Customer Reviews


135 Reviews
5 star:
 (104)
4 star:
 (24)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


267 of 271 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Standard - Absolutely Stunning Photos
I have owned many photography books over the years and Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Photography Field Guide" will be the book I pack with me from here on out.

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...
Published on August 21, 2009 by Ryan E. Duncan

versus
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for inspiration, but biased towards high end cameras.
Don't get me wrong this is a useful book, the photos are all first rate and you can actually learn a lot just thumbing through them and skimming the text. But, and its a big but, there's next to nothing for the point and shoot crowd or how to take good photos indoors and I don't think he mentions the word flash even once. So calling it a field guide is a bit of a stretch...
Published on September 20, 2010 by William Schlake


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

267 of 271 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Standard - Absolutely Stunning Photos, August 21, 2009
By 
Ryan E. Duncan (Milwaukee, WI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
I have owned many photography books over the years and Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Photography Field Guide" will be the book I pack with me from here on out.

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.

6) Designing A Striking Image - This chapter is the largest in the book and covers more than I can go into. Suffice it to say that this chapter is all about composition, choosing your subject, getting creative, etc. These kinds of chapters have always been inspiring to me because the photos are amazing and Bryan does not let you down here. If you aren't motivated to get up and grab your camera after reading these sections you should probably put it down for good.

7) The Importance Of Light - This chapter covers a lot of ground from the best light, to low light, to backlight, etc. I found the material on exposure settings for various light conditions helpful and I was surprised that HDR exposure was covered in the detail it was...though not enough to start shooting HDR in my opinion. It seems as though you would still want to buy an HDR book to get into that in earnest.

8) Close-Up Photography - This chapter is a pretty good introduction to macro and it did answer many questions I have had. I have been flirting with getting more into macro and this chapter has helped me get just a little bit closer to making the investment.

9) Photographing People - This chapter is really about being a more professional, courteous photographer when people are the subject. This is the smallest chapter at just 7 pages and Bryan uses most of them to play armchair psychologist at getting people to like you taking their picture so you can get the best photos possible.

10) Unconventional Techniques - This chapter covers various "tricks of the trade" such as "making rain" or unusual ways to mount your camera and it will only really be useful on a lazy weekend day when you can't find anything else to do or photgraph. Fun info here but basically a bonus chapter.

11) Useful Tools - Here is the chapter that every photo book has and it basically feeds the gear addiction...tripods, filters, and more...

It is impossible to get into all of the details that you will find in this book, and at 400 pages you will not be short of info to learn from and grow as a photographer.

A couple other comments about the book itself...it is very high quality with good, heavy, high gloss paper that make the photos really pop of the pages. The book is very well built too and I can see that it will last for many years to come being lugged around in my camera bag and on trips. Also, this has to be the most compact and small 400 page book I have ever seen which is great because I do want to carry it with me when I go.

And the photos...they are simply spectacular. I have found myself just flipping through the pages to look at the photos and that can be just as instructive as the text in my opinion. Bryan has selected excellent examples to demonstrate his topics/lessons and all of the photo captions have detail about the photo's exposure settings which I like because it helps reinforce the lessons being taught.

I do not think anyone will be disappointed with this book and unless you are a seasoned pro already you will learn and grow as a photographer when you read and re-read this book's thorough chapters.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


124 of 127 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great if you haven't read Peterson's Other Books, August 30, 2009
By 
George Chang (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
As the title indicates, this is a great book covering a range of topics on photography. If you haven't read any of Peterson's books, this is 5 stars. However, if you have read his other books - particularly Understanding Exposure, Understanding Shutter Speed, chapters of this book are almost identical, though not as deep, as those books, and you'll probably be a little disappointed if you were looking for new material. Same pictures, examples, and information - which is why I am only giving this 4 stars. It really should be a "compilation of/best of" Peterson's photo books.

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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


123 of 132 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Few Caveats, January 28, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
This is a fine book. But before you plunk your money down, be aware of a few caveats.

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.

The book itself is about the size of an 8 x 10 photo, thus reasonably portable, and very well made. The binding is very solid, the paper is heavy and glossy, and the wealth of color photos inside is superb. I don't mean to overemphasize the caveats above. This is a very sound, well-written, and readable book containing a lifetime of wonderful information. Just be aware of what you're getting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide for beginners, highly portable, covers guidance from his current books, August 30, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
I'm just getting into DSLR photography and have taken several classes at a local community college. Bryan Peterson's books have been great learning tools for supplementing what I've learned in class. I've read his "Understanding Exposure" book cover to cover multiple times and had just started "Understanding Shutter Speed" when i saw this guide while on vacation. The guide covers a lot of the same (if not identical) content as his other books, but its portable size alone makes it worth buying, even if you have his other books. I really like his writing style, and he includes some really inspiring photographs that aren't too difficult for beginners to duplicate. While on vacation I've used his guide to (among other things) take photographs at dusk as well as experiment with shutter speeds. He lists some of his "must-have" accessories (e.g., neutral density filters) that I should have bought before vacation and fortunately was able to buy thanks to Amazon's affordable overnight Prime shipping.

