Digital Photography Beyond the Camera

Digital Photography - Beyond the Camera by Ian Farrell was published in 2007. It's intriguing to me that I found mine at my library - and other reviews I find of it also indicate it was seen in a library. I wonder if this was marketed heavily to libraries, but was not found in other locations.

Reading this now in 2013, the book is clearly a bit dated. It leans heavily on how "photos are changing" with the advent of digital technology. This in a world where most photographers now have smart phones and the majority of people don't use film. Speaking of which, the book says "everybody has at least one image on film that they are proud of." While I do personally have many film images, I know quite a few people under the age of 20 who solely have digital images in their entire collection. Things have changed quickly.

Similarly, the book talks about how you "need" an exteranl card reader, and so on. It would be one thing if this book was about the basics of photography - exposure, lighting, and so on. But the book is all about technology. It's about how to use equipment and computers to work with graphic files.

In general the book is not about photography exactly - it's about how to work with and edit the files a digital camera makes, primarily in Photoshop. And again this is where the issues creep in - the book was written in 2007. A lot has changed in Photoshop since 2007. So things they say don't work, now do. Things they give instructions on how to do no longer use those same commands. I have to wonder why the book isn't titled "Photoshop Basics - Version X" rather than making it seem as if it's about digital photography in general.

Even in terms of the Photoshop information it presents, it's not stellar. It will say things like "color casts can appear" without defining for the readers what color casts are or why they're things to worry about. As one example, I love taking multiplicity photos - where you have multiple images in a single scene and then layer them so it looks like there are multiple people or animals in that scene. It's great fun to do, but the instructions the book give are quite challenging. There are much easier ways to do it.

So, overall, I feel the book is not well titled. It really should be "Photoshop Basics from 2007". That way people who have software from then know they'll get good instructions based on that version. Other people will know that they have to adjust. The examples here aren't always stellar, and aren't always well done. Yes, some are cool. Others are not great. So you have to pick and choose through what you're looking at.

Overall, the book was probably reasonably good when released in 2007. Now, in 2013, I strongly feel it could use with a fresh version.

Rating: 3/5

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Photography Basics