Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Best Beginner Book

Adam McA., a friend of this site, recommended a book he thinks is a good instruction manual for beginner and casual photographers. So we ordered a copy, and, true to his prediction, How To Photograph Your Life by Nick Kelsh is indeed unusually good.

Technical how-to books are thick on the ground, and they are helpful…technically. But what many beginners and casual photographers want to know is what makes better pictures and how they can take them. That's where Kelsh excels. He uses as examples more than 40 everyday family situations, shows an average amateur snapshot that attempts to capture the occasion (you'll probably recognize a few of these—we did), and then explains, clearly and concretely, how to conceive, organize, and make a much better one. It's a book about how to see pictures, rather than just how to work your camera. Especially if you're just starting out, you'll learn a lot from this book.

A 2003 title, this is probably near the end of its in-print life. If you're interested, better order it now.


Markus Spring said...

I can only second this recommendation. I have a lot of books, complicated ones, theoretical ones, workshop-type ones, but this one stands out in it's approach to tell us how we can do better. His avoidance of technical details is helpful to concentrate on the main purpose: Obtaining photographs that the subjects enjoy now or later and that others sometimes even admire. So I still do read in it once in a while and alwasy do so with pleasure.

Dennis said...

I've purchased Nick Kelsh's How To Photograph Your Baby for a number of new parents. It's a phenomenal book for people who (a) have a baby to photograph and (b) have no real interest in learning the nuts and bolts of photography. Simple stuff like: get close, turn off the flash, shoot lots and delete the junk, turn off the flash, etc. Not a lot to read, plenty of appropriate illustrative pictures. I picked up a copy of How To Photograph Your Life and it's good, too, but very different; less focussed in scope, less instructional, more intended to inspire creativity.