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A ShortCourse Book
The Textbook of Digital Photography (3rd edition)

The Textbook of Digital Photography (3rd edition)

The Textbook of Digital Photography (3rd edition)

This comprehensive, almost encyclopedic, illustrated and animated text on all aspects of digital photography is used in hundreds of schools. As shown in the contents below it introduces you to the entire panorama of digital photography, from buying a camera to hanging your photos in a gallery or posting them on a Web site. There has never been a more exciting time to be learning about photography, or a more interesting book to learn from! This text is available as a traditional 251 page large-format (8.5 by 11) spiral bound book printed in black and white with 16 pages of color, and as a full-color, fully searchable PDF eBook you can order on a CD. The eBook version is a powerful teaching and learning tool because embedded in its pages are 90 clickable links that integrate animations, movies, audio, other documents, and links to Web sites that bring to life the core concepts of digital photography.



The Textbook of Digital Photography, now in its third edition, is a popular and widely used introduction to digital photography. This textbook has been kept deceptively short by focusing on the core principles—those principles of photography that underlie how all cameras operate. This coverage is then expanded by chapters on displaying and sharing your photos on-line and in print, and moving beyond standard still photography into capturing panoramas, 3D photographs, animations, movies and the like. The book is full of buttons you click to visit on-line extensions—animations, movies, Web sites, Excel worksheets and PDFs. These extensions are designed to bring photography to life so it's easier for you to master your camera and its controls. All of these extensions are stored on the Web site so you need an Internet connection to view them as follows.
  • If you purchase the eBook edition, which is a PDF file available on a CD, you open the eBook using Adobe's free Acrobat Reader and then click buttons to display the extensions. When you click one of these buttons, what happens depends on the type of extension the button links to. Animations and movies play, PDFs open in Acrobat Reader, Web sites appear in the browser, or Excel worksheets open in Excel.
  • If you purchase the print edition, click the URL below or copy it into your browser's address line whenever you have access to a computer. This opens a PDF that describes all of the extensions and provides links you can click or enter into your browser to view them. Once you open the PDF you can save it on your system or print it out.


Not long ago the course title "Digital Photography" implied a course on Photoshop. As digital cameras have become increasingly popular, the introductory course has also gone digital so you are now introduced to photography using a digital camera. At this point the word "digital" in "digital photography" has become redundant. It is now assumed because almost all photography is done digitally. One of the primary reasons for the rapid switch from film to digital is that photography is embedded in a world that has gone digital. To take full advantage of the digital world in which we live, photographs also need to be digital. For awhile, capturing images on film and then scanning them into a digital format was a solution. However, this process is expensive and time consuming. Digital cameras remove those impediments and capture images that are already in a universally recognizable digital format that makes them easy to display and share. You can insert digital photographs into word processing documents or PowerPoint presentations, print them on almost any material, send them by e-mail, integrate them into slide shows to be played on the TV, display them in 3D, post them on a Web site where anyone in the world can see them—even have them laser-etched into glass or granite. A digital camera, a computer, and a high-speed Internet connection make each of us a member of an ever-expanding community of photographers and viewers.

Just as digital images make it easy to integrate photos into many of the other things we do, digital technology makes it easy to add cameras to other devices. One of the current trends is to embed cameras into cell phones and other mobile devices. With just a push of a few buttons, you can snap a picture and immediately e-mail it or post it on a Web site. It won't be long before there are digital cameras everywhere, all the time. What impact this will have on our photography remains to be seen, but if history is any indicator, people will soon be discovering practical, creative, and even artistic ways to use these new tools.

Changes in technology always open new opportunities and present approaches that change the way images look and are used. For example, the introduction of the 35mm Leica in the 1930s was a revolutionary change that made it easier to capture fast-moving action. Images became more spontaneous and fluid, a far cry from the more formally posed images required by much larger and more awkward cameras. Smaller cameras allowed photographers to discretely capture life on the street and people in motion, without modifying the flow of action by his or her simple presence. Reality could be captured unchanged and unposed. As the quality of cameras built into almost all cell phones improves, an even larger impact is possible.

