Fundamentals of Photography – Book Review

Fundamentals of Photography was written by Tom Ang, who is an author of many other photography books prior to this one.  The subtitle of Fundamentals of Photography is “the essential handbook for both digital and film cameras,” which I think better describes this book.

When I first heard about the book from Random House, I figured it was another “intro to photography” type of a book.  It’s not.  In fact, if you are a beginner, I recommend that you don’t pick up a copy of this book.  If you are an experienced amateur, then this book will fit nicely into your library.

Fundamentals of Photography is really more of a handbook as the subtitle calls it.  The book is divided up into a handful of chapters that cover various aspects of photography.  Inside each of these chapters, Mr. Ang breaks down these aspects to minute subtopics and provides an overview of the key points of each subtopic.  While not comprehensive for any given topic, Fundamentals offers you a solid grasp of many key concepts in photography.

Do you want to know what the different types of elements are that go into a lens?  Turn to page 144 and you’ll get to see the differences between convex-concave, meniscus, biconcave, plano-concave, biconvex and plano-convex.  And with Mr. Ang’s introduction and explanation of how these lens types form images from light, you’ll have a basic understanding of what this all means.

Are you curious about the different effects of layer blend modes in Photoshop?  Turn to page 270 and you’ll get an introduction to the modes followed by several pages of examples that apply to the blend modes on the same image, along with a short explanation of what’s going on with each mode.

Fundamentals of Photography is not one of those books that you sit down and read cover to cover.  It is a handbook, or reference book, to pull out when you have questions about a specific topic – be it color space, lighting set ups or darkroom equipment.  It is a fair reference for both film and digital photography.  Its also rather inexpensive at around $15 on Amazon.com.

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