Thursday, July 19, 2007

Book Review: Closeup Shooting: A Guide to Closeup, Tabletop, and Macro Photography

This book is by Cyrill Harnischmacher, the author of Low Budget Shooting, which I recently reviewed. I was very impressed with that first title; this one, a bit less so. There is quite a bit of good information here, and certainly you could learn a lot about how to start experimenting with photographing all manner of things close up. But where Low Budget Shooting was really innovative in addressing a need that many photographers don't even think of having, Closeup Shooting looks at a topic well covered and doesn't breath the same refreshing air as Harnischmacher's first book.

In some cases, the technical information is limited without, so far as I noticed, an explanation. To say that extreme closeup photography is only possible with an SLR or DSLR is flat out wrong. Medium format and large format cameras are capable of as much and even more. (Perhaps the book's title should have been Small Format Closeup Shooting.) There are many examples of images, but relatively few show the set-up and lighting diagrams that help people understand how the techniques worked and to apply them in their own shooting.

Given the number of special considerations one could make, 121 pages simply aren't enough to offer comprehensive coverage - there are entire books written on nothing but close-up photography in nature. At $24.95, this certainly isn't a dud, and it contains a lot of useful information, some of which really is innovative (like building a glass box to do split surface/underwater shots, but I don't think it would be my first stop. I'd at least browse through some other titles and, if I wanted to do table-top, look at some of the excellent lighting books on product and table-top shooting. I'm going to see if I can get some review copies of other books in the area and, hopefully, find something that I could recommend more enthusiastically.

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