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Exposure Book Reviews

Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies is receiving high praise from beginners, experienced photographers, and professionals alike.
 

Jennifer Blakeley, Professional Photographer wrote:

    "Loved this book, and the author's easy to follow writing style. I am a professional photographer, and was given this book as a gift. It is a great reference book, and an awesome tool for learning. Photography doesn't have to be so difficult, and this book is a great manual to anyone looking to learn more about exposure basics . . . or even other professional photographers looking for a re-fresh course and a fresh perspective! Very useful, and easy to follow!"

Jennifer does beautiful portraits which you can see at Jennifer Blakeley Photography. She is also the talented the creator of Alphabet Photography.  One of her recent projects is the creation of the human alphabet in cooperation with Gymnastics Canada to support their trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

 

In his eNewsletter, digital photography expert Tim Grey wrote:

    "As you know, I tend to focus most of my energy on helping photographers with their images after the capture. I do lead a variety of field photography workshops, but my focus tends to be more on what happens after the picture is actually taken. When it comes to the actual  capture, the most common questions I hear from photographers relate to exposure. I've recently discovered a book that helps photographers truly understand exposure, and that knowledge can dramatically improve the quality of your digital photos. The book is Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies, authored by Jim Doty, Jr., and published by Wiley. This book provides you with everything a photographer needs to know in order to truly understand exposure and how it affects the original capture."
     

Sarah (an email from a new photographer in Ireland)

Hello Jim,

I just want to say I just got your book. This is my first book on  photography. In fact, I just got my camera at Christmas and was looking  online for a good book. I scrolled through loads before your one caught my eye. I've liked several "For Dummies" books in the past, so I knew I'd enjoy this one.

Starting chapter 3 now. So far so good. Great actually. Very informative, especially the small print under each photograph. That is very handy. Anyways just want to say thanks. I am pretty clueless when it comes to cameras so I'm counting on you! Haha :)

Sarah

 

The reviews below are all from Amazon.com. They all gave Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies a five star rating. You can also read all of these reviews here.

 

JWW - A real help for digital photography

A well written and illustrated book on photography in general as well as digital photography. This book clearly explains the hows and whys of the features of your camera. If you wonder why the "Auto" setting only works part of the time and how to make the camera take the great pictures that you really want, this is the book for you. Don't let the title fool you. Anyone that wants to take better photos will find this book a helpful resource you will want to keep handy.

 

Craig - Great introduction

Not just for the advanced! Exposure is a scary word, but don't be intimidated. This book is a great introduction for people just starting to take more control of their digital cameras. These cameras have a ton of functionality that people don't take use. Clear explanations and examples are presented so you can learn quickly and take more advanced shots.

A worthy investment for the person who just dropped a couple hundred bucks on a digital camera. Even if you aren't an artist, your normal  "documentary" style shots will turn out better.

 

seventybob - for dummies and above

Easy to read and understand, wonderful images, examples, and practicum,  and room to grow are just a few of the things that came to mind as I looked at this book. I see simple things that can immediately help my photographic creativity, and lots of stuff to experiment with and grow into as I find myself at a plateau in some phase of my photography. I would (and have already) recommend this book to persons at any stage of a photo hobby or even a more serious person looking to possibly create a career. I can't wait to try to capture images similar to those displayed in the book. Thanks for the lessons.

 

LKO - I finally know how to properly use my digital camera!

An absolute must read before using your digital camera! I loved the  book. It helped to explain how to properly use my camera & get the  BEST pics. I hate reading directions especially the ones which came with my camera. This book actually makes it enjoyable to learn. The pictures used throughout the book are a plus and the text is easily understandable. Thank you! An added bonus are the amazing scenic pictures. Since Christmas is coming, I bought two extra books as gifts.  It's perfect for the avid photographer and even the Mom who occasionally takes pictures and would like them to be great!

 

Jim Lehman - An excellent book for photographers with any level of interest!

