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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2010
This book is really well written and absolutely perfect for the beginning photographer. I had my DSLR camera for almost a year before I eventually turned it to manual mode and started learning how to use all the features on it, and it's all because of this book! It starts off really simple and provides pictures which clearly demonstrate the points covered. For every single picture in the book it also gives the camera settings used to take the shot.

I highly recommend this book!
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2013
This is an OK book, and if you are just starting out taking photos with a DSLR then it will give you the basics, but beyond that it came across to me as a book advertising Peterson's work. I bought the book hoping to learn about how to expose film properly, having bought an old TLR, but I found it didn't really help that much. For example Bryan is constantly extolling the virtues of spot metering off the blue sky, yet never really explains why or whether this might work anywhere else in the world. Where does he live? Is the light the same in California in the summer as the light in Iceland in the winter?This book asks more questions than it answers.

Also, and this one really grates, how can you have a book on exposure that doesn't even try to explain how a light meter works, whether in your camera or a handheld one, or even broach the rudiments of the zone system? I'm left scratching my head and none the wiser. Instead we get a few rules of thumb from Uncle Bryan and pages and pages advertising his best selling photos. The book advises the reader to switch his camera to manual, yet if you have a completely manual camera, you would really struggle to use any of the material in this book.

Photography is painting with light. What we really need to understand as photographers is that negative film and especially digital camera sensors and reversal film have a narrow range in which they capture light, and so they will never capture what you can see with your eyes. Getting a perfect exposure is about understanding these limitations, and finding light of the right quality and the right quantity (the reason photographers and movie makers are up early in the morning), and knowing where to pitch your average exposure in a scene to get the results that you have visualised at the time you exposed the photo.

In my view Peterson doesn't really address the subject of getting the perfect exposure in different conditions all that well. His book is far too general, and could just as well have been called, "Switch your DSLR camera to Manual: How to take creative control of your photographs"; its more about the triangle of iso, shutter speed and aperture, and how each can be used to best effect in different situations, but even then, not in great detail.

I have since learned better information on exposure from 'The Negative' by Ansel Adams, and 'The Art of Photography' by Bruce Barnbaum, but then these men really understand what goes into fine art photography and will explain the art and the craft of exposing a good negative (or RAW file). I know a lot of photographers write books which are less about the craft, and more along the lines of "This is how I do things, if you want to create photos like the ones in this book, do this". This is one such book.

So to sum up, if you are an absolute beginner and have never used a DSLR camera on manual, this book is worth a tenner, but if you have the basics down, or you have a film camera and want understand how to make good exposures, my advice would be to look elsewhere.
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on 8 May 2013
Photography to me is not like riding a bike. After a pause of about 10 years and having moved from film to digital I needed a nudge.

I can honestly say, without a doubt this book hits the nail on the head, it goes through the various elements of exposure and gives pictures on the effects available. Effects which you can go out and practice without being in some bizarre far off country.

Theres a chap on here that says theres too many pictures - to that chap.... hello its a photography book, going into the science of photography and equations will learn you diddly squat - you may as well read a crossword.

This book gives you examples, examples which you may find are similar to the picture you want to compose, it gives an explanation of what the photographer did, the aperture and timing and mode of the camera he used to achieve it.... Its striking how little variation is needed to produce wonderful results.

But the main point is - the book is easy - its not filled with mumbo jumbo its straight to the point - you want to take pictures "go out and practice - heres what I did, start there and develop" excuse the pun!

All in all a great affordable book which isnt just a bunch of pictures advertising the writers own works.. Ive come across countless books giving information which just seems cut and paste and then they say heres a wonderful picture and tell you nothing about how it was achieved.

I can gladly say photography wise, an astounding informative read very easy for kids to apprehend and adults too shy to ask. It positively encourages you to go out and be creative. Make this the first book you ever buy on photography!!!!!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2011
I consider myself a fairly proficient amateur photographer, but there had always been elements of exposure that confused me - my camera was always in aperture- or shutter-priority mode, never fully manual, despite having completed two online courses. But with my first wedding shoot coming up, I decided to get to grips with exposure once and for all. I've tried many times in the past, but it has always felt like a terribly complex subject. But this book, somehow, in a matter of days (I found it hard to out the book down and read it quickly!) made it seem really easy. Since I bought it, my camera has stayed in manual mode, and I really can't see why I never understood it before. My photography has come on in leaps and bounds in such a short space of time - I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to see a real improvement in their photography and their understanding of the foundations of photography, too.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
If you buy one book when you get your DSLR then this should be it. It is well written, clear, concise and has all the information you need to understand your new purchase in an easily digested way. Primarily this book demystifies the arcane world of the camera. F-stop, aperture, exposure settings all move from being magical terms understood by only the most elevated exponents of photography and into the world of the novice.

