Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Digital Photography

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Digital Photography

You have a digital camera, now what? Thanks to memory sticks, docking stations, computers, image editing software, and printers, using your new digital camera can be frustrating and intimidating. With Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Digital Photography, you’ll learn everything you need to know to take great digital pictures and share them with friends or family.

Author Joseph Ciaglia, a teacher and award-winning landscape photographer, first gives you a quick start guide to using a digital camera so you can read a few step-by-step pages and then go from picture to print in moments. He then uses everyday, easy-to-understand language to explain exposure, focus, lighting, file formats, file storage and organization, how to use Adobe Photoshop Elements and iPhoto to edit and improve images, printers, specialty photo papers, and how to get your photos on the Web and in email messages. After reading this book, even the most digitally challenged shutterbug will be able to produce high-quality digital photographs!

Book Review by Brendan

The biggest thing that stands out in this book is that it is not designed for digital photographers. It appears to be an old film photography book that was edited to add a little digital photography information and terminology. The problem is, the digital photography info they added was not relevant to taking pictures with digital cameras, but more about history and technical design. And certain terms they use repeatedly in this book are not the common terms used in the rest of the digital community, adding more confusion for beginners. Most of the book references film. The author apparently tries to make this acceptable by saying that because images can be scanned and manipulated on computers, that film photographers are digital photographers too. I honestly don’t think that is what people buying a book on digital photography are looking for.

Chapter 3 is “Film Basics” talking about various aspects of using film and how it works. Chapter 4 begins the “Digital Basics”. It starts out with discussion on the types of lenses, and how focal lengths affect the pictures. The problem is, that even though we are in the “Digital Basics” section, all the references are in relation to 35mm film and 35mm film cameras. Chapter 5 is on exposure and focus. At the beginning of the chapter it makes a quick reference to the white balance settings on a digital camera, and then goes directly in to extremely film only discussion, including negatives. The chapter is very thin and shallow and there is not much to learn about exposure even if you were a film user. Beyond this chapter (the next 18 chapters) is mostly information on scanning your images and manipulating them with software, like Photoshop. Seriously, if you want a book on how to use Photoshop, you buy a book on Photoshop, not digital photography. This book will not teach you how to use your digital camera better, or take better picture in general. There are a ton of better books for that, and a ton more that will teach you how to use your favorite photo manipulation software.

If you are a beginner, with a digital camera, looking how to use it and take better pictures, this is not the book for you. You will learn very little here. The little reference there is on digital photography looks like it was pulled off of Wikipedia, or some similar site. It seems like the authors first hand knowledge does not go beyond film based photography. And even though there are similarities in concepts between film and digital cameras, the author does not cover them. There is actually very little useful information about photography in general in this book. Mostly information on film, and manipulating the pictures you took using software. Look elsewhere for a photography book.

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About the Author

Joseph Ciaglia is an educator, landscape photographer, and author of Prentice Hall’s Introduction to Digital Photography. He enjoys shooting panoramic landscapes of the American West using a combination of film and digital techniques.

Peter Kuhns is a validation analyst, technical writer, and aspiring photographer. Mr. Kuhns has co-written game titles and Windows-related books. He is currently researching wireless and handheld computing.

Barbara London and John Upton are the authors of Photography, now in its eighth edition. It is a major college textbook that has dominated introductory college courses in photography since its publication and now in its eighth edition. Barbara London has published many critically acclaimed five-star photography books for beginning and intermediate photographers, including A Short Course in Photography.


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