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Beyond Portraiture: Creative People Photography Paperback – September 1, 2006
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Peterson does it again! I'm a dedicated, yet still learning amateur, and Peterson's books always stretch the imagination with what is possible. Read morePublished 5 months ago by James Westlake
A photographer friend recommended this book. Easy to follow explanations and ideas.Published 12 months ago by Christy F
Long on psychology, short on photographic substance. I was hoping for a book with more details about the technical and compositional elements that transforms a picture into a... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Freddy D
There's very little in this book that you can't get online. Kind of a disappointment.Published 15 months ago by TravelTune
I am an amateur and really just absorbing whatever I can from a variety of books while taking some courses and trying to develop my skill levels. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
Yes i was happy with the time and condition it arrived in. Another gift for my daughter...she reccomends it. She is studying photography and really enjoyed this book..very helpful.Published 19 months ago by Glendora Gaffney
I ordered this book for my son as he is beginning a photography business. Ryan Luna Photography.com
He had intended to order this book himself, however, I sent it to him for... Read more