Book Review: Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Book, Volume 3

A couple of weeks ago I finally received my copy of Scott Kelby’s The Digital Photography Book, Volume 3 which I was given for being a Worldwide Photowalk leader again this past summer.

Just as with the previous installments in this series (reviews for The Digital Photography Book and The Digital Photography Book Volume 2) we readers are allowed into the inner sanctum ofpro photography with the help of our enlightened guide, Scott Kelby.

Scott picks right up where Volume 2 ended taking us along on a variety of shooting situations Рboth in the studio and out in the field Рto  share some trade secrets and offer some insights into how to use our tools to make great images.

As someone who is not, admittedly, a very technical photographer, I appreciated the sections at the beginning that talked about what types of lenses there are, what differentiates them from one another, and when and why you would use one over another. While Scott is very clear about not being a jargon-filled manual for your camera, he does a great job of helping you understand how it all works without getting overwhelmed by all the tech stuff.

Along similar lines, one of the things I also found to be quite “sticky” for me was the relationships between f-stops and sharpness. I’ve read about them a number of times before but it never stuck with me until I read this book. I think because he explains things so conversationally it is much easier to walk away feeling like I’ve actually learned something instead of just having read something.

Even though Scott has spent a lot of time talking about shooting sports, travel photography, photo lighting, setting up your own photo studio, and the like in the previous book, he goes on to let us in on some of the tips and tricks he’s picked up, himself, that we can now use to make our own work better.

Chapters include ways to avoid some common mistakes or how to navigate around your current shooting situation so you are able to make the most of it. We learn different ways of using reflectors, where to position lights, and, as always, a section that pulls it all together and walks us through everything we need to do to get the results he’s been talking about throughout the book.

On top of all of the great information we get out of these books, there are 3 things that really make these great for me:

  • Scott is excellent at both simplifying concepts so you can understand them easily while, at the same time, treating you with respect and not making you feel like an idiot because you don’t know all the ins and outs of your camera.
  • Whenever I read a chapter or one of the “recipes for a great shot” I feel like I want to go right out and try it (if only I had the time)! Scott really inspires not only through his terrific shots but by his ability to breakdown a shot into the few simple steps you need to do it yourself. It makes you feel like your goals are actually achievable.
  • And, though there are many out there who disagree, his humor is refreshing and really spark a nice balance between the really important stuff and the downright silly. He says it perfectly in his introduction that the chapter intros are a chance to take a mental break before moving on. For me, they really add to the atmosphere of his books and I look forward to them every time. (In fact, I also just started reading Photoshop CS4 Down & Dirty Tricks as part of my prize package from the So, You Think You Can Teach Photoshop contest, and I’m starting it off by reading all the chapter intros first.)

If you haven’t read this series and you want to take your photography to the next level, treat yourself to these books or add them to your holiday wish list. They are well-worth it!

*Disclosure: Though this review, as with all of my reviews, is my honest and unbiased opinion about the book, I did receive it for free for leading a photowalk as part of Scott Kelby’s 2nd Annual Worldwide Photowalk in July 2009.

  • Sounds like a good one. I actually have the first one. Didn’t get volume 2, but I might upgrade to Volume 3 and give away the first one to a young budding photographer I happen to know.

    It is the holiday season after all.

    November 24, 2009 at 7:10 am
  • Jason,

    I could not agree more with your assessment of Scott’s book. I have also read volumes 1 and 2 and gained something from each one. I find they are a great reference and I am constantly referring to them. You will have to let us know your impressions of the CS4 down and dirty tricks. I might just pick one of those up for the holiday.

    November 25, 2009 at 12:53 pm

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