Bachman Art Studio

The Classroom

Book Reviews: Photography

Not happy with your reference photos? Need slides of your artwork for an upcoming show? Can't afford a professional photographer? These books can help you become the photographer you can't afford.

Need Slides?
Camera Reviews: Digital Photography Review
Lens Reviews: LensPlay, FM Reviews

Title: Photographing Your Artwork
Author: Russell Hart
ISBN: 1-58428-X

There aren't many books available on this subject, and fortunately Russell Hart has written a book that covers everything from small works to installation art. Equipment recommendations are presented, and lighting considerations are discussed. There's general photography coverage and lots of information about shooting with film.

Instructions for obtaining images of either 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional artwork are thorough. Have no fear that your artwork won't appear true because you'll know how to set-up the subject and select the correct depth-of-field to achieve the desired results. Your sculptures will retain their perspective, and your paintings will be square in the slide.

This book covers some complicated material in a very easy to understand manner. I found the simplified lens and camera diagrams quite helpful. Until I can afford a professional photographer, this book is the next best thing.

Title: The Digital Photography Book
Author: Scott Kelly
ISBN: 0-321-47404-X

This book is a quick read and packed with little tid-bits about photography. How many mega-pixels do you really need? That's in here too. There's an abundance of suggestions for wedding photography in particular, and some wonderful suggestions for flower portraits. This book contains some useful tips-n-tricks for photography in general, but if you're looking for camera/lens specifics, your user manuals are a better source for information.

Item prices in books are useless and I don't know why authors continue to include them. I would have preferred knowing the exposure data on the incredible photos that are on almost every page. Sometimes this information would be buried within the text, but it would have been so easy to print it next to the picture that I don't understand why the publisher didn't take the opportunity to do so.

Chapters are short, and titles are misleading. The digital parts of this book seem to be aimed at fixing your photos later with Photoshop, for which Mr. Kelly has also authored a book. There's some useful information enclosed if you can wade through the author's weird sense of humor to find it, but I found most of the contents lacking in substance. It's a pity, because this could have been a really great book.

Title: Understanding Exposure
Author: Bryan Peterson
ISBN: 0-8174-6300-3

This is it. This is the book that will teach you all about your SLR camera and how to use it effectively. Set your camera to manual mode beginning with chapter one.

What you'll learn:
1. The definition of "exposure." Correct exposure doesn't necessarily mean that there's only one possibility, and creative exposures are an option. Who knew!?!
2. What's the purpose of the aperture? It resolves how much detail will be included or omitted in the exposure.
3. Shutter speed- it's all about motion. Stop it or capture it, and be in control of your results.
4. Light source and metering. Shoot a cityscape at night or a snowy landscape by day. You won't have to guess how to do it.
5. Lens filters and specialty techniques. Ohhhhh, so that's how they did that!
6. Film vs. digital- applies to the ISO.

Pictures say more than words, and in between all this valuable information are excellent examples of the differences between photos when altering the settings on your equipment. Very well written, and highly recommended.

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