Book Review – “Getting Out Of Auto” by Bethany Salvon

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Bethany Salvon’s book, ‘Getting Out Of Auto,’ is a great resource for travelers new to DSLR photography or anyone curious to know what all those ‘other settings’ do on their camera. In this book, Bethany clearly lays out the basics of DSLR photography and how you can gain more control over your camera.

This short (71 page) e-book is divided into four sections; exposure, composition, lighting and shooting tips. Because of it’s length, the book is an easy read, yet it manages to convey some great information for the new photographer. Most of the book deals with exposure and the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Beyond exposure, Bethany touches on composition (mostly the rule of thirds and using depth of field), lighting (not an in-depth discussion, mostly using natural light and fill flash) and a handful of tips and tricks.

Having been on a quest this year to improve my photographic skills, very little of the information in Salvon’s book was new to me. However, her section on photographing food, a must have ability for any travel photographer, was something I had not seen before. I’ll definitely be putting her food tips to the test on my next travel adventure.

Salvon’s real gift in this book is her ability to simplify all of these concepts into very easy to understand ideas – no technical speak here! My only criticism of the book is I wanted more. I wanted more in-depth discussion, more tips and mostly, I wanted more photos. As you might expect from a book on photography, ‘Getting Out Of Auto’ is full of pictures, however, I wish it had more. I wanted to see more examples of how Salvon, as a professional photographer, uses the skills she is teaching in her own photos. Each concept has at least one example photo, but more would have been nice.

‘Getting Out Of Auto’ is best suited for someone that just got their first DSLR and has never had any experience with manually controlling a camera. Although Bethany attempts to make the information applicable to point-and-shoot users as well, I don’t think that is her real audience for this book. If terms such as exposure triangle, the rule-of-thirds and fill-flash are new to you and you want to take better travel photos with a DSLR camera, then this book was written for you. If all of that is old hat and you are already a semi-serious travel photographer then skip ‘Getting Out Of Auto.’

‘Getting Out Of Auto’ is great as an introduction to DSLR photography. Most of the book is directly related to travel photography. ‘Getting Out Of Auto’ will make the perfect companion to the new DSLR camera you just got for Christmas!

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Neil Kristianson

by Neil Kristianson

Neil Kristianson puts the amateur in Amateur Traveler. Having seen a fair amount of the US he and his wife are now branching out into other countries. You can find him online at or on Twitter @the_nak.

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