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As someone with 25 years of photography, I cannot recommend this "book". Starting with the very first photo, a typical photojournalist shot, super wide angle shooting into the sun photo. This just continues into the book with cliched subjects (sunsets, cats) and advice like "take lots of photos"

The section in aperture starts out with a photo that's hard to look at its so badly exposed.

The section on metering is just plain wrong, true only for spot metering, which most of the people who read this beginners guide are not going to be using. For the people it actually targets its misleading to talk about which spot the camera is metering on.

There are many many better books than this which will give beginners a grounding in the mechanics of photography.

> The section on metering is just plain wrong, true only for spot metering, which most of the people who read this beginners guide are not going to be using. For the people it actually targets its misleading to talk about which spot the camera is metering on.

That section was for people who were using camera phones with on screen touch focusing (the iPhone camera app also adjusts the exposure for the area where focus was selected). The section on dSLR spot focusing was to explain how to do that with dSLR's if you wanted to.

The next chapter on frame exposure settings goes over using exposure compensation.

Your only valid criticism is that the Aperture chapter's photo is poorly exposed.

So how about using photos that are well exposed, starting with the opening photo with the blown out sky, and then the dreadful photo of the dogs/family in front of the Hudson.

There's one good photo in the whole book, and that was taken with a p&s (s90) - something you claim cannot resolve more than 15' in front if the lens and takes a second to shoot. Both point are of course are completely wrong and misleading.

The 'book' (quoted because its really just a few dozen paragraphs) looses any credibility when it's accompanied by photos that are so awfully made.

I don't think my photos are going to be everyone's cup of tea and that's fine. I dont mean that in a "fck you it's art" but that I'm not only following my own style, but within certain limitations.

I don't disagree with you on how those particular photos are blown out, but those were candid shots in irregular lighting. To make a conventional shot, you would set up lights and possibly do significant post processing. I chose to emphasize as much of the area that I wanted even as details are lost at the other end.

The main point of the book is that there are options in the first place and it's important to be aware of them to properly adjust...rather than just snapping a photo and wondering why it turned out so off.

It's difficult for me to show what the choices were, granted, because I didn't shoot those scenes with thhe intention of demonstrating a decision tree for the final shot. Being able to show more direct comparisons, between the exposure options, is my intention as I add new examples to the book

As far as the metering section, I think you're right that it's confusing...I decided to split off the chapter with doing touchscreen exposure and never fully fleshed out standard metering. That is something I'll work on

looses any credibility :D

You don't think "take lots of photos" is good advice? I'm curious how you would recommend people improve their skill in general.

Improvement happens when you learn from your mistakes, not when you repeat them million times over, i.e. you can take a lot of photos but if you never stop to think what was good and what was bad in them you won't improve. On the other hand, you can take less photos, but carefully analyze the result and improve a lot.

If you know of better books it would be a nice idea to put them on your comment (bashing is good, but giving alternatives is better).

For instance, I dived in the technical basics of my old SLR with this book I found at my parent's house: Photography - the guide to technique by Andrew Hawkins, Dennis Avon [1].

This is probably an outdated and now useless guide, but answered me many questions I had when I started.

[1] http://www.amazon.co.uk/Photography-Guide-Technique-Andrew-H...

I deliberately avoided suggesting alternatives because I think the best advice for a beginner is to stop with all the pretentious 'arty' photo techniques and take snapshots.

But, if pressed, I would suggest this book.


Most colleges have continuing education classes in photography. Stanford for example, I know does.

Heh, I think it's funny you and I are in disagreement...I see myself as being on the opposite end of the "artsy" spectrum since that wasn't highly valued at the newspaper.

Obviously, photos I take on my own are loosened up but I lean towards realism. Not using a flash is a deliberate decision to preserve as much of the lighting in a dark scene, even at the risk of underexposure or excess ambient light from a slow shutter speed. Anyway, the book you recommend is not a bad one, but on a brief skim, it's more about the history and place of photography than snapshot technique. I don't disagree that that has worth, it's just not what I'm aiming for in my admittedly brief guide.

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