Strobist Photo Trade Secrets Vol. 1 & 2 – Book Review

The Strobist Photo Trade Secrets books are quick-hit lighting books, featuring stunning flash photography from a variety of individual photographers.  Both volumes are edited by Zeke Kamm and published by Peachpit Press.

Essentially, the books each contain a collection of a couple dozen great images.  Each image covers a full page with a diagram and description of how the image was made on the back of the page.  Consequently, the photos suck you in to try to reverse-engineer the lighting setup in your head before you turn the page. [Read more...]

Understanding Exposure – Book Review

Understanding Exposure is a book by Bryan Peterson that teaches the basic elements of exposure and is now in its 3rd edition.  As was the case the prior two editions, the 3rd edition of Understanding Exposure provides the novice photographer with easy-to-read chapters and great information overall.

Peterson really breaks down the nuts and bolts of what goes into making a well-exposed image at the beginning of the book.  Then he delves a little deeper into the creative aspects of aperture and shutter speed – and how you can use these settings to make a “creatively correct” exposure. [Read more...]

Lights, Camera, Capture Book Now on iPad

Bob Davis’ Lights, Camera, Capture book is now available on iPad with a much more interactive version than you get with your typical ink and paper.

Check out iTunes for a closer look at the iPad version of the book.

You can also order a physical copy of the book from Amazon here.  You can check out the Lights, Camera, Capture book review here as well.

Understanding Photography Field Guide – Book Review

Over the past few years, I have given much praise to Bryan Peterson’s book, Understanding Exposure, as a practical resource for anyone looking to get more out of his or her camera.  It is, in my opinion, the best book for anyone new to DSLRs.  In the same vein, I can highly recommend Peterson’s new book, Understanding Photography Field Guide.

For my take on why this book is so great, read on. [Read more...]

Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR – Book Review

So, you’ve got that Rebel T2i, 7D, 5D Mark II, D300s, D5000 or any other number of DSLRs that can record video.  But how do you get a worthwhile movie captured, edited and in front of others’ eyeballs?

A decent starting point for answering that question can be found in Mastering HD Video with Your DSLR from Helmut Kraus and Uwe Steinmueller.  [Read more...]

Lights, Camera, Capture – Book Review

Lights, Camera, Capture is a book by Bob Davis that discusses creative lighting techniques. While Davis discusses many lighting equipment options, his primary focus is on Canon Speedlites using TTL metering.  And, while the techniques that apply to Canon Speedlites are prevalent throughout the book, the info will easily translate to Nikon shooters using the Nikon Creative Lighting System as well. [Read more...]

Digital Wedding Photographer’s Planner – Book Review

Digital Wedding Photographer's Planner

Digital Wedding Photographer’s Planner is a book by photographer Kenny Kim.  The book has an apt title.  It really is a “planner” for wedding photographers.

What the book doesn’t do is give you a bunch of technical how-to’s for shooting weddings.  Instead, Kenny Kim provides a walk-through of shooting a wedding – from meeting the client, to shooting the engagement session, to all the parts of the wedding itself. [Read more...]

Fast Track Photographer – Book Review

Fast Track Photographer

I read Dane Sanders’ book, Fast Track Photographer, several months ago.  Reading it changed the way I perceived the wedding and portrait photography industry, and really the way I look at photography services in general.

I recently learned that a new, “revised and expanded” edition of the book is due out in May, which is available for pre-order.

There are a handful of books that have made a real impact in my life.  Most are faith-oriented books.  None were photography books.  That is, until I read Fast Track Photographer. [Read more...]

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

Book Review: The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D Companion

If you’ve recently stepped up from a point and shoot camera to the Canon Rebel XSi, which is also known as the 450D in non-US markets, then you might have a bit of learning curve to adapt to. There are a number of books out there that can get you acquainted with your new DSLR, including the manual.

The Rebel XSi manual does a great job of familiarizing you with the features found in the camera; however, it doesn’t really tie them all together for you.  This new book by Ben Long does and it does it well.

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D Companion starts off by setting out the camera’s features and then goes on to put those features in context of daily shooting situations that you’ll come across with your new camera.  If you really want to get the most out of your Rebel XSi, then this book is a great place to start.

The Companion is a great book for beginners and avid amateurs alike.  If you feel like you have been just getting by with your Rebel XSi (maybe getting some solid shots, but not really understanding what goes into making a technically great photograph), then the Companion can really help you out.

Generally, my recommendation to all new DSLR owners is to pick up Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure.  For the fundamentals of creating a properly exposed photograph, I still think it’s the best book out there.  Canon Rebel XSi owners can go a beyond the fundamentals with the Companion though.  It is a book that you can grow with for a while and really launch you into a full understanding of the creative tool that is the Canon Rebel XSi.

If you own the Rebel XSi and want to get more out of it, The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D Companion is a great place to start.  Ben Long has really put together a flowing educational resource that Rebel XSi owners can use to propel themselves to the next level of their photography.

It is currently available at a reasonable price of $16.49 at