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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book to improve the skills of digital photographers
SHOOTING DIGITAL
Mikkel Aaland.
Published by Sybex Books. [...]
ISBN: 0-7821-4104-8
Shooting Digital is probably a must-have book for anyone taking digital photography seriously. It is 270 glossy pages of in-depth useful information garnered from an extensive list of professional photographers.
Mikkel Aaland himself has been a professional...
Published on November 2, 2003 by Tim Skyrme

versus
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book if you know something about digital cameras
The first thing I noticed as I began to read this book was that there was a web site by the same name, [...] I checked it out even before I finished reading the first chapter. There are links to other sites giving the reader more information about digital photography and the site also has a gallery of the author's work but not much more.
I would not recommend this...
Published on September 26, 2003 by Barbara Rhoades


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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book to improve the skills of digital photographers, November 2, 2003
By 
Tim Skyrme (Adelaide, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shooting Digital: Pro Tips for Taking Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera (Paperback)
SHOOTING DIGITAL
Mikkel Aaland.
Published by Sybex Books. [...]
ISBN: 0-7821-4104-8
Shooting Digital is probably a must-have book for anyone taking digital photography seriously. It is 270 glossy pages of in-depth useful information garnered from an extensive list of professional photographers.
Mikkel Aaland himself has been a professional photographer for years and it appears that he really knows his stuff.
I like the way that the book describes the differences between film and digital photography and lays many of the myths associated with the value of one against the other. He manages to explain these differences simply enough for newcomers to the field, yet with enough technical information for long term SLR experts. The book does not assume that everyone has a professional quality camera and the abilities of a variety of cameras is compared.
Sensible advice on use of filters and accessories could save the reader a lot of money and heartache, and the setting up of simple studios and use of alternative light sources is extremely useful.
A lot of time is spent teaching how to work with a subject, whether animal or human to create brilliant portraits. This includes really useful diagrams of lighting setups and use of equipment and how to make the most of what you have available, as well as what sort of tripods, lights etc are needed. These sections are named Accessories That Make a Difference, and are scattered throughout the individual chapters. Also scattered are Know Your Camera, and Software Solutions, and these are sort of shortcut sections which are really useful.
Many other photographers have contributed works and information for the book so it is not just one man's view. Digital is here to stay and a lot of professionals are changing over, and are contributing real information in the fields of their own expertise, from portraits to action to minimovies and even how to get the most out of working in different situations and lighting conditions.
There is a whole section on interior and exterior photography and the information gained is invaluable. Use of natural and artificial light is something that is approached the whole way through the book, and this makes a lot of sense.
There are a lot of differences between the way that images are taken using film and digital and these are highlighted and explained all along the way. This is important if you are a film person moving to digital because, although a lot of the same terms are used, they do not necessarily equate to each other in the way you would expect.
If you are just using digital then it is best to ignore the differences and go for what your digital camera can do for you. Each shot is shown with the make of camera used and the settings involved, which gives a good insight into what sort of camera you buy and how you use it.
Obviously software is important for getting your digital images to their maximum, and this is well covered too. Including good information on use of filters and techniques, but this information is mainly a light introduction to clean up and lightly enhancing techniques. I think this is a good idea, because the book sets out to show proper photographing techniques to help you create the image you want with the minimum amount of re-touching. If you want to know more about the software you want to use, then other books are available for this.
If you want to see a sample chapter [...] is the page to start from.
Every aspect of getting the most from your digital camera seems to have been explored and discussed. This is a very useful and informative book by people who know what they are talking about. If you are interested in taking good photos, or have already started and want to take better ones, then I would recommend looking here.
The book is not the sort of book you need if you want to know how to use a particular software program, it is just the sort of book you need to get the most out of your hardware though.
Tim Skyrme
[...]
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book if you know something about digital cameras, September 26, 2003
This review is from: Shooting Digital: Pro Tips for Taking Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera (Paperback)
The first thing I noticed as I began to read this book was that there was a web site by the same name, [...] I checked it out even before I finished reading the first chapter. There are links to other sites giving the reader more information about digital photography and the site also has a gallery of the author's work but not much more.
I would not recommend this book to the beginning digital photographer. It is written more for the photographer that already knows a few things about digital cameras and how they work and even leans towards those who might be or plan to become a professional photographer. I believe photographs are a basic part of what should be included in this type of book in order to provide a good insight into photography. Unfortunately, this book has less photos showing what is being discussed and is more dependent on the written word. It does provide notes in vivid green boxes and other types of tips in soft blue one throughout the book but, alas, not much in the way of photographs.
The author, Mikkel Aaland, describes features and accessories available on cameras and some software solutions for cropping or changing things in the photos. He also talks about lighting, how to work with different subjects to get the best shot and problems like camera lag or bad weather and how it affects your photos. He shows what equipment it would need to set up a portable studio and continues on with the process of making a mini-movie and how to create a collage.
He has a chapter on photography while on the road. Some things he reminds us to consider are the cold, heat and humidity and what is can do to your camera and the picture subjects. Another thing to consider while moving about with your camera is the proper way to pack it and the accessories so they are not damaged.
