Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Photography Books for Enthusiastic Beginners

A close friend of mine has recently took the leap into the world of DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras. I too started not long ago, just before CNY (chinese new year) this year. My main reason was to take memorable photos of Xavier.

DSLR made it possible with a number of reasons. First, I am able to take photos in low lighting situations without the use of flash (for fear the flash will damage the fragile young eyes of newborns). Second, the larger sensor of DSLR enables the use of higher ISO without the noise level of compacts (again to enable capturing low light shots). Third, the faster "continuous shot" or "burst" mode enables me to increase the hit rate of successful shots.

Anyway today I want to introduce some photography places where you can find a wealth of information to give you a good start to take control of the exposure you are making.

First off is the library. I am now a frequent visitor to the NLB (National Library Board Singapore) as they have a sea of photography books, some fairly new too. The other service I like is you can borrow from one library branch and return the books to any branch convenient to you. Plus, you can search the catalogue at the comfort of your home then head to the branch which has the book available or simply place a reservation (for a small fee). You can look for the following titles:

  • Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson
  • Understanding Shutter Speed by Bryan Peterson
  • Learning to See Creatively by Bryan Peterson
  • The Digital Photography Book 1 & 2 by Scott Kelby
  • The Moment It Clicks by Joe McNally
I have read the first 4 books above and bought the 5th but yet to read it yet. I have been a big fan of Bryan Peterson even since I read his "Understanding Exposure". In fact after reading the 3 books of his listed above, I felt it reinforces what was taught during the basic photography course I went to at Objectifs. The three books also have great pictures to illustrate.

The two books by Scott Kelby uses another writing style. It "talks" to you like your photography buddy standing next to you, telling you what settings to get that shot, rather than bored you with the techniques and jargons.

I believe the book by Joe McNally follows similar style to Scott Kelby but will let you know once I read it.

That's all for now. I will add on more books as and when I find good ones. I will also talk about the other avenues and websites where you can get more information in my later blog posts. Anyway, if you are in Singapore, the definite forum to look for information about photography is definitely Clubsnap. Have fun shooting...

Edited on 22 June 09: I'm halfway thru Joe McNally's book and I must say I love it so far. But its probably easier to understand what he is talking about after knowing your camera and playing with the setting and shootings heaps. The book offers shooting tips from Joe McNally. Basically its not really a beginners book but a great read nonetheless.

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