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Langford’s Basic Photography

Langford’s Basic Photography; the guide for serious photographers is referenced as essential reading for the OCA’s C&N module.

Personally, I found much of the material in the book redundant: it attempts to offer something for everyone, covering many aspects of photography in a basic way (give away in the title). For example, extensive material is dedicated to film photography and developing techniques – an area which I neither have the time, nor inclination to pursue in the digital age; whereas material related to digital photography covers a basic description of a computer and how to load files from an image card to a computer. Descriptions of the functions of a the camera were also well-trodden ground for me.

Amongst the redundant material, there are some aspects that I found of more use to me: the science of light and its behaviour; and the sections relating to composition include references to specific photographers as exponents of particular styles, which is useful for reference.

Over-all I suspect the beginning photographer would benefit from this book, if they were interested in film photography and darkroom equipment and processes. However, for a beginner intending to use digital photography, there must be far more relevant books. I cannot recommend investing in this book – perhaps a revised edition, reflecting the prevalence of digital photography would be more useful.


Langford, M, et al (2010). Langford’s Basic Photography (9th ed.) Oxford: Focal Press. Kindle version.

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