Several chapters remind us to think about lighting over and over again. This must be something the author thinks is the making or breaking point for taking pictures. He continues with how to get great landscapes or photographing that new living room you just redecorated. He warns us to think about scale and depth of field. While in Chapter 9, he discusses the panoramic shots and those great virtual homes tours now available on the web.
Chapter 10 talks about software programs and a basic studio. It tells us that software can allow the photographer to take a less than perfect shot and correct the imperfections with the software. In other words, grab that picture that is one you really want even if it isn't set just exactly right. The wonders of the digital age will help you overcome the problems. Mr. Aaland also touches on composition and how to photograph flat objects.
Chapter 11 continues the digital camera uses by discussing shooting underwater, in the sky and even at night. A few accessories will be necessary for underwater shooting such as an aquapac. Think you need an airplane to get those aerial views? Think again! Remember Ben Franklin and his kite? Well, you can use one to get the aerial shot you want. Yes, it takes a bit of practice but what doesn't?
Chapter 12 talks of what to do now that you have taken the picture. Do you want to print it on paper or share them with friends online? There are many ways to do this such as the Kodak Picture Maker Print Station, a desktop printer or online photo services like shutterfly.com or snapfish.com. And, of course, there is more software available to help you save your photos and download your camera to your computer. The final chapter gives an in-depth description of RAW, describes the Histogram and white balance.
All in all, Shooting Digital by Mikkel Aaland, will give you many suggestions on how to improve your photos, the equipment that is available along with the accessories and what to do with the pictures once you have taken them. It is a book that will involve time in reading but could help you will end up with a more professional viewpoint on digital camera photography.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful guide to advanced techniques, July 31, 2004
By 
Q (The Continuum) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shooting Digital: Pro Tips for Taking Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera (Paperback)
Reading this book will teach you A LOT about how to use advanced features of your digital camera like aperture, focal length, ISO settings, and shutter settings. The author targets those who know a little, but only a little about cameras. Even for the complete novice, this would be a useful book. For those like myself, who have been using cameras for many years, but without any advanced knowledge, this book is perfect. He also goes into depth on photographic techniques for framing shots, catching elusive shots, and taking an ordinary shot and making it into something special. He even has a great little section on taking movies with your camera. Highly recommended! BTW, this book has excellent color photos to illustrate his points.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Useful, September 2, 2003
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This review is from: Shooting Digital: Pro Tips for Taking Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera (Paperback)
This is the second photography book I've read by Mikkel Aland, and as with his last one, Photoshop Elements 2 Solutions, this one is very accessible and packed with useful techniques for novice and more experienced photographers.
I read both books from cover to cover, making copious notes and trying out techniques as I went along. Using this book, I've made a list of self-assignments out fo the strategies he describes. My list includes using the automatic bracketing component and exposure lock of my digital camera, taking night time and still object shots, testing my camera for shutter release lag, taking landscape and panorama pictures, and maybe even trying some under water shots.
I've read a couple of other digital camera books like this one, but by far Aaland's writing has been the best. There are, however, a few missing chapters in this book. I was really suprised that he didn't have a chapter (or even a page) devoted to black and white photography, nor does he spend enough time on composition and finding your photographic style. As for as I can tell most digital photogaphy books or magazines focus very little on the latter two subjects. Aaland devoted an entire chapter on using the mini video component of prosumer and professional cameras, and while this focus is informative with some great ideas, it should not have been included at the expense of the three subjects mentioned above.
Still, the book is very useful, and like other Sybex's books, it does a good job breaking down the emerging and fun aspects of digital image making.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific guide, October 5, 2003
By 
Brian Schilling (Anchorage, AK USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shooting Digital: Pro Tips for Taking Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera (Paperback)
Who doesn't have a digital camera these days? But how well do we understand our technologic wonders? Regardless if you are using a basic or prosumer camera, after reading Mikkel Aaland's Shooting Digital, you will be an expert ready for most any situation. Aaland, a well-published author, photographer and leading authority on Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, offers easy-to-understand tips from 34 professional photographers. Though packed with useful information for all users, reading is enjoyable and not laborious. Aaland properly introduces readers to their cameras as well as the technology behind digital photography. In depth discussion is offered for portraits, children, pets, social events, action, minimovies, traveling with your camera, interiors & exteriors, landscapes, panoramas, organizing and sharing your photos and much more. Numerous sidebars of text focusing on special tips and techniques are spread throughout the book. The book's companion website is disappointing since many pages are still under development. It is difficult to find anything to criticize about the book. Digital photographers of most all levels of skill will find Aaland's book of value and will likely refer to it often.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but wish there were better examples, October 31, 2005
By 
davek (california) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shooting Digital: Pro Tips for Taking Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera (Paperback)
I enjoyed the book.
I felt like I learned things about taking digital photos from this book, but I was left wanting more side by side examples. It seemed like the author utilized photos from other people that he liked, instead of taking a more deliberate approach, such as discussing a technique, then showing you two pictures, one taken using auto settings and one using the technique. (That way you could have a concrete example of the difference the technique made). He does this occasionaly, but it would've been nice if he had done it with each technique.
