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The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure (BetterPhoto Series) Paperback – January 6, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sean Arbabi’s photographs have been featured in 250 publications and by 150 companies, including National Geographic and Microsoft. A instructor, he lives in Danville, California. Visit him on the web at

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Product Details

  • Series: BetterPhoto Series
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Amphoto Books; 1st edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817435549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817435547
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #811,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sean has been a commercial travel photographer and author for over 23 years, specializing in adventure, lifestyle, nature, and travel; for ad, corporate, and editorial clients.

He's had freelance and contracted assignments with hundreds of publications and companies worldwide including Amazon, American Express, Backpacker, California Division of Tourism, Endless Vacation, Engadget, Fuji Film, GEO Germany, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, National Geographic's book, calendar, and online divisions as well as Adventure and Traveler, The New York Times, Nikon, The North Face, Outdoor Photographer, Outside, Peterson's Photographic, Photoshop User, Random House, Rangefinder, REI, Timex, The Travel Channel,, and Woodbridge wines.

Sean has shot over 200 assignments for Sunset, over 150 for Via magazine, and authored many feature articles and books which he photographed including The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure (Jan 2009), and The Complete Guide to Nature Photography (Dec 2011) both for Amphoto/ Random House. He also teaches workshops, live (Calumet, Camera West, Future Light, Point Reyes), and online at Perfect Picture School of Photography.

As the Photoguru, he has appeared on numerous television segments, radio and web shows including ABC San Francisco's The View from the Bay, CBS San Francisco's Bay Area Focus, ABC Radio Southeast, Scott Sheppard's Inside Digital Radio and Nik Radio, and Ibarionex Perello's The Candid Frame discussing various aspects of the photo industry.

A native Californian, he received his Bachelor of Arts in commercial photography from Brooks Institute in '91, began his business thereafter combining outdoor, on-location, and studio photography. To date he's shot over a million images, written numerous articles, and currently working on a tv show on photography.

Sean has traveled around much of the US, and international locations including Canada, Iran, Mexico, the UK, Southeast Asia, and; South America. He has backpacked over mountain ranges, helicoptered above jungles, ridden horseback across plains, traversed across mountain ranges, rafted down rivers, mountain biked along forest trails, sailed on oceans, and hung over cliffs, all to capture images he and his clients were in search of. Today, he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, base camp for all his travels.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Sharon on September 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have learned so much from this book, it is an excellent resource for anyone who really wants to understand the nuts and bolts of taking great pictures and deepen their knowledge of photography. I recently stepped up to a DSLR and decided to become more serious about understanding my camera and developing my photography skills. I've purchased several books over the last six months, beginning with an introductory to digital photography with Jim Miotke's book from Betterphoto, and a David Busch's book for my specific camera (also highly recommended--the user manuals that come with cameras are awful). I also bought a book on landscape shooting (Fitzharris) and Sean Arbabi's book on exposure. Reading all of them has given me quite an education, but Sean's book, The Betterphoto Guide to Exposure, was particularly good at helping everything come together and make sense. If you really want to capture great photos and would rather spend your time out-n-about taking pictures instead of sitting in front of a computer "photoshopping" them, this book will get you on the right track. It offers a plethora of specific information on aperture and shutter speed and how they work together along with the metering capabilities of your camera (and you) to produce a properly exposed photo. After reading this book thoroughly and going back to it as a reference, I now choose to shoot most of my pictures in manual. I actually find it easier than fiddling with exposure compensation and other adjustments in the more automated modes of my camera. I've had many "lightbulb moments" reading this book and continue to do so as my experience has grown; I find myself referring back to it regularly. I can't say enough about the educational value of this book--and the pictures within it are beautiful as well. Thanks Sean for making a better photographer out of me!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Obannon on January 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've read plenty of photography books and this one is my favorite by far. From the beginners to the pros, everyone will enjoy this book. Its full of beautiful high quality pictures with captions explaing how he took the shot. Plenty of useful advice for beginners and if you haven't picked up your camera in a while, this one will get you up off the couch and out shooting. I'm excited all over again about photography. I pretty much have photography down pack as far as the technical side and I still learned a little bit more. Bryan Peterson's book, Understanding Exposure, use to be my favorite. This one blows it out of the water. BUY IT, you won't be disappointed. Highly Recommended. I've owned it for a few days and I can't put it down. Sean Arbabi, you hit the ball out of the park with this one.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Sconce on September 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sean makes it very easy to understand Exposure. He loves what he does and you can feel that in the way he teaches. The book is written in terms that anyone can understand. He added assignments to do that follows the current chapter and his charts for different lighting conditions are very helpful. I carry this book with me when I go out shooting, of course it stays in the car when I am walking about but I note the conditions and then use the book to help me decide how I will shoot my images in the current lighting.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ed Fritz on April 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book came to my attention thru another blogs comment section and I ordered the book for my flight read from NY to the Eastern Sierras workshop with Moose Peterson. My timing on ordering the book and the book's content could not have been any better !

Here is a book written by a Master Photographer with excellent field and fine print sales credentials. For author, Sean Arbabi this is his first book copyrighted in 2008, after 20 years as a pro-photographer. In the the book's introduction he had me hooked by writing ...... 'This is what the art is all about, especially in outdoor and travel photography, to notice the beauty of the world, catch the details, and stop a moment of time, recording it for all to see and appreciate. And it all starts with exposure'

For me, I have been plucking exposure gems of information from a few publications, workshops, discussions, and trial and error on how to master exposure. I find it difficult to accept the KISS philosophy of setting the camera to aperture priority, tune up/down EV compensation and fire away...that may come to me with another few years of experience..but for me, on my journey, there is more to the art and essence of using exposure in my ImageThe BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure (BetterPhoto Series)s. The KISS philosophy bangs up against the tonal dynamic range and working with stops of light from shadow to highlight. It seems fraught with error to embrace that with just the DLSR's metered 5 1/2 to 7 stops (contrast vs the eyes 12-15 stops), that you can simply have the correct exposure by adjusting for blinkies with your EV after LCD review.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Varela on May 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This an an excellent book for amateur photographers. It provides a solid foundation for those seeking to understand how to expose for certain ligthing situations. The explanations are easy to follow and understand. The charts and diagrams also aid in understanding the text.An all around great book.
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