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279 of 286 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings the subject of exposure to light.
Understanding exposure third edition. Although it could be called understanding your camera

This is a fairly complete overhaul of the second edition. It covers all of the things covered in the second edition and additionally Author Bryan Peterson covers HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography.

One of the sections I enjoyed the most is Peterson's...
Published on August 11, 2010 by M. A. Filippelli

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145 of 176 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for beginners, but.......
Having both run a photo business and been a high school teacher (both science and photography), I tutor a lot of beginners in photography and I have been looking for a book to recommend to them. Although this book is not organized the way I would prefer, it is reasonably good and will help the beginning photographer learn some of the fundamentals. It's biggest faults...
Published on January 10, 2011 by Jerry W. Matchett


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for those who wants to start taking photography seriously, September 14, 2010
By 
Jack Daniels (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
I think it's fantastic book for those who is over stage of shooting in Full Automatic mode and ready to start taking photography seriously.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amateurs... Be careful here, February 24, 2011
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This review is from: Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
I would rank my skills as an intermediate amateur currently. I bought this book with the expectation, in part derived from all the 5 star reviews, that it would give me a much deeper understanding of exposure. I was somewhat disappointed with this book for several reasons.

The organization and flow of the subject matter are just wrong. For example, on page 14 the author has a section named "Setting & Using Your Camera on Manual Exposure".

In this section he then states, "If you're unsure of how to set your camera to manual exposure mode, read the manual!". What, are you serious Mr. Peterson? Look at the title of your section.

He then states, "...adjust your shutter speed until the camera's light meter indicates a 'correct' exposure in your viewfinder and take the photograph. You've just made a manual correct exposure!" First off you are implicitly acknowledging your audience is one of a beginner here. They won't know what the "exposure meter" is or, MORE IMPORTANTLY, what exactly is the "correct" exposure. If you wait it comes later, rather than before, on page 23. But hold the presses folks! In looking at the diagrams, meant to represent the image of your viewfinder, they are just plain wrong. The red text in the diagrams does NOT indicate what the viewfinder is indicating in 3 of the 4 diagrams. This sort of gross error is inexcusable and will lead an amateur astray for sure.

On page 46 the author describes "Story Telling" Apertures. There are two photos which look very different in terms of focus and depth of field on page 46 & 47. Yet the author's caption reads "Both photos: 2-35mm lens at 20mm, f/22 for 1/30 sec". These are clearly NOT the same so the reader is left wondering what is being conveyed here.

Often when the author is making a point about certain subject matter he will show a photograph demonstrating his intent and correct composition. It would be immensely helpful to an amateur if he showed an INcorrect version alongside so readers could compare and contrast.

Also some photos of a camera (alternate between the two brands most popular: Nikon & Canon) at the beginning of the book (say page 16), when you are talking about setting a certain functions on the camera would be very helpful in orienting beginners and illustrating what you are referring to.

The book is short on words and actual unique, insightful comments (the few are repeated often). It lacks coherence in terms of putting all aspects of "exposure" together: namely available and type of light, aperture, shutter speed and ISO. After reading more than half of this book I came away with very little more knowledge.

This book does offer some redeeming qualities. The biggest one for me was seeing the compositions, some very striking and intriguing, offering readers the perspective to be gained from knowing how to approach composing and capturing some of there own stunning photographs.

If you have your camera manual and it is written somewhat decent along with another one or two books on exposure then this book may be a worthy addition to your understanding. If you hope to use it as your sole source of understanding exposure, in my estimation, this will be difficult at best.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute best book for going from casual interest to really getting it, December 10, 2010
By 
Amazon Customer (Nashville, TN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
In one book he covers the technical and artistic aspects of photography with just enough detail and in a very accessible style. I shoot professionally now and still re-read parts of this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, December 11, 2010
This review is from: Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
Bryan Peterson is truly a gifted photographer and instructor. This was the first photography book that I read, and I found it not only instructive, but very inspirational. The text is well presented and easy to read, and the photographs are excellent. Highly recommended for anyone looking to get started in photography.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, January 10, 2011
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This review is from: Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
If you just got your first DSLR, and want to make the most out of it, this book should be your #1 purchase.
Easy to read, lots of examples. It covers the very basics of photography and exposure, the same principles that have been around for several decades, now more oriented to digital photography though.
Want to know how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO relate to each other? Want to know how those cool looking portraits with nicely blurred background are made? Want to know how those silky smooth running water effects of rivers or waterfalls are achieved? This book is for you.
I highly recommend it for anyone starting on this field.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview but Biased Toward Outdoor Photography, December 22, 2011
By 
DAT "Steinway's Mom" (Columbus, OH United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
I liked how the author explains concepts like aperture, shutter, iso etc. w/o resorting to cumbersome charts and technical jargon. I have had my DSLR for several years and Bryan's book helped me (finally) move to manual mode)

Pro
Easy to understand - masterfully outlines basic concepts w/o overwhelming the user with technical jargon, charts and techspeak.
Nice example photos of how to use exposure creatively
Lots of information on exposure w/specialized lenses (telephoto, wide angle, macro)
Has videos on his website for readers to watch
For under $20 it's a worthwhile investment

