Normally we're not fans of "click here, enter this" types of PhotoShop books. All too often the ideas get lost in the details. Mikkel Aaland does a good job of providing some detail behind why he is doing what he's doing. His examples include a thorough set of tasks and ideas to help photographers new to Photoshop Elements understand what they can do with the software. But beware those who are impatient. This book works best when used as a workbook. Work through each exercise to get an understanding of how to use that tool. If you try and cherry pick only those items that are of interest for today's project you'll miss much of what this book has to offer. A CD is included which includes some of the example images in the book and a 30 day trial version of Photoshop Elements.
Our biggest criticism is with the CD. The trial software is available online. We think the CD would have been much more useful if it included more of the images from the book and left the trial version for readers to download on their own.
Guide to 35MM Photography : Techniques for Better Pictures
Every month we get email from folks asking what books we'd recommend for someone getting started who has aspirations to be a serious photographer. This one is still our favorite.
Photography books for beginners walk a fine line between being so detailed that they actually scare people away from photography and being so trivial that they are of little use once you gain some knowledge. In what has become something of a classic photographic text Kodak has walked that line with nary a miss-step.
The book is beautifully illustrated with photos that are not only technically correct but vibrant and interesting. All photos are published in full color on glossy paper. One of my pet peeves has always been photography books that are published in black and white on cheap paper. No matter how descriptive the text nothing conveys the effect of a polarizer or color filter like side by side photos that clearly show the final image.
The book takes you through all the major points that a novice will need to get started. This includes clear explanations of holding the camera, f-stops, aperture, focal length, depth of field, composition, films, filters, and on into black and white, infrared, and "seeing" rather then snapping. This latest edition even includes a section on digital photography, scanning and printing.
The book is very readable and can be used just as effectively whether read cover to cover or as a reference while you try new things. If you are new to photography or a snap shooter looking to expand your horizons this is a great place to start.