In the interests of giving people enough time to participate, here is the awaited review of Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Book, Volume 3.  To be eligible to win this book, simply comment on this post – you have until Friday to make a comment – the winner will be announced then.  One entry only per person, and free shipping to anywhere in the US.  If you live outside the US you can still participate, but shipping won’t be free.  Details to follow for the winner…  Good luck all and thanks to those at NAPP and Kelby Media for sending the book out (little did they know I’d be turning around and giving it away again).  So, ready for the “review”?  Here goes:

Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Book, Vol. 3
Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Book, Vol. 3

The relatively recent release of Scott Kelby’s latest book on photography has met well with readers and reviewers so when I got an opportunity to read through it in some detail, figured this would be a good time to give a Canon-centric rundown.

First off, the book is interestingly organized.  Scott’s impressive background with Photoshop has lent itself well toward his particular writing style in that a work flow of sorts can be how reading material is organized.  With photography, a “work flow” is not as easy to adhere to because things will vary from one type of environment to another.  There are some basics that will be the same across the board, and given the layout of this third volume, I am guessing he found a flow for the first book or two.  For this third book though, it’s not typical “Kelby-esque” style writing.  Sure, the wit still comes through, and for those accustomed to his writing style, this is a welcome element.  The flow aspect being different though, takes some adjusting.  To that end, here’s how the book is laid out in its chapter organization:

  1. Flash Tips
  2. Studio Tips
  3. Lens Tips
  4. Product Photography
  5. Outdoor Photography
  6. Portrait Photography
  7. Sports Photography
  8. General Photo Tips
  9. Avoiding/Dealing with Problems

Because in previous works, I have been accustomed to reading something like a story as things easily transition from one element to the next, this was a bit more challenging at first.  Once I made the shift to this new style, it became easier – so, my recommendation, read this book more as a quick reference guide.  The tips, tricks, and pointers he gives on all subjects are spot on for the specific subject matter.  The content shifts quickly though with each tip lasting about a page (and this includes graphics).

When all is said and done though, would I recommend this as a book to read?  I can honestly say that though I’ve probably advanced past his introductory books, this is definitely a keeper.  Not only are there some great tips in here, but they aren’t just cheesy ones like “Don’t forget to take your lens cap off…”  These are real tips, true gristle that you can sink your teeth into.  Want to know how to use mirrors?  Scott tells you!  How about what to do if your flash isn’t bright enough?  Scott tells you!  There’s even nuts and bolts info on things like how to get specific effects with your photography in all genres of work.  I think what I like best is that he actually goes through some of the specifics for both Nikon (his camera gear of choice) and Canon equivalents, for camera and lighting settings.  This way no one is left out (unless you shoot Pentax, but then even there, the tips for photography still apply.)

The last element I think is worth mentioning is that while this book is not complete on any given subject matter, that it is still a good choice  because now you aren’t trying to get everything out of one book – you get nuggets and tricks and tools for any genre that can help you.  Even if you knew  everything in this book at one point in time, it would still be useful because we all need reminders every once and a while, so this is one to be sure to hold on to.  Scott gives enough detail to get you started in whatever field interests you – or even enough to take you from beginner to serious hobbyist, or even to maintain your skills as a general reference guide.  Is it too late?   Can I retract the “Comment Contest” and keep the book?  No worries – out it goes for some lucky reader.

I do feel that I should give some fair warning here though – this book is not for beginners.  If you’ve got a few things down, some of the basics of gear and lighting, and known your rules of composition, then yes, jump right in, the water is warm.  If the terms I just mentioned are somewhat new or you are still getting them down pat – you might want to start with his Volume 1 or Volume 2 book (or even just keep reading the blogs – I know a few good ones! 🙂 )

So, there you have it – thanks to Scott for putting out yet another must-read book (what’s he at, like 60 books now?).  Thanks also to Kelby media for sending this one out – I wasn’t sure if it would come or not.  And lastly, now it’s time to share your thoughts…did you like it?  Did it stink?  Needed more?  Needed less?  About right?  Should he switch to Canon and leave the Nikonians behind?  (Ok, just kidding on that last one…)  But sound off – this is your chance to win the book for free!

Happy shooting all, and thanks in advance for all that stop in to comment – don’t forget the month long contest going on over at Flickr to win a bunch of prizes including some more stuff from NAPP.  It’s in the Flickr tab up at the top, but I’ll link here again for convenience sake!  We’ll see you back here again tomorrow!

33 thoughts on “Useful Resource

  1. Just found your blog. Hope I can still enter the contest!


  2. It sounds like Scott has finally let someone else to work on his baby – only kidding. I love his books –each time and every time you read any them – or any of his blogs for that matter, it feels like you are having a personal conversation with the guy, which is very rare in tech world.
    In saying so I am glad to read in your review that this book will entertain photo ‘grown ups’, after his 2 previous books (although they are brilliant) I am looking forward to something more ..hmm let’s say ‘meaty ‘ !
    Thanks for the review – much appreciated. Getting hold of his books in South Africa is not easy (usually have to ship them in) and they much more expensive than in Europe or America. I am very happy to know this is going to be money well spent..

