Good books for a complete beginner.

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Doug
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#1
A friend is wanting to take up photography and has never even held a camera - has anyone got any suggestions for a good book which covers all the very basic stuff including camera selection.
Thanks in advance
 
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Ned
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#4
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droj
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I tend to the view that learning from scratch is likely to be a haphazard, somewhat random process. It's more or less impossible to prescribe reading matter since every instructional book is going to have an embedded authorial style with which the poor reader might not mesh and so derive little. So I'm suggesting that it's a personal matter, a kind of blind experiment.

For ad hoc technical instruction I'd recommend 'free' web sources plus the camera manual.

And you have to learn to see photographically, and in particular to see and judge light and shade and how the photographic medium records them and what its limitations are. Much of this comes from personal experience.

Neither would I advise a book to help in camera choices. I'd just start simply. To me a viewfinder of some sort helps. And no-one needs a megazoom.

A compact? You almost might as well use a phone. An older generation dslr (like a Nikon D300) could be very good value and provide very workable images - with 'kit' lens or a single prime. A bit bulky for the pocket, though. Or a used Fujifilm X100 ..
 
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A friend is wanting to take up photography and has never even held a camera - has anyone got any suggestions for a good book which covers all the very basic stuff including camera selection.
Thanks in advance
I'd suggest this small and refreshingly different book:

Henry Carroll - Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KS1QM0S

It's much more about seeing the image rather than the technical specifications of cameras, and is all the better for it. It does cover all the major settings and what impact they have on your photos, illustrated by shots from great photographers. There are good sequels on taking photos of people and landscapes too.
 
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Phil
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#9
There’s some great suggestions re photography books. And ‘photography’ should be studied rather than cameras.

Because of the speed of change, a book on equipment would be pointless, it’d be out of date every 6 months. @DK602 I’d suggest your friend signs up here and asks for some details around what they want to shoot and a budget.
 
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#10
I love these books, not the most detailed or super technical, but cover in a great format almost everything from physical settings and exposures to framing and styles, very easy to read and pretty much every page has an example and demonstration of "iconic" photos to prove what its trying to say. Small and transportable too.

Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1780673353/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_O3oEDbYMB6TVZ

Like already mentioned studying other photos help a lot to understand framing, composition and getting the subject matter right. Picking up one of those generic "1001 iconic photos" books is a great way to study the "greats" and work out why what they did was so good (hint: very rarely was it because it was a technically brilliant photo), and work that into your own style.
 
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David
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#11
Personally, I've never owned a photography book. I first owned a point and shoot film camera and then a digital zoom 'point and shoot' in my teens, then moved to dslr with a Canon 450D in my twenties, (bought a full frame 3 years ago). I've always watched Youtube videos. Bought dvds by Karl Taylor that someone increased my know-how of photography. In the last 10 years or so, I've watched countless videos from youtubers such as Serge Ramelli, Kelby One, and more recently, First Man Photography, Thomas Heaton and DanPearsonPhoto.

From my point of view you don't need books. Books won't show you how to do something without physically showing and explaining why that certain thing is being done. The internet is a good source of information on how to do things, such as getting the right exposure, composition, understanding depth of field etc.

I agree with Phil, that your friend could sign up to this forum and 'shoot' some questions.
 
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Tommy
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#12
A friend is wanting to take up photography and has never even held a camera - has anyone got any suggestions for a good book which covers all the very basic stuff including camera selection.
Thanks in advance
For a beginner look for a book called understanding exposure by Bryan Peterson
 
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