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Tony Northrup's DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography Paperback – December 1, 2012
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"I'm the founder of photo.net (started in 1993), so I've seen a lot of photography tutorials. This might be my favorite so far in terms of density of practical information...A very functional book designed for busy people." -- Philip Greenspun "Amazon"
About the Author
Award-winning author and photographer Tony Northrup has published more than 30 how-to books and sold more than a million copies around the world. His photos have been featured on magazine covers, book covers, CD covers, TV shows, calendars, and much more. Tony studied photography at the New England School of Photography and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. He runs a stock and portrait photography business with his family, Chelsea and Madelyn, out of his home studio in Waterford, CT. He shoots travel and nature photography everywhere he goes.
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My question is, did I get a lemon or is every one of these books like this? If the former, I'll request an exchange.
** UPDATED, look below for my update.
The book is approximately 225 pages. If you remove just the references telling you to buy, or to look in his other books and videos for more information then the book would be less than 100 pages in length. Those remaining pages contain the most basic information scattered amongst a lot of just cutesy self promotion. The entire package is nothing more nor less than a printed infomercial. Okay, how about those 9 hrs of videos that come with the book you ask?
First it took me nearly a week to get authorized to view them on his website (No Virginia, there are no DVD's with this book). Once those hurdles were jumped I discovered that either he deliberately cut out chunks, leaving the audio to play (It is as if the video is paused, and the audio continues on its merry way, or the websites bandwidth is completely inadequate. Either way you will be so distracted by those constant pauses that what little good info is contained is missed.
I am in no way exaggerating any of this. Well then you ask: Why so many 4-5 star reviews? Because there are an awful lot of people who apparently like just looking at these two. I suspect Chelsea is the biggest draw.
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.
I would highly recommend the book to anyone starting out in photography, very very useful.
I love the active links and the photo examples.
Tony has worked hard on this book and it shows. I can tell you first hand that his book has improved my shooting and I will use along with his videos as a reference guide. If you thinking about getting the book, just do it.
The links to online video supplements is a good idea. Unfortunately, Mr. Northrup's philosophy throughout the book and videos is to take lots of photos and delete most of them. In other words, after absorbing his book of knowledge, the best you can hope for are happy accidents resulting in good photographs. If the book contained valuable information, you would think that he would have a little more confidence in the outcome.
I was already considering returning the book but the moment I decided that I would definitely return the book was when Mr. Northrup stated in his wildlife photography video that anyone wearing camouflage was a murderer (while he and his wife were wearing camouflage). A book by anyone spewing this kind of ignorance (even if it contained valuable photography insight - which it lacks) would have no place in my home.