Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beyond Snapshots: How to Take That Fancy DSLR Camera Off "Auto" and Photograph Your Life like a Pro - Rachel Devine and Peta Mazey

Beyond Snapshots: How to Take That Fancy DSLR Camera Off "Auto" and Photograph Your Life like a Pro
Rachel Devine and Peta Mazey
Amphoto Books
Copyright: March 20, 2012

The product description:
Ready to Capture Your Story with Beautiful Photos?

Let professional photographers Rachel Devine and Peta Mazey show you how to use that fancy DSLR to photograph the story of your life, from falling in love and having a baby, to the everyday moments that are no less precious. You’ll learn:

   • Common beginner mistakes and how to avoid them
   • How to take portraits of your children, friends, pets—even yourself
   • How to capture light to make your photos more dramatic
   • How to make colors pop, eyes sparkle, and skin tones more realistic
   • How to capture the uniqueness and wonder of your family, friends, and world

After all, why trust your memories to regular snapshots when with just a little knowledge, you can create beautiful photographs?

Be inspired to see the beauty around you, every day.
I got this book through NetGalley, back when it first came out. And, I have to say, I'm contemplating buying a copy of my own now that my NetGalley access has run out for this one. Beyond Snapshots is exactly what the beginner needs. I could have used it three years ago, but better late than never.

Rachel Devine and Peta Mazey have collaborated on the perfect book for someone who's just gotten their first DSLR camera. I know that when I was going through the manual for mine (an Olympus E-410), I found myself thinking "so what does that actually mean for my photos" when it pointed out the different controls and how to adjust them. Aperture, ISO, etc. all of that is thoroughly and clearly explained in the first half of this book. There are even a whole ton of things I haven't played with yet - different metering modes etc that they discuss.

The second half of the book though is where my interest faded a bit. It seemed to be geared mostly towards family photos and portraits in terms of subject matter and the how-to's. I'm sure it's easy enough to transfer the knowledge and techniques to other subjects, but I just didn't find the ideas that inspiring.

On the other hand, the first half of the book was so useful that I think it's worth it anyway. ISO charts, discussions of lighting and how the time of day changes the lighting quality - my copy was an e-book, but I want that half of the book in print just for reference!

One aspect of their approach that I found to be interesting and useful is that they both took each of the photos - one with a Canon camera and the other with a Nikon and the instructions are given for each. Not the most useful for me personally - my camera is an Olympus, but I believe that those two brands are the most popular and common.

Overall, I have to say that I found Beyond Snapshots to be a very useful book - as I said, it's perfect for those who are just switching from a point-and-shoot to a DSLR camera - and even with the former, I'd bet you'll find some handy tips to improve your photo-taking. Keep in mind though, I'm just an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to my camera.

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