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04-02-2014, 06:58 AM   #1
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Good Books for beginners

My husband has just bought me a K-30 as a present but I have only used a bridge camera up until now. Most of the books and magazines seem more for the canon cameras - are there any good beginners books which are more general. I am really a beginner so nothing too technical.

Thank You

04-02-2014, 07:15 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum! There are a lot of books out there for novice photographers (sounds better than noob!) and some are much better than others. While some of these books may show canikon cameras the basics are the same. Some good authors are Scott Kelby, Tom Ang, and Michael Freeman to name but a few. Try this link to 10 Best Photography Books for Beginners. I wish you the best in your pursuit of photography and look forward to seeing your images.

BTW, I've been reading similar books for 50 years and still do. Never stop learning.

Last edited by wtlwdwgn; 04-02-2014 at 07:37 AM.
04-02-2014, 07:39 AM   #3
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That's a great link. No. 1 there are the three Scott Kelby books. I recommend them and the first one in particular. Another good one is this one. The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure | Sean Arbabi | Commercial Photographer – Author
04-02-2014, 08:41 AM   #4
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You may also look into Yvon Bourque's e-books, as has been suggested in these forums previously.

04-02-2014, 08:42 AM   #5

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The one book I recommend to beginners is Bryan Petersen's "Understanding Exposure". Easy to understand, plain language and most of what you need to know. I've lent my copy out numerous times. It is brand agnostic.
04-02-2014, 09:08 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Just want to say the obvious here: That these books, as great as they may be, are teaching the technical side of photography. While this is extremely important, one should not ignore the fact that there's an artistic side to photography that is far more difficult to learn, and some would argue far more important too. So don't forget to buy books of those photographers that have done the type of photography that you want to do. Building up your visual library of what constitutes a great image is (IMHO) far more important than knowing the intricacies of the technical side of photography.

Here's a short list of my favorite photographers:

Landscape: Galen Rowell, Ansel Adams, David Meunch, Art Wolfe, Franz Lanting (Or most of any Nation Geographic photographers).

Portraiture: Mary Ellen Mark, Annie Liebovitz, Richard Avadon, Herb Ritz

Photojournalsim: James Nachtwey, Henri Cartier-Bresson (Or any Magnum photographer for that matter)

It's a good idea to not only look at the work of current artists, but those who have long past too. This will give you an idea of the progression of the genre to further your understanding of what was and is considered great art.
04-02-2014, 09:22 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by aremmes Quote
You may also look into Yvon Bourque's e-books, as has been suggested in these forums previously.
+1 on this suggestion. I bought Yvon's book for the K-30 shortly after buying my camera and it got me up to speed in terms of controls and functions faster than trying to wade through the Pentax manual. You should still read the Pentax manual of course and I keep mine in my camera bag but Yvon's writing style is easier to read than the very dry technical style of the 'official' tome.
04-02-2014, 09:24 AM   #8
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Thank you I will certainly have a look for these books. I appreciate that all the technical knowledge does not necessarily make a good photograph but I just want to know how to use the settings - eg speed, aperture to create the image I want. I am sure it will take many years to get up to your standards but I am going to have some fun with my camera trying. People seem to be really 'into' Nikon and Canon but my local photography shop recommended this for me and it seems a really good camera

04-02-2014, 09:42 AM   #9
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People make this too difficult, watch the whole slew of free videos on youtube and then use the manual as a reference to figure out how to do the things in the video on your specific camera.
Stuff like this which is through B&H though I don't know whats all in this video:
04-02-2014, 10:21 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Hello GillyH and 'Hi!' to your husband too, welcome to the Forum!
Lots of good advice here, and I must add a + 1 to FrankC regarding the art of photography.
I understand the need to learn the 'mechanics' of your camera and admire the desire to tackle it first, a fact many newcomers overlook.
But, even the best settings, exposure and lighting are for naught if the 2nd part of the photographic process isn't up to par. Composition, cropping, framing and processing. As you learn the basic guidelines (usually called 'rules' but I like guidelines better, they're not written in stone) to composition, you begin to spot their uses and application in other photos that you admire. Soon, they stick in your mind and you're beginning to think about their application BEFORE you click. Now, you're learning the art of photography. Learn the rules, then break them occasionally, for a good reason, of course!
The best way to understand great photography is to study great photographs. Knowing the same general guidelines some of the greats used (and continue to use) will reinforce in your mind's 'eye' what works and what doesn't.
Along with many good online videos explaining Lightroom and other PP (post-processing) apps, here's a good Text-and-photo 'Composition' primer;
10 rules of photo composition (and why they work) | Digital Camera World
Hope it helps!

Last edited by rbefly; 04-02-2014 at 01:46 PM.
04-02-2014, 11:45 AM   #11
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PPPPPPP42 hit nail on the head youtube, watch n learn -- Bryan Peterson book Understanding Exposure is a good place to start plus your owners manual for the camera.
good luck
04-02-2014, 01:27 PM   #12
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I'm a total bookworm, and I've found photography books helpful. And I've learned a number of subjects through reading. But for technological/mechanical stuff (including photography technique), I need some hands-on demonstration. When I got my first interchangeable lens camera last year, I signed up for a live introductory photography course and it had a huge, positive impact. Hands-on practice in the classroom, combined with a short weekly assignment, really helped me understand the basics of using my camera in manual mode. From there, I started reading photography books (on photography technique and the art of photography) and taking some online courses. So, if you are the kind of person who can learn from (and is disciplined enough to learn from) books and videos, by all means go for it. But if your prior experience suggests that you might benefit from some hands-on training, check out the offerings in your town (or in a nearby city you might be visiting on a trip).

Also, if you're interested, there is an online course based on Bryan Peterson's book Understanding Exposure, available through (an online school he founded). I've taken some other courses through and found almost all of them quite helpful. I think the next series of courses starts this Friday (April 4).
04-02-2014, 05:54 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by GillyH Quote
My husband has just bought me a K-30 as a present but I have only used a bridge camera up until now. Most of the books and magazines seem more for the canon cameras - are there any good beginners books which are more general. I am really a beginner so nothing too technical.

Thank You
By far the best I have seen is Bryan Peterson's:

Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera: Bryan Peterson: 9780817432256: Books

...and this companion guide:

Bryan Peterson's Understanding Composition Field Guide: How to See and Photograph Images with Impact: Bryan F. Peterson: 9780770433079: Books
04-02-2014, 06:24 PM   #14

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+1 Understanding Exposure (latest edition) should be first on your list.

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