K.I.S.S. A book review! #2

As a newbie to the world of photography I was pointed in the direction of Zack Arias by Matt White.

Since then I have emailed him (Zack) and was surprised that I got a reply that very simply clarified something for me. Because of this, I looked a little more at his online presence and ended up buying the lighting course.

I thought it is reasonably priced, he has been helpful, why not? It would be the right thing to do.

I don’t know the bloke from Adam, he is a busy fella but took a few minutes out to answer my email, or maybe he had an assistant do it?! Either way I got a response. So the man went up in my estimation and I got the online lighting course.

Funny thing is that the online light course covered some of the things I had already covered in a short DSLR course but for some reason, although it covered more, it seemed clearer, easier and made me feel a tad more confident about using a flash. How can that be? How can a short set of video lessons give a better understanding of light than a course in a class with people? Maybe it was just revision of the topic. Maybe it was because there were non of the distractions we can have in a class. Maybe it was his KISS approach? (I will explain more about kiss in a minute).

As I have said before, I started off photography with one intention, to take better images of friends and family. Something to keep as an aide memoir to remember the good times. The times that will in the future be my past.

I’ve moved on a little from that point. I now want printed images. I’m actually in the process of signing up for a one year course. I was not sure about City & Guilds or a BTEC but I’ve committed to a one year long course of that I hope will make me a better photographer.

The reason I signed up for the course was because I didn’t get accepted onto a DEDPXL project that Zack and his wife are currently involved with, whereby they are giving a monthly subject and feedback. Ideas and feedback, perfect!

Just what I needed, however it didn’t happen. I can only guess I did not sell my self when I sent off my email expressing an interest in taking part in the project. I was honest, I told them I had no idea where I want my photography to take me & I’d love to just take better than average images.

I’d now like to take great images, I would really really love to take an iconic image. It would be awesome to take an image that someone would be happy to pay for. But the icing on the cake would be to take an image that someone falls in love with.

So, a one year course at college. Ideas and feedback!

I hope over the next year anyone following my progress will see some marked improvements. Committing to this part time, three hours a week, college course is going to be a pain in the jacksie [Our American cousins would say ‘ass’]. I have a full time job that is shift based, a family life and a social life that are all going to need to be juggled. But the desire to take better photos is enough to put up with having to make lots of shift changes and moving my days off around. Along with doing shift swaps with colleagues, meaning I will have to work extended hours some weeks. I keep telling myself it will be worth it.

Anyway, while I wait for the course to start I thought I’d buy ‘Photography: Questions & Answers’ because there might just be something useful in there.

The book looks good, the cover also feels kinda nice too but guess what?

You know when your hear something and you think ‘well duh! thats just common sense’ this book is full of the obvious, it is just common sense but its the kind of common sense that is obvious only once you think of it, ask it of yourself, digest it and formulate the answer.

The book is straight forward, honest and helpful. You may find most of it in his blog but I personally prefer to hold a book & as I said this book does feel kinda nice. Go find a copy a hold it. Tell me I’m wrong. I don’t think you will. 

I found the book really useful and it is one to keep.

Can I also offer you one piece of my own advice, if you want a good nights sleep, do not do what I did and settle down late in the evening on the sofa with a pint of tea to read the book.


You’ll be up all night emptying your bladder and go to work feeling knackered.

Oh yeah, Zack didn’t use the term K.I.S.S. It is something a lecturer taught me a long long loooooonnnnggg time ago & it ties in nicely with Zack Arias’ teaching method and approach…… Keep It Simple Stupid.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

One comment

  1. Sounds as if you are getting there Jimmy. As for a course at college, beware of those offering ‘basic photography’; as I am sure you know, you will have already covered all of that. Whatever you choose, I wish you good luck with it. Fitting around shifts, and going to work tired requires real commitment. I am sure that you have that though!
    Best wishes, Pete.

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