The emerging popularity of HDSLR cameras for video production has begun to blur the line between photographer and videographer. The goal for both parties, of course, is to capture stunning visuals while telling a story.
The Michael Freeman Digital Photography Reference System is a seven set library designed to help the beginner photographer learn the ropes of digital imagery, both artfully and technically. The comprehensive guide covers everything from getting those great shots and post-processing to mastering camera controls and software tools. Though the reference system is aimed at digital photography, most of the concepts discussed are universal to all image capturing, including digital video.
1 – The Art of Digital Photography
This is a helpful guide in learning how to get the most out of your image. The large, coffee-table style book is full of beautiful pictures and accompanying explanations of what makes the images work. The book discusses using composition, color, natural light, subjects and styles to promote compelling images and enhanced storytelling. The explanations are concise and easy to understand, even for the novice.
2 – The Digital Camera Handbook
This handbook takes a look at the technical side of digital imaging. It provides insight into how DSLR cameras work and explains how to get the most out of the controls. From shutter speed, aperture and white balance to depth of field, lenses and memory cards, this book covers each technical topic; providing just enough information to get started without being a burdensome or overwhelming read.
3 – The Digital Photography Workflow
This book covers quite a bit of information that the typical video producer probably won’t need to use during post-production video editing. However, it does cover the topic of media management quite well; emphasizing the importance of practicing good habits while providing great tips on folder structure, folder systems, using bins/buckets, file backup, file recovery, as well as using keywords and metadata to ensure your files are easy to access.
4 – Creative Image Editing and Special Effects
This concentrates on image editing using various programs. Though not directly related to video editing due to it’s emphasis on programs like Adobe Photoshop, some of the tools and concepts in this book can help as a jumping off point to understanding post-production video editing and picture refinement through color correction and manipulation.
5 – The Shooting Tips Pocket Guide
This guide is a helpful resource that is fits in your camera bag. The first chapter consists of a pre-shoot checklist of sorts, which is a helpful reminder to check camera settings (file formats, ISO), creative settings (aperture, shutter speed), focus and composition; all things that could slip your mind when on a shoot. Additionally, chapter one explains the importance of each item on the checklist for further understanding. The rest of the guide highlights the topics presented in book one, which makes it useful for help on-the-go.
6 – The Shooting Tips Wallet Guide
This guide is small in size, making it possible to keep in your wallet as a quick reference. The usefulness of the information found on the wallet guide could be short-lived, as it mainly contains explanations of basic camera controls. We did find the Exposure Value Table to be helpful. It gives you the appropriate shutter speed and aperture pairings needed to maintain exposure while allowing you to choose a shallow or deep depth of field.
7 – The DVD Tutorial
This is a 50-minute tutorial featuring Michael Freeman, himself. The content is delivered in a straightforward manner, yet the supporting visual examples make the concepts easy to see and understand. The topics discussed include composition, placing your subject, framing, horizon lines, and shooting on location.
A Final Thought
Though this set could be dismissed as just a still shooter’s guide, the tips, techniques and good amount of information do carry over into the video world. If you’re just starting out, struggling to understand your HDSLR camera controls, or just want to learn how to capture stunning video through better composition and proper camera settings, the Michael Freeman Digital Photography Reference System helps to inspire and makes it easy and enjoyable to learn.
Julie Babcock is Videomaker‘s Associate Multimedia Editor.