The Digital Photography Companion
Practical Photography Advice You Can Take Anywhere
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: March 2008
Pages: 232

Are you ready to take photos that reflect your creative spirit, rather than just another set of snapshots? Then you want this book in your camera bag. Well-organized so you can look up topics quickly, The Digital Photography Companion gives you creative tips and technical advice for taking top-notch digital photos in a wide range of conditions, and for a variety of occasions. In other words, this book will help you make pictures that look better than everyone else's.

Professional photographer and teacher Derrick Story, whose online tips and podcasts at The Digital Story ( have made him a popular photography blogger, gives you plenty of examples of how to capture great shots of people, places, landscapes, and more. He also provides a complete summary on camera features, tips for printing, sharing your images, and an overview of photo management applications.

Chapters include:

  • What is It? -- Choose the right camera (DSLRs, compact cameras, or hybrids) and get a rundown on all of the typical features they offer, such as face detection, image stabilizers, diopter adjustment, focus assist light, RAM buffer, and more.

  • How Does it Work? -- This A-Z guide of digital camera controls explains everything from Aperture Value (Av) Mode and Autoexposure to White Balance, the Zoom/Magnify Control, and everything in between.

  • Shoot Like a Pro -- Advice for a variety of photographic adventures, such as capturing existing light portraits, creating powerful landscape images, and shooting fireworks, underwater portraits, infrared photos, and more, along with lighting and filter tricks.

  • I've Taken Great Pictures, Now What? -- You get complete advice for sharing your photos, converting from color to balck & white and more, plus an overview of photo management applications, from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to Apple iPhoto.

  • Printing Made Easy -- Printing doesn't have to be a painful experience. Learn various options, including direct printing without a computer, ordering out, and selecting the right inkjet printer for home (and what to do with it once you get it there.).
You also get an appendix with Quick Reference Tables, as well as other useful tables scattered throughout the book.

The Digital Photography Companion offers you friendly advice so you can try techniques that may never have occurred to you -- approaches that will bring you more of what you're looking for when you click the shutter: Great looking pictures!

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oreillyThe Digital Photography Companion

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Read it!

By Keith

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Digital Photography Companion:

This is one of the best books written on digital photography. Story covers the important details for operating your digital camera in an easy to read format & convenient size. I read the entire book in one sitting.


Photography instructor

Beverly Hills Adult School


Everyone will find something useful here

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Digital Photography Companion:

Unless you're a professional photographer, you'll find something valuable in this book. The author effectively goes through everything you need to know to be an effective digital photographer. From picking out the right camera for you to how to actually use it, I found this to be a thorough guide to all typical consumer digital photography needs.

Beginning photographers will appreciate the information on what to look for in a good digital camera as well as the composition tips. More advanced photographers will go for the section on setting the white balance and auto bracketing. Personally, I was really interested in the author's discussion on infrared photography. I used to take pictures on Kodak infrared B&W film years and years ago and didn't even realize you could do the same thing with a digital camera.

I found the last third of the book to be particularly fascinating. In this section, the author talks about organizing your photos and basics of working with many of the leading photo editing programs. The end of the book shows all the photos that were used in the book and shows exposure information as well as the camera make and model used to capture it.

I consider myself to be a pretty experienced digital photographer, yet I found many things in this book that I can immediately begin using to improve my digital pictures. Whether you're trying to figure out how to begin with digital photography or you're just looking to improve your skills, this is a recommended book.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)



By Liana Winsauer

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Digital Photography Companion:

I picked up The Digital Photography Companion because last time I was taught or read up on anything other than fully-auto point and shoot photography was umpteen years ago, literally. I've never really ventured outside of the comfort zone of that magic P setting, and I thought this book would be a nice refresher. We're firm believers in the quality of O'Reilly books in our house, so the fact that it was an O'Reilly title was encouraging. I'm unlikely to end up as photogeeky as some people, but I thought it about time to quit flailing around in the dark, as I did when I proof-read a discussion of the math behind f-stops for a friend. I'm still flailing.

