on August 9, 2012
I have recently purchased a Nikon 3100 and bought the corresponding "dummies" book, which about matches my photography expertise. So, now I know how to use my new camera....right? Nope. Now I need education on how to take photographs with my fancy new toy so that they look better than my iPhone snapshots. Enter Tony's book. Since there are a ton of reviews on the paper version, you can pretty much figure out that the content is excellent. I will focus on the electronic version.
First of all, this is a great book in any form--hard copy or ebook. However, as far as I can tell, there are a bunch of great paper books out there on DSLR photography. When I downloaded the Kindle sample and read through it, I knew that the ebook format was the way to go.
I've owned a Kindle since version 1, and now own the Fire. Tony's book should be a primer on how to properly create an ebook. The embedded links and videos, as well as the ability to grab the sample photos and enlarge for detailed study (need an Internet connection for the latter two items) is invaluable to rank photography newbs like me. The videos are top-notch and contain many side-by-side examples of how pictures are improved when applying the techniques that are covered in the video. The videos are stuck in the appropriate place in the book, which leads to excellent learning flow as you build on the lessons. The experiences on the Kindle Fire and the iPad and PC Kindle apps are equally excellent.
Tony has indicated that he plans on improving and updating the ebook contents, which all buyers will be able to download as they become available. This is a refreshing change to the "quick scan, make a buck and forget" mentality that the big publishers follow. I will try to update my review as this new content becomes available.
Finally, the price. Tony has evidently not subscribed to the overpriced ebook mentality that has been the source of thousands of complaints on Amazon. Compared to the phyiscal version, he is charging about half. Obviously Tony wants to sell many books reasonably rather than try to gouge us buyers. Again, very refreshing.
I am looking forward to improving my nonexistent skills over the years using Tony's book as my teacher. No matter which version you buy, you will do well. However, I strongly suggest you go for the ebook.
on April 18, 2012
UPDATED ON 12/10/2014:
Well, it's been almost 3 years since I got this book and it's been a great journey. Couple of updates:
- Love the fact that this e-book is with me all the time. Whenever I need to check or read up on something I can pull it up on the Kindle (which I rarely use), or on my desktop PC or even on the phone while traveling (with the kindle reader apps). The latest and greatest updated version of this book just flows through to the device of your choice instantly. I love that aspect and it really helps to fine tune your photography at leisure or whenever that great light and fantastic place happens and you just have to click, but wished you could check on some particular info.
- The Facebook group for SDP has really grown by leaps and bounds in terms of quality as well as quantity. Lots of actually 'stunning' images are posted there everyday and get feedback from the active community which has photographers of all skill and equipment levels. Also there are weekly monthly challenges at times.
- Recently in the Facebook group, I have been seeing many updates from readers about their pictures being published in magazines and they thank this book for helping them. Personally, that to me feels like the kind of the highest acknowledgement for this book and author.
- There is also a separate website for this book. It's free for anyone who has purchased the book and is a great community to post your pictures, get feedback and also get some 'inside information' from the SDP world.
- The authors have a fun and interactive live web session once in a while where they give updates happening in the photography world and also they provide comments and advice on photos posted by readers.
- The different lighting setups mentioned in the book are great and have been really enjoying making pictures with those recently.
- Love the video updates that keep coming once in a while. It takes learning to a whole new level. Keep 'em coming!
UPDATED ON 05/21/2013:
Having spent many months with this book, here are a few updates to my earlier review:
- There are a ton of advanced photography techniques covered in this book: Underwater, Star Trails, Macro, Light painting, advanced lighting techniques, etc. So it never gets boring or exhausted. As a amateur or pro photographer, there is always some challenge or technique that you can move on to.
- The Facebook group for this book is great and everyday one can see great images clicked by readers of this book.
- Great updated gear-buying advice
- Did I already say this books keeps getting better with time? I have seen a number of great updates since, a lot of them based on reader feedback and needs.
