Books and other learning resources - recommendations

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by SkiHound, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    328
    Jan 28, 2012
    Perhaps not the correct forum but... As a person trying to improve my photographic skills, I was wondering what books and or other other resources you've found useful? I've been reading Michael Freeman's book on Exposure and have found it very informative.
     
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  2. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I use Lightroom and I have used Aperture. I've found books on both useful. For Lightroom I find Martin Evenings "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book" and Jeff Schewe's "The Digital Negative" both very useful, as well as the Luminous Landscape Lightroom video training material.

    I think a book on composition and/or seeing is useful but I think you need to look around and find one which appeals to you rather than simply going on recommendations.

    Apart from that, I think it comes down to whatever technical topics you wish to pursue.
     
  3. rfortson

    rfortson Mu-43 Veteran

    Not sure of your experience level, so I apologize if these aren't appropriate.

    First, I always recommend Scott Kelby's "The Digital Photography Book - Vol. 1". The other volumes are good, but this one is a great overview for beginners, and I find myself re-reading it often since it's such a quick read and has great information. It's a how-to book and purposely doesn't cover the theory behind the recipe.

    The second book I recommend is "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. Great overview of the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO and how they work together to give you a proper exposure. It also shows you how there are multiple "proper exposures" all with different looks.

    Finally, for a good book about a photographer (not an instructional book at all), check out "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher" by Timothy Egan, about the life and career of Edward Curtis. Curtis devoted the majority of his career to photographing native North Americans at the turn of the last century. I'm sure you've seen his photos. Well written, good story, though it doesn't really talk photography details. As a history buff and photographer, I found it a good read.
     
  4. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I opened a related thread you might find useful:

    https://www.mu-43.com/f35/photography-book-suggestions-28189/

    Here's my list of recommended books that I personally got a lot out of:

    1) Understanding Exposure: Phenomenal book on the technical aspects of creative exposure

    2) The Photographer's Eye: Great book explaining the technical and artistic side of composition and why photographs work and don't work. If you have an iPad, get the app version, it's really nicely done and better than the ebook IMO.

    3) Digital Photography Vol 1-3: Scott Kelby's series is chock full of awesome tips. These are great companions to more technical books, just giving you little tips similar to what you'd get by shooting alongside a more experienced photographer.

    4) Spirit of Place: The Art of the Traveling Photographer: this one I've not finished yet, but even in the first 1/2 of the book I've gotten some great advice on travel photography.
     
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  5. OhWellOK

    OhWellOK Mu-43 Veteran

    225
    Oct 4, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    I've read these in the past several months, and they've all been helpful to me. Starting with the very basics of exposure principals, and then onto more advanced topics like the Zone system and histogram and lighting.
    • Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson
    • The Digital Photography Book vol 1-4 by Scott Kelby
    • The Art of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum
    • Lighting for Digital Photography from Snapshots to Great Shots by Syl Arena
    • Digital Landscape Photography by Michael Frye

    Also on my bookshelf and on-deck for reading are:
    • Light Science and Magic by Fil Hunter
    • The Photographers Eye by Michael Freeman
    • National Audubon Society Guide to Landscape Photography by Tim Fitzharris
    • Tabletop Photography by Cyrill Harnischmacher
     
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  6. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    134
    Jan 13, 2013
    This book is extortionately priced here in the UK. We have to import from NY at a price of £25 USED, prices go up to as high as £90.00. :frown: Sounds a great book and one that I'd love. Do you know of any that are similarly rated?
     
  7. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Hrm, I haven't read any other travel photography books that stand out so far, sorry. Which actually brings up a good point; apparently I need to read a few more :biggrin:

    Good luck finding a copy, or maybe someone else will have an even better travel photo book recommendation here.
     
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  8. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hasse
    John Shaw's 'The Nature Photographer's Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques'. From 1984, but there should be some secondhand copies around. And still very relevant in our digital age.
     
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  9. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    328
    Jan 28, 2012
    Thanks for the links and suggestions! Many of these look very interesting. I'm mostly looking for stuff that will help me see artistically and photographically, and secondly how to get the shot once you visualize it. I think my technical knowledge is pretty solid. I want to apply it to make more interesting images.
     
  10. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    In that case start with anything by David DuChemin, Visual Poetry by Chris Orwig and The photographers Eye by Michael Freeman.

    Gordon
     
  11. DLagerstrom

    DLagerstrom New to Mu-43

    7
    May 26, 2012
    If you are trying to enhance your visualization technique, I would recommend the books of Ansel Adams. I know they are quite old and he talks about view cameras and film, but they are, IMHO, the very best guides to 'see' the world through a camera. Start with The Negative, then The Camera. If you want to delve into photoshop issues, finish with The Print.

