Review – The Digital Photography Book Volume 3

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dpbv3The Digital Photography Book, Volume 3 (Peachpit Press, copyright 2010) is Scott Kelby’s follow up to the first two volumes in the series – aptly named “The Digital Photography Book Volume 1″, and “…Volume 2″.  Scott uses his usual straightforward manner and unique brand of humor to describe some tips and tricks in his photographer’s toolkit – aspects of photography techniques that are discussed with very little technical jargon.  Basically, he gives us the “how”, with just enough of the “why” to make the “how” understandable.

Though “Volume 3″ picks up right where “Volume 2″ leaves off (“Using Flash Like A Pro Part Two”), it’s not necessary to have read previous volumes in order to understand the techniques described in Kelby’s latest publication – though they do build upon one another, explaining simple techniques before moving on to more advanced skills.

Each individual page of the entire book shares a separate tip within the discipline Scott is describing (Flash, Studio Shooting, Lenses, Product Shooting, etc.).  Instructions are quick and to the point, and offer an encapsulated nugget of wisdom that makes the techniques easy to remember and understand.  Many of the photographs used to demonstrate the technique are accompanied by stats (f-stop, ISO, equipment used, etc.) so that you can duplicate the effort yourself.

The chapter that I personally appreciate the most is “Chapter Three: The Truth About Lenses – Which Lens to Use, When, and Why”.  Each description of “When to Use a (insert type here) Lens” is accompanied by a brief sentence that begins with “I GRAB THIS LENS FIRST WHEN…” and is followed by a circumstance in which Kelby personally uses that lens type.

As in previous volumes, Scott shares his expertise in choosing the right photography equipment for the job at hand.  One thing I appreciate about the way he presents the information, is that he provides a budget, mid-range, and high-priced option for much of the equipment he describes.

I would say that the single drawback to this book, and the others in the series, is Kelby’s prolific use of chattiness and humor.  Not that I don’t appreciate a good joke or pun, or conversation-like prose, but I found myself having to occasionally dig through the jokey chaff in order to get to the technique.  Still, the lack of textbook dryness is what makes Kelby’s publications popular, easy to read, and easy to understand.  A cover-to-cover reading of any of his books certainly will not put you to sleep. 

My opinion of “The Digital Photography Book Volume 3″ (as well as the previous volumes) is that it’s definitely a great addition to any collection of photography guidebooks, and will be beneficial in expanding upon anyone’s skills as a photographer.

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