As a photo teacher for over 30 years, I only wish this book had been available earlier. In a heart beat I would have assigned this book as a  text for all of my photo classes from Basic Camera to Advanced. The  concepts are well presented and easy to understand. The use of exposure  guides is well presented, especially the Black Cat Extended Range Exposure Guide. I highly recommend this book as an addition to photographers with any level of interest.

 

Jim Hannah - Not Just for Dummies

When I learned that Jim Doty had authored a text on "Digital Photography Exposure" I had great expectations, because in pre-retirement years I  had on several occasions selected his images for the cover of the  international magazine I then edited. I was not disappointed, and have been inspired by his text to ramp up my own photographic skills closer to the professional level he explains and illustrates so clearly. My only concern is that potential purchasers might have the impression that a "For Dummies" text is just for beginners; this is far from the case. I have long enjoyed photography both as part of my vocation, and as a rewarding avocation. What I found was that Doty's book helped me understand how to better understand and control the dimensions of  photography that distinguish mere snapshots from true artistic  expressions. This is done in a very engaging and readable manner, with  personal stories and color photos that illustrate the principles and  practices, and even cartoons and call outs to break up the text and aid memory. Whether just beginning in photography, or seeking to move to the next level, I feel confident those who purchase this text will find it very helpful and engaging.

 

H. F. Corbin "Foster Corbin" - A Wealth of Information

This book has a lot going for it. First of all, the illustrations are many, in vivid color and are evidence that Mr. Doty practices what he preaches. There is a wealth of information here and it is arranged to help the beginning photographer get started with a SLR digital camera-- the author recommends that camera over a point-and-shoot-- as well as  assist those more advanced hone their skills to get more beautiful, interesting photographs.

Mr. Doty uses special icons throughout the book: Remember -  something you shouldn't forget, Technical Stuff - interesting but  nonessential, Tip - information "that can save you time, make your  photographic life easier, and give yo0u better exposures," and Warning - these are situations that might damage your camera, your exposures or  you personally.

The book is divided in five parts: The Science of Exposure - the author covers the basics of exposure and metering; The Art of Exposure, where he gets into depth of field, shutter speeds, etc.; Taking Exposure a Step Further - Creating Great Images - here he covers portraits, wildlife photography, landscapes, close-up shooting and sports photograhy; Exposure in Special Situations and The Part of Tens, where he lists ten accessories to make your photography better including a tripod, filters and cable releases.

I paid particular attention to the chapter on portraits, the kind of photography I prefer. He gives good advice. Always focus on the eyes -- one of the sorrows of my life is a photograph I took years ago of James Baldwin under low light conditions. The contact sheet looked fine. However, when I blew the negative up, those fascinaing eyes were out of focus. Of course I had no opportunity to reshoot the photograph-- look for the best side of a person's face, use a long lens (70 to 100), and  make the subject comfortable. Two tips he omitted: always put the eyes in the top third of the frame and, if the subject is not looking straight into the camera, focus on the eye closest to you. I was glad to see Mr. Doty tell the reader that you can use your own hand instead of a gray card. This works best if your skin is the same shade as that of the subject; otherwise, you'll have to make adjustments.

Mr. Doty's book should serve as a great reference book where you can look up any problem you might have and find assistance in how to fix your photograph the next time out. A great book in spite of the title although I have never had a "Dummies" book on any subject that wasn't excellent.

 

35-year Technology Consumer "8-tracks to 802.11" -  Great choice for photographers of any skill level...

...and the author does NOT treat you like a Dummy!

Disclaimer:
Over the years, I've had unpleasant encounters with books in the "...for Dummies" series. Sometimes they were a little too cute, sometimes they were too far behind the times in the technology they were trying to describe. Mostly, I objected to the fact that struggling to understand and use complex technology doesn't mean the user is a dummy.  Instead, a vendor has pushed the technology (whether hardware of  software) into the market and the hands of users with too little consideration for their interaction with it. And over the years, I've  found other reference and user series (such as Pogue's Missing Manual"  series) to be generally better than the "...for Dummies" offering.

