I've had a lot of people email me recently asking if there was an independent review of my book available. I've had a number of newspapers review my book, but they normally don't place anything online for me to show people. Here's a review I found from Rayman Lee, a very satisfied customer, who also has a website called Lenses and Pixels. I've reprinted the review below with the permission of the author. David.
I’ve decided as a new year’s resolution to start taking better pictures. Having gone through three digital cameras (one was stolen) I am down to two I use on a regular basis. A Canon SD300 and a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX5. Rather than spend money this year on buying another camera I’ve decided to do the best with what I’ve got and learn to take better photos instead.
Purchasing Digital Photo Secrets Ebook
Doing some after new year’s shopping online, I came across an ad for an ebook offered at digital-photo-secrets.com.
I’m usually pretty apprehensive about buying ebooks online. You never get to see much inside the book and there is no book flipping before purchase.
But it was midnight the day after new years and I wanted info now! Where was I going to go? I took a chance and am glad I did.
The purchase went through petty painlessly. I paid with Paypal and downloaded the books (more on why it’s “books” later).
I found the book easy to read and the tips were concise and well presented. There is usually a before and after photo demonstrating the result which I found very useful. Nothing like seeing the tip in action to really “get” it. I will give a brief review of the book in sequential order.
The book is broken up into 14 chapters and gets right to the point on how to improve your digital photos. There is very little on the history of photography, how to interpret famous photos or things of that nature. There’s nothing wrong with those topics and I took evening courses covering them myself but this book is primarily about helping you take better pictures immediately.
The 14 chapters are:
- Top 21 Tips To Using a Digital Camera
- Digital versus Film Cameras
- Better Looking Pictures
- Special Occasions
- Using Manual Modes
- Image File Formats
- Converting from Film to Digital
- Which Digital Camera Should I Buy?
- Caring for your Camera
- Printing Your Images
- Miscellaneous Questions and Answers
- Top Tips
The Top 21 tips gets you taking great pictures right away. Solving the most common photography problems. There are plenty of useful nuggets I will try to incorporate into my future photography, but the biggest tip of all is the last one, try to incorporate ALL the other tips every time you shoot and you should get some amazing results.
Digital photo secrets covers some of the other major problems hobbyists like me have. That is white balance, is with white balance, use of filters, focusing and metering. All that is explained better than whatever tiny manual that comes with most cameras.
The digital photo secrets book covers film cameras in the “Digital versus Film” section and while I was expecting the author to bash film cameras, he actually gives a very balanced view and covers the pros and cons of each. That’s a pleasant surprise because I still occasionally like to take a few shots with an old Pentax purchased in a garage sale a few years back just for the thrill of getting them back from the drug store.
Better Pictures, Finally!
Another thing the book helped me with was give me useful tips on themes and shooting idea topics to get the creative juices flowing. I often fall into a rut of “what should I shoot now?” and the ideas came in handy, especially for vacation ideas. I also never played with filters before but I think I will give them a try now.
One thing that I have never been able to nail down is getting pictures that don’t look like everybody else’s or shots that are just “boring”. I needed some pointers on taking more interesting pictures.
Thankfully, the excellent sections on composition and special occasions show you some very creative ways to generate a mood or a feeling in your photo and pointing out the best ways to frame your photo like using the “elements of visual design”. Special occasions covers weddings, vacations. shooting children, night scenes, shooting in low light (something I’ve always had problems with), fireworks, sunsets, action, blurring, freezing a shot and sports photography.
I found these chapters the most powerful for me and just these two sections was worth the price of the book.
They precisely captures the essence of a composition course I took but in an easily digestible format. I plan to print this section out and bring it with me whenever I shoot.
Going Camera Manual Mode
Did I mention the composition and special occasions sections were my favorite? Well, to be honest I can’t decide if it was those two sections or the one on using manual modes. This is where you can go to the next level and move beyond just a hobbyist. Manual mode lets you be more creative and experimental with your shots and this section really helps you in distinguishing yourself, putting your personal style into your photos.
Since I already own several digital cameras the next few sections on image file formats, file conversion and buying a digital camera were not as useful for me but they can certainly be helpful to anyone shopping for a new digital camera or want to convert from film to digital.
Getting your nice photos from the camera to a piece of photo paper has always been a nuisance for me with lots of trial and error. The digital secrets book helped with some problems I had been dying to solve. I’m a little irked I didn’t discover this book earlier which could have saved me a ton of wasted paper and ink not to mention time and money. Why didn’t I come across this printing chart sooner? Why?!?
Finally, the book ends with some common Q and A’s like “Why doesn’t my printed photo look the same as on my monitor?”
In the beginning I mentioned I was going to review the books. What did I mean? Well, I hope you find the review useful but actually there are three additional bonuses which are mini reports that come with the book.
I should at least give you an overview of those as I have found them immensely useful too.
Digital Camera Noise: An 11 page report giving an explanation to the bane of digital photographers everywhere. Noise! Plus how to get rid of it.
Secrets Cheat Sheet: A handy 1 page printout of the 21 Tips
Jargon Explained: Even experienced digital photographers get confused by all the acronyms and buzz words, this mini dictionary helps you decipher them.
So the final analysis? Is the book the real deal? Hell yes, it’s real! I have purchased printed books that were not as useful and that’s even after I had a chance to flip through them. I don’t regret finding the digital-secrets-book site for one instance. It is well worth the money and the bonuses are just as valuable. I enthusiastically recommend it to any digital photographer. If you are interested in purchasing the book you can CLICK HERE.