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Beyond Portraiture: Creative People Photography Paperback – September 1, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bryan Peterson is a well-known photographer, writer, and teacher. In addition to his many books for Amphoto, he writes a column that appears in Popular Photography and contributes to prominent magazines. His workshops and online photo course at PPSOP.com are invariably sold out. He divides his time between Seattle, WA and Lyon, France, and New York City.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Amphoto Books (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817453911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817453916
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bryan Peterson is a professional photographer, internationally known instructor, and founder of www.PPSOP.com, The Perfect PIcture School of Photography. He is also the best-selling author of Understanding Exposure, Learning to See Creatively,Understanding Shutter Speed, Understanding Close-Up Photography, Understanding Digital Photography, Beyond Portraiture, and, most recently, Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide. His easy-to-understand writing and teaching style breaks down the complex and often confusing aspects of photography, translating them into what his students routinely describe as "aha" moments. In addition, he has been a commercial photographer for over 30 years, shooting annual reports for many Fortune 500 companies, and his trademark use of color and strong, graphic composition have garnered him many photographic awards, including the New York Art Director's Gold Award and honors from Communication Arts and Print magazine. He currently splits his time between Chicago and France.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many years ago I was a budding photographer with no formal training, never really interested in photographing people. Yet people were always getting in the way of most of my shots. Many years later, I discovered that people can add interest to my images by adding scale, a sense of place, or adding to the image's story. Today I enjoy sports photography and I look for ways to include people when composing an image. As a serious hobby photographer with no formal training, this book helped me get more creative when photographing people.

Beyond Portraiture is a straight forward book explaining the many aspects of creative people photography. The book is broken down into five main sections. UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE explains a bit of psychology, approaching people, and how to get people to agree to be photographed. WORKING WITH PEOPLE discusses the types of people you should "cast" for your intended images, and how to maintain a comfortable and respectful relationship of varying types of people you may want to photograph. LIGHT details differing types of light and how they affect your images. COMPOSING POWERFUL PORTRAITS offers basic composition rules, backgrounds, movement, camera settings and lens options. PHOTO-EDITING TECHNIQUES is a series of lessons in Photoshop to help perfect your images.

It is assumed the reader already has a solid grasp on exposure. If this is not the case, read Brian Peterson's Understanding Exposure prior to reading this book. There are short sections discussing shutter speed and aperture, but they are not in-depth enough to form the solid foundation of exposure settings every serious photographer should have.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off, let me advise Bryan Peterson fans that "Beyond Portraiture" is not a totally new book, but a revision of his 1993 book "People in Focus" with some digital photos, hints and a Photoshop chapter added. A lot of the text is word-for-word from "People in Focus", complete with gramatical errors and typos that have not been changed. Many of the pictures are the same. So, if you already own "People in Focus" and you're shooting film, or you are into digital but already have a good knowledge of your photo editing system, you may be greatly disappointed to find you are reading a lot of he same text and seeing a lot of the same pictures. In fact, I think many of his photos in the earlier book are better than a lot of those he's replaced them with.

That said, I'd highly recommend this book to people who are interested in improving their people photography outside the studio. The strong point to this book - as it was in "People in Focus" - remains the section on how to approach people at home and abroard and get them to let you take their photograph; and in overcoming one's own shyness about interacting with potential photo subjects. And, Peterson's writing is always entertaining.
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Format: Paperback
Bryan Peterson's best books are the ones that allow photographers (beginning and professional) to confront their fears in becoming better photographers. This is, hands down, one of his best. A great distillation of his years of experience as a top working photographer, teacher, instructor and writer.

If his seminal book 'Understanding Exposure' clearly and conscisely breaks down the process of setting exposure in a non-theoretical way, 'Beyond Portraiture' breaks down the process of dealing with PEOPLE in real and practical terms. From showing how to ask people to take their pictures, to the psychology of putting people at ease, co-operating with you, getting them to sign model releases, working with models etc etc, this book defuses the fears keeping us from taking more pictures of people.

Once he helps you to overcome those fears that prevent us from taking the pictures we really want to take, he then tells you how to *enjoy* the process of going out and taking people's pictures because you CAN.
Also included are sections on optimising your images, stock photography and travel photography, also well worth the price of the book.

Unlike most, he does not dwell on the minutae of equipment and technique, even though he discusses these things also, which is welcome.

He is the epitome of a good teacher. He allows you to discover what is in you and brings you to understanding. And by allowing you to face what is stopping you from taking the pictures you want, he helps you to become the photographer you want to be.

After 'Understanding Exposure' (which should be read before going through this book), 'Beyond Portraiture: Creative People Photography' is probably one of the best photography books ever written.

Highly recomended.
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Format: Paperback
Just one look at the hearty smiling face on the cover tells you that this will not be your ordinary book on portrait photography. And it's not. Instead of the usual discussion of technique, Peterson concentrates on what makes a good subject for a photograph.

The author starts out by considering the psychology of both the photographer and the photographed. He then talks about many of the other things in the frame, like backgrounds and clothing, which set the tone of the picture. He briefly discusses the nature of light, with emphasis on its directional qualities. Peterson also presents some rather traditional concepts of composition, but with emphasis on portraiture. Information on technique is sprinkled throughout this section. He finishes up by discussing particular photo-editing techniques applicable to portraiture.

Peterson seems bent on inspiring us to examine the faces of the people we photograph, to reveal something of their character. This is a hard task, especially since many faces can be so deceiving. Peterson's photographs of people fill the pages and are probably as useful as any of the text in telling us what to look for when we engage people with our cameras.

A major shortcoming of Peterson's book is that it contains nothing about the use of artificial light. Advice on the use of reflectors is as close as he comes. There is nothing about flash units or other lighting set-ups. And when I think back on the great portraits, they all used intricate lighting schemes in an attempt to define their subject. This book seems more aimed at providing good looking faces for the travel photographer, which is not a bad thing, but may not create great art (unless of course you are Steve McCurry.
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