Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 1st Edition
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About the Author
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So if you understand those three issues you got everything down at least in theory, right? Not exactly. In practice, it is very easy for you to get lost in the trees rather than see the 'big picture' no pun intended. Kelby's books brings practical tips to help you focus- okay I will stop with the puns but beware Kelby's puns are better (or worse??) than mine.
For instance, Kelby will remind you that perspective is huge (ahem so is exposure- see the relationship mentioned above). If you can't get the shot your looking for- MOVE. Get under. Shoot down. Get Closer. Get Farther away. This is where understanding the relationship between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed will help to get a nice shot.
There are sections of each book broken down by the type of photography you are interested in (sports, landscapes, portraits, etc) as well as equipment recommendations for every budget (well sorta- this is an expensive hobby).
And for those who are new to photography, this is where these books will help you. In each section he gives tips such as which f stop to use, where to focus, how to frame the shot, etc. Typically, the photos included as examples list the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Further, at the end of book he provides you with recipes on how to recreate shots.
I think these books best serve the novice to intermediate and possibly advanced photographer. For those starting in photography I do think these books offer quite a bit of value if for no other reason then you can start producing some pretty impressive shots. Further, he does an excellent job going through recommended equipment based on budget. I would recommend checking out Tony Northrup's book on introduction to photography for the true beginner in order to get the basics down. Tony Northrup's DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography
He does make sarcastic jokes on several pages saying yeah well I just made that up... and a few pages later yeah I just made that up too.....
So I returned it and bought a different authors book. No, I’m not making that up.
Find a book for YOUR camera and get the tips and tricks for it.
First let me say, this author uses humor in his writing which you may or may not appreciate. Humor is individual and, by its very nature, usually offends someone. Personally, I found the first few pages to be annoying, but I kept reading and sometimes I found myself even laughing at his jokes. Whatever your position, I believe the content of these books is worthwhile to people of all levels of experience.
If you don't want to buy the entire boxed set, I would suggest starting with Book 1. Books 1-4 are simply pages of "tips" and are not arranged by level of difficulty (Book 4 does not give techniques that are more advanced than Book 1). Book 2 has quite a bit of information related to studios so you could jump to Book 3 if that's not an area of interest (although there are many other tips besides the studio ones in Book 2). There is some overlap across the books and some suggestions are given more than once. Being new to photography, I didn't mind the repetition and there were other non-overlapping tips in each book as well. At the end of each book, the author provides several examples of pictures with step-by-step directions for getting that type of shot. There's not a lot of explanation about "why" certain settings were used, but that's not the point of these books. I like to study the pictures and try to guess what the author did, which helps me develop my own inner sense of what settings to use. Oh, in case you're wondering, Book 5 is a compilation of more of these "photo recipes," with a little more depth in the explanations as well as some "before" and "after" shots.
Because some of the tips are for advanced photographers, I know I will be able to benefit from re-reading these after I have more experience. One suggestion to the author for future editions: rather than a boxed set, perhaps these tips could be compiled into one book so that related topics could be together under the same section. As a reference, it would be easier to find the information later, rather than looking back through all four books for tips related to flash or sports photography, for example.
All-in-all, this boxed set was cheaper than a class, and I can already see the difference in my photographs. Highly recommended!