prefer a book with a digital bias, although something that covers traditional film is perfectly fine too, as long as film isn't the focus.

    Here's what I've got: books that introduce the concepts of day to day general photography. Simple and technical explanations of ISO, aperture, lighting, framing, the differences in equipment, types of cameras, etc. I have the theory. I'm searching for a book that covers the practice! I've used Tom and Michelle Grimm's Basic Book of Photography as both a standard read through and a reference for concepts I might not understand. It's well written enough to give me a conceptual foundation, but I want a more concrete idea of what to do with this stuff.

    So, any ideas?
     
  2. aprileve

    aprileve TPF Noob!

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    :popcorn: :)
     
  3. Pure

    Pure TPF Noob!

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    Understanding Exposure - Bryan Peterson

    Highly Recommended. Good book on light; put simply, exposure.

    Effects of: Aperture, Shutter Speed, Light, Depth of Field, etc.

    Oh, and written in easy to understand photographer's speak.
     
  4. illy ash

    illy ash TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Pure. I've glanced over that title a few times, so I should be able to jump on it quickly enough.

    Aprileve, popcorn and reading tend not to mix. Speaking from experience. No one likes butterstains.
     
  5. bigalbest

    bigalbest TPF Noob!

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    I think the strobist lighting 101 section is a pretty good read, and then try [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Light-Science-Introduction-Photographic-Lighting/dp/0240808193/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1226811906&sr=8-1"]Light: Science and Magic[/ame]. I also like anything by Scott Kelby, Photoshop CS whatever. :D
     
  6. rubbertree

    rubbertree TPF Noob!

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  7. illy ash

    illy ash TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, guys. These seem to be exactly what I was hoping for.
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sounds like you may benefit from the course over at ProundPhotogrrapgy.com a sponsor here.

    Very reasonable and a great way to confirm concepts AND practice under the guidance of a real person/tutor.

    From the way that you posted, I do not feel that you are much out of the gate at the beginner's level and this would help you out a lot.

    Understanding Exposure is a great book... beyond that, what you need will be based on what aspect of photography you wish to pursue.
     
  9. JoeDif

    JoeDif TPF Noob!

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    I just finished the Exposure Photo Workshop book. It was pretty good
     
  10. I think you're good to go. You need to shoot. At this point your questions will be specific and contextual.

    Shoot, and shoot more. Find a community (like this one) and ask questions about specific images. Figure out what you think you'd like to do with a shot, and then ask how that might be achieved. You've provided no info in your profile, so I can't recommend any photo clubs in your area - but real-life interaction may be more valuable than forum conversation. You could also enroll in a workshop or class at your local college.

    Start shooting. The goal is to make it a creative intuitive process. You should be thinking about the image, not the technology. If there's something specific you want know, acquire the skill, and then get back to shooting... all of this will fall into place over time - and a lot more quickly than if you're sitting on your couch or in front of your monitor reading.

    No excuses - get out.
     

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