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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Michael Freeman's Photo School: Black & White, 6 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Michael Freeman's Photo School: Black & White (Paperback)
It gave a passing instruction on how Photoshop software could be used in the production of monochrome images from colour camera shots. It lacked, however, detailed explanations on the step to step approach to complete this task, so it was less useful for any newcomer to the Adobe Photoshop software package.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A series that carries on from where your camera manual ends, 11 Sep 2013
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M. Bhangal "S" (Somewhere in Northern England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Michael Freeman's Photo School: Black & White (Paperback)
The Michael Freeman Photo School is turning out to be a well needed no-nonsense series for beginning photography or learning new areas of photography. Up until now, the only big `name' series for beginners has been the Scott Kelby stuff. Kelby has a very distinct photography style that, depending on whether you are being kind/unkind, could be described as `commercial/stock photography': too much reliance on post-production and *far* too much emphasis on the latest versions of everything.

The Freeman series is a lot more general: equipment/software agnostic and concentrating on underlying technique and theory. That is usually a good thing but if you want specific tutorials on Photoshop/Lightroom, Aperture, etc, you will not find them here. I agree with the decision: being specific for many different types of reader just slows everyone down (and up to date version-specific tutorials are what youtube is for these days anyway).

The tone and graphic style of the book is very `Photography magazine tutorial'. If you go to the local newsagent and flick through the photography magazines, that is what this book looks like. Lots of images with succinct text descriptions, making it an easy read. Kind of the reverse of The Photographer's eye! (although The Photographer's Eye is Freeman's big best seller it is a bit dry and old fashioned in layout, intent and supported technology, and not as timeless a book as some imagine).

What you get in addition to magazine tutorials (apart from a structured book rather than a series of episodic articles) is that the `school' bit of the title actually means something. You are introduced to some students who have tried their hand at some of the techniques, and Freeman critiques their attempts in boxouts throughout the book. The aim here is to give you the feel that you are on an undergraduate photography course and going through various assignments. You get a chapter of theory, and then see the results from your fellow students. It actually works well, so full marks for the idea.

So, overall, a very good book (and book series) so far... except for the elephant in the room that needs discussing.

Michael Freeman clearly has not written any of the books. He is listed as `Editor-in-chief', but my guess is that he was involved in the book series design meetings and is the main technical reviewer for the books. He also of course wrote his own student critiques. I personally have no opinion on the matter, except `that's a good way to get a lot of output from your top selling author quickly!'.

As of this writing, Amazon has wildly differing prices for many of the books in the series so make sure you search carefully, and look at the prices offered by different sellers. Hopefully all the books will be the same low price once the series has been out for a while.

So to conclude: works very well for the beginner-intermediate. Full colour, glossy presentation just like in the Photography magazines, but with a lot more structure so that you get a course book rather than disjointed articles. Some of the books in the series are a bit too beginner level IMO, but I especially like the Black and White one: very useful for the more advanced digital user who has never really looked into b&w digital treatments. (I decided to get this book in particular because I often set my electronic viewfinder to black and white as it helps with composition, and one day thought 'why don't I just keep the images black and white - some of them look cooler that way!).

Fair disclosure

I was an author between 2000-2004 (web design rather than photography). Although I have moved away from writing (as the shocking, rushed text of this review clearly shows - no change there then!), I have a feeling I worked with people who are now at Ilex (the British technical publishing industry is so small you would not believe it). I have no relationship with those people now, and am reviewing books I bought for myself... but `hi' if you recognise me!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 23 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Michael Freeman's Photo School: Black & White (Paperback)
I loved this book. It provides great information for those, like me, who were always disappointed in photos converted from colour to black and white. Now I know why. Time to try out the techniques.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 24 July 2014
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This review is from: Michael Freeman's Photo School: Black & White (Paperback)
Informative, well written and illustrated
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 1 May 2013
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This review is from: Michael Freeman's Photo School: Black & White (Paperback)
Up to the usual high standard of Michael Freeman. Concise analysis, excellent advice but must be backed up by just getting out there and doing it.
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Michael Freeman's Photo School: Black & White by Steve Luck (Paperback - 28 Jan 2013)
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