e book

'Social Photography' now available to download!

If you can't wait until next month* to lay your hands on a paper copy of my newest and shiniest book, Social Photography, it's available right this very moment for download as an e-book from the Ilex Instant site! social photo cover

It'll cost you £5.99 and comes in PDF, so that you can read it on your desktop, laptop, or tablet of any flavour, and there are more formats on their way.

Of course, if you'd prefer to wait for a hard copy, you can always put in a pre-order now. It'll be £9.99 in the UK and $16 in the US.

black&white spread

Naturally, I'm incredibly biased, but it is a terribly handsome book and if you're looking to get more out of your smartphone and your social networks, a fabulous companion!

* Oh the excitement! A very large order of copies of Social Photography has been placed by a well-known US retailer, to go on sale by the end of April. The UK release is being delayed a little to cover this, but it should be on these shores by the end of May. If you can't wait that long, you know what to do!

Book review: The Canon 6D Experience

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 16.33.28 The Canon 6D Experience is part of Douglas J. Klostermann's series of e-book guides to Canon's and Nikon's dSLRs. There are ten Canon books and five Nikon books, ranging in price from $7.99 for guides to the oldest models of camera to $14.99 for the latest cameras. I've been taking a flick through it and seeing how it fits in with my use of my Canon 6D.

The best way to describe the Canon 6D Experience is as an augmented instruction manual. It doesn't just explain what a function is and how to operate it, but what effect or impact it will have on your photography. It shows you how to expose and re-compose your images, provides examples of different apertures and ISOs, and explains about metering. It covers a great many of the functions that I never use in my camera because I almost always shoot in Raw and almost never venture into liveview mode. Towards the end of the book it moves away from the camera itself and covers composition and discusses lenses.

Diagrams and pictures to explain metering

This, then, is perhaps where this book falls down, or falls between two stools. For someone new to dSLRs and still finding their way in photography, would they be starting out with a 6D? In the book's introduction it says: 'If you are relatively new to dSLR photography and are still in the process of learning all the controls of a dSLR and the exposure concepts of digital photography, you have perhaps ventured towards the proverbial deep end of the pool by choosing the advanced 6D!' Of course there will be some beginners who've gone straight for the 6D, but they're not the camera's intended market. This guide will suit them well, but I'm not sure how many will be needing it.

Not sure that we need a look at Raw vs JPEG for a 6D user?

For anyone who's comfortable with Canon cameras and is a competent photographer, a lot of the book's content is superfluous. It isn't that there isn't useful material in there, but that it's buried amongst the information we already know. Having a smaller, more dense publication that looks at the high level functions of the camera and compares it with other models might be more useful.

All of this leads me to think that if the books in this series that cover the lower specced models are written with the same attention to detail, they would be extremely valuable guides for people finding their way in dSLR photography.

On a very picky production level, I would have liked to have seen references to other chapters in the book numbered, or even hyper-linked. It is an ebook, after all. That would have made navigation a great deal easier.

My verdict, then? At $14.99 I can't really recommend the Canon 6D Experience; I just don't think it offers enough to kind of photographer who'd be using this camera. (Unless you really have thrown yourself in at the deep end.) If you're newer to photography and have a Nikon D5200 or a Canon 700D, for example, do check out the other books!

The Canon 6D Experience, by Douglas J. Klostermann, published by full stop and available for download from Dojoklo.

Ilex Instant: a new publishing platform for photography books

We hear it just about every day: the publishing world has changed. Sales of dead-tree publications are down; access to free content and self-publishing services is on the up. For both publishers and wanna-bee authors, this is both a good and a bad thing: it's a rickety market for publishers, but with wonderful opportunities for revolutionary thinking; authors no longer have to channel themselves through the strictly controlled layers of publishing houses, but how do they get their work noticed?

Ilex, one of the leading photo publishers in the world, believes it has the answer to this conundrum, combining the freedom of e-book publishing with the solidity of traditional publishing in the form of Associate Publisher Adam Juniper's brainchild: Ilex Instant.

You take your e-book idea to Ilex and they give it the traditional editorial treatment with an editor and a designer. When it's ready, it's released into the big scary world of sales, but with the advantages of looking great, reading well, and having the weight of a well-respected publisher behind it. Ilex's name is known the world over, but its books are sold under many other different brands too, including Pixiq's (for example The Complete Guide to Digital Photography and Creative Portrait Photography). They're also known as innovators, being the folks behind The Photographer's i Magazine (which, of course, can be bought from the site in PDF so it's no longer tied to tablets).

As the sales roll in, the profits are split between you and Ilex. You never know, it might be a stepping stone to seeing your name on the cover of a printed book, too.

Adam told me: 'Now we'll be a "hybrid publisher", not just producing the books we think photographers need but letting photographers lead the way, and paying them to do it.'

It's still early days for Ilex Instant; the first exclusive material is a little way off yet. However, you can access much of Ilex's catalogue of books on a chapter-by-chapter basis that, usually, costs little more than a cup of coffee. But as a special treat for Pixiq readers, Ilex is offering you a free e-book. Browse the site, choose your book, and then enter the code PIXIQMAR2013 at the checkout. If you register in the social section of Ilex's site before the end of March, you can be in the running to win an iPad Mini, too.

Ilex Instant, definitely worth a look.