Book Review - 101 Quick and Easy Secrets to Create Winning Photographs by Matthew Bamberg
Matthew Bamberg has put together a very nice book that can take you to the next level with your digital SLR photography... 101 Quick and Easy Secrets to Create Winning Photographs. He covers a wide variety of techniques and situations that can move you from ordinary to extraordinary results.
Making Your Photographs Look 3D; Painting with Light; Adding Action to Your Frame; Adding or Subtracting with Shadows; Making Art from Architecture; Creating Mood Shots Using Weather; Beautifying with Color; Breathing Life into People; Making Animal Photos Sharp and Fun; Spicing Up Photos with Lens Flare, Noise, and Other Unusual Effects; Composing with Landscape; Shaping Up with Symmetry; Technical Tango; Daytime, Nighttime, Anytime; Back to the Future; Index
The layout of the book is perfect for picking up new ideas. Each two page spread (left and right) shows a photo, introduces a technique, and tells how he was able to pull it off. He also covers exactly what camera settings were used in the shot (f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, and lens length). Granted, knowing all that does *not* guarantee that your picture will come out the same, but at least you have a starting point. But more important than just the mechanics of taking the picture, he also explains the composition and lighting of the shot. That makes the most difference. For instance, his tips on photographing neon signs during the day and capturing the grandeur of an old movie palace really hinge on angle, color, and framing. An even better composition example is the item titled "Umbrellas Aren't Always For Rain". He shows how two pictures of the same basic scene can be light years apart in telling a story or capturing a concept. Many setting sins can be corrected with photo software if you're shooting in RAW format. But bad composition is pretty much a killer.
You'll probably be able to follow the technical setting details more readily if you are already familiar with the concepts and settings involving aperature and shutter speed. He doesn't spend much time trying to get you educated on that material if you don't already know that. But given the target of the book, I wouldn't expect him to. This is a solid choice to work on improving your skills behind the camera, and you'll have plenty of things to work on.