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Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity, and Personal Style 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1933952222
ISBN-10: 1933952229
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alain Briot is one of the leading contemporary landscape photographers. Originally from Paris, France, he attended the Academie Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris where he studied drawing and oil painting. Briot began studying photography in 1980. Currently living in Arizona, his favorite photographic locations are in the southwestern United States.

Briot's goal is to create the most exciting photographs possible. His equipment, be it cameras, software, etc., is chosen for the ability to make this possible.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Rocky Nook; 1 edition (September 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933952229
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933952222
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,080,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I wavered a bit on whether this was a four star or five star review. One the one hand the book covers ground not to be found in any other source I'm aware of and does so in an accessible manner. On the flip side it isn't without some flaws. Upon further consideration though I decided the larger issue was going to be who was reading it and what they wanted from it. I wouldn't be surprised over time to find many 5 star and 4 star reviews for this book mixed in with a few much lower ratings from those who didn't get what they expected.

With that in mind, I'll give the book a solid five stars if you have the right expectations and are aware of a few caveats. With that in mind I'll offer some advice to help potential readers have the right expectations up front:

- Definitely use the Look Inside feature and examine the table of contents, the book covers a lot of more contemplative topics than a photographic technique or composition guide does. Note the title includes "Creativity and Personal Style" and in fact a large part of the text is dedicated to these topics that perhaps certain readers will not connect with. This is some of the most unique and helpful material in the book (at least to me) but I can certainly imagine not all readers being receptive to it.

- Take advantage of the existing essays available online by Alain Briot to get a feel for the writing style. Numerous essays are available on his website as well as the Luminous Landscape website and these will hopefully give you a flavor for the writing. In fact some of the essays available might be considered rough drafts of some of the content in this book.

- Be aware the author is a bit wordy at times.
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Format: Paperback
The first review posted by Ken Walsh gives a good review of the book, one with which I mostly agree. I'll talk about a few other items.

Alain Briot states that he brings his perspectives as a painter to his compositional approach to photography. He titles his approach a "new" approach to composition. He approaches "photography as an art form." "Art is concerned with expressing emotions, feelings, and opinions."

While Mr. Briot may think he is bring something new to the photographic creative process, a casual reading of the words of a representative photographer from the last millenium shows that his ideas about art and photography are not so new: "A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed" Ansel Adams.

What Mr. Briot does bring to the discussion of photography as art is a challenging treatment on the path from photographic concept as it begins in the mind of the photographer to the final representation of that concept in the finished print. His detailed discussion about the choice of light, the use of color or black and white to enhance that concept, and the final cropping and color balancing on the computer is itself a work of art.

The unique parts of the book are the chapters that explore photography at a very personal level, Finding Inspiration, Exercising Creativity, Developing Your Vision, and Achieving Your Personal Style. They invite you to examine yourself to find what personal creative efforts you may be able to bring to the process, visions you have that will stamp your work as your own, much as an art critic can look at a Monet or a Matisse and instantly recognize the artist. These topics are infrequently discussed in most books on photography.
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Format: Paperback
This Rocky Nook book by author Alain Briot is a must read for professionals or semi-pros who have all of their film and/or digital camera technical abilities under good control. Beginners would be better served to first read Briot's also excellent previous book "Mastering Landscape Photography." The main emphasis in both books is primarily landscape photography.

Several sections are devoted in great detail to the differences between what we see and what the camera sees. The difference between photography and reality is very important to learn. From my personal art experience, various art teachers in the past insisted their students never use photographs as reference material. Digital cameras and photo management software are now making it a new situation.

New Rules of Composition are contained in 147 pages of this 350 page book. Extensive information is given about composing with light, in color, or in black and white. Important elements of a strong composition are covered in great detail.
The Creative Process is the strong part of the book followed by a chapter about Personal Style. Of much interest to those wishing to sell their work is the section about Audiences and Bestsellers. A very valuable chapter near the end deals with Image Maladies and how to correct them. This checklist is the most technical part of the book and deals a lot with Photoshop and Lightroom software settings.
One fault I found with the book is the extremely small font size through it all, not good for older folks with trifocal glasses. In spite of this serious fault I stayed with it until the end and enjoyed every word of every chapter. (There are quite a few typos also.)

Almost every one of the 14 chapters ends with Skills Enhancement Exercises and a Conclusion.
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