How to Take Great Pictures – Getting Out of Auto – A Book Review

By Abi King | Show Me

Jul 31

Image for Getting out of Auto bookEvery now and then I have trouble writing a review. Getting Out of Auto by Bethany Salvon has been giving me trouble for a couple of days now.

It’s not because I don’t like it. It’s because I’ve fallen in love with it.

How to Take Great Pictures

There are plenty of books, blog posts, manuals and videos out there that will walk you through the basics of photography (and I should know, I’ve read enough of them.) This one takes you by the hand, lights some candles, whispers in your ear and seduces you into the world of photography.

Inside the Book

Section One talks about exposure and what it takes to get it right. Section Two covers the traditional rule of thirds, sprinkling in some thoughts on blur, self-timers and depth of field. Section Three talks about light – and if this sounds a bit too abstract for you, don’t worry, it’s full of practical advice. Finally, Section Four talks about tips & tricks and comes with tear-off cheat sheets.

Why I Love It

Camera manual

The Soulless Way to Learn About Exposure: The Camera Manual

Yet the real heart of the book comes from Bethany’s passion for her subject, her incredible photographs, and her clear and easy writing style. Not to mention some great graphics and quotes that manage to make reading about physics feel like indulging in a hot fudge sundae.

Can you find this information elsewhere? Yes, of course, like most things these days. Your camera manual probably has half of it and you could spend hours and hours online (or take a degree in photography yourself) to find the rest. Yet, why bother, when it’s collected together so beautifully here?

Don’t be put off by the “travel” part of the description – the advice is just as good for enthusiastic photographers who never leave home.

Getting Out of Auto Teaches You How to Take Great Pictures

If you’ve struggled with getting out of auto, never quite got around to it or keep meaning to ask for a few more photo tips, then this is the book for you. If you want a little more information before you buy, check out Bethany’s excellent blog Beers and Beans.

Photographers are storytellers, journalists, documentarians and artists. They are the purveyors of absolute beauty and the seers of the ugliest terrors human nature can imagine.

Photographers are historians.


A book on taking better travel photos$9.99 Available 1st August

[button link=”″ bg_color=”red”]Buy Now[/button] Disclosure: I don’t know Bethany and I don’t make any money from writing this review. I am off to find an affiliate link (a kind of commission) for it, though, as I think it’s just that good!

UPDATE:Found it! If you’d like to buy the book and support this blog at the same time then please buy it through this link. Cheers – and enjoy!


About the Author

Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on

David @ MalaysiaAsia September 14, 2011

Nice write Abi. For some strange reason, I never could learn photography from books and a professional once told me that the best way to learn was to hang out with someone who was good in photography. From there, start meeting other photographers and you will learn a great deal from trial and error. These days, I organize photography trips around my state with a handful of mid level photographers and we exchange knowledge and wisdom about settings and so on which is a great way of learning. That’s just my honest opinion :) How are you by the way?

    Abi King September 16, 2011

    I’m very well, thank you. Love the sound of those photography tours – and yes, I’ve certainly learned a lot from hanging around with people who are better at something than me! Not just with photography, but with anything. I’ve also learned a lot under pressure with a deadline looming from a hideous camera manual…I love this book because it brings such pleasure to the subject and has plenty of practical tips. But whatever works for you, right? Hope you are well :)

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