Book Review: ‘National Geographic Kids: Guide to Photography’

National Geographic Kids Guide to Photography

For those of you who have only recently taken an interest in photography, you couldn’t have picked a better time. Affordable, high quality DSLR and mirrorless camera options abound, and new models of mobile phones have advanced to the point that they’re putting to shame most point-and-clicks. Sites like National Geographic‘s “Your Shot,”  500px, and Flickr are chock full of sources of inspiration, and there are more resources than ever before on shooting and post-processing. In fact, there are so many resources available that it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of videos, articles, tutorials, and online educational sites.

National Geographic Kids Guide to Photography: Tips & Tricks on How to Be a Great Photographer From the Pros & Your Pals at My Shot by Nancy Honovich, with photos and commentary from National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths, is a perfect little book to help any budding photographer hit the ground running. Including topics such as how a camera works, different camera types, photo editing, and composition and lighting, Guide to Photography covers everything you would want in a beginner photography book. In addition to basic photography instruction, the book also includes photography assignments, stories from NatGeo photographers, and tips and tricks from experts in the field–invaluable information that can mean the difference between a great photo and one that ends up in the Recycle Bin:

When composing, take a second to make sure there isn’t anything distracting in the picture: a power line, a person in the background looking at you, a piece of trash. Try to change your angle to eliminate those distracting elements. — Annie Griffiths

Each topic is covered in a single, two-page spread containing multiple photos that include not only beautiful photos that represent the concept, but also “What Went Wrong?” shots where you can take the information you just learned and attempt to figure out why a photo just doesn’t work, and “Try Your Own” assignments that allow the reader to put their new knowledge into action. While you can read this book cover to cover, the style of focusing on a single idea for only a couple of pages makes this a great book to just leave lying around to be picked up whenever a spare moment arises. Set it next to the kitchen table for something to browse through during breakfast before school, or swap it out with those old Popular Science magazines in the bathroom.

Technical information is great, but inspiration and creativity are key to keep a photographer interested after the newness has worn off. National Geographic Kids: Guide to Photography includes several sections that are designed to help keep that spark alive, and kindle it into a lifelong love of photography, including:

  • Careers for Camera Hounds: Various jobs in the photography world that can spark a new photographer’s interest and turn a hobby into a career.
  • Hot Shot: National Geographic photographers explain how they got their winning shot.
  • Q&As: Interviews with professional photographers including how they got started, many at the same age as kids reading the book.

Don’t let the name of this book fool you, either. It may have been written for kids, but the information contained within is valuable for new photographers of any age.

Book Review: National Geographic Kids: Guide to Photography Pages

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