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Book Reviews

Idiot's Guide to Digital PhotographyThe Business of Nature Photography 
by John Shaw
Hardback, 144pp, ISBN: 0-81744050-X

Wouldn't it be great to quit your day job and get paid to just travel around to cool places and take pictures?  

A lot of photographers have had that daydream.  But the reality is much tougher.  That's the reason why so many spectacular photographers remain unpublished.  Becoming a pro means that you'll spend as much, or more, time working on business issues as you do shooting.  Frankly, many great photographers simply don't have the business skills to make it work day to day.

John Shaw sets out in this book to lay out a basic blueprint for what it takes to stay afloat as a professional nature photographer - and he does an excellent job of it.  The book is thorough and detailed but still remains readable.  He gives details of how to approach editors and stock agencies, how to organize your images, how to build a portfolio, and how to handle the legal and copyright issues.  It's not sugar coated and Shaw doesn't pretend to have all the answers.  This book is about what's worked for him.  What I liked most is that he stresses how much real work goes into doing this for a living.

If you have any aspirations to make your living in photography, or even to do it as a part time profession, this book will prove indispensable.


Magic Lantern Guides   by Multiple Authors

Whether you own the latest techno wonder or a classic SLR, there is probably a Magic Lantern guide for your camera.  

These books fill an important niche.  Many, if not most, camera manuals are awful (though they've gotten much better recently).  Magic Lantern guides walk you through the features of your camera in much greater detail than your camera's manual.  Not only do they explain the features, but they often illustrate how you can use a feature to create better images.  In some cases they even use the subject camera to illustrate basic photographic principles.

But these guides aren't just limited to the cameras themselves.  There are Magic Lantern guides available for lens and flash systems as well.  The guides are authored by various photographers, and as a result there are some differences in quality from one guide to another.  But as a general rule they are well written and well edited.

Whatever camera system you're using, it's worth picking up the Magic Lantern guide for that system.

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