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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Digital Photography Book: Part 1 (2nd Edition)
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114 of 128 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 15, 2013
The fact, even if true, that the Digital Photography Book is "the #1 Top-selling Digital Photography Book Ever" as heralded on the cover doesn't mean that it's a great book.

In this revised book there are chapters on getting sharp photos; photographing flowers, weddings, landscapes, sports, people and travel; avoiding problems; taking advantage of digital; printing ; and ten things the author wishes someone had told him. He concludes with recipes for fourteen types of generic shots. Each tip is less then a small page in length and includes an illustrative photograph.

I dislike tip books because they don't put photography technique within a larger context so that the reader learns a principle which he can apply to any circumstance. "Give a man a fish..." might have been written about tip books. For example, in the space of a few pages, the author tells us to shoot portraits with wide angle lenses and then tells us to use telephoto lenses. What might be called a comprehensive book would help us to understand the considerations involved in making a choice of focal length for portraits. Kelby must have been aware of this type of criticism for he offers a long explanation of the tip method and then tells you that after you start getting amazing pictures, you can buy what Kelby calls a "tell me all about it" book (even though he later says, I hope facetiously, "Stop reading books about photography"). I suggest that if you are going to read this book, read one of the "tell me all about it" books first so you can place the tips into context.

This is particularly so given the sometimes apparently contradictory advice. For example he tells you to use a tripod and the lowest ISO on the camera and to avoid high ISO "like the plague". Well, sometimes even if you are using a tripod, the subject may be moving and you will need to increase ISO to avoid a blurred picture. Later, another tip will tell you to use high ISO's. This kind of advice makes sense if you understand that exposure is a three-legged stool of aperture, shutter speed and ISO, but the author never explains this.

Sometimes Kelby tells you things that most photographers would warn against, like editing out images as you shoot. Perhaps when memory cards were smaller this might have made some kind of sense, but in this day and age of large memory cards, it doesn't. Instead picture how you will feel if you miss a great shot while you are fooling around deleting images.

Sometimes Kelby makes statements that might be true, but require more explanation for you to get the most from your camera. For example he says that macro lenses have a very small depth of field. Actually depth of field is a function of focal length, aperture and distance to subject, regardless of minimum focusing distance. At, say, 25 feet and an aperture of f/4 a macro lens and a normal lens, both of 60mm, will have exactly the same depth of field. At five inches the depth of field is significantly reduced, and a normal lens usually cannot focus at 5 inches while a macro lens can. But to suggest there is something about a macro lens, other then the fact that it can focus more closely, that gives it less depth of field is misleading. Yet Kelby's tips are regularly misleading in this way. That's why I recommend reading a "tell me all about it" book first. In fact, if you understand what the "tell me all about it" book is saying, you may not even benefit from this book.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2013
This book pretty much answered every question I had about my DLSR. I was planning a trip and wanted to make sure I got the best use out of my camera rig, which had always been a daunting prospect. After reading this book, I couldn't wait to try out all the different recommendations and scenarios that the author worked through in language that was direct, easy-to-understand and carefully walked the line between critical technical considerations and not getting so geeked out that it would frighten mere mortal photographers. My post-reading photos are finally something I'm proud of. I'd frame them. People comment on them. And it really didn't take that much effort to get them once I had referenced this book.

The one thing this book doesn't have that some readers might want is a detailed explanation of photography terms, science and deep technical issues, and that was fine with me. There are plenty of books for that. What Kelby does is tell you how to get a great photo, especially in the most common settings (sunsets, weddings, landscapes, sports, portraits...). The logic is simple for each and he even provides simple setups for different types of photos. I used his little laundry list of settings for some sunset shots in Hawaii and they came out absolutely stunning. I was never able to nail that before reading this book.

Highly recommended. Once you read it and apply the concepts, you'll suddenly realize how much further you can take your pictures when you decide to move beyond a mobile phone or a point-and-shoot.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2013
This is done with a great sense of humor, and without a lot of technical jargon. You see a picture, and he tells you how he did it, and how you can do it too. It doesn't go into a lot of the detail as to the mechanics behind it, which can be very confusing to a newbie like me. Love this book. I'm contantly using it for guidance. Will be purchasing more of Scott's books in the future.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2013
This book is an intermediate beginners' book. Scott expects you to know all the basics on controlling exposure, which is nice for people like me who need more explanation on what to do after you understand aperture, ISO, shutter speed. I liked the quick and dirty on how to shoot panoramic photos, macro, sports, etc. He also gives a quick but thorough explanation on portraits and weddings. He gives you details on which gear you need to achieve certain images, but he doesn't ignore the fact that photography is expensive (which many pros seem to do).

I love Scott Kelby for what he does to help photographers get better in camera and in post processing. This book is no exception.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2013
This book is full of useful information and it's so easy to understand. For those who bought the Kindle ebook and is having problems seeing the text or images inside the black boxes, please try to set your background to sepia or black. If your background is set to white, you will not see anything inside the black boxes, not sure why. I'll give it a 5-stars once they fixed the white background issue for black box. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2013
it's advertized as the best digital photo book and it is in my opinion.. great insight and helpful hints.. you won't be disappointed
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2013
Scott Kelby's presentation of information is appealing. I learned so much from this book. When I first looked through it I thought it was too simple, and the explanations to short. However, the information has helped me to improve already. I plan to purchase volumes 2-4 also.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2015
I have bought and read the first four of Kelby's Digital Photogrpahy books and like many, many people, have enjoyed the way he uses humour and writes his explanations as if he's just having a casual conversation with you, as if you bumped into each other at a barbeque, you discovered he's a photography pro, and you picked his brains for a few tips, and struck gold because this photographer knows how to put things in normal language, refraining from using technical jargon and making you feel illiterate, dumb and a fool.

To be honest though, I've found that he is stringing out his books. I found that as you progress from Book to, to 2, then 3, then 4, the things you learn decreases, at least for me. Don't get me wrong, I am hardly a pro. And Kelby covers many situations that I'm sure I'll very rarely be involved in, like waking at 5am to take one of those beautiful landscapes with the still waters of the lake, over which a long shadow of the nearby mountain is casting.

Overall, should you buy this series of books? If you even a passing interest in photography, then yes, at the very least buy the first book. As the the next 4, it depends on your interest and knowledge levels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2013
Read this book after checking it out from the library. It was so useful, and I checked it out so often, that when the 2nd Ed. came out, I purchased it. It's not a starter book exactly, would recommend a different path for someone who is a newb with a DSLR. However, it is a GREAT book once you get to the point where you can take a picture but you want to move beyond taking snapshots.

What I love most about this book is the way it is organized. Instead of long chapters covering topics in depth (I have and love those books too), this book is organized into one page how-to messages. The flow of the book allows for reading front to back, but does not require it. You can jump to any page and find helpful information on the topic on that page. This is why I continue to refer to this book. If I am going to shoot something new, I look here to pick up tips to make it easier.

I could go on, but I won't. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2013
I have to preface this review by saying that I'm a BIG Scott Kelby fan. I have many of his Photoshop books, and really love them. He has a great way of explaining things.

I was first tempted to buy the four-book package, but decided to try #1 first. I'm glad that I did, because I don't think that I'll be buying the other three in the series. His style of writing is still great, but I thought the book was very shallow in content. Each page is divided into two parts: picture on top half, and a paragraph of writing on the bottom half. Somebody just getting into photography might find this book interesting, but I was disappointed in the content.
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