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This will give you the confidence to take great pictures on the go.

Book Review: The Digital Photography Companion by Derrick Story

Don’t you just hate it? You just bought this nice camera, you have been working with it, you feel comfortable using it, you purchased a number of books on how to use it to do different things, and you have studied them diligently. Now that you’re on vacation or on a business trip, you want to use your camera but can’t seem to remember what you need to do to take good shots in that museum or how to properly bracket a shot because the light is just not right. There might even be a great opportunity to do a panorama, but since you have never done one you are just not certain.

Sure, you read about how to do each of these things, but you can’t carry all of your books with you wherever you go. You can, however, take along Derrick Story’s easy-to-carry new book, The Digital Photography Companion. It contains all of these answers and much, much more. At 8.4 x 5.5 inches in size and under nine ounces, it can slip into almost any bag you have on hand when you need it. The Digital Photography Companion is 230 pages in length and is divided into five chapters.

Chapter 1, “What is It?,” begins with a feature and comparison listing for the different types of cameras and accessory equipment. The first step to taking control of your camera is to know what your camera is capable of. Here you will learn about every feature of your camera. If you have not purchased a camera as yet, you will find out the kind of features you should look for in a camera – even the ones you don’t need. This isn’t intended to replace your manual, but rather work in concert with your manual to explain things in terms that are easier to understand.

Chapter 2, “How Does it Work,” will have you taking control of buttons, dials, and menus. Where chapter 1 told you what your camera has on it, or should have on it, this chapter will tell you how to use it. Many times when people first get a camera, the camera is in control via automatic settings. Here you will learn how to use those deceptively simple buttons and dials to move you to the next level of picture taking creativity. Now you will get the power to take control and create even better pictures.

Chapter 3, “How to Shoot Like a Pro,” gives you advice for taking pictures in real life situations. You have learned how to control your camera; now you will see how to use it. In this chapter you will learn more than a dozen important camera techniques such as how to shoot outdoor portraits, how the pros shoot building architecture, the best way to get action shots, and how to take pictures in a museum. These can be especially difficult since most museums don’t allow tripods or flash use.

Chapter 4, “I’ve Taken Great Pictures, Now What?,” shows you the basics for working in the digital darkroom. So many pictures never see the light of day because many people don’t know what to do with them once they have been downloaded to their hard drives. Here you will learn about the different products that can be used to display them on the web, to create a slide show, or even send them via email to friends and family.

Chapter 5, “Printing Made Easy,” will give you simple solutions for getting prints of your images. Anyone can produce great prints worthy of framing either from a printer, a lab, or dedicated photo printer. This chapter takes the mystery out of printing and will help you get your images on paper.

The Digital Photography Companion is geared for the novice and the hobbyist photographer who is either just starting out or has been using their camera as a point-and-shoot tool and now wants to do more with it. Derrick Story has done an outstanding job of beginning at the beginning, taking you to the end without complicating the topic with a lot of jargon and simply presenting what you need to know. Think of it as your cousin Derrick showing you how to use your camera to take pictures.

By the time you are done with this book, you may choose to move to new levels and you will have a strong foundation from which to do that. If not, you will still have that strong foundation for taking great pictures, and others will certainly admire this. If you are just getting started in photography or are frustrated by not being able to use the camera that you have, The Digital Photography Companion will give you the confidence to take great pictures. I highly recommend this book.

About T. Michael Testi

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

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