Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Review: National Geographic Complete Photo Guide by Heather Perry

If you know National Geographic, you know how amazing the photographs they use are. It seems like they have the very best photographers working for them so I was incredibly excited to see the Complete Photo Guide: How to Take Better Pictures by them. I was my high school's yearbook photo editor a trillion years ago so I have some vague (long lost) knowledge of the technical aspects of photography but I know there's a lot of room for improvement.

The book is divided into four sections, with the fourth being further resources. Starting with advice on how to look at the world in section one, the components of design that make for great photographs, and potential subjects, the book is very informative and thorough. The information is not incredibly technical, allowing photographers of all ability levels to take something from it. Each chapter has one or two amazing photographs to illustrate the suggestions the text is making and many of the chapters also cross reference other places in the book to find adjacent or complimentary info. Some also have a one or two sentence summary of the advice for those who only need a quick refresher on how to look or how to compose (or as the book says "make a photograph"). There are also photo assignments scattered throughout because as the opening essay shares, the best way to take better photographs, instead of unplanned snapshots, is by taking photographs. Yes, like everything else in life, it's practice, practice, practice. (And to be fair, I put the book down many times as I read in order to do just that.) A brief section two tells the history of photography. Section three is the most technical of the sections, focusing on technology and the photograph. This is where photographers learn or relearn about the different features their cameras might have as well as features all cameras definitely do have (well, maybe not cell phone cameras). This section is set up much like the first section with explanations of certain techniques or camera features, photographs that illustrate them, summaries, and cross reference notes. Placed throughout the book are gorgeous photos chosen by editors, photographers, and others who understand and appreciate the incredible art and skill behind an amazing photograph. These experts give a brief commentary on why they love this particular photograph, visibly illustrating many of the preceding lessons.

The book reminded me of things I had once learned and forgotten and it definitely made me want to get out there with my camera again, using some of the things they talk about. Since the book is not camera specific, I may have to revisit my camera's how to manual to even attempt some of the techniques here but even if I don't get around to reading that, this book has given me food for thought as I pause to compose a picture in the future.

And just for fun, here are a couple of raw (unedited) pictures I snapped of the skittish cat last night (using my cell phone) when I set the book down again to practice looking at the world in a different way.

For more information look at the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, look at the reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book, and purchase here.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and publisher National Geographic for sending me a copy of this book to review.

1 comment:

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