by David Tong
Professional Strategies and Techniques for Digital Photographers
Author: Bob Coates
Publisher: Amherst Media
Professional Strategies and Techniques for Digital Photographers is a rather unusual title for a book that isn’t really an instructional reference material.
The meat of the book is a compilation of tips, insights, and advice given by various accomplished photographers in their respective fields ranging from portraiture, wedding, fine arts, landscape, commercial, and so forth.
The book provides insights that are not one-sided and are based on the photographers’ actual experience. The “digital” part of the title is based mainly on how the photographers handled the transition between film to digital and how they each used digital photography as a new way to further improve your output and creative works.
Professional advertising, nature, portrait, and wedding photographers give the inside scoop on how they deal with issues faced in shooting, selling, and retouching digital images. Top photographers such as Dave Montizambert and Don Emmerich describe how they got into digital photography and what it has meant to their business and their photography. They also share information on what led them into photography and what it has taken to reach the top of their field. Whether a relative newcomer like Dave Montizambert or a seasoned hand like Phillip Stewart Charis, each of the photographers interviewed offers valuable advice and insight about what it takes to get into digital photography and how to set up a modern studio.
About the Author
Bob Coates has written for industry magazines such as Photo Electronic Imaging, Professional Photographer, Rangefinder, and Shutterbug. His photography has appeared in National Geographic, New York Daily News, and Studio Photography and Design. He is the author of Photographer’s Guide to Wedding Album Design and Sales. He lives in Sedona, Arizona.
If I’d to summarize the gist of this book, it’d be “ideas and inspiration”, not “techniques and instruction”. The book will offer little hands-on instructional value to the photographer, but is a very good book to read to those who seem to be stuck in a rut in terms of creative direction, or those who have started with film and having a hard time getting all the new digital workflow and shooting technique differences back into their routine.
You’ll get nice insights from well-known photographers such as Don Emmerich, Eddie Tapp, Jane Conner-Ziser, Bill Egar, and many more. You’ll read about their experiences dealing with the change in how they work when migrated to digital photography, dealing with client expectations and concerns with a new medium, the economic benefits of shifting to digital, how Adobe PhotoShop broke design barriers, and so forth. Topics not usually covered in a personal-level of detail by most books.
Unfortunately, virtually the same set of opinions and information are repeated by the 16 different photographers featured within the book. There are some differences in their discussion as some may point out details that affect commercial photography only, while another will show you how it applies in wildlife photography, but essentially, the bottom-line is the same.
If you can get this on sale (like I did), this is a nice book to have in your library as a collection of personal interviews of an era where digital photography enters the mainstream professional level. Having said that, the book won’t offer you a whole lot than a nostalgic story telling of the early adopters of digital photography in the early 2000s.