Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday shopping list to unleash the photographer in you

It's that time of year, again. You or a loved one are interested in photography, so you buy a camera. What's next?

Many are satisfied with turning the dial on top of the camera to the green "A" and snapping away. And that's just fine. Have fun! But what if you want to take the next step?

The manual that comes with the camera can tell you how to operate it. But you won't learn how to build a shed just by buying some power tools. There are a ton of books and other resources out there that can lead you down the path to becoming a photographer instead of a snap-shooter. These are some of the top choices, off the top of my head, and they would all make inexpensive gifts to accompany that camera.

Last year, I recommended a book written by my college photojournalism instructor, David LaBelle, called "I Don't Want to Know All the Technical Stuff... I Just Want to Shoot Pictures." And it remains at the top of my list. It covers all the timeless basics – advice that can be executed with any camera. Beautifully written for everyone, not advanced photo geeks and gear-heads. Real, everyday examples. And you just can't beat the price at $9.95. It's the perfect compliment for that camera you just bought for yourself or a loved one. You can order the book from Dave's "The Great Picture Hunt" web site, or find it on Amazon.

Just recently, photographer extraordinaire Joe McNally collaborated with Life to produce "LIFE Guide to Digital Photography: Everything You Need to Shoot Like the Pros." The beauty of this book is that you can grow in your knowledge, skills, and gear, from beginner to pro. The book lists for $29.95, but you can find it at Amazon for around $20. It's a great gift for someone who's just starting and has higher aspirations, or even for an advanced enthusiast. McNally is a master story-teller, and his previous books entertain as much as they inform. This one is no exception.

The above two recommendations come in paperback form. If that's too "old-fashioned" for you digital-centric folks with smart phones and tablets, perhaps try this: "The Digital Photography Book: The step-by-step secrets for how to make your photos look like the pros’!" by Scott Kelby.  This e-book is available in four different digital flavors, including iPhone/iPad versions as well as PDF, for $15.99. Kelby is best known as a Photoshop® and digital darkroom guru, and his book,  “The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers” and his on-line training workshops are well known and respected in photography circles. As Kelby or any Photoshop wizard will tell you, you have to start with a good original photograph before you can apply any digital magic to it. Otherwise, you're just putting lipstick on a pig! Wherever you happen to be, Kelby will walk you through tips and tricks that will make your photographs better so you won't have to "fix" them later. You can purchase and download the e-book at http://www.ebooks.com/. (This book is also available in paperback from http://www.kelbytraining.com/ and at Amazon.)

So don't stop with that holiday camera purchase. Accessorize! Any of these books are the perfect compliment that will help shed light on all those mysterious camera functions and unleash the photographer within you or your love one.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.