The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby

2 of 52 in my 2011 book blogging challenge.

I said I wasn’t going to use photography books for my book blogging challenge if they were more technical than narrative. I stand by that. This one gives lots of practical technical advice, but it is still basically a personal narrative.

Scott Kelby claims that his The Digital Photography Book (and this does refer to Volume 1) is based on the premise that he’s talking to the reader just like he would if he were talking to a shooting buddy out on a photo excursion. That personal touch is what I find so appealing. It’s probably also what accounts for the popularity of this book. I think it is a runaway best seller as photography how-to books go.

I’m a beginner to digital SLR photography. I spent 2010 getting to know my camera from an intuitive approach. I decided I wanted to spend 2011 learning more about the technicalities of digital photography and experimenting more with the creative zones on my camera as opposed to the automatic zones. I started with The Digital Photography Book and The Canon EOS Rebel T1i/500D Digital Field Guide.

The Digital Field Guide is basically a camera manual. It’s a good one. It’s very detailed, and it explains some of the fundamentals of photography along with the technicalities of my particular camera. Quite frankly, though, I really didn’t understand it all that well at first. I felt frustrated. I felt it was going to take a lot longer than I’d hoped for me to understand how to use the programmable features on my camera in order to get the kind of shots I wanted. I didn’t toss it in the trash in frustration, though. I just set it aside and picked up Kelby’s book instead. This one was easy to read. Even as a total beginner I could follow it. I also found it very enjoyable to read.

The part is that once I read Kelby’s book, I started to understand the other book as well. It gave me a frame-of-reference within which to absorb the more technical information.

I think the difference is that the camera guide starts with the details and works out from there, whereas Kelby’s book starts with the end result or the purpose you want to achieve in the photograph and then goes back and explains in a more narrative style how a photographer arrives at that result. That’s so much more helpful for someone who doesn’t already have a background in photography.

My only complaint about The Digital Photography Book is that it makes me want to go out and spend a whole lot of money. This book explains how pros arrive at fantastic results, and pros use very expensive equipment. I’m trying to remind myself that Canon T1i is enough to arrive at fantastic results if I just follow some of the techniques used by the pros.

I am grateful for the gear tips, though. I’m especially interested in learning which lenses pros prefer because I think upgrading the lens makes a bigger difference than upgrading the camera. Now if I don’t every buy another car again, I might be able to afford some of the pro-level lenses Kelby recommends. Keep your fingers crossed that my 2005 Corolla hangs in there.