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on 2 March 2015
Although most of the pictures in this book are from weddings, this isn't a wedding photography book. In fact, it's a super book that helps you see better. The author encourages you to look for "gifts" in the location that you can use in your photographs, such as geometry, balance, parallel lines, symmetry, colour elements, depth, shadows, silhouettes, reflections, patterns/repetitions, frames, paintings and artwork, contrasts, lens flare, and walls.

I've taken notes for each of these 'gifts' that I continually refer to. For example, is there a reflective surface in the environment (such as a mirror, bevelled glass, chrome, dark panel, polished table)? Can you use it to capture two sides of one person, or two people (one normal, one reflected)? Remember you don't aways need to show the whole subject in the reflection -- you can reflect just a part of the subject with a narrow reflection. If there are two mirrors, can you make them face each other and get an infinite series or use them to show multiple angles? Can you reflect the subject in water (such as a stream or a puddle)?

The focus on helping you see better makes this an excellent text for any photographer.
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on 29 March 2012
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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on 29 July 2013
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. Recommended for wedding photographers and any serious photographer looking to improve their photography.
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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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on 6 February 2014
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

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. He fails to mention that using a Lens Hood might just alleviate the flare and glare problem.

I found this book utterly condescending and patronising. The book level is aimed at "Intermediate/Advanced" but no self-respecting photographer at that level will need this rubbish book.

Perhaps, a part of me bought the book for its cover - it is beautiful. The only good photo in the entire book, mind you.

I will be selling my new book which is a huge disappointment. Please save your money for a book that is more worthwhile!

EDIT: I forgot to mention that the title of the book is completely misleading! It is a book on sub-standard wedding photography.
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on 13 January 2016
A great book for learning about posing and composition and in no way limited to the wedding context that most of the examples are from. I already owned this book and recently spilled a drink all over it so I guess that buying it again proves how good I think it is. The thing I love about this book is the methodical way everything is presented, with exercises for you to do on your own (if you so wish)
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on 8 July 2013
A marvellous guide for those who have no way of attending photography workshops. It has exercise practices at the end of each chapter which are easy to understand and fun as well as helpful to do ...definitely a book for those who want to seriously improve their technical and creative skill in this field.
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on 22 July 2015
Lovely book well written, it’s also a training guide with exercises to up your proficiency and skills.

Very informative example photos and practices.
If you want to enhance your photography skills and take a different and an artist’s point of view through your lens.
Would I recommend defiantly.
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on 6 June 2013
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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on 4 March 2013
I was interested in this book and whilst I find it says the right things in terms of the photographer pointing out the subtleties of lighting and posing it all feels somehow cool and distant in tone. The subtleties between good and bad images are small but significant and its good that these are clearly and graphically demonstrated but very much a Californian vibe to this book... Be interesting to take Roberto to Croydon Town Hall on a wet November Saturday and see him in action when wedding number 4 is right behind you!
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