This book would be fine for someone who is just getting into digital photography, and is unlikely to do anything but full-auto, or go into the other mostly-automatic modes of digital cameras. If you want to know what an f-stop is, what the focal length is, or how the various non-auto-mode settings inter-relate, you're out of luck. I understand that The Digital Photography Companion is intended for the beginner, but in my opinion Mr. Story has over-simplified. A short definition, a sentence or two, of the various "geeky bits" shouldn't scare someone away. As it is, I can see the beginner coming away even more confused because of the lack of a little bit of technical detail.

Some examples:

* "Focal length" is never mentioned, even in the section explaining what the numbers describing a lens mean.

* In another section, the impression is given that aperture and f-stop are not just related, but identical.

* Although automatic exposure bracketing is mentioned in terms of automatic features, bracketing is never suggested for the novice stepping out of fully-automatic mode(s).

* The author encourages the novice to try manual mode on their DSLR, but then gives almost no suggestions of where to start - there is a chart in the appendix of suggested aperture and shutter speed settings for "sunset and astrophotorgraphy" shooting, but not everyday situations. Similarly, there is a chart of exposure compensation settings for various lighting conditions, but only in terms of a camera's plus-minus preset scale, not in terms of what to do on a DSLR.

Give The Digital Photography Companion to Granny or your 12-year-old, recommend it for a friend who just wants to take better snapshots, but take the back-cover (and blurbs) with a hefty grain of salt.


An invaluable primer for the beginner and a comprehensive reference resource for more advanced photographers.

By Tom Reed

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Digital Photography Companion:

The Digital Photography Companion is sub-titled "Practical photography advice you can take anywhere", and indeed the slim soft-covered volume is small enough to pack into your camera case. Even experienced photographers sometimes need to look up things, and this book has a wealth of information in five logically organized chapters and a useful appendix.

The book begins with the basics. Chapter One is written for those just starting into digital photography. It describes the features of compact cameras and Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras and the pros and cons of each. The second chapter explains hands-on techniques, literally from A to Z (Aperture Value to Zoom).

Chapter Three gets into the creative and artistic side of photography, with specific advice for the types of pictures most of us shoot. The next chapter on working in the digital darkroom covers photo editing and management software, such as Apple iPhoto, Adobe Photoshop and Elements, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and Apple Aperture. And finally, there's a chapter on printing.

The book is written in an informal, sometimes even chatty, style. For instance, in noting that some cameras allow shooting in both RAW and JPEG at the same time, the author adds, "this approach consumes memory cards faster than Doritos at a Super Bowl party." There is also some advice you may not have thought of, such as using a hotel shower cap to protect your camera on rainy days, or using your cell phone camera to record signs, menus, and other data for future reference

The organization of the material makes it easy to find what you want. The table of contents is quite detailed and the index, even more so. The text is supplemented by an abundance of photos (mostly by the author), tables, screen shots, and boxes containing tips, warnings, and reminders. The appendix has almost a dozen tables of reference material on camera settings and modes, the storage capacity of memory cards, and recommended exposures for sunsets, lunar eclipses, and the like.

Derrick Story is described on the back cover as O'Reilly's digital media evangelist, and he is the author or co-author of at least three books on digital photography. The Digital Photography Companion is an invaluable primer for the beginner and a comprehensive reference resource for more advanced photographers.


Fine primer on digital photography

By John Suda

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Digital Photography Companion:

The "Basic Photography Companion" concept has become nearly its own genre in the photography book business. For the most part, it results in "formula" books covering the same basic ideas _ how to buy introductory camera gear, how to use the gear, and how to produce decent- looking photos for oneself, family, and friends.

