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Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs (Voices That Matter) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Valenzuela's book rather approaches the topics from a creative/artistic point of view: it teaches you how to recognize geometry in the scenes you are shooting; how to reduce the background clutter by finding "simple" structures that are effective compositional elements; why a picture needs "balance" and how you can use elements you find in the scene to achieve balance; which expressions and messages you send by taking silhouettes; which emotions do you evoke by which method of posing; how do you effectively pose a subject; etc. The book addresses the "why", as in "what's the message you are providing with this method?"; "why would you want to choose this approach?", at least as much as the "how".
And this book does that in an ingenious way: very short chapters, dedicated to one simple concept (shadow, silhoettes, balance, geometry, etc.). You can read each chapter in 5-15 minutes. The chapters are illustrated by pictures that are both excellent, and "approachable". Meaning: while many of the pictures are by all means fantastic, they are not so out-of-this-world artistically mind blowing that you look at them and feel "never in a million years will I be capable of producing something like that". In other words, the author (who is perfectly capable of producing out-of-this-world artistically mind blowing images) choose illustrations for his book that get his points across, and keep you motivated. His purpose is not to prove what a brilliant photographer he is (for that, have a look at the portfolio on his website, you'll be amazed!).
The short chapters always end with an exercise. These exercises obviously are meant to practice what was being discussed in the chapter. But at the same time, the exercises are real. "Take a camera and shoot 5 pictures of squares you find in the room you are currently in". They are of the type that makes you want to do them right away, because you know you can do this, and because you realize that it teaches you something (e.g. recognizing the geometry in a scene).
This book is refreshingly different. I am currently on my third read of the book (got it as a gift 2 weeks ago). First time I read it cover to cover, without stopping for the exercises (which I highly recommend, by the way). For the second read I re-visited some key chapters that I noticed towards the end that I had not completely understood. And now I am slowly making my way through each chapter, actually doing the exercises.
The "Picture Perfect" book would also make an excellent program for any camera club looking to develop an instructional schedule. Highly recommend!
My husband and I have this longstanding theory that no artist is every really going to share all of his/her secrets with you in a book, a workshop or otherwise, and based on every book and workshop I've ever taken I've found this theory to be alive and well. They give you just enough information to *think* you're going to learn a ton but you're left feeling like there was something missing--SOMETHING they just didn't share that would make all the puzzle pieces fit.
Then in comes Roberto Valenzuela and Picture Perfect Practice. He covers so many aspects of good photography it will literally take me years to master all that he has provided for devouring. That's not to say the concepts he shares are difficult per se, it's simply that there are so many things he covers, that to practice them to a point of mastery is no easy task. The book is organized well, by topic, and he provides key tips for practicing. He's really opened my eyes to the notion that photographers see the world differently. Not just during a session but every day. Every object is transformed by the photographers eye and this is percicely what he helps you to develop: your eye.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. I have paid thousands of dollars for workshops that have contained a third of what I've found in this book for under $30. With this workbook and dedicated practice to the craft, I defy you not to become the photographer you are destined to be. Keep on clickin!
1. It is presented as exactly what I was looking for----"art"---rather than technical jargon. I got what he was saying because it made practical sense, without algorithms and camera jargon to try to understand in order to create pretty shots that grab the heart.
2. It's broken into a chart in the beginning that can be taken to any shoot (pull out the page, copy it down to a small card size, and laminate it) to remind of every concept in the book. From framing to finding the best at the location you're at even when it seems dismal to unique composition.
3. Each chapter has small bite-sized sections with assignments after each section (which hones in on each square in the chart given at the beginning). The assignments seemed too easy at first (find all the main shapes in your surroundings and take pictures of them) but they truly do build up from the foundation on, to add to a newbie photographer's knowledge and skill building.
If you can only buy one book in your pursuit of becoming a photographer that takes beautiful photos that tell stories to their observers, this is THE book you'll want to buy. Unless, of course, you want technical jargon. In that case, any other book on the Amazon list that came up on search, will do.
PS---as far as the reviews that this is a misleading book because it turns out it's about wedding photography, the author states at the outset he is a wedding photographer so those are the photos he uses to teach his concepts. While it would be neat to see his lessons in NON-wedding photos, they are still so point-on in example of what he is teaching, they only lend to his book, not take away from it. I have no desire to do weddings, yet I still am learning so very much from this book even with wedding photo illustrations. If you have doubts, check the content sample Amazon gives, so you can know exactly what to expect when the book arrives.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Cons: cost (is about 5-10 dollars too expensive for the content).Read more