Beyond Snapshots Book Review and Give Away

This give away is now closed. The winners was Chris:
This book would be so useful as I am extremely keen to get the most out of my camera so that I can take clear and precise shots of my beautiful family and the amazing landscapes and scenery my country (NZ) has to offer on a daily basis. I so often miss spontaneous opportunities of cute shots especially of my kids because of them not turning out properly on auto settings. Frustrating!!! I took photography at high school, but have completely forgotten anything I was taught so it would be great to re-learn those basic photography skills.



I have had a very basic DSLR Camera for a couple of years now.  I have taken it of auto to use the preset settings for Macro (closes ups of food), flash off (so you don’t get the funny look from using a flash in the photos) and sports action (for trying to catch the kids when they are moving).

But up until reading Beyond Snapshots by Rachel Devine and Peta Mazey, I had never adjusted a setting on my camera manually.  In fact, I had to hunt down the manual to even work out how to do it!  I had been wanting to learn more about using my camera for some time, but it seemed too hard and time consuming.

It took me only to read the first chapter of Beyond Sanpshots and I had to get my camera out and take the camera of auto!  For the first time I understood the basics of ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Since then I have been practicing lots with taking photos off auto.

Beyond Snapshots
I certainly don’t always get it right and I have to play around a bit, but I am learning lots as I go along. The book has this fantastic table which you see a snapshot of above. I keep a copy in my camera bag and refer to it constantly!

Here are some photos I have taken recently in both modes – auto and then my adjusted settings.

Beyond Snapshots
Taken on the auto no flash setting – f/5.6 ISO 200

Beyond Snapshots
On manual – f/4.5 ISO 400

Beyond Snapshots
Taken on auto. It used a flash.

Beyond Snapshots
Taken on the auto no flash setting. 1/60

Beyond Snapshots
On manual – using the reference sheet guide, I chose shutter speed as priority 1/125.

And these are some photos I took at Master 6’s soccer on the weekend. Even when using the sports mode on the camera, my action shots still aren’t as clear as I would like. While I can see things I would do differently next time, here are some of my favourites taken with a higher shutter speed:

Beyond Snapshots

Beyond Snapshots

Beyond Snapshots

Beyond Snapshots

The best thing the book has given me is the confidence to experiment and think more about the photos I take. I haven’t finished reading the book yet and I am looking forward to doing so over the school holidays.  I will have the kids around to practice on as I read and take on Rachel and Peta’s advice on taking photos of the kids with me in them! I have so few photos of me with the kids, that I think I will really regret not getting more photos of me with them together and individually.

The Details

  • Book Website: You can read more about the book and the authors at
  • Price: The book RRP is USD$24.99 and is around $40.00 AUD bought locally.
  • Where: It can be bought online at Amazon and Book Depository (currently has it for $25.18 plus free delivery). Local book stores can order it here in Australia if they don’t already carry it.
  • Video: You can see Rachel talking about the book on The Circle here.
  • Personal instruction: Rachel mentors and teaches online and in person as well if you are Melbourne based. You can find out more info about this on her gorgeous blog

The Give Away:

I have had the pleasure of meeting Rachel Devine on a number of occasions and Rachel is kindly giving away one copy of Beyond Snapshots – How to Take That Fancy DSLR Camera Off Auto & Photograph Your Life like a Pro, to a reader of Planning With Kids.

To enter simply:

  • Leave a comment below letting me know what is you want to learn most about using your DSLR.
  • The giveaway is open WORLD WIDE.
  • You may only enter once.
  • Entries close at 5pm Sun 24th June and will be announced on the blog later that day.
  • Good luck!