Summer Reading Challenge – The Beginner’s Photography Guide by Chris Gatcum

The Beginner's Photography Guide
The Beginner’s Photography Guide by Chris Gatcum

A Book To Help You Learn Something New

4 book marks

I’ve taken a lot of pictures over the years, with a variety of cameras, but I’ve never paid much attention to the special settings, preferring to use the auto settings and let the camera figure out what I’m trying to do.

My son has a nicer camera than I do.  It has a lot of buttons and because I sometimes borrow it, I thought it would be good to learn more about photography.  How nice for this book to fit into my summer reading challenge to learn something new!

Chris Gatcum’s book covers all the basics, starting with what’s what on the camera and explaining the difference between compact cameras with permanent lenses and the more expensive cameras with interchangeable lenses.  He uses clear pictures to show the right way to hold a camera to prevent “camera shake…the number one culprit behind blurred images.”  Although I understood I should use two hands, I didn’t know that I should have my elbows tucked and that I should take the picture as I exhale.  He also shows the best way to stand, sit, crouch and lie down while taking pictures.

In addition to these equipment basics, he explains, in easy terms, shutter speed, ISO and aperture and how they affect the pictures you take.  He shows, with great picture examples, how to isolate a subject from the background, how to freeze or blur an image or create movement blur and how to pan for sharpness and blur when taking pictures of things that are moving fast.

Have you ever tried to take a picture of someone through a window?  That can be tricky and a section on focusing explains the benefits of manual focus over the auto focus when your subject is behind glass.  It also shows how to use multi-area and single-point autofocus to take more interesting pictures.  Other topics include the use of a variety of lenses and light, reflectors and diffusers to make your subject look great, particularly in tricky settings, such as low light outdoors, dimly lit interiors and places where there’s too much light on your subject.  Using an add-on flash can also open up creative options for beginners.  I’ve tried taking pictures at night, with mixed results.  Gatcum shows how to use an off-camera flash to light up your picture.  A final section on using software to enhance your picture explains many of the features I’ve only just fiddled with to make my picture better.

I’ll need to practice a bit, but I feel more confident to try some of the settings.  A great book to explain the basics, with enough technical detail to help an intermediate user.

Follow along as I work my way through my 16 in 16 Challenge!

Book 1 – A Book You Can Finish in a Day:  The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner
Book 2 – A Book in a Genre You Typically Don’t Read:  The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
Book 3 – A Book with a Blue Cover:  The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Book 4 – A Book Translated to English:  I Refuse by Per Petterson
Book 5 – A Second Book in a Series:  Brooklyn on Fire by Lawrence H. Levy

Thanks for visiting – come back soon


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