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Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs (Voices That Matter) [Paperback]

Roberto Valenzuela
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
Price: 28.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

17 Feb 2012 Voices That Matter
Foreword by Skip Cohen

Translating the chaos of the real world into a breathtakingly simple, beautiful photograph can often seem like an impossible task. With busy, cluttered backgrounds and subjects who don’t know how to pose, how can you take control and get a great shot no matter the situation? InPicture Perfect Practice, photographer Roberto Valenzuela breaks down the craft of photography into three key elements–locations, poses, and execution–that you can use to unlock the photographic opportunities lying beneath every challenging situation.

Valenzuela stresses the need for photographers to actively practice their craft every day–just like you would practice a musical instrument–in order to master the art of making great images. With chapters that offer practice exercises to strengthen your photographic abilities, you’ll learn how to approach a scene, break it down, and see your way to a great photograph. The Location section features chapters that cover symmetry, balance, framing, color elements, textures, and much more. The Posing section includes the Five Key Posing Techniques that Valenzuela uses every time he’s shooting people, as well as a complete list of poses and how to achieve, customize, and perfect them. The Execution portion, with sections like “Lighting through Direction” and “Simplicity through Subtraction,” reveals Valenzuela’s overall approach to getting the shot. The book also includes an inspiring and helpful chapter on deliberate practice techniques, where Valenzuela describes his system for practicing and analyzing his work, which leads to constant improvement as a photographer.

If you’ve been frustrated and overwhelmed by the challenges of real-world locations, posing your subjects, or executing a great image–or if you simply want to become a better shooter but don’t know where to start–Picture Perfect Practice gives you the tools and information you need to finally become the kind of photographer you’ve always wanted to be: the kind who can confidently walk into any location, under any lighting condition, with any subject, and know that you can create astonishing photographs that have a timeless impact.

Frequently Bought Together

Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs (Voices That Matter) + Luminous Portrait, The + Fine Art Wedding Photography
Price For All Three: 57.11

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  • Luminous Portrait, The 13.39
  • Fine Art Wedding Photography 14.73

Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (17 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321803531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321803535
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 9.9 x 0.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Roberto Valenzuela is a Beverly Hills-based photographer, specializing in wedding photography. He has been recognized as one of the world's top wedding photographers by Junebug Weddings, and has won over 50 international print competition accolades from the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) association. He is an active speaker and teacher at photography conferences across the country. Learn more at robertovalenzuelaphotography.com.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By MarkL
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was sceptical this would be another vague and simplistic portrait/wedding photography book like the majority out there with little useful info for an experienced photographer but this book really is different.

It is written in an honest style that is easy to read but never tries to be too glib. The core premise of the book is breaking down why photographs work and why others don't in a very organised and detailed way which I have never seen dealt with so thoroughly. There are plenty of examples showing the stages of the thought process in creating an image and deals very well with typical scenarios encountered and how they can be used/handled by a photographer to create great images. You will not find much technical info here; the usual pages of gear and photographic principles are not here and it is assumed the reader is at a level where these are familiar and do not need to be described.

Overall I cannot recommend this book highly enough, is a very well put together piece of work with a huge amount of information and would be a great read for wedding/portrait photographers at any stage in their career. After just one casual read though the pictures at my next wedding and way I saw my shots was definitely improved and this will become a well used reference. Excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly Patronising! 6 Feb 2014
By Shirin
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The reviews on Amazon sounded so promising that I went ahead and purchased the book.

The book is loaded with amateurish photos and some of them are downright awful. Take chapter 12 as an example - "Paintings and Artwork". His technique is to use paintings as backgrounds which sounds like an OK idea until you see how he executes this. On Page 117, you see a couple standing on chairs with a huge face of a chinese woman painting behind them. The composition of this couple is suspect. He chops off at the joints - a huge no-no in traditional compositional skills. Then the centre of interest is this overpowering face and then you see two sprouted heads (the couple) looking entirely ridiculous. The next page, there is a photo of a beautiful bride (again cropped in an odd fashion) against a huge black and white photo of Picasso - again a pointless and stupid photo. You don't hire a professional to take such photos - your 5 year old child could do the same. What's worse is to put all your nonsense ideas in a book with sub-standard photos and sell it for 28.99 on Amazon.co.uk.

The chapters in this book are very small. The headings inside chapters go like this: "Old and New", "Big and Small", "Bright and Dark". Obviously we need to be told stuff like the following: "When something big is placed next to something small, the large object looks a lot bigger than it really is and the small object looks much smaller" - Oh really!!! I haven't figured that out yet!