Wiley (the publisher) and this book's author (Jim Doty, Jr.) have  set an excellent standard in the familiar black and yellow landscape of the "Dummies" series. The quality of this book have put it back on my  list of candidates when looking for reference materials for technology.

Doty provides readers with immediate and uncomplicated assumption at the beginning of the book: that you are already shooting a DSLR, and  are ready to move beyond the basics.

This book's early chapters (Parts I and II) will be a review for long-time SLR photographers. My experience is extensive enough that I  remember when ISO was called ASA, that SLR meter batteries contained  mercury, that SLRs shipped without "Program" exposure modes, that you focused and metered manually, and that your images were recorded on  light sensitive "film" which had to be protected from light and bathed  in a series of chemicals in order to reveal the images.

If you learned SLR photography under similar conditions, then the  first 10 chapters will be a review of exposure fundamentals (primarily the relationships between aperture settings, shutter speeds and ISO values, and the impact of each on your shooting situation). He provides excellent explanations of metering techniques (and especially techniques to meter scenes without a meter).

In Parts III and IV, Doty applies these lessons to a range of  photographic situations, from people to pets to landscapes to wildlife, to high speed subjects and low light environments. If your photos are like mine, then you already know your problem areas, and you can turn to these for help.

The books final chapters (Part V) go beyond exposure and address ancillary considerations for the DSLR photographer. These include  digital data format choices (RAW vs. JPG), backup strategies, data card  management.

Overall, Doty takes a complex topic topic, and through excellent organization and user-friendly writing makes the fundamentals of digital exposure very accessible. While I might quibble with him on some data  management mechanics (how to transfer and delete images from memory  cards to a computer primarily), this is ultimately a matter of personal preference, and his recommendations are perfectly acceptable, although they differ from my own practices.

This book is an excellent review for experienced SLR photographers and an authoritative reference for those new to DSLR photography and  looking to advance beyond the "P" button on their camera.

 

William Polm "bill197" - Digital Photograph Explained in Depth

If you own or plan to own a digital SLR or high-end point and shoot (the type that provides manual controls) and want to learn more than  photography 101, here's the book for you. And, as the author/photographer points out at the beginning, about 90% of what's in  his book applies to film camera photography and not just the digital  type.

There's 9 table of contents pages, 348 pages of text, followed by 14 pages of detailed index. The writing is enjoyably reader-friendly and  the instructions are crystal clear. The text is filled with tips from  this veteran landscape, event and commercial photographer and teacher of photography. There are many gorgeous photographs throughout, including quite a few taken specifically to illustrate the author's points. Just about everywhere I flip in the book, I find interesting and helpful  instruction to help me improve my photo taking. And, the book covers just about every conceivable exposure situation. And exposure is the  heart of photography. Actually, the book covers a lot more than just  "exposure" aspects.

If I were able to give this book a title, I would call it  "Photography 501, Advanced Knowhow for Users of Digital and Film  Cameras." I find this book exciting, and I think it will enable me not only to take better photographs but also to become--in addition to being an artist with my watercolor brush (my primary reason for taking photos: potential reference material)--also an artist with my camera as  well. This book not only admirably covers the science of photography but it enables you to better explore the art of it too.

 

Beth Saboori - A Learning Experience for Me

No matter how much you know about a subject, you can always learn more and this book really proved that to me. I've been taking pictures for  years and I thought I really understood my camera, but after finishing  the first chapter in Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies, I learned that I still had much to learn.

I knew about shutter speed and exposure and their relation to each other and I knew how ISO works, but I knew absolutely nothing about white balance and I didn't have a clue as to how my photographs would be improved with an add on flash, especially if you use it off camera.  Because of this book I don't think I'll ever take a photograph with the pop up flash again.

Actually this book is really more than just about exposure, it's a good review of all aspects of digital photography and it was a real learning experience for me.