It is a popular genre and there is nothing wrong with a formula approach, especially if it is made fresh by updated content, quality production values, and capable exposition. Out of all the "companions" I've owned or read over the decades the ones written by Derrick Story and published by O'Reilly Media, rank among the best. Mr. Story's latest is "The Digital Photography Companion" (2008), a slender book of 214 pages. Story is O'Reilly's digital media expert and has authored a number of basic digital photography guides over the years, as well as other books in his area of expertise. With the rapidly developing technology in the photography world involving digital cameras, lenses, storage media, software editing and management programs, and Internet and wireless distribution methods, there is a niche and a need for a good genre-formula companion manual. A typical companion manual is a book small enough to fit easily into a camera bag and which provides guidance on camera and lens settings, filters, flash, and other technical hardware matters while also providing information and tips on standard photography concepts like depth of field, shutter speeds, exposures, and the like. The better ones also contain the reference material most desired by working photographers, like charts for exposure; color temperatures; flash, metering, and camera modes; and memory card capabilities.

The Digital Photography Companion makes order of the complexities of photography equipment purchasing and use while providing a goodly amount of practical tips for taking photos. Mr. Story has an easy-going casual writing style. He makes learning about digital hardware and software and photography concepts and techniques seem easy. The book is nicely produced and laden with full color illustrative comparison images, useful tables, charts, and color-coded sidebars of Tips, Definitions, Warnings, and Reminders. There are screenshots of software settings for digital editing and management applications like iPhoto, Photoshop Elements, Adobe's Light Room, and Apple's high-end program, Aperture, and others. The picture-making material is for beginners; there is discussion of basic photo techniques for a large variety of situations most commonly experienced by beginners--especially persistent learners _ landscapes, weddings, kids, action, self-portraits, and astrophotography scenes. The goal is to help new photographers learn to make their pictures unique and interesting for even non-family and friends.

There are five chapters covering computer and photography terms, hands-on techniques and camera use items, picture making tips and ideas, viewing and managing results, and printing methods. Chapters 1 and 2 are organized by basic photography and technical concepts sorted in alphabetical order for quick reference, as necessary. Chapter 3 provides basic picture-taking tips. An appendix contains the Quick Reference Guide mentioned already for camera settings , together with a chart of metadata for all the illustrative photos contained in the book, including for each photo: camera model used, focal length, shutter speed, and location.

The digital revolution in the photography world makes the materials in chapters 4 and 5 especially useful, discussing the new digital distribution and software processing methods _ e-mail, conversion to movies, dealing with RAW files, making slide shows, etc. _ and the printing options _ direct from camera, online printers, and dedicated photo printers.


Digital Photography Companion

By Ed Laskowski

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Digital Photography Companion:

Digital cameras are great, but they won't do your thinking for you. To get beyond simple point-and-shoot, some knowledge is necessary. This new book by Derrick Story has just the right depth of information for the typical amateur. If you haven't yet bought a camera, the opening chapter has some good advice on camera selection. Among others features, face detection and image stabilization are mentioned as the hot new features to look for.

The book can be read in two evenings. Mastering the techniques presented will take a good deal longer, as you gain experience with your camera. You get pointers on how to shoot portraits, landscapes, wedding pictures, architecture, panoramas, and even infrared images and video. There is a good overview of photo management software programs, including the widely-used Photoshop elements and Apple iPhoto. There are numerous tables throughout the book, which provide recommendations on camera settings, file formats, memory card capacities, and other useful information.

The last chapter is devoted to printing and distributing your pictures by email or web, with recommendations on choosing a printer. The book contains five chapters in 230 pages, with an appendix and index. It is designed to be a handy reference, and is small enough to fit nicely into a camera bag.


Digital Photography Techniques Made Easy

By Dale Farris

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly The Digital Photography Companion:

This super book is an excellent introduction to the world of digital photography, and will appeal to readers who have had some experience with their digital camera and are ready to embark on more sophisticated uses of their hardware. The book is succinct in its approach and the author makes sure to not overload the reader with extensive, detailed material. Instead, the focus is on the most common, most likely questions asked by digital photographers, especially amateurs who use their digital camera as a hobby or for fun. This title also nicely serves as an introductory companion to Ken Milburn's Digital Photography: Expert Techniques, also available from O'Reilly.

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