Top Digital Books Of 2007; More & Better Digital Imaging Books Page 3

The Joy of Digital Photography; by Jeff Wignall; Lark Books; 304 pages; $19.95; (ISBN: 1-57990-947-7)
Like a similarly named volume, The Joy of Digital Photography is a lushly produced book that celebrates photography by showing you beautiful photographs that make you want to leap out of that La-Z-Boy and go capture some images. It does this by leading by example. Much like the Nash Editions book earlier, it's part coffee-table book but the approach is pragmatic and aimed at the photographer who wants to make better photographs of family and vacations rather than fine art. The tutorials are pragmatic, too, and offer topics such as gradient mapping and background replacement that the average bear might not want to tackle. But Jeff Wignall manages to take the mystery out of these advanced techniques, and, at less than $20, it's the best bargain in this collection of books.

The Art of People Photography; by Bambi Cantrell and Skip Cohen; Amphoto Books; 176 pages; $24.95; (ISBN: 0-8174-5567-1)
Beyond Portraiture; by Bryan Peterson; Amphoto Books; 160 pages; $24.95; (ISBN: 0-8174-5391-1)
If you photograph people you want both of these books. Bambi Cantrell and Skip Cohen's book is a whirlwind tour of contemporary portraiture, heavy on her lovingly crafted portraits of babies, high school seniors, and families, along with information on how they were made. This is a look at the what and how of portraiture for the 21st century and the design and production enhance the message of producing creative and salable images that will provide inspiration for pros and aspiring professionals alike. Bryan Peterson's book uses a more formal approach to photographing people and is alive with the sights and colors of real people captured, as the late Allen Funt once said, "being themselves." Lavishly illustrated, it contains more lighting information than its companion. Two books with two different approaches to photographing people, but together they make a powerful combination.

Mastering Digital Black and White; by Amadou Diallo; Thomson Course Technology; 384 pages; $39.99 with CD; (ISBN: 1-59863-375-9)
Creating monochrome digital images means more than just removing color and that's what this book is all about. You can skip the basic stuff in the first chapter but even if you think you know about color management take time to read that section because of its emphasis on "the black and white photographer." The book is simply organized and moves from capture to enhancement to output, sprinkling in case studies and interviews. My copy was marred by reproduction that was slightly too warm and Amadou Diallo's book itself acknowledges the challenge of getting true black and white output.
I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to become involved in digital monochrome imagery.

MORE Surreal Digital Photography; edited by Ben Renow-Clarke; Thomson Course Technology; 192 pages; $29.99; (ISBN: 1-59863-358-9)
This quintessential UK-produced book combines great-looking photography in a beautifully designed volume edited by somebody who's pulled the best stuff from a bunch of photographers. I usually hate this soulless approach to book production but this is one case where it works. This is the ideal book for budding Man Rays who want to create cars with square tires, snakes on a plane (or kitchen in this case), or illustrations for their sci-fi graphic novel. It also features another interesting innovation--nearly invisible page numbers.

Beginner's Guide to Digital Photo Art; by Theresa Airey; Lark Books; 112 pages; $19.95; (ISBN: 1-57990-775-X)
This is a superb book for photographers interested in the craft of making photographic artwork. Theresa Airey covers topics such as digital scrapbooking, inkjet transfers, and bookmaking while at the same time showing you how to create artistic-looking images printed on nontraditional materials. I know of no other book that has a section on "Printing on Organza," but it's all beautifully illustrated showing you how to take your photography to the next level and have fun at the same time.

Master Guide for Glamour Photography; by Chris Nelson; Amherst Media; 128 pages; $34.95; (ISBN: 978-1-58428-201-3)
Congratulations to Amherst Media for having the courage to publish a book containing nude photographs. The book's first section contains the basics of the art and craft of glamour photography, with the most important being lighting. But it makes space for digital postproduction techniques that anybody who photographs people will find useful. The second aspect is case studies providing real-world examples of where glamour photography fits in the areas of commerce and art. Chris Nelson's photography is spectacular and the production is topnotch, creating a book that anybody interested in glamour photography should read.