 

Dave Mayer - Made Me a Better Photographer

Photography has been my hobby for a lot of years and I thought I had a pretty good handle on it. But after a few minutes with this book I saw that I still had a lot to learn. To be sure, a lot of this book was review for me and a lot of it jogged my memory and brought to the fore  stuff I'd learned back in school.

But a there is a lot of stuff here that I'd never learned and probably should have and I found the chapter on electronic flash invaluable. There are tips and techniques galore in this book and I can't recommend it highly enough. This book really will make most of us  better photographers, I know it did me.

 

Island Dreamer - Will Teach You How to Get the Perfect Exposure

Getting the right exposure can be complicated once you take your camera  off automatic. Understanding exposure can be daunting for the newbie. I know it was for me, but this book made it all so clear.

I have a Canon 30D DSLR which I bought used and I've been liking it a lot. I use all of the modes from Portrait to Landscape, but I decided I wanted to take my photography to the next level and this book really  helped out in that regard.

This book doesn't really treat you like a dummy and like all the Dummy books this one is laid out in such a way that an absolute beginner or someone who's well along in her photography will get the maximum benefit from it.

 

Shane Shogren - Will Make You a Better Photographer

I got two books Digital Photography Lighting For Dummies and Digital Photography Exposure For Dummies for my wife, who has been jealous of me and my photography for years. She finally decided she wanted to know as much about it as me and she wanted her own camera and not just a little point and shoot. She  exclaimed that she really wanted to get into it.

So in addition to these two books, I gave her my backup camera, a  Canon 40D, which worked out well for me, because my 50D became my new backup and I ordered a 7D for me to be my main camera, so I'm a happy  camper.

When the books came, I thought I'd give them a look through, so that I could answer any questions my wife might have as she worked through them. I was up all night with the lighting book, I read it straight  through and I got a lot out of it. I'm no novice and most of the book  was review, but there's good solid info here and it's presented in a way that logically keeps you reading and it's written well, by someone who  obviously knows his stuff. Granted, if you're new to the subject you won't go through the book as quickly as I did, because you'll want to  try out the tips and techniques you learn as you progress through the  book.

The next night I spent with the exposure book. It too was mostly review for me, but like with the lighting book, I not only relearned much of what I'd forgotten, but I gained a lot of new knowledge as well. And like the lightning book, it too was well written, by someone who  knows his subject and obviously likes to teach it.

If you're new to photography, maybe you just bought your first DSLR, then these two books will aide you more than I can say. Both books take you on a general review of exposure, shutter speed, white balance and ISO settings. No matter which one you read first, the second will reinforce what you learned, plus teach you more. Highly recommended, both books.

 

Jana Greer - Makes Understanding Exposure Easy for a Novice Like Me

The man at my local camera store told me that the green square on the  dial of my Canon Rebel was the dummy mode. Well, I've taken tons of pictures in the dummy mode and almost all of them come out fine. But I  didn't like being thought of as a dummy.

So when I got a chance to get this book I jumped at it. I knew hardly anything about exposer, shutter speed or white balance before opening this book. Now a know a lot and I've been experimenting, I've  even had my camera in manual mode. This book is easy to understand and it explains the concept of exposure so that even a novice like me can  grasp it.

Robert B. Gillies - A very well written book

The book is unusually well written and well organized with good illustrations and clear explanations. The information is presented in such a way as to make it very useful and practical. Even if you already know much of the information the book helps to reinforce or to remind  you what a difference certain techniques can have on your photos. I really liked the chapter on working with light. Also the chapter on metering. While the book emphasizes exposure it covers a lot more than that. I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in photography. I took a lot of photos over fifty years ago when I was in high school with a Contaflex I but recently I bought a Nikon D 7000 so I needed to be updated a bit. I have bought several photography books during the past year but this is perhaps the most helpful one. This book combines well with a good book on your specific camera. The idea behind the For Dummies series is that they are instructional but I don't like the word Dummies. This book is very instructional but it wouldn't help you much if you were dumb.

 

February 17, 2011
Updated May 15, 2012

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