In honour of National Photography Month, I want to recommend a must-have photo book for beginners that I personally found incredibly helpful. It is small, relatively inexpensive and worth every penny (or American cent). This book is a favourite among new photographers and it is so popular that a second edition is set to be released in June 2023.
I am guessing it must be one of the best digital photography books of all time, especially for new camera users. Honest, well written and fun too.
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The book is called “Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs” by Henry Caroll, and despite its quirky title, it is an outstanding and easy to read resource for anyone looking to improve their cat photography skills and understand photography a little bit more without stress! It should be part of your essential photo supply kit – right now.
Why is this book so helpful?
For aspiring cat photographers it’s important to focus on developing your skills even if you only do so in small steps. Each idea, or concept or technical explanation in the book is clear and easy to understand and while they are not cat focused you can quickly see which will be useful as you practice your cat photography. I immediately felt so much better after reading the ‘Photography Yoga‘ section and I think every cat photograph will relate to this quote.
“Spotting the difference between a good photographer and a bad photographer is easy……… The good photographers are the ones hunching, squatting and bending over backwards”Henry Carroll
Sometimes a small step is all you have time for so Henry Caroll’s laser focus on areas where you can make a real difference to your images is perfect for busy learners.
In the book each two page spread includes a sample image by one of the world’s premiere photographers or an illustration, and an explanation that summarises many essential points cat lovers will appreciate. The technical explanations are simple and approachable and Henry Carroll’s recommendations on which ‘Modes’ will help you, and which are a waste of time, are priceless. Who else but this author could entitle a chapter ‘It’s OK to P in public” (Don’t worry, he is recommending a great basic beginner mode!)
The broad categories are:
Each of the sections listed is packed with knowledge bites and quotable gems like “..nothing kills an image more than keeping your distance” or “Don’t overthink things. Photograph what you feel”. You feel you are learning from a friend who will never get mad at you but who will gently repeat the information until you understand the point.
You can keep this book in your bag, or beside you on the sofa and soak up its wisdom and good sense anytime you have a spare moment. It’s fun, it’s helpful and may be the only beginner book you need to learn a lot about photography.
Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can create impressive cat photographs and fun movies with the camera they carry.
She is a Professional Member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.