Cons
- Heavily biased toward outdoor photography (mainly landscapes and cityscapes). The examples and content don't really address indoor/portrait photography. For example, white balance is important for capturing skin tones but the author kind of glosses over the subject by giving his favorite setting, a cool trick and informing the reader that they will have to change settings indoors.
- He is a pro photographer who travels worldwide and has all sorts of fancy lenses. He doesn't always bother to define the various types of lenses before launching into tips and tricks on how they affect exposure.
This sort of implies that part of his audience has the budget for all sorts of advanced lenses and already understands this stuff.
- Low light photography is covered but only for outdoor photography. He says he's now OK with 'fill flash' but only gives some examples of outdoor photographs where he uses some sort of external flash to augment the lighting. He also talks about ring flash but this also seems a bit advanced.
- I joined a women's photography forum and was immediately told that an f 1.4 or 1.8 35 or 55 'prime lens' would help me deal with low light indoor photography - the author doesn't mention this, presumably because of his focus on outdoor photography.
- I wish the book had more practical examples and exercises for a new photographer with a basic camera.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginners, but gets a little off topic, June 9, 2014
This review is from: Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
I read through this hoping to get some advanced tips on exposure in difficult lighting, but there really wasn't anything earth shattering. It is good fundamental information about exposure for beginners and there were a couple useful tips about taking your exposure off the sky and one off of green foliage, but that was about it.

There was also a lot of talk about depth of field and shutter speed. Yes, I understand that they are interrelated in that changing your aperture increases depth of field and also affects exposure. The same relationship goes for shutter speed, but it turns the book into more of a general photography 'how-to' and less of a discussion about exposure. If I had read the table of contents, I would have seen that, but oh well. What would have been really great is to list every challenging scenario that deals with getting proper exposure and then listing out one or more ways to tackle it: low light indoors, candle light, mixed lighting, when to use spot, centered and matrix metering, benefits of using a separate light meter and 'how-to', high-key and low-key shots, and a 100 other possible situations that may provide a challenge in getting proper exposure.

Another couple head scratchers are the dislike of using the histogram and the promotion of using f/22. The histogram can prove to be a very useful tool if you understand and use it correctly. A common tip is to 'expose for the highlights' which the histogram helps you do by highlighting the blown out parts of your photo. 'Expose to the right' is also another good tip, which can't be followed without using a histogram. Not histogram related, but another common rule is the 'Sunny 16' rule. No mention of that either.

Regarding the aperture of f/22, his photo example was of a tree waaayyy off in the distance. For that particular photo, f/22 was probably okay, but if you are looking at capturing some nice detail up close (in the foreground), diffraction can be a real issue depending on the lens. I try to stay above f/11 and the lowest I go is f/16. If I need greater depth of field, I do focus stacking and blend them. It can vary from lens to lens and is less obvious on larger sensors, so it may not be that big of a deal with his expensive lenses and full frame camera, but I can tell an obvious difference with mine on a crop sensor. Is a book about exposure really the place for a soapbox about aperture/depth of field anyway?

I also noticed a glaring mistake on camera settings for a sunrise/sunset picture towards the end. In it, the sky looks similar to the cover photo, but it was at the beach. The shutter speed said 15 seconds, but there is no way. You could still see the shape of the waves. 15 sec would have smoothed the water much more. Not silky smooth, but the image was probably shot in less than a second, maybe even 1/15 sec (possible typo?).

The book does provide an understanding of exposure, but its not a terribly advanced book and I think the heavy discussion about depth of field and shutter speed makes this more of a general photography book than a book about exposure. There are also a couple items that I disagree on, plus it misses out on providing some actual useful information about exposure in difficult lighting. If you are not a complete beginner and looking for a more in depth look at exposure, check out Michael Freeman's Perfect Exposure: The Professional's Guide to Capturing Perfect Digital Photographs.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version, January 30, 2013
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This was an excellent read! I went with the kindle version but wish I would have gone with the actual book. The images are so much better in the book. The images were not as good and they left a little to be desired in the kindle version. I would give the book and content 5 stars however.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best, February 16, 2013
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This review is from: Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
This is the best book for folks beginner intending on learning photography or improving their skills if they are more than a beginner. I started my photography hobby with this book and since then have read lots of books, some good, some ok and some downright useless. This is one book that I highly recommend to everyone because the best part is that it reads like a novel and explains the basic concepts without getting to technical. Other books get too technical and overwhelm the novice folks. ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed are the key components to understanding photogrpahy and this is probably the best book to grasp the concept. The way Bryan explains ISO by comparing it to worker bees made me understand the concept the first time I read the book and I had to never look back again. I have recommended and given this book as gift to few close friends who had shown interest in getting started. I still go back to it from time to time and either refresh the basics or learn something new. The other book in the series which I love is Learning to see Creatively. Enjoy
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27 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Exposure... for Dummies, December 27, 2011
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This review is from: Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Paperback)
This review is going to sound harsh but my goal is to help people save money by not buying the wrong book.

The premise of this book is that you just bought your first digital camera and have taken several pictures. Some of them are too light, while others are too dark. You don't know why and want a more predictable outcome. If this describes your situation, then I think you will find a treasure chest of valuable information in this book and I recommend it.

If you already know that a wide aperture plays a role in background blur and that a fast shutter helps to "freeze action" then I don't think this book has much to offer.

I bought this book based on the strength of the reviews, and I blame myself for not reading the reviews more carefully. I was already shooting manual mode before I bought this. In retrospect it was a rushed decision as I assumed it had to be a really great read to be so popular.

One parting thought: Nearly all of the images (and advice) in this book are geared towards travel/landscape photography. The author uses a tripod and shoots during the golden hours (an hour after sunrise and the few hours before sunset). The results are fantastic. If I ever take up travel/landscape photography in the distant future, I will use this book as a reference.

However, as a DWAC (dad with a camera) nearly all of my pictures are of my son, indoors. This type of photography is not mentioned in the book.
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Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera
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