Photography books are one of the ways one can improve one’s photography skills from. I used to frequent the library and borrow all the photography books available, hoping I could soak up as much knowledge on photography from these books. I usually go for books that focus on the fundamentals of photography as I wanted to build myself a good foundation in photography. However, I was floored by the jargons in the books. What exactly was aperture? What’s ASA/ISO? This was during the time where I was still wielding my Casio S-100 compact camera. I know nuts about the exposure triangle and the books I’d borrowed were largely written in the perspective of a SLR user. Yes… Not even DSLR.
A lot of the photography books I’d came across in the public libraries contained outdated information. Well, it’s not exactly that outdated but they were largely written in the context of film photography. As with any forms of technology, photography has changed a lot in the past decade. Holga cameras are part of the hipster scene and mirrorless-cameras are dominating the digital camera scene. God knows if DSLRs may go mirrorless in a couple of years! Books contain static knowledge, but they remain a useful source of knowledge budding photographers who want to learn photography at their own pace.
However, photography books should not be the only source one should depend on to improve one’s photography. It’s only practical to put to use what you’ve read in books into actual photography to really learn and improve your photography. I’ve met a lot of hobbyists that have a solid background on the technicalities of photography, but aren’t exactly fantastic photographers. There is no better way to improve your photography than to go out there and shoot. With that being said, reading up on photography books is still relevant. These books contain the experiences of photographers, sometimes their inspirations as well. So there isn’t much harm reading them, even if the information seems outdated. I remembered reading a photography book on filters. Although I don’t use a red filter on my camera, nor do I shoot black and white photography, it’s useful to know what effect this filter produces. After all, I do convert my photos into monochrome, digitally, via plug-ins.