“Photo nuts and shots” is the continuation of the basic e-book on photography titled “Photo nuts and bolts” from Digital Photography School. Written by Neil Creek, this is a perfect reference for intermediate photographers, who are already familiar with the shutter speed, aperture and ISO and want to take their photography to the next level. At the same time, I am sure some more advanced amateurs will find in “Photo nuts and shots” useful tips to improve their technique and a source of inspiration.
In the simplest terms, “Photo nuts and shots” takes you from photo taking to photo creating. It is an introduction to some more advanced photographic subjects, including light, composition, exposure (with reading a histogram), sharpness. Both the light and composition chapters, in my opinion the strongest parts of the e-book, offer a very unique and practical view on those subjects, showing them as problems on one side, and a creative elements on the other. A great variety of concepts gets mentioned, although some are not explained in great detail, requiring to look for other sources. Luckily, “Photo nuts and shots” contains some suggestions for further reading, like blogs articles and fora.
I found the recommendations for keeping your gear clean very useful as well as the advice on holding the camera in various positions (with images!). I also liked the general tips in the chapter on organizing a photo shoot. Also, I found his comments on working the point of view very convincing. It reminded me of some photography contest motto: “show us the world like we have never seen before” here done just by choosing the low or high vintage point! Great creative tip.
The text of “Photo nuts and shots” is very well illustrated with photographs. There is really a lot of images, from every genre of photography, and I was quite surprised to learn that they were all shot by the author. It shows great versatility of Neil Creek as photographer himself.
The e-book is accompanied by a one page pocket troubleshooting guide for extra value. It contains the most often encountered problems with photographs and simple solutions in the very portable form. Just print it out and stick in your camera bag.
I have some minor complaints about “Photo nuts and shots”. One is that although it is in a form of downloadable pdf, it was not optimized for reading on an iPad. It is slightly smaller then the screen, which makes letters smaller then they could have been. Further, in the light chapter the mixing of ambient and flash light is mentioned, but not rear synch curtain, which might be too difficult to explain, but worth mentioned as useful setting. Also, although HDR as technique is mentioned, no recommendations of software are made, which is a pity. Lastly, one of the chapters towards the end contains additional thought on lighting, off-camera flash etc. and I am not sure why this part was separated from the “Light” chapter earlier in the book.
In summary, don’t look for simple answers to improve your photography in “Photo nuts and shots” – it will require a lot of work and practice on your part. The e-book gives you basic knowledge which you need to take with you on the field (along with trouble shoot guide ;)). You need to experiment for yourself with choice of lenses, point of view, framing. But if you do, and follow other advice, like mindfully creating images with purpose, you will quickly notice your craft improving.
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