This is a fantastic find and really helped me get a lot from my DSLR camera. Excellent instructions, tons of pictures and a friendly writing style makes one feel as if a pro photographer is guiding you step by step and teaching you his tricks. There are exercises that help you retain what you learn. I recommend you do the exercises (if you are new to the technique) and not just read the book passively. That way you can employ those techniques when actually shooting pictures.
I was under the impression that pro photographers always whipped out their cameras and right away shot their for-the-magazines-final pictures with each click. I felt editing a photograph was not ok and there were so many other myths that I had as a newbie. Being in the field for quite some time, Tony explains the need to persevere, take hundreds of pictures, keep just the good ones and discard the rest, edit and touch-up as required and so many things that made taking great pictures seem so much feasible and accessible to me. (Yes, most great work is still 99% perspiration as of today.)
This book does not dabble in a lot of unnecessary camera lingo and settings, but just what's necessary coupled with tips and techniques to actually get those pictures. While a photography student will not mind studying all the alphabets, others like me appreciate getting straight to the point on how to get a good portrait, how to get a good landscape, what are the pitfalls to avoid, etc. So this book works great in that respect. The author mainly gives Canon/Nikon examples, but they work well for someone like me using a Sony DSLR.
The organization of the book is great. The resources it mentions and links are great. The constant updates the author is committed to is amazing. Just yesterday, months after its release, I saw a new video added into YouTube for this book (which will make into the pages of the digital edition soon). Lots of great accessories are explained. Tony keeps in touch with the readers through the book's Facebook page and that is a great personal touch the author puts in.
I think it will be great if the index was a little more expanded with subheadings (at least the major ones). The other day I was looking for information on RAW files (I remember reading it earlier in this book) but had a hard time finding its location.
Overall an excellent resource for newbies and others alike. I have already recommended it to many and will continue to do so.
on April 23, 2013
I cannot say enough good things about this book.
I have been wanting to get better at photography for awhile, but was kind of hopping around between online tutorials and tips here and there, and didn't feel I was making a lot of progress. I decided to purchase this book to make sure that I had everything in an organized manner... and I'm so glad that I did!
The book starts at the beginning and moves through all the basic elements of photography, covering things like quick tips, composition, depth of field, lighting, etc. (Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed, Camera Equipment, etc. are all covered.) After learning the basics, the book has later chapters that have detailed ideas for Portraits, landscapes, macro photography, photographing animals, weddings, night photography, underwater photography, HDR techniques, and more.
I am a natural editor, and I can't stand to read books that have a lot of "fluff," where I am constantly trying to fix the book in my mind. While this book has quite a bit of content, it is written so that every word counts. As you read it, you never feel like you're wasting your time. Each sentence is informative and interesting and occasionally funny.
The book is illustrated with lovely, original pictures and examples that really illustrate the principle being taught.
However, probably the best part is the VIDEOS. As you read, there are 3 hours worth of video illustrating and reinforcing each concept being taught. It almost feels like an online course. And when you combine the fact that purchase of the book gives you access to Tony's Facebook page where people including Tony and Chelsea give tips and techniques, this book is an incredible value. It is almost like taking a photography course, but so much cheaper! Well worth the money.
This book would be great in print, but it works especially well on an ipad or a kindle fire or something like that.
If you want to learn more about photography, this book is for you. You won't regret getting it. I have convinced several family members to buy it as well, and they all really like it.
And the proof is in the result. I started an album on my facebook (trying to follow Tony's tip to use your pictures) and do you know what some of my friends said? "Stunning."
on July 15, 2013
I don't believe I've ever written a review, but after purchasing this book, and interacting with the author I am compelled to do so. I have a stressful job so I decided to take up photography as a way of relaxing. My wonderful wife has a Canon T3i that was begging to get used beyond the auto-pilot mode. I couldn't sleep the other night, and read the book cover to cover and watched the movies that are tied to the chapters--I was really impressed at how good it was. After reading it through quickly, I'm going back chapter by chapter to begin to experiment as the author implores you to do, and learn how to take great photo's. I spent the weekend revamping my wife's file system on her new iMac so I have a solid platform to begin the journey--another tip from his book!