And yes, it's been worth it to haul my tripod across the country! Get this guide--it's worth every penny.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for inspiration, but biased towards high end cameras., September 20, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
Don't get me wrong this is a useful book, the photos are all first rate and you can actually learn a lot just thumbing through them and skimming the text. But, and its a big but, there's next to nothing for the point and shoot crowd or how to take good photos indoors and I don't think he mentions the word flash even once. So calling it a field guide is a bit of a stretch as it suggesting the tips apply equally to any camera is puffing. Great if you're into landscapes, maybe some candit shots of people you'll meet outside...but next to useless for anything indoors, or action topics like how-to for shooting sports. It also makes assumptions like you're going to run out and buy a bunch of expensive lens or aready have them. If you don't, this book is self-limiting since you're left to your own devices to make your equipment fit to take full advantage of the advice given. That is a disappointment.

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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you can buy only one book, August 28, 2009
This review is from: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
Having purchased 30-40 photography books in the last 2-3 years including some of this authors other books, I can honestly say, that if you can only purchase one book, then this is the one to buy. One of the best things, maybe THE best thing about this book is that it truly is a field guide and one that will fit in your camera bag on a shoot. With several workshops coming up, I will review the parts of this book that apply to the shoot ahead of time or even at location if I am stumped.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide, September 17, 2009
By 
D. Dwyer (New Hampshire, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
I'm a long-time "fan" of Peterson's books (I own several), and I admire his eye and techniques for image making. His "teaching" is informative, personable, and inspiring. This book, Understanding Photography Field Guide, is in many ways a distillation of Peterson's other books, offering much of the same content and using many of the same text-supporting images. So if you want the benefit of Peterson's teaching without buying his other books, this is the book to get. If you already own many of Peterson's other books (such as Understanding Exposure, Beyond Portraiture, Learning to See Creatively, Understanding Digital Photography, etc.) you may still find this new "Field Guide" useful as a summary of Peterson's teachings. And the Guide is a convenient, take-with-you size, and so lives up to its billing as a "field guide." I recommend it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From PPSOP to this book, November 11, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
I bought this book after discovering Bryan Peterson's PPSOP photography school (from youtube!) and came away entirely impressed by the way he explains concepts in simple and do-able ways. If you have been watching his videos, you will notice that they been written in the book as well.

What the book adds is that he displays many examples of his photographs and walks you through how he did it and how it relates to the current chapter. He goes a step further to "climb" out of the book to "sit" next to you -- meaning that you may have questions as you follow along; he anticipates those questions, provides answers, and sometimes even photographic examples and exercises! This is really a man of great field and teaching experience.

And a word about his enthusiasm. I think this is called a field guide because readers become so pumped about getting out to shoot that, if they want to continue reading, they have to bring it with them out to the field!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If only it came out sooner!, November 27, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
If only Bryan Peterson had come out with this book sooner I could have saved a lot of money!

Because of Bryan's other books I finally grasped what it takes to create great photos. But this one is really all you need whether your camera is digital or not or whatever brand it is. I honestly believe you can learn more about your camera with this book than most camera specific books.

Fun to read, easy to understand, lots of great (if not the greatest) photos I have ever seen in a book like this. And yes the size (about 9 x 6) makes it easy to take with you.

He explains how to shoot each photograph and how to get the best shots.

I should also mention that this is primarily for outdoor shooting - without a flash. That is actually his preference.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great help with learning about camera settings, though a little out-of-order., February 10, 2010
This review is from: Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
This book is a great companion to my new DSLR camera. Within it's pages are great explanations and exercises on exposure, iso, shutter speed, metering, technique, and more.

My one criticism of the book would be the order in which these ideas are presented. The chapter on the Importance of Light, which explains metering, should be *before* the chapter on Designing a Striking Image, due to the numerous references to metering within the preceding section. Also, within the section on Designing a Striking Image, chapter on The Golden Section should have been presented earlier in the section for essentially the same reasons; it's brought up repeatedly before it is fully explained, plus it is such a basic idea.

I also don't completely agree with the author's seemed reluctance for post-processing images. I definitely understand that taking the time to crop an image, use a tripod, and get the right light the first time is preferable, but I also believe there are plenty of times when one cannot afford that kind of patience, and one shouldn't be afraid to take a bunch of imperfect pictures to sort out later if the moment to do so is passing by quickly. Cameras with 7 plus megapixels aren't going to lose that much quality in a photo when it is digitally cropped unless they are displayed on huge high-def screens, or printed out at enormous sizes.

The book does lack a bit on indoor photography, but as the author states; this is a *field* guide, meant to be taken along outdoors. The book is of quality construction with a stiff cover that should withstand such outings.

And while others have criticized the cover for claiming "how to shoot great photographs with any camera" while inside much of the explanations have to do with manual settings that most point-and-shoot cameras don't have, just understanding many of these concepts can still help you take better pictures (though the many exercises in the book often do deal with manually adjusting those settings).

Aside from that, this book covers all the basics of what the settings on your camera can do for you and how to best utilize them. The author presents the ideas in engaging and understandable ways. I'd recommend this book to anyone with a camera that offers any degree of control over focus and exposures.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera
$24.99 $16.11
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.