Although it's both the immediacy and flexibility of digital photography that has made it so popular, there is one aspect that is rarely mentioned. This is the new freedom it gives you to explore creative photography. In the 1870s when William Henry Jackson carried 20 x 24 glass plate negatives around the West on a mule, you can bet he hesitated before he took a photograph. He had to set up a darkroom, coat a glass plate, expose the image, develop the negative and then take down and repack all of the gear. We may not be carrying window-sized glass plates and a portable darkroom, but you and I also hesitate before taking a picture. With film we always did a mental calculation "is it worth it?" Subconsciously we ran down a checklist of costs, times, effort, and so on. During that "decisive moment," the image was often lost or we failed to try new things. We lost the opportunity for creative growth and chose to stay with the familiar that had delivered for us in the past. Surprisingly, Jackson had one big advantage we've lost over the last century. If an image didn't turn out, or if he was out of glass plates, he could just scrape the emulsion off a previously exposed negative, recoat the plate, and try again. Digital photography not only eliminates that nagging "is it worth it?" question, it also returns us to that era of endlessly reusable film (and we don't need a mule to carry it). Hand the camera to the kids, take weird and unusual angles, shoot without looking through the viewfinder, and ignore all previously held conceptions about how to take photographs. You may be surprised at the photos you get if you exploit this new era of uninhibited shooting.

Digital cameras are only a few years old, so we are only at the dawn of this new era. Where it will lead no one really knows, but it's exciting to play a part in this dramatically changing world. As you begin to explore the field, you will be awash in technical jargon. Most of it can be safely ignored. To show how some things never change, here is what Jacob Deschin, the photographic editor of the New York Times, wrote in 1952 about the earlier era when the Leica revolutionized photography:

"When 35mm was in full flower in this country–in the miniature's golden Thirties–photographers in the new medium became "experts" overnight, full of tall talk about small grain and big enlargements. They had to, in self defence, for in those early days of the miniature it seemed important to be technically hep, at least in conversation. Never mind the pictures! In spite of much hokum, much good came to the surface, survived the babel and exerted an influence that has since benefitted all photography."


Cover ...i
ShortCourses and PhotoCourse Publishing Programs ...ii
The eText Edition and Multimedia ...iii
Preface ...iv
List of Animations & Extensions ...viii

Chapter 1
Digital Cameras & Images ...9

In the Beginning ...10
What is a Digital Photograph? ...11
Digital Photography—The Past and the Future ...12
Why Go Digital? ...14
Types of Digital Cameras ...15
Jump Start—Taking Photos with Full Auto Mode ...19
Camera Controls ...21
Composing Images ...22
Capturing Images ...25
Continuous Photography ...26
Live View ...27
Capturing Movies ...28
Playback Mode ...29
Special Features ...30
When Things Go Wrong ...31
Image Sensors ...32

Chapter 2
Controlling Exposure ...33

Exposure Controls—The Shutter and Aperture ...34
The Importance of Exposure ...35
How Exposure Affects Your Images ...36
Exposure Controls—Why So Many Choices?...37
The Shutter Controls Light and Motion ...38
The Aperture Controls Light and Depth of Field ...41
Using Shutter Speed and Aperture Together ...43
Exposure Modes ...45
Using Scene Specific Exposure Modes ...46
How Your Exposure System Works ...47
When Automatic Exposure Works Well ...51
When to Override Automatic Exposure ...52
How Overriding Autoexposure Works ...56
How to Override Automatic Exposure ...57

Chapter 3
Controlling Sharpness ...60

Eliminating Blur From Camera Movement ...61
Image Stabilization ...63
Increasing Sensitivity (ISO) ...64
Sharpness Isn't Everything ...65
How to Photograph Motion Sharply ...66
Focusing—The Plane of Critical Focus ...68
Focusing—Focus Areas ...69
Focus—Techniques ...70
Depth of Field ...73
Circles of Confusion ...74
Controlling Depth of Field ...75
Using Maximum Depth of Field ...76
Using Shallow Depth of Field ...78
Conveying the Feeling of Motion ...79