  3. I love Scott Kelby’s blog and podcast, and I’m excited to read his latest book!

  4. I have learned so much from Scott’s books one and two. # 3 definitely needs to be on my bookshelf as well. His tips and lessons are simple and to the point, and easy to put into practice immediately. My photography has improved a great deal since I received the first two as a birthday present in September.

  5. Great review. Thanks for the preview of what to expect from this book.

    There are different stages in life for a photography-enthusiast – First you enjoy your point and shoot and wonder why people really carry big guns to shoot the same thing. Then time goes on, suddenly P&S bites you with its shortcomings and you want to upgrade to a DSLR. You learn the key elements of photography and keep referring blogs for improvement and ideas. Now there should be some time in this, when you want to cross the amateur line and want to push yourself further. I think this is exactly where this book will give a helping hand with its great tips. Looking forward to read this.

  6. Alistair M says:

    Enjoyed you review Jason. I avidly follow his blog and look forward to reading his latest book.

  7. Gret review! would love to win this otherwise, it is on my wish list for Christmas.

  8. Robert Todd Wilcke says:

    Thank you for the podcast. I really enjoy listening. Good review on the book.

  9. I have never read one of Scott Kelby’s books….(gasp!) but I am a fan and would love to start with this one!!! 😀

  10. The 3rd volume is great. I’ve really enjoyed all of Kelby’s books. The only thing that was missing from this book was his list of recommendations on the next photography books to read, which he included in both V.1 and V.2 .

  11. it would be awesome to have this book. I haven’t read any of his books…yet…so… 🙂
    great review, thank you very much!

  12. Scott Kelby’s books, video tutorials, and magazine articles are always easy to read,
    in-depth, and pleasurable, as he spins his good humor into his technical explanations.
    You will always learn something new from Scott and with a smile on your face!

  13. I haven’t read any of Scott’s books yet Jason. but any book by Scott Kelby would be welcome on my shelf.


  14. I read Scott Kelby’s first volume of the Digital Photography Book cover to cover and loved it. I keep it handy as a reference when using certain types of gear or composing certain types of shots. It has been a great help to me in my learning process. I’d love to get my hands on this latest volume!

  15. While I am a relic of Nikon film photography. I am new to Digital Photography, Canon, listening to your podcast and jogging (thats while I am listening to your podcast.) I have recently purchased a Canon and done a lot of research to bring me up to date on digital. Looking at how the book is laid out, I really would enjoy this book to help sharpen my skills from all levels. I enjoyed the review and will enjoy the book.

  16. I don’t have any of his books yet. Based on your review and other comments I’ll have to start checking them out. Other than your giveaway, any suggestions on what to read first?

  17. John Wright says:

    Very good review. That pretty much reflects my thoughts on the first two books so I’m looking forward to reading this one.

  18. I think you did a good job with the book review; it made me want to buy the book, at any rate! There were a number of things I liked about it that made it click for me:
    You gave us a heads-up (and very good explanation) of the different flow Kelby’s content takes in this book. I like that for the folks who know and like his normal style.
    You gave us an overview of the chapter content, which is what really made me want to go out and buy the book.
    You gave us an overall view of the level of detail the book addresses (e.g. specific settings for Nikons and Canons).
    You gave us an appetite for the book by assuring us that he gives a lot of valuable, heavy-duty tips (and by letting us in on the type of content his tips address, i.e. lighting, mirrors, etc.).
    That last point also leads to the one thing I missed in your review; I would have loved to have you whet that appetite for the book by sharing one or (preferably) two of his “real tips, true gristle that you can really sink your teeth into.” I don’t know much about dos and don’ts of book reviews… maybe you’re restricted in how much actual content you can divulge, which would be disappointingly realistic. Either way, thanks for the review; it was interesting, informative, and made me want the book.

  19. Scott does a good job with those books. I too am looking forward the checking out the new installment.
    .-= Jason´s last blog ..Jason =-.

  20. Don’t count me in the comment contest Jason. Already got my copy on the way for leading a photo walk here in Prescott….

    Just wanted to chime in on Kelby’s books. I can’t say enough good things about them. Here’s a guy who really understands how to teach to an extremely broad audience, and he keeps it all simple if you ask me. Plain English. I’ve personally written manuals for engineers for years, and the more straightforward you are, the easier it seems to be for others to learn. Scott has it down to a science. Oh, he makes me laugh too.

    Good luck to the comment contest submitters!
    .-= Rich C´s last blog ..Islands of stone in a sea of sand =-.

  21. Nelson Loza says:

    definitely have to echo the previous two comments, scott’s books have always been easy and fun to read. his first digital photography book was the first book i bought ever since i wanted to get more into photography. definitely looking forward to reading this one!

  22. I’ve found something valuable in every one of Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Books – even for a point-and-shoot person like me. Would love to own Book #3.
    .-= KarenB´s last blog ..Photoshop Elements 8 Videos =-.

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