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Book Review: The Digital Photography Book: Volume Three by Scott Kelby

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After the success of his first two volumes of The Digital Photography Book Scott Kelby is out with his latest version The Digital Photography Book: Volume Three. This is not an update of either of his bestselling books, but rather it is a completely new, third volume that continues in the tradition of the first two.

Like the first two volumes, the concept of this one is also based on the premise that if you and Scott Kelby were out on a photo shoot and you asked him how to achieve some type of photographic result, Kelby would not go into a lot of detail about how cameras work or lighting ratios. Instead he would just show you how to accomplish what you want to do. Sometimes he might say that you need to get this piece of equipment, and here is where you can get it, just as he would tell a friend who was with him in the field.

Keep in mind that The Digital Photography Book: Volume Three builds off of information presented in volumes one and two, and so, while you can learn a lot of new techniques from this book alone, it is highly advisable that you have read the first two books. This book is 264 pages in length, divided into ten chapters, and is fully indexed.

Chapter One, “Using Flash Like a Pro,” examines how to work with soft lights, using wireless technology with your flashes, getting better people shots with your flash, and many other flash lighting techniques.

Chapter Two, “Using your studio like a Pro,” now takes the studio that you built in volume two and now will take it to the next level by working with set backgrounds, shooting tethered to a TV monitor, working with main and fill lights, as well as how to properly use a gray card.

Chapter Three, “The Truth about Lenses,” is an explanation of the different categories of lenses and attachments and what you can do with them. Here you will find out exactly what each type of lens is and when you should consider using one.

Chapter Four, “Shooting Products Like a Pro,” looks at what it takes to do product shots — that is, the type of photos that you see in magazines, on food menus, and on eBay. There are a lot of tricks presented here like the use of small mirrors, tents, hanging stuff by thin wire, and working with dramatic backgrounds.

Chapter Five, “Shooting Outdoors Like a Pro,” will have you creating stunning scenic images by showing things like how to get that star filter effect over a lake shot, how to work with white balance, shooting underwater, and shooting for High Dynamic Range (HDR).

Chapter Six, “Shooting People Like a Pro,” is all about putting people in their best light. Topics include how to make someone feel more comfortable, working with triflectors and scrims, as well as other techniques for making people look their best.

Chapter Seven, “Shooting Sports Like a Pro,” will have you getting more professional results when you are shooting live action. Here you will work with techniques like manipulating ISO, finding the best locations from which to shoot, and exactly what to shoot and what not to shoot.

Chapter Eight, “Pro Tips for Getting Better Photos,” covers techniques that don’t fit in any of the preceding chapters. These include spot metering, shooting concerts, shooting home interiors, working with time-lapse photography, shooting night scenes, as well as what to pack for different situations.

Chapter Nine, “Avoiding Problems Like a Pro,” shows how to sidestep things that drive you crazy. These include things like updating your firmware, copyrighting your photos, working with memory cards, shooting in bad weather, and even a Photoshop trick for finding dust spots.

Chapter Ten, “Yet Even More Photo Recipes to Help you Get ‘The Shot,'” shows you 18 different techniques to get similar images to the ones shown in the book.

The Digital Photography Book: Volume Three like its predecessors, is another certified winner. At its heart, this is a simple book with a basic premise — to show you how to accomplish professional techniques in photography in the most down to earth method possible. At that task, as with the previous volumes, it is extraordinary. Each page or two covers a single concept that shows you how to achieve a specific goal.

While he is an avid Photoshop proponent, one of the core concepts behind Kelby’s philosophy is to get the shot right in the first place. The Digital Photography Book: Volume Three continues the work of showing you how this can be accomplished before the image hits the computer. That is what set this book apart from many of the others on the library shelf. I very highly recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

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