The endless debates about whether “film is dead” or “digital sucks” are fine for late night debates and chat room rants, but anyone really serious about making pictures isn’t served by picking sides in a pointless war. Fundamentals of Photography: The Essential Handbook for Both Digital and Film Cameras is a new book by Tom Ang that puts an emphasis on “digital and film cameras.” Rather than picking a side in the pointless battle between digital and film users, this book gives practical advice that any photographer can benefit from.
When it comes right down to it you need a practical manual if you want to take better pictures. You need a book that you can turn to when you want to know “how did they do that?” Whether you are learning the fundamentals for the first time or are just looking to expand on what you already know, a browse through this book can’t help but improve your photos. Your photos will improve when you understand light better. It will improve when you understand how your camera works. It will improve when you learn the history as well as the latest advancements. It will improve when you know what to do with your image after you take the picture. All these things are covered in this book and it is written in easy to understand language.
In many ways, this is a book that couldn’t have been written five years ago. The digital revolution has been a whirlwind and I think we are just finally starting to understand the implications. Digital isn’t something to rebel against, and film isn’t something to throw out the window.
Being the kind of person who would rather hack together pieces of old cameras than baby an expensive piece of machinery, you may be surprised that I would endorse a traditional kind of book that focuses on the fundamentals of photography. Actually, I find an easy-toiread manual really inspiring. A firm grasp of the basics is essential before you can improvise and dance. The Fundamentals of Photography is a welcome addition to my photo library and I recommend you pick it up. It’s available from Amazon for about $17.
Also, I have a copy of the book to give away. Leave your name in the comments of this post and I will randomly pick a winner at the end of November. Just make sure to put a real email address in the comment form and I will contact the winner at the end of December. To make it a little more interesting, tell us what kind of camera you are learning with or what camera you learned the fundamentals of photography with. Mine was a Pentax K1000. What was your’s?
UPDATE: Congratulations to Amod Rahatkar, winner of the drawing for this book!
Here are some of the auctions on Ebay for photography books that you might be interested in: