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4.2 out of 5 stars46
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on 11 February 2010
Let me start by saying that this is almost without a doubt, THE best book that I have bought about learning photography.

I own a considerable number of instructional photography books, including the extremely good Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera by Bryan Peterson, but this one has taught me more than probably all the others combined.

Some of it, especially the first chapter, can seem a little too technical and may be off-putting, but you don't need to completely understand everything said there, as he goes over it piecemeal as you progress through the book.

The most valuable lesson that I picked up was how to use spot metering correctly and it has resulted in a new lease of life in my photography. No longer do I have to accept the camera's albeit very good, matrix metering mode. I am now able to evaluate a scene or subject and be able to achieve the result that I desire.

I wouldn't recommend this for novices, but for those wishing to take their photography to the 'next level', I really can't recommend it enough.

Again, one of the best and most useful books I have bought, if not the best.
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on 9 November 2009
What I love about Michael Freeman is that he is passionate about his subject, and a gifted teacher. I am very much an amateur photographer but I have enjoyed Freeman's books before, particularly "The Photographer's Eye".

The book is well laid out, clearly written and beautifully illustrated, but there is no getting around the fact that this is a difficult topic and that makes this a difficult book to follow or to put into practice.

I like Freeman's approach, but, unless you are an experienced photography, expect it to take some time to get to grips using his ideas when taking photographs. That said, I do feel like it will be worth perservering.

Recommended
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on 8 November 2009
I rarely leave reviews for items because most things are just average IMHO. This book,however, is exceptional. I had grown up shooting film and slides and actually never felt I had a problem with the photos that I took (well I didn't after reviewing them recently) but when I finally decided to make the move to a dSLR I found myself consistently disappointed with flat dull images that many times I could not get back to the original vision in Photoshop or Aperture. After reading book and digesting the information I had seen a huge leap forward in the quality of my shots at that point of taking the picture. Most often now post-processing involves minor tweaks and then changes to get a specific feel I am trying convey instead of time spent trying to recover a poorly exposed image. I am reading Freeman's 'The Complete Guide to Black & White Digital Photography' now and it is equally detailed and highly useful.
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on 17 July 2012
This book is not for outright beginners and assumes you know and understand the basics of exposure. If you don't yet understand how things like f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, metering etc contribute to exposure then you'll find a general photography book much more satisfying. However, for people who want to move on with their understanding of exposure this is an excellent text.
Freeman is a natural teacher and explains some reasonably advanced concepts in an extremely comprehensible way. In the book he explains the science and technology behind modern photography and how this can be exploited to produce more creative results (or sometimes just results that are more faithful to reality). The limitations of certain beginners' "rules of thumb" are explored, and ways to deal with these limitations are discussed. Techniques for creative expsosure, such as low-key, high-key and HDR, are also ably discussed.

All in all, a hugely enlightening and fascinating book, but one that assumes a certain level of knowledge. A must-read for people already comfortable with the basics.
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on 10 August 2009
This is the second Michael Freeman book I've read and this like the other is a fantastic read. It's quite involved so may not appeal to the casual photographer but defintely worthwhile for the serious photographer. After reading I have to admit that I thought I knew what correct exposure was but was way off the mark. I now have a much more detailed and richer understanding of what exposure means and it's had a direct impact on my photographs in subtle ways I wouldn't have appreciated before. Superbly illustrated with Michael's own photographs adds to the appeal of the book. This will be a book I will return to many times in the future.
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on 2 May 2010
I've read one or two comments on the web that this book is too advanced or too wordy for beginners.
Well, it's not aimed at absolute beginners, and it does assume an intelligent and informed reader; but even a complete novice photographer could read this and find something useful -- and could then put in on the bookshelf to be dipped into again and again as their experience and skill increases.
It's beautifully produced and designed, and Michael Freeman writes in a simple lucid style that is inviting to read.
I really liked it, and it's helped me look at light with a different cast of mind already. I don't doubt that when I've absorbed the lessons Freeman is passing on, my photographs will improve and my photography be more enjoyable.
My only issue (one that might fox the unwary beginner I guess) is that the editing is occasionally sloppy in leaving some technical terms and abbreviations undefined in the text, glossary or index (e.g. "efl" is left to the reader to interpret, and I'm assuming Freeman means Effective Focal Length; there are a few other similar instances)
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on 26 June 2011
As someone new to "proper" photography (not point and click digital cameras) I got this book, as it was recommended to me by a couple of friends, as was the author Michael Freeman. And I'm so glad I did!! Just the first chapter about the technical side of cameras and how they actually work, how they "see" the picture you're trying to capture, how the light meter works and how easily smart/evaluative metering is fooled was worth the money on it's own. Everything else I've learned from this book was a bonus, and there's masses more to this book. Everything from the technical side of how cameras work to how people perceive a photo and how to develop your own personal style and tastes, even post-processing, it's all covered.

In the book Michael Freeman is aiming to get you to understand how cameras work, what their shortfalls are and to encourage and guide you in to taking charge of your camera and it's exposure settings and not rely on the often fooled smart metering and auto exposure options.

The book is well written, easy to follow and lots of pictures etc to show you what the author is trying to explain. It also has the "web linked" feature which lets you see the pictures that appear in the book on your computer screen, which is capable of displaying a much more varied and complete tonal range than printed media, a good and useful addition to the book.

I'm glad to give this book 5 stars. Definately recommended to newbie like myself and i'd think some more seasoned photographers would find it interesting.
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on 11 February 2010
Let me start by saying that this is almost without a doubt, THE best book that I have bought about learning photography.

I own a considerable number of instructional photography books, including the extremely good Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera by Bryan Peterson, but this one has taught me more than probably all the others combined.

Some of it, especially the first chapter, can seem a little too technical and may be off-putting, but you don't need to completely understand everything said there, as he goes over it piecemeal as you progress through the book.

The most valuable lesson that I picked up was how to use spot metering correctly and it has resulted in a new lease of life in my photography. No longer do I have to accept the camera's albeit very good, matrix metering mode. I am now able to evaluate a scene or subject and be able to achieve the result that I desire.

I wouldn't recommend this for novices, but for those wishing to take their photography to the 'next level', I really can't recommend it enough.

Again, one of the best and most useful books I have bought, if not the best.
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on 16 November 2009
I came to this book after many years of not having done a lot of photography. I had just bought my first dslr and was not very happy with the results. It was obvious that I just didn't understand exposure enough.

This book opened my eyes in a very enjoyable way. There is a high level of professionalism from Michael Freeman and this is evident in the book. I guess I would not recommend it for complete novices however it is easily, and well, written and has a fairly no nonsense approach to a technical subject.

The book covers the main range of possible exposure situations a photographer will find themselves in and has clear ideas on how to deal with them. I did find it refreshing that the author makes it clear that there is no "correct" exposure as the photographer is the one who needs to know what they wish to portray. Well written and good value for money.
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on 12 September 2009
This was recommended in a photo mag and I have to agree with their recommendation 100%. It is not a book for the rank amateur, there are concepts and ideas that are difficult to grasp but if like me you've been taking photos for a few years then it should be easy enough. The author writes well and explains his ideas clearly and includes plenty of example images. I've already put some of his ideas into practice and already I'm seeing a difference in my pictures. His other titles are definitely on my wish list.
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