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Book Review: The Digital Photography Book: Volume 2 By Scott Kelby

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After the success of his first volume of The Digital Photography Book, published in September 2006, Scott Kelby is out with his latest version The Digital Photography Book: Volume 2. This is not an update of his best selling book; rather it is a second volume that continues in the tradition of the first.

The first book was based on the premise that if you and Scott Kelby were out on a photo shoot and you asked how to achieve some type of photographic technique, Kelby would not go into a lot of detail about how cameras work. Instead he would just show you how to accomplish what you want to do. That is the premise of volume two as well. The Digital Photography Book: Volume 2 is 222 pages in length and divided into nine chapters and is fully indexed.

Chapter 1, “Using Flash Like a Pro,” examines the reason why pop-up flash makes images look so bad and why you have to get your flash off your camera. Here you will see how to work with flash off the camera, make it wireless, work with soft boxes, mounting flashes, and other techniques to work with flash. Chapter 2, “Building a Studio from Scratch,” shows you how you can put together your own personal studio. The topics shown here are about soft boxes, strobes, backgrounds, reflectors, and other tools to make your studio dream come true.

Chapter 3, “Shooting Portraits Like a Pro,” explains what it takes to get good portrait shots and why most people have a hard time getting the good ones. Here you will learn tips for shooting individuals, groups, and couples. You will also learn techniques for posing, using window light, which reflectors to use, and some tips on fixing facial challenges. Chapter 4, “Shooting Landscapes Like a Pro,” will show you the best techniques for shooting sunsets, panoramas, shooting lighting, rainbows, and other landscape tricks.

Chapter 5, “Shooting Weddings Like a Pro,” begins by setting up a shot list to make sure you get all of the shots you need. It follows up with other career saving tips like making sure you have back up equipment, how to aim your flash, working with backlighting, tips for posing the bride, and other things that will give you the leg up on shooting weddings. Chapter 6, “Shooting Travel Like a Pro,” is all about bringing back photos that really make them wish they were there. These include cityscapes, landmarks, shooting where they don’t allow flash, and how best to travel by air with photography equipment.

Chapter 7, “Shooting Macro Like a Pro,” gets close into shooting close-up photos. These techniques include why you should turn off auto-focus, which f-stop works best, buying a macro lens, and even how to make your lens into a macro lens. Chapter 8, “Pro Tips for Getting Better Photos,” covers techniques that don’t fit in any of the preceding chapters. These include choosing the right ISO, how to use the histogram, labeling your memory cards, which mode to shoot in, and which format to shoot in. Chapter 9, “More Photo Recipes to Help You Get ‘The Shot’,” shows you 16 different techniques to get similar images to the ones shown in the book. Many of these images are ones that are seen on Scott Kelby’s Blog.

The Digital Photography Book: Volume 2, like its predecessor, is another winner. At its heart is a simplistic book with a basic premise: it shows you how to accomplish things in photography. At that it is very, very good. Each page or two covers a single concept that shows you how to achieve that goal. It doesn’t spend any time with jargon or technical terms; rather it just shows you how to do it.

While he is an avid (perhaps rabid) Photoshop proponent, one of the core concepts behind Kelby’s philosophy is to get the shot right. The Digital Photography Book: Volume 2 continues the work of showing you how this can be accomplished before the image hits the computer. I wish there were more books like this and his last book Scott Kelby’s 7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3.That is what set this book apart from many of the others on the library shelf. I highly recommend The Digital Photography Book: Volume 2.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
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