DISCLOSURE – Tamara Lackey is a regular on Photofocus. Tamara is also a friend of mine. In order to remain objective, I had a member of my staff who does not know Tamara help write this review.

Tamara Lackey has recently released a collection of products that includes a DVD, book, and quick reference guide. It’s called Tamara Lackey’s Capturing Life Through (Better) Photography.

As the title suggests, this set is aimed at helping anyone who owns a camera learn how use it – well – better. Tamara speaks to non-professional audiences for the first time in this series, and the result is a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to use whatever equipment they’ve got to make the most of everyday snapshots.

While many in the Photofocus audience already have a grasp on this material, it will be of keen interest to those who are constantly asked by friends and family about how to get better at photography.

The 90-minute DVD is fast-paced, and offers incredible production quality. The product was filmed by Rex Ballard, Director of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. So if it looks like you’re watching a professionally-produced television show instead of a cheap web-video it’s because you are. This DVD contains straightforward tips from Tamara’s professional experience, delivered in an energetic, engaging format – with some silliness thrown in as well. The DVD covers lots of ground, but it is a little light on the side of breaking down photography’s more technical aspects. That’s where the book comes in.

The 100-page book dives right in to some of the toughest camera terminology and vocabulary, tackling the ISO/shutter speed/aperture relationship early on, but doing so in a fun and conversational manner. Tamara’s take on how to best understand aperture and shutter speed is one of the freshest explanations I’ve heard.  It then moves on to breaking down the preset shooting modes seen commonly on most point-and-shoot and starter SLR cameras—what they do, and why they work.  The rest of the book is dedicated to applying Tamara’s simple tips on five components of good photography—lighting, composition, background, interaction, and optional equipment and accessories—to scenarios like sports games, birthday parties, dinner with friends, or family portraits.  Filled with stunning imagery and a few really fun illustrations, it’s a treat to flip through.

The Quick Reference Guide is attractively designed and simple to use. This guide condenses the most important points covered in the DVD and book into a small camera bag-sized booklet. Including key point reminders, exposure charts and aperture diagrams, it reminds you of what you need to know in a style that’s easy and encouraging.

The three products do not depend on each other, but seem to work best as a set. There’s also an accompanying iPhone app in the works. The DVD is $27.99. The book is $34.00. The Quick Reference Guide is $8.99.  All the products together are sold in a Gift Set for $69.99.

You can see clips, read more about all the product offerings, and see additional tips and tricks on Tamara’s website: http://www.capturinglifebetter.com

For new photographers – highly recommended.

This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store