There is a good reason for clearing up these technical mysteries. You need to understand fundamentally what you are messing with in order to take a good picture on a regular basis. Yes, we can all leave it in auto mode and snap away. Eventually by the laws of average you will get a picture worthy of mounting in a frame. However how much more satisfying it is when you understand what you are trying to achieve and then getting it. Modern DSLR's are all a technical tour de force that will allow a person to take a range of photographs from pure rubbish to middling to brilliant. Much depends upon your understanding of the fundamentals of photography and the machinery now as it always has.

Bryan Peterson conveys all the information you need to understand the tool you hold in your hands and to get the best out of it. It won't of course take the picture for you or give you an artistic eye, but it will enable you to learn how to achieve it.

And it's up to date. We all have to allow for a certain lag in help books compared to the latest equipment because the technology is advancing so fast. However this book has been updated and is easily near enough in time to what is on the market now to have proper relevance.

Put simply this is the best book on DSLR photography that I've read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
There are those photographers who understand exposure and those who do not. Whatever your own level of experience with either (or both) digital or film camera, this book will, at one of the scale, teach the novice a great deal about the subject. At the other end, there will be few professional or highly competent amateur photographers who could fail to learn something from this excellent work. In short, there is something for everyone in this book and, even a brief flick through the pages, is enough to generate ideas.

I particularly like the way in which the book is laid out. A great deal of thought went into a design which allows readers to build on what has been covered so far as they progress through the work. Beginning with; Defining Exposure, the author devotes considerable time to each of the main headings which also include; Aperture, Shutter Speed, Light and penultimately; Special Techniques and Filters. Finally, there is a discussion on Film vs. Digital which might be useful for those photographers who are still not convinced by the new technology.

Speaking as a self-taught photographer whose own pictures have been widely published for over 30 years, this book has explained much that I did not previously understand as well as, perhaps, I should have.

Approx. A4 size, with one of the nicest dedications I have ever come across, there are 160 pages containing 150 colour illustrations which cover just about every spectrum of the subject. These include sport, natural history, portraits, people at work, landscapes, close up, mood shots - and a great deal more. As I said, something for just about everyone.

NM
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on 9 June 2013
As a newcomer to photography, I saw this book recommended on a few forums and decided to give it a go. To say it transformed my thinking when it comes to photography is no exaggeration. It has increased my confidence in taking correct exposures for what I want the resulting photo to look like, as well as dispelling a few myths associated with it. Bryan writes with warmth, modesty and humour as he guides you through how to take creatively-correct exposed photos.

One of the best things about the book are the detailed explanations Bryan gives with each of the many photo examples. Not only does he tell you what camera settings were used, he often throws in a back story to it as well as a similar photo with incorrect exposure to show you the difference. Not many other books go this far!

There are books that come and go from my kindle library, but this one will be staying indefinitely.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2011
I bought this book as although I had read other guides I was not always receiving consistent advice and instructions were often quite technical. Perhaps not a problem for experienced photographers but for someone near to the bottom of the learning curve I needed to get a clear understanding of aperture, shutter speed and exposure so that I moved on from happy accidents (when my pictures turned out well) to producing more consistent results because I understood how to 'read' the scene and the setting options that are most likely to produce good results.
I've read the book (couldn't put it down) and keep referring back to remind me of certain techniques and tips. Bryan helps to illustrate guidance so that it is much easier to grasp the information. He also gives his own views and tips that he has learned from years of experience. Highly recommended.
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This is a great book that is transforming how I take photographs. When I started reading, my first reaction was that I knew all of "this stuff". What I didn't know though, and what the book gave me were some really practical guiding principles to start taking better pictures immediately. The writing style is helpful and relaxed and even if you are knew to photography this book will set you up for some great pictures.

I have always disliked seeing beautiful pictures in magazines with the information on shutter speed and aperture numbers - for me, useless information as without an explanation they mean almost nothing. Bryan describes a system for arriving at these settings taking into account desired depth of field or motion capture so you know how to do it for yourself every time.

Thanks Bryan
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on 25 December 2012
I asked around on a few discussion forums for a book to pair with my DSLR as I was finding it a little confusing to say the least! This book is written in plain easy to understand english which is very important for any novice budding photographer.

The book includes exercises which really reinforce what you've just read and help you to understand the effect that different settings have on your captured pictures. I was quite blown away by how many pages the book has and thought I'd get bored part way through. This didn't happen though as the book is easy to read with colour photographs throughout to show you some of the effects you can achieve.

Very happy with this book, and the online bonus videos are a real help too.
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