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Picture Perfect Posing: Practicing the Art of Posing for Photographers and Models (Voices That Matter) 1st Edition
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In Picture Perfect Posing, Roberto takes on the art of posing. For many photographers, after learning to compose an image and even light it properly, a portrait can still easily be a failure if the pose is not natural, elegant, and serving the needs of both the subject and the photographer. Instead of just showing page after page of poses–like most posing books on the market–Roberto actually breaks down the concept of posing by examining the anatomy, starting with the core foundation: the spinal chord and neck. Building from there, Roberto discusses every component of what makes poses work, as well as fail. How should the model hold her hands? Bend her elbows? Position her fingers? Should the model look toward or away from the camera, and why? It all depends on what the photographer wants for the shot, and Roberto discusses the entire process, from the intent of the photographer through the execution of the pose. For those who have been discouraged by an inability to pose their subjects, or who have simply not known where to start in order to "figure it out," Picture Perfect Posing is the essential resource they need to learn how posing truly works, and how they can learn to direct the exact pose they need for the shot they want.
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About the Author
Roberto Valenzuela is a photographer based in Beverly Hills, CA. He developed his unique teaching style by following the same practice regimen he developed as a professional concert classical guitarist and educator. Roberto believes that it is not talent but deliberate practice that is at the core of skill and achievement. He has traveled to every corner of the world, motivating photographers to practice and break down the various elements of photography in order to master them through goal setting, self-training, and constant dedication.
Roberto serves as a judge for photographic print competitions in Europe, Mexico, South America, and the most prestigious international photography competitions held in the United States through Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) in Las Vegas, NV.
Roberto teaches private workshops, seminars, and platform classes at the largest photography conventions in the world. He has been an international first-place winner three times and has been nominated by his peers as one of the ten most influential photographers and educators in the world. His first book, Picture Perfect Practice, became a bestselling photography training book, and it is sold worldwide.
Aside from the world of photography, Roberto is a high-performance remote-control helicopter pilot, a (not so good anymore) classical guitarist, and a table tennis fanatic. He is also a major foodie and is still searching for the most amazing red wine and the most pungent cheeses. His search for the perfect steak is over; he found it in the Japanese Wagyu.
- ASIN : 0321966465
- Publisher : New Riders; 1st edition (February 27, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780321966469
- ISBN-13 : 978-0321966469
- Item Weight : 2.04 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.9 x 1 x 9.9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #170,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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The author uses his own photos as both good and bad examples of posing, which is very encouraging since it shows the reader that it is possible to get significantly better at posing subjects through practice. While reading about the bad examples, I could directly relate to the author and how he dealt with posing when he started out, which was trying to memorize thousands of poses, then forgetting all of them during a shoot and just shouting out random posing commands, hoping for something that works. I have been there.
If you come to photography from an engineering background or you just have a logical mind, Picture Perfect Posing will be a very helpful tool because it is a specific system that addresses common posing problems you will likely encounter, with specific solutions for fixing them. This is so helpful because it can be very difficult to look at a pose and figure out exactly why it doesn't work without this sort of information. For example, the author covers finger positioning, where and how hands should be placed, how noses should be pointed... all very helpful to give photographers a base to work from instead of just trying to create awesomeness from nothing.
The author even touches on facial expression, although that isn't the primary focus of the book. I found this interesting because the method suggested to get good performances is similar to a famous actor direction technique: Give the person a task to concentrate on, like counting fenceposts or trying to spot exactly when the camera's shutter closes behind the lens, etc. This can make it easier for the subject to produce an engaged expression that takes the photo to the next level of professionalism, I would love to see a whole book about direction for still photography.
One nitpick for future editions: On page 168 the text refers to a blue line indicating the "overlap point" of two bodies in a couple's pose. It looks like the publisher changed the blue line to a red circle without updating the text, since I do not see a blue line in the example photos.
I highly recommend "Picture Perfect Posing" to photographers who need a strong base to build poses from, especially for wedding and engagement photography.
Photo selection was a huge problem for me. Nearly every photo is from wedding gigs for people with money to burn. A fair amount were boudoir. Almost no editorial, fashion, commercial, etc. With every page turn and every new (or worse, repeated!) wedding photo, I let out a sound of disgust and spent more and more time thinking about how much I now detest this style of wedding photography. Valenzuela took some new photos for the book, of family members, but they are shockingly below the quality of his wedding catalog.
There are almost no photos of men that aren't accompanied by a woman. There are two or three non-wedding photos of men, but the style is completely different from anything else in the book. Valenzuela says his ideas are applicable to men, but when every photo features women as the focus, it's hard for me to believe him.
At one point in the book, Valenzuela describes his own photo as "iconic."* Another, he takes time to talk about fiddling with his Hasselblah camera. He frequently name-drops.
Words and phrases that kept coming to mind: male gaze, heteronormative, sexism, repetitive, classism, fakey. Much of the information is good, but once you notice this book's shortcomings, it gets buried in an avalanche of irritation.
*Rich, considering the photo in question is an obvious take on Edward Steichen's portrait of Gloria Swanson.
It is so informative that I will say that if you are serious about model photography you certainly need to purchase this. Other than the passage of time , I can not imagine the author needs to write another book on modeling techniques or that the buyer needs to buy another one.
This to me was a difficult study. No - I do not mean that it's hard to understand the book. What I mean is that it's so detailed that to fully appreciate it and get the most out of it you should study every detail he describes of a specific pose (for "every pose" illustrated in the book - one by one). If you take the time to do this and apply everything he suggest before shooting your next model - your will look very professional.
There are few authors who cover so many things as this author has. I can't imagine how anyone can read this book cover to cover in a few days and expect to remember even a small fraction of it.
This author has written the "Crown Jewel" of books on how to pose models. His descriptions go way beyond "standard cliches".
Buy it, read slowly, highlite the descriptions of the poses you are interested in (for me that was just about everything), then go back later and formulate your next shoot - based on all the knowledge you have gained from the book - and don't worry if you have made so many notes that you can not possibly trade it in for a discount on your next purchase - because if you have taken the time to study these poses in detail you surely won't have any desire to trade it in.
Finally - for your information - studying this book is not about ( what so many critics think is) imitation. It's about learning techniques and avoiding common (and and not so common) mistakes - then using this knowledge to formulate your own ideas. - Robert Pear
Top reviews from other countries
I can see myself going back to this over and over again and pairing this book up with another one on lighting and flash would be a great gift to a photographer of any level, though unfortunately I haven't found a book on that subject that is as great as this one.
The only criticism would be the "system" itself and the categories within it which seem a bit arbitrary. I'm pretty sure you could take the number of categories from fifteen down to ten or fewer and still keep the same material. It doesn't really matter though as each chapter is full of great tips and things to think about before snapping your picture.
Its amazing that you see much in the educational world about posing and are all teaching poses... This book goes opposite direction.
Teaches you the principles and teaches you teh anatomy and how a human being works so you can build the poses your self!!
Its amazing the knowledge and resource and work Roberto had and has and is sharing with us...
I would give a great to Roberto for this series of books...But a hug so big and tight!! haha