I also felt like I was over bombarded with RAW format propaganda and advertisements for his books on Photoshop Elements and Photoshop.
I wish he would've discussed how the use of filters has been affected by the switch from film to digital photography.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Advice to the new digital convert, September 26, 2003
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This review is from: Shooting Digital: Pro Tips for Taking Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera (Paperback)
Digital media are not film. For any camera more complex than a point and shoot, a photographer will have to learn about a host of technical differences that effect the ultimate photograph, like white balance, histograms and file formats. Yet these same challenges also offer opportunities for new and creative uses that film doesn't provide.
Aaland aims his book at new converts to digital by explaining how digital differs from film. After a brief introduction to the subject, and the differences between the media, he offers individual chapters on shooting situations that explain how to shot pictures digitally. Chapters deal with portraiture, action and landscapes, among other genres. He uses case studies of particular photographs to show how the photographers adjusted their shooting technique to fit the requirements of digital cameras. I found these examples to be particularly helpful for understanding how I would have to change my shooting habits for digital. There is necessarily some overlap with the general techniques of photography, as when the author discusses lighting techniques for digital portraits. It's comforting to know that there is not much difference in this area between film and digital. On the other hand some of the advice is remarkably banal, as when he describes the "rule of thirds" and then tells you that you should develop composition skills on your own.
There are a few chapters in this book that are so peripheral to the theme of the book, but written about with such detail, that they seemed to me to be added as filler. For example, Aaland includes ten pages on object movies that seemed of little use to the average photographer. (Object movies are a series of digital photographs of an object, stitched together so that they can be presented on a computer as if one was circling the object. Their primary use is in advertising.)
Yet despite these failings, this book certainly eased the transition from film to digital for me. I wish that the author had spent more time using more genres as examples of the shifts required for the change but the book did the job I expected it to do,
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book worth your time & $, August 15, 2003
By 
J. Stephens (Cantonment, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shooting Digital: Pro Tips for Taking Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera (Paperback)
After reading Mikkels' book Photoshop Elements 2 solutions, I realized I needed something more to help me focus on taking better pictures with my Fuji 3800.
I really enjoy taking pictures of my children, but they dont always turn out as planned or hoped...
After reading the first 5 chapters in this book, I have an even greater love for my hobby. Mikkel gives very clear scenarios with excellent quality COLOR photographs to help give you a visual example of what he is trying to teach you. I have learned so much in "technique" alone.
Being familiar with how a camera operates and the "lingo" is recommended. This is NOT a dummies book, far from it, but much, much more.
Taking pictures for me, is just a hobby, but something I strive to be better at with every shot, and reading this book so far has opened my eyes to what I can accomplish.
The book gives plenty of examples of "how-to's" and "what-if's" about taking pictures in many different environments and with many different subjects.
Recommendation: buy this book if you are wanting to get the most out of your digital camera, and your pictures will show your progress.
Two thumbs up, well written and worth every penny.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, Very Helpful, March 11, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Shooting Digital: Pro Tips for Taking Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera (Paperback)
I've always been interested in photography, and I got my first digital camera only last year; being a point-and-shoot camera, I noticed its limitations almost immediately. So this year, I bought a Canon EOS Digital Rebel and a fancy lens, and I wanted to learn how to take better shots and step up from the CoolPix that I had. A friend recommended "Shooting Digital", and I (and others) saw improvements almost immediately.
I have a lot to learn, and in my opinion this book is the best type of teacher, one that encourages me to get out there and experiment with my camera. The book is organized according to different types of photography (portraits, action photography, buildings, landscapes, etc.) so I can focus on a particular chapter depending on the situation. It offers knowledgeable insights into the singularities of digital cameras -- how to overcome limitations like shutter release lag and how to capitalize on the benefits of digital over film. It has also opened my eyes to ideas and camera functions outside of the bounds of traditional picture-taking -- like minimovies, panoramas, and VR -- that I didn't think I'd care about, until I was shown the possibilites. I'm not there yet, but when I get to the chapter that explores more extreme photography (infrared, underwater, aerial), I'm sure I'll just want to get adventurous (and maybe even buy a waterproof camera as well).
The author's direct and genial style makes this bood easy to read without becoming bored; the photography makes me want to keep learning and become a photographer. The book is so packed with examples from professional photographers that it would be overwhelming -- if the author didn't make things so clear (and fun to learn and experiment). This is exactly the book I needed, and I'd recommend it to anybody getting serious about digital photography.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Treasure, August 30, 2003
By 
Linda (Huntington Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shooting Digital: Pro Tips for Taking Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera (Paperback)
Shooting Digital reveals so many tips to exploit your digital camera that it will keep you busy for hours. Combine that with the great color photos and the many techniques of great photographers explained in detail by the author, and you have one of the best books on digital photography.
Included are tips for shooting under water, shooting in low light, shooting action and many others that will help me improve my techniques. The RAW image file format is also explained.
Hardly any digital camera subject is not covered in some detail - you can read this on its own or with your camera in your hands.
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