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Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition) Paperback – August 1, 2004
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About the Author
Bryan Peterson is the author of the best-selling Learning to See Creatively and writes a photography column "Picture Points," for Popular Photography Magazine. His many photographic awards include the Communication Arts Photography Annual (eight times), Print Magazine's Design Annual (four times), and the New York Art Directors Gold Award. He lives in Seattle and Lyon, France.
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Top Customer Reviews
You learn how to expose for front-lit, back-lit, side-lit scenes, overcast skys, macro photography, motion, stationery objects, how to expose for bright scenes such as snow (grey card & 18% grey) and dark scenes such as night photography...you name it. Then Bryan Peterson tops it off with a sections on metering, special techniques and filters, and an analysis of film vs digital cameras.
Understanding Exposure not only explained the basics in a conversational manner, but is also informed me of how the pros work and how to step up my photography to a higher level.
This book has hands-on exercises that anyone can go through so that the reader has experience of all of the methods explained. Along with this, the book is FULL of color photos that show exactly what the end result could be. Where applicable, there are comparisons of before and after exposure adjustments so the reader may understand WHY they should make such changes.
Where there is a difference between adjustments for digital versus film cameras, Bryan Peterson gives you the specifics of the difference and haw to adjust for it.
It is a book every photographer should have!
This book is even better than the old edition, and expands on some of the topics that were only briefly touched on in the first book. One in particular that sticks out in my mind is that he explains the "don't care" apertures of F8 and F11 that he uses often. The old book mentioned it in passing, but I don't recall an explanation on why those apertures were useful. There is a short section on just that in this book and suggestions on when to use them.
Full color photos are used throughout the book, and are a great help in understanding the concepts that he talks about. Each picture has a caption with the information used to take the exposure. He shows you the same picture with different settings so you can see the effects the settings have on the exposure.
I find the book pleasant and easy to read. The tone and writing are very agreeable and easy to follow. While some aspects are technical, they are written in a manner that makes them easily understandable.
This is all about how to capture the image, not processing of the image after it is captured. There is brief mention of pushing or pulling film and the effects it can create, but in general, this is about how to get take a proper picture. If you are looking for a book on how to process the picture after you have taken it, this is not the book for you.
I can not recommend this book enough if you are interested in photography. I don't know how useful it would be for professionals, but for the person just starting out or serious amateur, I can't see how you could go wrong with this. While all of the information can be applied to SLR cameras (film or digital), the majority of it can be applied to the point and shoot cameras of either variety as well.
The first thing you'll notice when you read through this book is that Bryan Peterson is not just good at explaining the intricacies of good exposure in almost every conceivable situation (landscapes, close ups, portraits), but he is a world-class photographer. It's one thing to talk about manipulating depth of field or subject motion in theoretical terms, it's quite another to see the concepts demonstrated in masterful, creative and fun photographs. Bryan's photographs are fun, surprising and supremely well done. And the photos are so well chosen and so well done that even if the book was written in a language I didn't understand, I would get the points being made. His editors should be proud of that too. I also a professional photographer and author of many photo books including The NEW Joy of Digital Photography and I often look to Bryan's fine photos for their inspiration.
Getting good exposure is at the heart of making a good photograph. And you would think that with the auto-exposure systems built into both film and digital cameras that getting a good exposure would be a piece of cake. But as Peterson points out (and illustrates so nicely) there is a world of difference between getting a "good" exposure and getting the ideal "creative" exposure. Getting the ideal creative exposure requires careful consideration of how that exposure will affect things like depth of field, freezing or exaggerating motion, the color and quality of light and how your subject is presented.
This book is not just about exposure, of course, but is a great source of information on various types of lighting, close-up photography, portraits, night photography, using a tripod and, most importantly, seeing creatively.
I can't imagine making a serious study of photography and not having this book (and Peterson's classic book on "Seeing Creatively") nearby. Peterson is a gifted, funny and immensely talented teacher and photographer--more than willing to share all of his knowledge. As the author of many how-to books on photography myself, I have used Peterson's books as a constant source of information and ideas and I check my own facts against his regularly--I couldn't pay him a much higher compliment. As a photographer, I find myself looking at his pictures with great admiration and envy. His photographs are great. And by the way, "No!" I don't even know Bryan--except through his great books.
Of course, with all of those kind words said (and I meant them), you might also want to look at my book on exposure Exposure Photo Workshop: Develop Your Digital Photography Talent--I think they make good companion pieces. The book has now been translated to Polish, Spanish and Chinese and is available as a Kindle download Exposure Photo Workshop: Develop Your Digital Photography Talent Please also see my latest book Jeff Wignall's Digital Photography Crash Course: 2 Minute Tips for Better Photos.
Author, The Joy of Digital Photography