Chapter 4
Capturing Light — Color ...80

Where Does Color Come From? ...81
White Balance ...82
Color Balance and Time of Day ...86
Sunsets and Sunrises ...87
Weather ...89
Photographing at Night ...91
The Direction of Light ...93
The Quality of Light ...95

Chapter 5
Understanding Lenses ...96

Introduction to Lenses ...97
Understanding Focal Lengths ...98
Zoom Lenses ...101
Normal Focal Lengths ...102
Short Focal Lengths ...103
Long Focal Lengths ...105
Portraits and Focal Length ...107
Macro Mode and Macro Lenses ...108
Perspective in a Photograph ...110
Lens Accessories ...111

Chapter 6
On-camera Flash Photography ...112

Flash Power and Range ...113
Flash Sync and Shutter Speeds ...114
Autoflash ...115
Redeye Reduction ...116
Using Fill Flash ...117
Flash Off ...118
Using Slow Sync Flash ...119
Controlling Flash Exposures ...120
Using External Flash ...122
External Flash Accessories ...124

Chapter 7
Studio Photography ...125

Using Continuous Lights ...126
Using Strobes ...128
Connecting the Camera and Studio Lights ...129
Understanding Hard and Soft Light ...130
Using Fill Cards and Reflectors ...132
Using Diffusers ...134
Other Lighting Controls ...136
Putting it All Together—Exposure and White Balance ...137
Choosing a Background ...139
Positioning the Camera ...141
Portrait and Product Photography—Introduction ...144
The Main Light ...145
The Fill Light ...146
The Background Light ...147
The Rim Light ...148
Thinking About Your Photograph ...149

Chapter 8
Displaying & Sharing Photos On-screen ...151

ending Photos to Others—E-mail ...152
Social Networking ...154
Sending Photos to Others—Peer-to-peer Photo Sharing ...155
Slide Shows—On the TV ...156
Slide Shows—On the Computer Screen ...159
Slide Shows—Editing & Polishing ...160
File Formats—The Final Output ...164
Slide Shows—Digital Projectors ...165
Slide Shows—Digital Picture Frames ...168
Publishing Your Photos—eBooks ...173
Publishing Your Photos—Photo Sharing Sites ...176
Publishing Your Photos—Your Own Web Site ...180
Publishing Your Photos—Photo Blogs ...182
Publishing Your Photos—RSS ...184
Background Managers and Screen Savers ...185
Mapping Your Photos ...187

Chapter 9
Displaying & Sharing Printed Photos...190

How Color Photographs are Printed ...191
Making Prints—On-line ...193
Making Prints—for Profit ...195
Making Prints—Locally ...196
Making Prints—Do-it-yourself ...197
Inkjets—Printing Paper ...201
Inkjets—Inks ...206
Inkjets—Archival Issues ...207
Mating & Mounting Prints ...208
Framing, Hanging & Storing Prints ...210
Photo Books—Do It Yourself ...212
Photo Books—Having Them Done ...214
Scrapbooks ...217
Photos on Fabrics ...218
Photos on Smooth Surfaces ...220
Photo Gifts and Novelties ...221
Laser-Etching and Fired Ceramics ...223

Chapter 10
Beyond The Still Image ...224

Panoramic Photography ...225
Stereo Photography ...229
Animations ...235
Shooting & Sharing Movies ...237
Panning & Zooming Still Photographs ...238
Morphing ...239
Lenticular Photography—Prints that Move ...240
Flipbooks—Handheld Animations ...242
Photographing in Black & White and Infrared ...244
Night Vision ...246
Pin Hole Photography ...248
Oil Paintings—Going Full Circle in Retro Mode ...249

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