In the book the author states you can email him a copy of the receipt, and you will get updates to the book, and then also have the ability to join the Facebook group. I did as directed thinking it would be weeks before I heard back, but the next morning I had the updates and some kind words from him waiting for me in my inbox. I was floored on how quickly he responded to the request. Working in a field where customer service makes or breaks you--this is exceptional, and the reason I'm writing my first review. Buy the book, you will learn a lot, and have an experience like no other. Thanks Tony--You Rock!
on March 22, 2014
After downloading it to my kindle , I was shocked to see that.the picture shown as eg: in the book is so dull and blured.
Other than that the book seems helpful..I just started reading..will update as I progress.
Tony(Author of the Book) responded to my review and now I understand the reason for the blur image. Its because amazon has a limitation on the ebook size, so he had to maintain it like that. So I take back my comment above on the image quality.
Additionally Tony has agreed to help me share the original images, which is really generous of him and I really appreciate that quality. Also I have read thru few more pages on the book and its really getting interesting. I would recommend this book for all.
on December 20, 2013
He is easy to follow and never condescending. I keep the book nearby and constantly review it for ideas. I recommend this book for beginners and advanced photographers alike. Be sure to watch his videos, again treats you with respect.
on March 20, 2015
Awesome book. Lots of books about photography out there but I honestly chose this one because Tony and Chelsea (Northrup) have such a great Youtube dynamic. I learned so much from their videos that I could not resist this purchase. In no way was I disappointed, very happy that I bought this book.
on February 28, 2016
I was expecting just another book about the exposure triangle sprinkled with a few techniques written in Photo-speak, a language that only people who write books on photography can understand. What I received for my exorbitant contribution of a penny less than ten dollars, was an extraordinarily comprehensive course of the technical skills necessary to master the mechanics of the beast, as well as the techniques to produce a quality product. Additionally, they added in the human interface aspects of the occupation. From posing the model to look thinner to wrangling the urchins, the course is a compilation of practical information formatted with common language and sprinkled with pleasant humor. If you really wish to learn photography as a hobby or a trade this course is an excellent start.
on April 24, 2013
I bought the print version of this book as it currently comes with instructions on how to also get the regularly updated e-book version for free, (in several of the popular formats). I'd have possibly just bought the e-book version otherwise, but this is a great idea that I wish many other publishers would consider and it definitely convinced me to spend the extra for the print version to read when I'm home, and to have the e-book version with me when I'm not.
I've only recently taking the jump from a bridge camera to a full blown DSLR. The (6 month) earlier jump I made from a simple point and click camera to a bridge camera that offered full manual and program modes, plus aperture and shutter priority modes really whetted my appetite and interest in photography further so I finally convinced myself that a Nikon DSLR was a purchase I could justify.
Within days of receiving the camera I decided a good reference and "how-to" guide would be useful. I didn't realize at the time I wasn't just buying a book - I was buying access to a wonderful online community, resource center, video tutorials, and much more. Wow. The lengths those responsible for this book have gone to to provide a truly fantastic resource for their readers is unprecedented and incredibly useful - for novices or more experienced and seasoned photographers. The private Facebook group allows those who have bought this book to post their photos and have their work critiqued and commented upon, often by the author himself, to ask for help and advice - or to give help and advice, or perhaps to just to feel connected with other like minded hobbyists and photography enthusiasts.
As for the book itself, it is presented wonderfully with full color examples where needed. The advice given is sound and comprehensive and there are many links to online video tutorials scattered through-out the book that further reinforce the lessons given on the page. The author took all the example photos himself rather than use stock images, so you know that what he is telling you gives you the essential knowledge to create your own similar photos.
This is a great book with great advice and it deserves five stars for that alone. The online community that the purchaser can access (for free) upon purchase means there are not enough stars available on the Amazon review system that this product deserves.
on July 15, 2015
Best $20 i've ever spent! What I love about it is that when you buy the book you get access to community forum and the Facebook page which is very nice, It has loads of useful information to improve your photography,
I would highly recommend the book to anyone starting out in photography, very very useful.