There is a chapter on "Lens flare" and it is equally insightful. I didn't know I needed someone to tell me that if there was a halo in my photo, I should simply "try moving a bit to the right or left". Wow! There is more nonsense about a "Block and Crop" technique which is basically to crop the flare out.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Photography Classic in the making 24 Oct 2012
From the cover (and the authors website: he's a wedding photographer in Beverly Hills), this book looks like its aimed only at wedding photographers, and I'm guessing a few people are already thinking 'he only put the book out to drum up more clients'. I suspected much the same. That is, until I started to read the book.

It has all the information of Micheal Freeman's classics (the Photographers Eye, etc), but is much more practical and precise (and can easily be used as a self-learning course as you are given specific self-study excercises).
You get all the techniques that Scott Kelby talks about, but via a more 'pure photography' centric course that doesn't just train you to be a stock-image photographer who relies too heavily on Photoshop/LR. Best of all, the book is well written, clear and unpretentious.

I've learnt more from the first 50 pages of this book than I have reading any single book from any of the other authors, and I own about 20 other photography books. That in itself says something!

The only thing missing from the book is photographic lighting (speedlites etc), but this feels like something the author has intentionally left out. Perhaps something for his next book...

Picture Perfect Practice is simply an unsung classic and I cannot reccommend this book highly enough to any beginner-intermediate who wants to progress their photography further.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Chris
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The title of this book is misleading, as the entire book is about wedding photography. If this is what you are interested in you may like this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent training book 6 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book for learning about photography. Although the Roberto Valenzuela (author) is a wedding photographer, the ideas put forward will be relevant to almost any style of photography.

One of the best things about this book is that it is really well structured, starting with some basics of composition, working through lighting and on to posing. It does not feel "thrown together", like a lot of photography books I've come across.

Although the approach to learning is very structured, the ultimate goal is to make the knowledge automatic, so that it becomes second nature, enabling you to get good shots more quickly and concentrate more on creativity. This approach may not suit some people, as it involves practice and repetition (and time), but it made perfect sense to me.

More experienced photographers may find the information lacking in depth since it seems to be aimed at the less experienced. However, it can be useful to get an overview of how another photographer works, especially when they're able to state it in such clear terms.

Overall, I would recommend this book to any beginner/mid-level photographer who wants to cover some of the stuff they missed by not studying photography formally, without being bogged down by detail or wasting their time with filler.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book regarding Photography.
Best book regarding portrait Photography! This is not about wedding only! Very easy to read! Amazing samples. I respect Roberto very much!
Published 8 days ago by Aleksejs leonovs
5.0 out of 5 stars Picture perfect practise
Excellent guide for mastering posing and building a sound foundation for location observation and lighting techniques. Invaluable aid that you can keep handy at any shoot
Published 2 months ago by gulam nabi
5.0 out of 5 stars Has helped improve my photography
Many of the techniques are a bit obvious and I haven't practiced them in the way laid out, but I do use this as a reference before a shoot as it has a good checklist of things to... Read more
Published 4 months ago by meganfunk
5.0 out of 5 stars refreshing approach
Valenzuela teaches us how to split every scene into factors we can master. Hard to describe how, but reading it gives you excellent insight into the writers interpretation of... Read more
Published 5 months ago by freephotog
4.0 out of 5 stars Practice Makes Perfect!
This is not an "Overnight Improvement" book, but well worth reading. I've found I'm more aware of composition & backgrounds since reading this book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by MinkDeMoo
5.0 out of 5 stars picture perfect practice
Excellent manual both for the beginner and as reference for experienced photographer. Gives insight into modern professional photographic techniques used
Published 7 months ago by Gilbera
5.0 out of 5 stars Art/Photography
I have rated the book five star because before reaching the end I know it is the book I have been looking. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I don't usually write reviews but this book is really really worth spending some time with. Valenzuela has a great systematic approach that had me taking better pictures very... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rich Munn
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
I flicked through this as you do then started to read it from front to back. Gets a bit boring in places but I like the tips and advice given in the book. Read more
Published 8 months ago by J. Matthews
5.0 out of 5 stars Theory into practice.
Theoretical knowledge does not amount to much if it does not inform practice and skills. This excellent book ( as others have pointed out ) may not be what a beginner would find... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dangerpics
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