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Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera Paperback – August 18, 2009
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The book is organized into the 11 chapters detailed below and each chapter is organized into smaller sections which help you seek out the specific topics you want to review.
1) A Few Digital Basics - Chapter topics range from file format and shooting in RAW to a gem of a section on white balance that explained better in 2 pages how this setting can really improve my photos than anything else I have come across in the past.
2) Exposure - Topics in this chapter include exposure explanations, the photographic triangle, creative exposures, and more. Bryan is a master at de-mystifying exposure and you will improve your photography with this chapter.
3) Aperture - This chapter does much more than just explain the effects of proper aperture settings, Bryan teaches you how aperture helps you tell the story you intend to with the photo.
4) Shutter Speed & ISO - This chapter offered one of the best explanations of how ISO effects your photos I have found since being introduced to digital photography and I find the section on "motion in low light" to be very good. Bryan also explained the relationship between apeture and shutter speeds in an easy to understand and apply in the field format.
5) Learning To See - This chapter covers a lot of ground on lenses and selecting the right lens for the right shot. Advice sections such as "shooting up" and "looking down" are helpful if you are looking for new ways to shoot but the photos included throughout the book are the best way to get new ideas for framing your shots.Read more ›
It is intended as a "field guide" and if you want something to carry around, this does cover most of the important topics and techniques - though it isn't exactly pocket-sized.
First, the book is written by an experienced professional photographer for people who have digital SLR cameras. The author strongly emphasizes manual controls, interchangeable lenses, etc. My advanced digital compact camera doesn't have an f22 or even an f16 aperture setting, nor a depth of field preview button, nor a variety of lenses and filters.
Second, if your camera - whatever kind it is - doesn't have full manual controls (aperture, shutter speed, iso setting) much of the information won't apply to you. The book cover touts how to shoot "with any camera." But there are very few references to point-and-shoot cameras - even today's sophisticated models and much of the technical data and camera settings just don't translate.
Second, the author speaks exclusively to outdoor photography using existing light. If you want help for any inside photos of children's birthday parties, family dinners, or the kids basketball games, you won't find it here. And there is precious little reference to use of flash in any setting. Some advice even works against indoor photography - like the advice to set your white balance to "cloudy" and leave it there. Try that inside and everything turns out red.
Having voiced those concerns, this is still a wonderful book. The concepts and ideas do indeed apply to all photography and any type of camera. They just need some translation for less sophisticated equipment. Peterson is obviously a superb photograper with a passion for his craft honed over many years. He is also an engaging writer with a personal and easy style which makes the reading a pleasure.Read more ›
The reason I still gave this book a reasonably good rating is there are many nuggets of useful advice sprinkled throughtout. This book contains not just extended text on why the Rule of Thirds is important, but several photos showing WHY and when not to follow this sage advice. That is petty much true for the other topics as well. Unlike so many photography books that have pretty pictures and what seems like the author phoned-in a paragraph of text or two simply because the published demanded it, this author takes the time to explains the WHY and the photos illustrate the points well throughout the book. He also includes many not so good photos, which illustrates why not to do something. That's what I was looking for. Shame more photography books don't take that approach because its true, you learn more from mistakes, especially when somebody experienced explains what you do wrong.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I recommend this book to every newbie photographer. Quick, easy read. Explains things clearly with just the right amount of technical explanation so everything makes sense.Published 2 months ago by C. Swift
A must have for beginner, photo enthusiast, or pro to use as reference.Published 2 months ago by Romeoabq
Although a little old, I found it very helpful as I do all his books. Great read!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Lost my old copy including my "margin nets" but I can start over...and the book really does hold up well in the field. Read morePublished 3 months ago by BigBadBabyBoomer
amazing book. If you only buy one guide this is the one to get!Published 5 months ago by Simplythetruth