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Shy of Techniques: A "Professional Techniques for Black & White Digital Photography" review

  • Jan 26, 2009

As a serious photo-hobbyist, I started using a digital camera 2000.  As digital imaging improved I sold off my film equipment and purchased my first DSLR.  Since then, I look for ways to improve my skills and expand my image styles.  I was enticed by the back cover of the book boldly claiming "master the skills needed to create truly stunning digital images in black and white."  Combined with all the great reviews, I was sure this book would be a worthy choice. 


This book is written with a warm friendly tone, which invites the reader to a quick read.  The example images, primarily wedding and senior portraits, mostly fit the topics discussed offering inspiration.  Additionally an unexpected chapter on infrared photography was a welcome surprise.


From the beginning, Patrick Rice makes a strong case to convince the reader why digital is better than film.  He also covers the basics such as ISO, the rule of thirds, and crooked horizons.  It's not until halfway through the book on page 63 the first set of Photoshop instructions appears.  A couple pages later, the six page chapter on "Converting to Black & White" provides four Photoshop conversion methods.  A few other instructions can be found for split toning, solarizing, and polarizing.  Most of these instructions are nothing new for someone with a basic understanding of Photoshop.  The book ends with a few words on why digital is the future.


As an early adopter, I don't need to be convinced to shoot digital, learn about camera basics, or develop a workflow.  While the later two subjects are limited to small chapters which can be skipped, Patrick Rice does a lot of convincing throughout the book.  I could find nothing in this book with enough detail to help me master anything photographically.


If you are generally new to digital photography and need convinced of the medium or enjoy looking at inspirational images, this may be a worthy purchase.  If you know the basics and are looking for an in-depth how to guide to take you to a new level, this book is sure to disappoint.  Consider purchasing "Mastering Digital Black and White: A Photographer's Guide to High Quality Black-and-White Imaging and Printing" by Amadou Diallo instead.



Quick read

Many quality example images

Unexpected chapter on infrared photography



Too much convincing the reader of digital photography's worthiness

Limited how to instructions

Generally too basic

Photography book by Patrick Rice

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April 20, 2009
"Mastering Digital Black and White: A Photographer's Guide to High Quality Black-and-White Imaging and Printing" by Amadou Diallo
April 19, 2009
Since you only rated this book a +1, would you happen to have any other recs on the same subject? I am a sucker for B&W photography.
March 27, 2009
Very nice sum up! Does the book offer any advice on buying a new digital camera?
About the reviewer
About this book



ISBN-10: 1584281499
ISBN-13: 978-1584281498
Author: Patrick Rice
Publisher: Amherst Media, Inc.
Date Published: February 1, 2005
Format: paperback
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