Monday, March 9, 2015

REVIEW: The Digital Photography Book, Part 5: Photo Recipes

Click to look inside on Amazon

The Digital Photography Book, Part 5: Photo Recipes by Scott Kelby is the fifth installment in his wildly popular Digital Photography Book Series. I’ve reviewed Volumes 1 – 4, and still strongly encourage new photographers to read them (especially Volume 1). At the end of Volume 1 (and many of his other books), Scott has what he calls Digital Recipes. These are easily digestible (2 pages in this case) blurbs where he shows a shot and tells you the basics about what is required to get the shot.  He also has a dozen companion videos which show you how to do some of the editing techniques he mentions in the book.

What’s inside

You can click here to look inside on Amazon, but here’s a quick run down of the chapters:

  1. Shooting Natural Light Portraits Like a Pro
  2. Using Just One Light Like a Pro
  3. Using Two or More Lights Like a Boss!
  4. Hot-Shoe Flash Like a Pro
  5. Shooting Weddings Like a Pro
  6. Shooting Travel Like a Pro
  7. Shooting Landscapes & Nature Like a Pro
  8. Shooting Other Stuff Like a Pro
  9. Using Post Like a Pro

Each chapter features 10 or more recipes on the chapter subject with two pages dedicated to each recipe. From there you get the following info for each recipe:

  • Before/Behind the Scenes Image – This shows you what happened behind the scenes to get the shot
  • Behind the Scenes – This tells you a bit more about where the shot was taken and the conditions.
  • Camera Settings – This tells you the gear and settings used to get the shot.
  • Thought Process – This tells you what was in Scott’s head for that shot from both a capture and post-processing standpoint
  • Post-Processing – This is where Scott will often refer you to a video so you can see more in-depth about how to process this type of photo. Many photos are done the same way, so he shows you the general technique but not the actual photo editing. If there are any differences from the standard processing or noteworthy points, they are listed here.
  • Final Image – This shows you the resulting image after capture and post-processing

Here’s a sample that you can see with more detail when you click and look inside on Amazon:

Sample Recipe Page 1 of 2 - Click to see more on Amazon

Sample Recipe Page 2 of 2 - Click to see more on Amazon

It’s simple and to the point which is great for ADD types like me!

I’ll admit that I expected to be underwhelmed at first, but I was pleased to see there was a lot of good recipes included here. Some like the Hurley Look Headshot Lighting was a great tip that I haven’t seen before, so even experienced photographers are likely to have a handful (or more) of “wow, that’s a great idea” moments. Yeah, there will be some where you wish you had a little more info, but that’s pretty much what you get in his phenomenally good Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It book (and Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers using Photoshop rules for post-processing people).


This book is handy for a shooter who has the basics down and wants some basic advice on how to get the featured shots. I liked the book because it was a quick read (about 90 – 120 minutes), but I got more out of the videos in his Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes by Scott Kelby DVD. With the knowledge I’ve picked up from other books, I consider this to be like a pocket guide or quick reference to help jog my memory about how to get certain looks when I’m out shooting. After all, what could be easier than you (or your client) just thumbing and saying “I want that look”? With the look down you can see the quick notes on what to do and nail it – I love it!

Where to order

Click here to learn more or order this book on My friends at Amazon have it available here.

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