    Best of luck,
    -Dave in Minnesota
     
  12. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I've got a couple of the Adams books and I strongly support that recommendation PROVIDED you want to shoot in black and white. Adams was a master of black and white and his whole presentation is based on luminance values in black and white images.

    Adams did shoot colour, I have a book of his colour work which I find interesting but not as compelling as his black and white, but he did not discuss colour in The Negative, nor in The Print which I think is perhaps more appropriate for digital work since essentially our images are captured as positives rather than negatives. We also need to expose for the highlights and process for the shadows with digital (and also with slide film) whereas with negative film the recommendation is to expose for the shadows and develop/process gor the highlights and that's the approach Adams takes in The Negative.

    Adams' Zone System can definitely work with colour but you need to be able to pick the areas you meter in the scene based on where you want their luminance to fall and that isn't always as obvious with colour because we see colour differently than we see luminance.

    You can definitely learn a lot from Adams but with digital, especially if you want to shoot colour, I think you need to know a bit before getting into Adams. I would happily recommend the Adams books to a beginner in black and white film photography, which is what I was when I first read The Negative and The Print back in the late '60s/early '70s. I'm much more reluctant to recommend them to beginners in digital and/or colour photography.

    I think a better choice of information for digital photographers interested in the Zone System, and in colour, is "The Practical Zone System for Film and Digital Photography" by Chris Johnson who studied with Adams. It describes Adams technique for black and white film and also discusses the differences between negative film and digital and how to apply the principles of Adams' approach to digital. There's also a small amount of attention paid to digital colour photography.
     
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  13. OhWellOK

    OhWellOK Mu-43 Veteran

    225
    Oct 4, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Some interesting monographs here. I was looking at that the Vivian Maier book while holiday shopping - great book! Someday I'd love to build up a small library of photo and art monographs for myself, but unfortunately have limited space in a tiny apt. at the moment for something like that :frown:

     
  14. DLagerstrom

    DLagerstrom New to Mu-43

    7
    May 26, 2012
    David A.

    Great points. I have not seen the Chris Johnson book and will have to give that a look. I also started with black and white negative film and that is when I first read the Adams books. Grew up with a darkroom in the house. Tough to know how much of that experience to pass on to my kids as they are starting to get into photography.

    Thanks,
    -Dave in Minnesota
     
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  15. kanasgowatom

    kanasgowatom Mu-43 Regular

    73
    Nov 11, 2011
    Which book

    In my humble opinion, I don't think any book can take the place of getting out and using your camera. With instant viewing the image, and all shooting info imbedded in the image, you can analyze what works for you. Save your money for a new lens.



    Tom Franzson. Brevard NC
     
  16. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    134
    Jan 13, 2013
    Whilst I understand this comment, from a personal perspective, I see differently.

    I spent 4 years shooting with a 1000D (albeit sporadically), and whilst I definitely had an understanding of what the aperture, shutter speed and ISO do, I defintely lacked the overall understanding as to how they could help me to take better pictures. Sure, I messed with a slow shutter speed when shooting waterfalls, and a brief number of other things, but overall, I really didn't 'get it'.

    I realise after reading a third of Bryan Peterson's 'Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera' that I made terrible mistakes that I could not learn from without a more knowledgeable other pointing this out. I shot landscape shots at the wrong apertures, didn't understand focus distances as well as I should have, and had very little technical understanding to realise that I could choose from a creative set of 'correct exposures' (mixing apertures/shutter speeds). Although I will say that I messed with shutter priority/aperture priority and manual, I got into the habit of using shutter priority and changing the speed of my shutter to finally reach a correct exposure. Stupidity on my part. It's since my holiday last summer that I have truly began to research heavily into the inner-workings of cameras before I purchased my OM-D. From the countless YouTube videos, to tutorials and B&H videos, I have been able to get a really significant understanding of how the correct exposure comes together properly.

    This book has solidified this understanding and already helped my photography, and hopefully it'll really come to use in the near future. It definitely rids the bad habits that 'going out and shooting' causes. A lack of understanding as to the camera and how it works, is near-fatal, in my opinion, to that photographer truly becoming a decent shooter. A basic to intermediate understanding of the elements of photography, is compulsory.
     
  17. Talanis

    Talanis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    Oct 15, 2012
    Sherbrooke, Canada
    Eric Cote
    I have a lot or information on my blog as well as some tutorials. It's written in French but I added a translation option on the left side this weekend. You might find some useful things there.
    HTTP://blog.ericcote.net
     
  18. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
  19. homerusan

    homerusan Mu-43 Regular

    130
    Dec 25, 2012
    izmir, TURKEY