Book Bytes: Two Book for Digital Photography Beginners

40 Digital Photography Techniques, Second Edition
by John Kim
Sybex /
ISBN 89-314-3511-8, 215 pages plus Windows-only CD
$16.99 US, $23.99 CN, £9.99 UK

The rarest title to cross our path in a long time, this second edition of 40 Digital Photography Techniques delivers exactly what it promises: photographic techniques. With bare-essential content concerning camera selection or software image manipulation, readers can actually learn to become better photographers by following the time-tested advice in this most affordable book.

The physical volume is small, square, concise, and compact, with readable text and dozens of color illustrations. The models are not one bit glamorous, and the photos could have been taken by anyone who knew which part of a camera was the front. I quickly tired of viewing the same people being used page after page, and I suggest the author branch out in future.

Students of photography should embrace 40 Digital Photography Techniques. They will learn from it how to operate their still digicams to take top-notch photos of any subject in a variety of lighting and weather conditions.

Brief mention is made of the latest generation in camera memory cards, plus a useful unit on camera phones (which already have their own complete books being published elsewhere). Enough (meaning “just enough”) techie info is given on image formats and resolutions to assist newbies without their eyes glazing over in bewilderment.

With such high-quality content, our only demerit goes to the “value-packed CD” that will be beneficial to all Windozers but a complete dud for Macintoshers. Nuff said on that topic, because otherwise the bargain-priced 40 Digital Photography Techniques, Second Edition is clearly worth a rating of 4 out of 5 when its lessons are absorbed for their long-lasting results._

How to Do Everything with Digital Photography
by Dave Huss

Osborne / McGraw-Hill
ISBN 0-07-225435-1, 336 pages
$29.99 US, $41.95 CN, £19.99 UK

This is the book I recommend for my adult non-credit beginning digital photography students, because it has a one-stop-shopping approach to a topic that should be straightforward but is not. Do you know what causes red eye in flash pictures and how to avoid or eliminate it? How about those white balance settings you have been ignoring? Or taking pictures of holiday lights! Find this material and plenty more in How to Do Everything with Digital Photography, including “What is Shutter Delay,” an especially annoying attribute of still digicams.

Photo illustrations are in color and are themselves interesting for their content and style. Page design takes advantage of lively sidebars, bullets, and notable quotables of “voices from the community.” The author’s writing style is snappy, first-person, and enjoyable to read. I wish I had a text with so many plusses when I was teaching introductory photography for twenty years.

A favorite feature in this book is the inside-front cover listing of topics for each of its twenty chapters, and an inside-rear cover sextet of checklists for different typical photographic situations, such as foreign travel and low-light/night picture taking. Additional high marks go to the author’s frequent use of wit to make a serious point. Chapters on photographing people are worth the entire reasonable price of How to Do Everything with Digital Photography. congratulates author, editor, and publication team for all that went into the content and production of this splendid volume. We are stingy with our highest recommendation, so it is a pleasure to award a rating of 5 out of 5 to this title when purchased as an entry-level soup-to-nuts text that covers everything from camera basics, through successful picture making, to introductory lessons on image editing software.

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