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Lunch » Tags » Digital Cameras » Reviews » Confessions of a Compact Camera Shooter: Get Professional Quality Photos with Your Compact Camera » User review

Great content with less-than-great presentation

  • Apr 13, 2010
  • by
I ordered this book because I'd been getting more serious about photography as a hobby over the past two years, but I didn't want to invest the money required (often a thousand dollars or more) to buy a dSLR camera. My first rude awakening was on the second page of the foreword, where I'm told there is a big difference between a "compact camera" and a "point and shoot camera" (I thought they were one and the same). Um, gee thanks...I wish the book description had said that.

So, from there on out, it appeared I was reading about a lot of controls that my camera (a 7.2 megapixel Sony Cybershot) did not have...which, obviously, was disappointing (I've since looked more at my camera's menu in more depth and see that it has some of these controls).

Still, there is a lot of great advice here for fledgling photographers. Not only properly lighting the shot but composing it (not putting your subject in the center of the frame, etc.); when to use an automatic setting and when a custom setting is better; how to reduce noise (graininess) in your photos; how to shoot various kinds of pictures (portrait, action shots, landscape, etc.); when to use a flash or zoom; and how to use ISO to capture or freeze motion. Additionally there is a good bit of time devoted to manipulating photos through the use of software such as Photoshop Elements.

While I am not a fan of substantial manipulation of photographs (especial nature photographs) because it can lead to beautiful but very fake-looking photographs, I did appreciate the author explaining which software edits will yield a fake-looking photo and which will give you more realism.

There were some things about the book that really bugged me:

1. The author repeats himself to the point that it became annoying (to me, anyway). I understand his point that repetition helps us learn, but it was way overdone for me. It led to a pronounced sense of deja vu--like I was constantly reading the same page over and over.

2. It appears that someone else wrote the foreword as well as the final chapter on making a better print, but this is not nearly as clear as it should be. The foreword begins with a quote that is attributed to Rob Sheppard. Does this mean that the entire forword is written by him? I don't know. The pictures that appear in the foreword are copyrighted by Rob Sheppard, so I would assume so. Page xxiii of the foreword lists Rob's website and blog URLs, but then there are a couple of more pages in that numbering system before we get to page 1. Were THOSE written by Rob Sheppard or by Rick Sammon? I don't know. On the first page of the final Chapter (XVI), it says the chapter is written by Rob Sheppard, but it's embedded in the text (i.e., there is no byline) so, if you missed that one little paragraph, you'd never know. I did miss it the first time and only knew it wasn't written by Rick because whoever wrote it was referring TO Rick.

3. I found the organization of the book--especially the beginning and ending--confusing at times and perhaps not as effective as it could have been. Some topics (like Handing Over Your Camera on p. xxiv) come out of nowhere. There were several times in reading this book when it felt like someone had dropped the manuscript on the floor and randomly put the pages back together before sending it to the printer.

4. It should have been made clearer in the description of the book that appears on Amazon.com what kinds of cameras are being discussed; i.e., if I'd known it was not for point and shoot cameras, I may have chosen another book.

In summary--while, at times, poor organization and repetition can make for frustrating reading, the content of the book is worth the time.

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March 19, 2012
Well done.
March 19, 2012
Thank you.
March 19, 2012
You are welcome.
April 15, 2010
Good review. A while back, I posted a review of "The Camera Phone Book," which allowed me to take better pictures with my Palm Treo. There is a definite need for these types of books, and I thought "The Camera Phone Book" was excellent. Still looking for a good book compact cameras, and will probably pass on this one. http://www.lunch.com/reviews/UserReview-The_..._your_camera_phone.html
April 15, 2010
Great review, Sheri! I've had a hankering for a dSLR, too... My brother got a nice Canon one not too long ago and it was far less than $1000; it was $600, so that's something to look into. I have to check out this book the next time I'm at the book store. Thanks for sharing! :)
April 15, 2010
Hmm....$600...now that might be doable...thanks devora and Scotman!
More Confessions of a Compact Camer... reviews
review by . April 12, 2010
In the spirit of confession encouraged by the title of this book, allow me to make a confession of my own: I've never owned a DSLR. Given that I mostly only share images online, the ease of use and handiness (not to mention affordability) of my inexpensive compact has outweighed for me the flexibility and range of artistic control of an expensive DSLR. Still, I'd like the images I shoot with my compact digital camera to be as good as they can be. What I was hoping for with this book was a guide, …
review by . April 03, 2010
Rick Sammon summarizes his learning philosophy with the following words:  I hear, I forget  I see, I remember  I do, I understand.  This short book is full of pictures that let you to see the techniques that the author describes. The text is short and to the point: you can read each page in less than 30 seconds. The author encourages you to try out the techniques with your own camera. Then you will understand how to take better pictures.     The …
review by . March 27, 2010
Rick Sammon is an accomplished and excellent photographer. Like most photo pros, he generally uses pro equipment, such as Canon DSLR cameras.     In this book, his mission is to help those using far more common cameras how they can get the most out of what they have.     In reality, most of Sammon's treatment is cursory and will provide little to the reader that isn't in the camera's instruction manual. For example, he expends about 100 words to describe the …
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Sheri ()
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I have been a customer reviewer on Amazon.com for well over a decade and an Amazon Vine reviewer since the program began. I enjoy writing product reviews that will help customers make a buying decision. … more
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About this book


Top photographer and Canon Explorer of Light Rick Sammon shares his best tips and tricks for getting high-quality images with your point-and-shoot camera

Prolific author and renowned photographer Rick Sammon shares essential tips, tricks, and advice from years of vast and unique photography experiences. Packed with pointers and helpful hints, this handy, full-color guide can travel with you on your journeys for getting stunning photographs taken with point-and-shoot cameras. You'll learn how to capture proper exposure, create depth of field, use the appropriate flash settings, and much more.

More than 100 techniques show you how to improve your compact camera skills and hundreds of lavish photos serve to motivate and inspire you. Aim your sights at taking stunning photos with this helpful guide by your side!

  • Top industry expert, Canon Explorer of Light, and bestselling author Rick Sammon shares invaluable advice for taking amazing photos with a point-and-shoot camera
  • Explains how to capture proper exposure, create depth of field, use the appropriate flash settings, and more, all using your point-and-shoot camera
  • Boasts hundreds of beautiful photos with accompanying explanations as to the various techniques Sammon used to get a specific shot
  • Motivates and inspires you to improve your compact camera skills to a whole new leve

You'll be grateful for the amazing advice Rick Sammon confesses in Confessions of a Compact Camera Shooter.

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ISBN-10: 0470565071
ISBN-13: 978-0470565070
Author: Rick Sammon
Genre: Arts & Photography, Computers & Internet
Publisher: Wiley
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