- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 8, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470147857
- ISBN-13: 978-0470147856
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,728,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Portrait and Candid Photography: Photo Workshop 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
LEARN TO CAPTURE PERSONALITIES WITH YOUR LENS
Taking great "people pictures" isn't a matter of luck. The secret is in observing your subjects and connecting with them, and then using your camera to its best advantage. Here's how to work with lighting, location, angle, composition, physical characteristics, environment, and a host of other variables, including the unique challenges of photographing babies, group activities, and action. Apply these techniques and watch your subjects come to life; then test your newfound skills by completing the assignments at the end of each chapter and collecting feedback on your work at pwsbooks.com.
- Study your subjects in their natural habitat—observe how they react and interact
Discover simple techniques for improving photos of babies and children
Learn to capture facial expressions
Tell a story with a series of candid photos
Add interest to large-group shots
About the Author
Erin Manning has been fascinated with the people in photographs since she was seven. A professional photographer, she has done commercial, stock, and portrait work and is known for her teaching skill. HGTV and DIY Network viewers know Erin as the host of The Whole Picture.
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She points out that a UV filter protects your expensive lens from getting scratched, so a $20 filter may save your $800.
She recommends a few things to be carried always such as a spare battery, lens cloth to clean the lens and prevent hours of post-production work, and colorless powder for the common shiny face.
I liked her discussion of reflectors and diffusers. It actually spurred me to invest in a reflector so I can improve my outdoor photography. It just looks so much better with light from a reflector than from a flash.
She talks about and demonstrates with photos the big-nose affect caused by taking a close-up portrait with a wide angle lens. I've actually used this affect for humor, because it looks so funny.
She explains that a telephoto lens of 60-100mm is flattering because it creates a shallower depth of field, so your subject stands out more. It has the disadvantage of requiring that you stand a distance from your subject however.
She talks about composition, framing, and of course about the rule of thirds. I liked the way she described it though, she suggested you imagine a tic-tac-toe board, and place the subject of interest at one of the intersections. She suggests neutral backgrounds sometimes made with simple things such as blankets.
She had good suggestions about posing your models such as have their weight on their back leg if standing, and to shoot heavier people from the side.
A good rule of thumb if shooting outdoors and needing fill flash is to stand 6-9 feet away from your subject and use your zoom lens. Most on camera flashes emit light for up to 12 feet, then the light falls off.
She suggests using the night setting at parties because it has a slow sync where the flash goes off at the end of the exposure.
Focus on the eyes, because this is what people look at in a portrait. It's okay if the ear is out of focus, but not the eyes.
She has a brief introduction to Photoshop Elements that I thought was quite good, and had some good ideas such as saving a copy of the photo as a layer so you always have the original to go back to.
At the end of the book she has a reference section with website, periodicals and books that she recommends.
There were a few things I didn't like about the book:
* The cheesy exercises at the end of each chapter,
* Repeatedly referring the reader to their website with no introduction to it or explanation, and
* Not once did she give the focal length from which the photo was taken, she gave the focal range of the lens, but not where in that range the photo was shot.
That being said, I think this a good introduction to digital photography for the amateur wanting to improve the quality of his/her portraits and photos in general.
Plus, I already had a book on candid photography and was looking for something that would teach me a little more structure and posing, and I feel like this book failed at that. It did cover some posing tips, but "tips" are helpful for fine-tuning, not for learning something you're completely unfamiliar with. And I felt like these tips were not always well illustrated.
I've since looked through Mark Cleghorn's book Portrait Photography: Secrets of Posing & Lighting (A Lark Photography Book) and it seemed a lot more along the lines of what I was hoping for, although I did not *read* the book thoroughly to really recommend it. I do, however, wish I'd gotten this book instead of Erin Manning's.
My final but big complaint about this book is the quality of photos. The cover picture aside, they are AWFUL! I find that inexcusable in a photography book. They look like snapshots from a cheap compact camera, not like photos from a dSLR done by a pro. Some of them are so soft - they look out of focus. While it does not always hurt in the learning process, I do feel like part of the pleasure of learning about photography is viewing shots that take your breath away and make you want to accomplish something similar in the future. This book made me feel like I was already there (when I'm certainly not!). :-)