Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Digital Exposure Handbook Review

For my birthday I was given The Digital Exposure Handbook, written by Ross Hoddinott.  The book clearly explains both the basics of photography, but also dives deeper into the more intricate aspects of phototography and, specifically, digital exposure.  Here are some things I like about the book:

1. Organization- The book does a great job of pointing out basic photography techniques and explaining basic terminology before going deeper.  Thus, it's possible for beginning photographers to benefit just as much as the more advanced photographer.

2. Diagrams- Several photography books try to explain how to take good pictures, but don't show you how.  This book has several diagrams that explain concepts ranging from the mechanics of a lens to the correct aperture/ISO combinations.

3. Example photos- When learning a new technique, Digital Exposure Handbook provides photos taken by the author while using the current technique.  So, the author says, "set your ISO to this and your aperture to this in these conditions, and here's what your photo is going to look like".

4. Camera Independent- Too many photography books try to tell you how to use your specific camera, while simultaneously teaching you how to use two other brands of cameras.  While this is an attempt to be helpful, it often confuses the reader.  The Digital Exposure Handbook tells you to "adjust the ISO", but does not go into detail on how to do that with nine different types of cameras.  So, for the beginning photographer, you might want to have your camera's manual handy while reading.

5. Image data- Every image in the book tells what camera/lens the photo was taken with, along with the specific camera settings that were used.  This is especially helpful for the beginning photographer.  I was, in fact, able to go into the field for a shoot, set my settings to mirror what Ross Hoddinott used, and take a nearly identical photo.  While this isn't useful in the long run, as it discourages actually learning about the camera's settings, it does allow the reader to get into the field right away and begin experimenting with their camera's settings.

All in all, Digital Exposure Handbook allow's beginning AND advanced readers to learn the value of digital exposure and quickly implement the things they've learned.  Of all the photography books I've read, I think this one is the only one who earns a 10/10, and for less than $15, what do you have to lose?