Book Review: Low Cost High Impact Photography

The words “minimalism” and “photography” are perfectly encapsulated in the work of photographer/blogger Steve Johnson (husband of The Minimalist Woman Meg Johnson). He brings a clear eye and a minimalist sensibility to his photos that give them a serene, timeless quality.

Steve has just released a wonderful new e-book, Low Cost High Impact Photography. His premise is that serious photography does not need to be prohibitively expensive. He demonstrates how to take fabulous photos with a mid-range point-and-shoot camera. And while the information is primarily written for compact cameras, most of the information is applicable to dSLRs as well.

The book is divided into 4 main sections:

  • Equipment
  • Technique
  • Aesthetics
  • Photo Essays

Each section is carefully thought out, useful, and beautifully illustrated with Steve’s photos, as seen below:

Steve writes like an old friend, gently pointing out things about lighting and camera settings in a way that makes the reader feel at ease. Despite his relaxed tone, the information is spot-on accurate. He shares tips and tricks for saving money on camera equipment, for optimizing lighting, for taking steady pictures, and for composing compelling shots.

He includes countless practical tips, like this one for taking photos of people:
“Never count down for the shot – great for rigid death grin, and little else.”

He gives specific, detailed instructions for eBay and product photography, low-light photography, food photography, flowers, sunsets, and much more.

In his photo essays, he breaks down the shots and explains his process and technique.

His philosophical musings sprinkled throughout the book are an added bonus:

“Photography is more about recognition than creation — the good stuff is hidden in plain site.”

“Good photography is about removing non essential clutter.”

“The biggest joy of being a photographer is that the smallest, most trivial thing can take over your entire world just like that. While I’m looking and photographing stuff like this nothing else matters, politics, personal stuff, everything just goes away for a few minutes or even a couple of hours.”

Is the book technical? Yes, but in a way that is practical and helpful, not intimidating. Steve’s mastery of the subject enables him to write with easy confidence in a way that engages the reader and makes you want to reach for your camera to try out his techniques.

Some writers can discuss the technical aspects of photography, while others are better at discussing the aesthetics of photography. It is a rare individual who can do both, and do it well. Steve is just such a person.

I highly recommend this book. If you are just starting out in photography or are a seasoned pro, you will find plenty to enjoy in Low Cost High Impact Photography.

(Please note: I am an affiliate of this product, meaning that if you purchase it through my site, I will get a percentage of the sale.)

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