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The Exposure Field Guide: The essential handbook to getting the perfect exposure in photography; any subject, anywhere (The Field Guide Series) Paperback – 1 Mar 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Mar 2011
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press (1 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240817745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240817743
  • Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 1.4 x 15.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,456,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"Focal Press is launching a new book series this spring. The Field Guide series is collection of pocket-sized how-to books that can easily slip into a photographer's camera bag. International photog Michael Freeman is the author of the first three books: The Photographer's Eye Field Guide, The DSLR Field Guide and The Exposure Field Guide. The first two are out; the third is coming soon. They will be followed by birding, wedding and landscape Field Guides later this summer and fall. This will increase your ability to get better photos through skill rather than luck."--press release posted on

"I'm reading Michael Freeman's The Exposure Field Guide for a review I will be posting soon. Initially, I was thinking that I could not imagine an entire book, even a relatively small one, on the subject of "exposure," especially since it deals with digital photography. How much could there be to say about the methods of getting good exposure when you can check the screen to see if there are red and blue areas blinking to tell you, generally, if you need to give a little more or less exposure. Well, as it turns out, there is plenty to say and Freeman is saying it well and a book I thought I would be skimming is being read rather carefully. Part of this is that he not only goes into the "how-tos" but also the "why-fors." I will save the rest of my comments on that until the review.g"

"The Exposure Field Guide is written all about lighting and getting a good exposure. It covers topics like using a gray card, using a handheld meter, exposing for color, metering modes, and lots of lighting scenarios. It includes lots of beautiful photographs as examples throughout the book. It is technical to be sure. However, I learned several new things while reading this book. This would be a good read for someone who is feeling comfortable with their camera, but wants some in-depth information about exposure."

"Would make fantastic Christmas gifts for the photographer in your life"--review in

About the Author

Michael Freeman is a renowned international photographer and writer who specializes in travel, architecture, and Asian art. He is particularly well known for his expertise in special effects. He has been a leading photographer for the Smithsonian magazine for many years, and has worked for Time-Life Books and Reader's Digest. Michael is the author of more than 40 photographic books, including the hugely successful Complete Guide to Digital Photography and The Photographer's Eye. For his photographic educational work he was awarded the Prix Louis Philippe Clerc by the French Ministry of Culture. He is also responsible for the distance-learning courses on photography at the UK's Open College of the Arts.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am about 60 pages into 'Perfect Exposure', and finding it technical, but extremely well written. Because of Michael Freeman's reputation, I had also ordered another three books, one of them a pre-order (the book I'm writing the review about now). That book arrived this morning, and imagine my surprise when I opened it and found it to be a smaller version, albeit with a different title, of 'Perfect Exposure'. Now I have to say, what I expected was something I could take out into the field, and I imagined that it would contain technical data for various scenarios that might save me time. However, strangely enough, although I should probably feel cheated, I am quite happy, as this is certainly an excellent enough book to want to pack into one's camera bag; not that I would want to lug the larger version around. So, on balance, I'm happy, but I did want to warn other punters out there that 'The Photographer's Exposure Field Guide' is exactly the same text as 'Perfect Exposure'. The only difference is that it is a smaller binding, and contains convenient tab referencing. It's actually a beautiful production, in terms of format, binding and obviously content, which is why I'm awarding it maximum marks.
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By Brian Hamilton TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
The 'Field Guide' series of photography books are an intriguing premise, pocketable guides for the serious enthusiast, not for beginners.

I picked this up on a whim, I have several Michael Freeman books and he writes with clarity, authority and an everyman voice that is very personable.

The Exposure Field Guide, at first glance, does not appear to be an essential tome. We all know about exposure, right? Let your camera decide on the exposure of the image, maybe dial in a wee bit of +/- EV to tweak the look. That's it, yeah?

Well, no. Freeman basically explodes the casing of this rigid way of shooting most of us adhere to. Whilst he concedes that most cameras give a perfectly acceptable average reading of a scene, he moves beyond that and offers up ideas and solutions for carving the look that we want from a scene before us.

A few pages in and suddenly the concept of exposure switches from being a rigidly constrained part of the shooting process to something malleable, controllable and another tool in our armory.

I highly recommend this book for any serious photographer looking for genuine insight into this often overlooked but hugely important area of photography. Suddenly you go beyond an average (dare I say, boring?) rendering of a scene and can start making decisions about which tones you want to bring out, if you want subjects silhouetted, how deep you want your shadows, the kind of key you want the shot to be in. In short, a world of possibility opens up.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Freeman's published photography works are world reknowned and reproduced in varying formats for the simple reason that his skill in photography is matched by his ability to write and teach. This book is a perfect example of that, so I'll focus a little more on the presentation of it.

Choosing a publication and format can be a bit of a mine field since the industry standards in this area are flexible to say the least. Take Field Guides for example. By definition they contain information presented in a compact format, primarily for reference purposes, but I had one for a camera that was a struggle to fit into a backpack! Yet Ilex (and others) tend to come in for critcism because their range tend to be more pocket sized.
Ilex take publications and condense them into a compact size and the seller makes reference to this, though it would be easy to miss the fact that it's not the first publication of the material.

However, book dimensions are clearly stated and a preview option is included. My eyesight is good and I don't (currently) require optical aids and I had no issues with the font size. It is small, but I didn't find it uncomfortably so and would suggest that checking the dimensions and printing the preview would be a good step if you have any concerns before purchasing.

The content provides exactly what the title suggests. There are sections on fundamentals you can read through and plenty of situational sections that you can revise on before you plan a shoot and refer to while you're out there.

Freeman has a full range of photography books and I'd suggest that reviewing the range (and others) and thinking carefully about the content and whether they will help you work through them in a logical order.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reall enjoying this book. Very interesting mini primers on various aspects which really build some understanding about what exposure really means in terms of the constant tradeoffs you need to make. I'm not sure much will translate to my hurriedly snapped pics of the kids in the garden but at the least it'll make me consider time of day and cloud cover more carefully!

The book is small - maybe half a normal book, itll fit in a camera bag but if you need to carry this with you on shoots you have more time than me in your life! Anyway, the size does make it a bit tricky to see finer points in the examples.
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