How to Create Stunning Digital Photography by award-winning photographer Tony Northrup is a tour de force attempt at packing an in-depth photography course into 222 pages. What’s more remarkable is that he pulls it off.
The shelves of most bookstores are crammed with how-to books on photography. Anyone picking up Northrup’s volume had better be serious about taking decent photos. The first five chapters are a breezy, fast-paced introduction to photography, covering everything from composition to specific problem solving. Readers quickly learn that good photos are planned. “My simple advice to beginning photographers is simple,” says Tony: ‘Be there and think.’” Northrup provides a full-page checklist that photographers are instructed to apply each time they go out to shoot.
After his quick introduction, Northrup focuses on the essentials of good photographs—composition and lighting. The reader is introduced to the rule of thirds and how to apply it. The lessons continue with the essence of the art: “No matter what you’re shooting, your subject is the same: light.” Northrup is masterful at explaining how light affects a photo and how to capture the best light for any setting, including the creative use of flash in outdoor settings. Additionally, Northrup addresses special photographic venues, such as weddings, portraits, animals, and undersea photography. Each gets the same thorough, understandable treatment as the basics.
How to Create Stunning Digital Photography is well written and remarkably well organized. A book on photography also demands excellent images, and Northrup goes way beyond the minimum standard in this regard. But he does not stop there. He also includes numerous opportunities for further interactive training in photography. The volume is filled with references to Internet sites where photographers can obtain editing software, receive additional instruction, and even join a private Facebook group page where he or she can get help and criticism of photos. In addition, there are QR codes throughout the text as well as referrals to web sites, where the reader can watch video materials that supplement and expand the instructional material presented in the book. Above all, this is a commitment from the author to stay involved. He even offers his own email and Facebook contact information.
Tony Northrup’s work is an in-depth course in digital photography packaged in a one-volume work. It is accessible to the inveterate digital hobbyist as well as to the experienced photographer, and is the sort of book that should find a prominent place in the studio of every person who pursues digital photography as a serious art form. Even the lazy photographer can learn from reading quickly through the text and looking at the many photos included as examples of what and what not to do. It is difficult to imagine how a teacher of photography could make the material any more accessible than Northrup does here.