National Geographic’s Complete Photo Guide | Book Review

National Geographic’s Complete Photo Guide was immediately appealing to me because I have long loved to flip through the magazine and pore over the arresting photographs that tell thousands of words about life elsewhere. In this book, freelance photographer Heather Perry and Nat Geo staff photographer Mark Thiessen detail some of the skill and artistry behind the pictures that make it into their publications, as well as give a guide to how even the beginning amateur can take better quality images. Included here are  techniques such as learning to pan or follow a moving subject to maintain focus while the exposure is being developed – something that seems so simple in theory but that was an eye-opener for me as I read.

 While this definitely includes some How-To’s, the content is much more diverse and rich – a section entitled Centuries of Seeing gives the history of images, from the dark chamber pinhole (camera obscure) referenced in Leonardo da Vinci’s famed notebooks to lithography developed by German Alois Senefelder to the Daguerrotype invented by Louis Jacque-Mande Daguerre in 1839 and the rapid development of printed and digital photography in the past few decades; a discussion of the psychology of point of view to consider when deciding where to position the camera and the person behind the lens; photographer’s opinions of famous or otherwise interesting photos and what they convey. Learning the lengths that photographers go to in order to capture the images that dazzle us, is just intriguing and getting the behind-the-scenes insight on some of these photos, makes for riveting content as well. One section that I found especially valuable for my own picture-taking was on how to save photographs to be able to edit them afterwards. I imagine that I’m not the only one with thousands of digital files that I am not sure what to do with.

The Complete Photo Guide is more than just a resource to consult for how to choose a camera and set up a good shot – the book will also make an interesting cover-to-cover read because of the layout and flow of information in that it piques interest and then answers the questions the authors anticipate will come from each subject. 

Complete Photo Guide would make an excellent gift for any budding photographer. but especially for someone who is is interested in a particular kind of photography and who wants to develop the artistry around that passion. 


About Complete Photo Guide

Photography is a fundamental skill with the power to enhance our lives, and this next book in National Geographic’s revamped how-to photography line shows how to create great pictures–from composition and camera basics to smartphones, social media, and digital editing.

With more than two billion pictures taken every day, everyone is a photographer now–and we all want to get better at it. This definitive guide shares top secrets and skills from National Geographic’s most talented photojournalists, all sure to help you capture the best pictures of what matters most.

Easy-to-follow, step-by-step pages take you through every technique you’ll need to create stunning images, from exposure to flash to image enhancement. You’ll also discover the broader dimensions of composition, photography history, and how to look at the world like a photographer. Engaging how-to features include “assignments”–such as photographing a single object to explore angles, lighting, and context–and “Why I Love this Photo,” with penetrating commentary from National Geographic photo editors on iconic photos and what makes them great. Finally, a fascinating illustrated time line of photography tracks progress from daguerrotypes to smartphones.

Practical and inspiring, this is the perfect how-to, how-it-works, and how-to-get-better guide from National Geographic, the ultimate source for everything photographic.

Book Details

  • Title: Complete Photo Guide: How To Take Better Pictures  
  • Pages: 416
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Publisher: National Geographic 
  • Publication Date: October 19, 2021

Thanks to National Geographic and TLC Book Tours for providing me a complimentary copy in order for me to complete this review. All opinions stated above are my own.  


Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble



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