Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tips, Tricks, Books & Software

People are always asking what books I am reading that deal with photography and what software to use for personal photo editing so that is what I will deal with today. Please note that these are just recommendations of what I find useful but there are literally tons of books and platforms out there that are just as good, if not better.

Here we go! The books that I am currently studying are as follows:

1. The Digital Photography Book Volume 1 & 2 by Scott Kelby. I like his books because he talks to you as if you are right there shooting with him! He gives great formulas that the pros use to get the perfect shot and he is not overly technical in his presentation of the material! I also like Scott Kelby because he is a photographer who has been there in the trenches trying to get that perfect shot and he is honest in his approach to writing about his passion.

2. Understanding Exposure: How To Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera by Bryan Peterson. This book is a bit more technical and difficult to read but is a great companion book to the two Kelby books mentioned above. This book is a bit dry in the presentation but is great to help understand all the technical terminology involved with exposure. Like Kelby, Peterson is a seasoned photographer who really knows his stuff.

There are wonderful, full color photos in all three books that help to illustrate the points being made. If you were to run out and buy these three books today you would shell out about $75! Trust me when I say this is a good investment for anyone who wants to better understand photography. These books are a big thumbs up!

As for photo editing software, this is an area where you need to weigh the cost to what your intention is for the end product. All I'm saying is: are you going to sell your photography or are you just wanting to spruce things up for your own personal use?

1. Adobe Photoshop CS3 from $75

2. CS 4 $699. If you have a previous version the upgrade is only $199.

These first two are designed for the serious designer or photographer who is most like going to make money using the software. There are a couple of other options that give you all the creative control you want for your personal photos without the big price tag and they both come with some serious bells and whistles.

3. Photoshop Elements 7 $139.

4. Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo $79.99.

I started out with the Corel Paint Shop Pro because it gave me the creative control I needed to crop, color correct, re size, add text and so much more that I desired. The program is so easy to use. I downloaded the free trial just to see what it was all about and was pleasantly surprised at the ease and the actions that it offered. In my opinion it is comparable to Photoshop Elements. I recommend downloading the free trials and check out the software to make sure it will do what you need or want it to do. You also need to weigh to cost. I started small and as I have made more money with my photography, I upgraded. Only you know what you need so you decide.

Now for the photos above. The top photo looks like tar but is actually ice on the lake. The angle of the camera and the position of the sun gave it the black coloring. Photo number two is another shot of the frozen lake. This shot was taken in a cove where there was less wind so the ice had a much smoother appearance. Sorry for all the icy shots but this is the time of year for that kind of photography. I am waiting for a good snow or spring which ever gets her first for something different. I am actually keeping an eye on the sky today because we have a warm front colliding with a cold front that is bringing some ominous weather our way and maybe a good shot or two provided I don't get blown away! I guess that would give a whole new meaning to "Gone With The Wind", which incidentally, is one of my favorite movies of all time.


Lin said...

Thanks for the info, Jo! I especially liked the software part because I didn't know that there were free trials. I was really unsure what to get and what I really needed, so this was helpful.

Diana of Diana Rambles said...


Thanks for visiting my blog. Feel free to grab the Sisterhood award and pass it on to friends. I like your book list. I am a big FAN of PhotoShop Elements. I use it all the time and I bet if I studied up on it, I'd be much better. I love your photography! I wish I were better at it. I have a decent camera, just lack the skills!

I bookmarked you for EC.

I am Harriet said...

Hi Jo!!!!!

Hey- I use the entire Adobe Suite for Websites and Graphic Design. The software is not for the novice ($$$). I would recommend taking classed and reading up on it to anyone interested.

On another note, I'd like to invite you to be a guest blogger on my site. You have a lot that you can share with my readers.


I am Harriet said...

Jo- You can email me at
I'm not sure what went wrong with the button. Thanks for letting me know.
I'm thinking Jan. 2nd (Fri).
Just e-mail me your post when you are ready. If you have any questions, e-mail me.

thanks for saying yes! :)

Unknown said...

By the way, how do you get the "picture pefect by Jo" on every picture? Thanks.


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