A Photographic Recipe Book ~ OR ~ How To Photograph Absolutely Everything

A while back D bought me two new photography books; one of them is Tom Ang’s How to Photograph Absolutely Everything. It’s a great book with lots of basic information that I really needed to brush up on. I’m sure I’ll read through it more than once.

It is described as a “…photographic recipe book. It shows how to create pictures by working with the basic ingredients of color, light , and space -then ‘cooking’ them up using techniques such as exposure, framing, and focus.”

Tom Ang is a very talented photographer and I have enjoyed other books by him in the past so I was happy to read this one and gained lots of useful tips. I thought I might share a few things from the book to give you an idea of what you might find hidden among it’s over 300 pages. Yep; there’s lots of information in there along with all those awesome photos.

Mr. Ang covers everything in this book from basic camera setting to capturing light, from posed child portraits to capturing the party spirit, from mountain views to gardens in bloom, from birds in flight to movement under water, from focusing on details to urban landscapes, from the magic of Christmas to the thrill of the race, from light trails at night to art on the street, and from practical photography to what the eye can’t see.

His section on framing images tells us that “aiming the camera directly at a subject will ensure that is is ‘caught’ in the picture. But exactly how you frame it is what can make the difference between a snap and a photograph.” He suggests that you “keep moving in your search for viewpoints, changing perspectives and variety in picture framing.” “Try to fill the frame right up to the corners… keep visual interest going across the whole image as far as possible to give the viewer lots to look at.” “Use framing devices such as doorways, overhanging leaves, and out-of-focus features to form a natural frame to shape your picture.”

On the subject of using color Mr. Ang teaches that “one of the steps to being able to photograph anything is being able to separate your experience of color from the recording of color in a photograph. This will help you to appreciate that the way in which a camera senses and records colors differs from the way that we see them -a captured image is never quite the same as we perceive it… your versatility as a photographer improves the more you see color as a subject in itself…” One of his tips on using color is to “try isolating a strong color against a muted background to emphasize the shape of an object or the perspective in a scene… try picking out a small area of color within a sea of contrasting colors and use it as a focal point.”

Capturing the party spirit is something that I have tried to do at family gatherings but after reading Tom Ang’s book I have a better idea of what to do. He says that “…if you wish to elevate the party snapshot to something with an element of surprise, humor, or style about it, you need to take yourself out of the party, if only for a short time, and become an objective observer.”

Now you know that I have been trying to capture the blooms in my new container garden this summer and Mr. Ang includes lots of advice on this very subject! His tips on capturing gardens in bloom include “explore different angles… shoot from above… get down and low… and select your depth of field…” He comments that “using a very long lens on a small part of the garden has the effect of bringing one plane of plants into sharp focus, while everything around it remains nicely blurred.” For flowers in close-up he reminds us to “…use a tripod… soften the light… and tidy up… remove any dead blossoms or twigs that get in the way.”

I could go on and on with all the information packed into this book; but I won’t. That would spoil it for you and you might miss out on all of the beautiful images that fill the pages; we wouldn’t want to do that now would we?

If you get a chance to grab a copy of How To Photography Absolutely Everything or any of Tom Ang’s books I know you won’t be disappointed with what you find.


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