Fundamentals of Photography

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‘The essential handbook for both digital and film cameras’>

A certain best-selling book on photography of all time was coming to the end of its life as it was written long before pixels were a twinkle in anyone’s eye. At around the time the publishers were looking for a replacement, I pitched ‘Fundamentals’. It’s my try at integrating the two sides, analogue and digital, of photography.

I started to write at a time when there seemed to be a viable future for film, by the time it was delivered (a year late, sorry about that, boys) the wisdom of covering topics like film processing (you know, where you get your hands wet) was being questioned. From comments to me, and reviews seems that the readership is fairly evenly divided. Some like to learn a bit about dark-room work even if they have no intention of getting their hands dirty. Others think it’s a waste of space and paper they’ve paid for. I’m preparing an e-book version, and the analogue stuff will be relegated to the back (next step: the garage, then the trash can).

Anyway, thanks to the film content, this book is probably the most complete single modern, practical book on photography because, let’s not forget, film is not entirely dead (the analogue stand at Photokina in 2012 was the one of busiest of all).


•  What is photography?
•  Fundamentals of light
•  The camera
•  Capturing light
•  Using the lens
•  Manipulating light
•  Working with colour
•  Processing the image
•  Digitising the image 
•  Outputting the image
•  References (46 pages, including diagnosing image faults, picture editing) 

Interspersed amongst the practical pages, I managed to squeeze in some more technical and (a tinsy bit) more rigorous coverage of photo-science. This was famously declared by the art director as pointless because he couldn’t understand a word. These sections are not an easy read (you try explaining astigmatism in fewer than fifty words).

One problem with writing books at this level is the dearth of editors who can handle the material. The result is that more errors crept in than I’d have like. If you pick up any, such as the sloppy use of the term ‘bit’ on pp.56-7,  please tell me so I can correct them at earliest opportunity. Nonetheless, I’m very pleased with the book. As one happy reader put it “if you take your time – and you’ll need a lot of it to take all in – this book will definitely step up your skills.”


  • This book seems to have everything in it without being too lengthy or bulky. It answers every question I could have about photography in a logical, practical way while nicely explaining digital alongside analog photography. (EmmiS)
  • I purchased this book as a gift originally. I was so impressed by it that I purchased one for myself though. A must have for any starting photographer. (MisterJoe)
  • Best Photography Primer EVER!  This is a very technical book, and I have all of my students buy it. It is excellent material to use teach a basic photography class. (tracyd222)
  • A great reference for beginners. The writing is succinct and informative and to a novice like me, full of revelations. I have to recommend this book also, because a professional photographer friend of mine read it and thanked me. He now has his own and tells me that he refers back to it regularly. (ezyErnie)
  • Possibly the best book about general photography I’ve come across; there’s loads of information about cameras, taking pictures, techniques and so on; it’s all explained clearly … (MBagarella)
  • As in depth or as easy as you like. Tom Ang’s book satisfies both these needs and is an excellent all round guide. Hugely recommended. (TheCountofMonteCristo)
  • This is a great manual which will help you understand exactly what photography is about… (galjulie)
  • So much info is included in this, I’ll be referring back to it for years! A must for photographers of all disciplines. (MrAShaw)
  • … two things about it really impress me: 1) Ang’s ability to present the information in ways that even I can easily understand, and 2) his writing style makes it a pleasure–even from a retired college writing teacher–to read. (euaugust)
  • a must to have in your photography library. (criticalthink)

The cover of the US edition

Sample pages

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