Title: The Betterphoto Guide to Digital Nature Photography
Author: Jim Miotke
Review Summary: A great practical guide to taking better pictures, very well organized and with useful tips for any photographer.
There were so many things to love about this book, I’m almost not sure where to start. I suppose what jumped out at me the most was how practical the advice was. There are checklists of the most important things to remember from each section; little boxes with advice on practical concerns such as bringing camera gear out into the elements; and “assignment” sections that suggest ways to practice new techniques right away. I was most excited about the assignments so I was especially pleased that these were all included in the index, making them easy to refer back to.
This brings me to the second great thing about this book… the organization. First there are sections on three of the basics of photography: lighting, composition, and exposure. Each of these sections included some general guidelines (the rule of thirds or complementary colors for example). While you might be thinking that you know these already, I did too and I still found these sections extremely useful. The author gives beautiful, clear examples of each technique in use. He also expands on these guidelines with suggestions I hadn’t heard before (using the rule of thirds by choosing either your foreground or the sky to take up two-thirds of the picture, for example). And finally, he wraps up each section with examples of times when breaking the rules is the right thing to do.
After the three basic sections, there are sections devoted specifically to landscapes, macro photograph, and wildlife. Each of these sections includes more specific advice in each of the basic categories, even giving camera settings the author most often uses for these types of photography. Personally, what I most took away from this book was the need for planning photography expeditions and picking one subject to devote a lot of time to. I tend to squeeze photography in where ever I am and whenever I have time for it. Taking this author’s advice to heart, I think I could really benefit from some more thoughtful photography. For other photographers, while you might need this book less than I did, I strongly suspect that anyone other than a professional photographer would take away something new from reading this book. Highly recommended.