Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Low Cost High Impact Photography--a Review

Are you the photographer who uses a point and shoot camera and thinks that you need a fancy-shmancy professional camera to take really great photos? Do you want to learn how to maximize your skills with your current camera without spending any more money than the cost of a new e-book? Then Low Cost High Impact Photography by Steve Johnson is the book for you!


Low Cost High Impact Photography was self published in digital form. I appreciate that because I can sit anywhere I have my laptop computer, pull up the book and reread just the section I want to remind myself about such as how to maximize lighting to take a night photo. Because he was an artist before he became a photographer, Steve's way of looking through the camera lens is different from any other professional photographers I've encountered. He doesn't take himself or other professionals too seriously and that is refreshing. In addition, Steve is very approachable. When I didn't understand a term he used in the book, I emailed him and he responded very quickly with a simple and direct explanation. How many authors do you know who would do that? Please understand that the lack of understanding was not his fault but that I am a newbie to photography. Self published books better encourage relationships between author and reader.

The book is composed of three main sections besides the introduction and conclusion, Equipment, Technique and Aesthetics. In the Equipment section, Steve discusses not just cameras but also the very few other items a photographer might need to take stellar photos. The Technique chapters appealed to me less but I think that's because I just need to move my learning curve up a bit to appreciate what he's written. After reading the Aesthetics section, I gained a different perspective on what is 'beauty'.

The Low Cost part of this book is what impressed me most. Steve has given me the confidence that I don't have to spend bundles of cash to take really great photos. There are many money saving ideas scattered throughout the book. Reading Low Cost High Impact Photography made me want to grab my camera and practice everything all at once and take pictures of everything immediately which of course was not possible or a good idea. But having been exposed to these ideas and new ways of looking at objects has given me months of learning and experimentation to look forward to. Scattered among the more than 100 pages are tidbits of everyday wisdom, Steve-style. My favorite was "Good photography is about removing the nonessential clutter". Maybe that's obvious to most people, but it really resonated with me. What is the most important part of good composition? I'm not going to tell you. You'll have to read the book to find out. But I'm going to begin thinking about it every time I point my camera at a subject and click that button. It's exciting to realize that I have so much more to learn about photography, and it's not going to cost me any more cash than I've already spent on my camera and a few basic companion pieces.

At the end of Low Cost High Impact Photography, Steve includes what he calls Photo Essays, some real life examples of his own work, and tells the stories of how, where and when he took the photos. In simple story telling fashion, he explains the photographic and creative processes. Is every photo museum quality? No. Are they all really good photos of images that he enjoyed photographing? Yes! And that's what I love. Low Cost High Impact Photography is a book written by a real guy named Steve Johnson about taking real photos for real people who also take real pictures.

You can purchase Low Cost High Impact Photography on Steve's website/blog MinimalistPhotography101.com.

I want to let you know that I am not making any income from writing this review other than happily receiving my copy of the book without cost.  Just tell him that Willow sent you.

4 comments:

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

This sounds like the perfect resource for me! When I'm ready to get serious about photography I'm going to look this up :)

Roxie said...

AND, you can download the e-book readers for free from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Once you have the reader, there are lots of FREE books available as well.

Bethany Hissong said...

I'm going to have to check this one out! That was on my new year's resolution list, to take better photos this year!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Thanks for the photo book tip. I read an on-line digital photo school and am constantly being inspired while I learn. Decluttering should've taught with the purchase of every camera. The junk people have in their photos just amaze me. I am still laughing at the wedding photos taken at an outdoor wedding where the portal petty was in the background of every shot!