Have you ever seen those really neat pictures where it looks like the sun is shining in the middle of the night with clear skies and a million stars out? The first time I saw those pictures I was in awe and have been wanting to capture one just like it. For our first Christmas together, my now husband bought me a nice point and shoot camera. I enjoyed my camera, but after awhile it lost its novelty because I could not capture the images I wanted. And so my camera sat, for a little over 3 years, being pulled out when I wanted to use a camera that was nicer than my phone, which wasn’t much. My camera never left automatic or video mode, ever. There were so many different modes on it and I had no idea what the other ones did, so it sat.
When I saw Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson on the list of books to blog for the first time, I was intrigued, but skeptical because I thought surely it had to be a book that would be way beyond my grasp of understanding for photography; so I picked a different book and figured if it was still there by the time I needed my next review book that I would pick it up. Am I ever glad it was still available! The book came in the mail and I opened it up and started reading and one of the first things I did was commit one of, in my mind, the cardinal sins of book reading—I actually underlined in the book in ink!! I knew right then and there that even though it was fascinating to learn what I was learning that I wanted to learn it as quickly as I could, I also wanted to go through it more slowly than most “educational” books because it was so chocked full of good information that I wanted to actually study it.
If you are a severely amateur photographer hobbyist desiring to learn more about taking awesome exposures, like I am, you will want to pick up this book. If you are a professional photographer that is wanting to pick up a few more tricks of the trade, you will also want to read this book: there is something to gain for all photographers at all levels. Before this book, I had no idea what things like “F-stop” and “ISO” meant, much less how to use a flash to accent some hidden lights during the middle of the day. Heaven forbid you asked me to get a “correct exposure” based on the sky! I simply did what I could do on automatic- point and shoot, oh and of course zoom.
Just in the course of time I have been soaking up this book and practicing with my point and shoot camera, my pictures have changed tremendously. I look at some pictures I took when I first got the camera and what severe over- or under- exposures they were! I would upload some pictures to show you a then and now difference, but I am still trying to figure out how to do that with my camera. J I honestly can say that I would not have known half the camera terms I am using in this blog or probably even tried to take a better picture, had it not been for Bryan’s book. He explains it as if you were actually there taking one of his photography classes. The book is easy to understand, and the photography jargon that is there, he explains what it means instead of leaving you in the dark. There are also exercises and suggestions to get you more familiar with your camera’s features for each section. The book is fully illustrated in color and Bryan provides information on what settings on his camera and which camera he used to get the shot so that you can attempt to replicate something similar.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about photography, even if you’re just like me and want to learn where to start to get the sunlight at night shot. Unfortunately, in the course of reading this book, I realized I don’t necessarily have the camera I need to get a lot of those shots (and it’s a little out of my price range for the time being). My current camera is a Canon PowerShot SX40HS and with reading Understanding Exposure, I have learned ways to make the best use out of my current camera, even if it’s not 100% where I want it to be. I am now in control of my camera and pictures and know how to get a correct exposure every time (I am still working on getting my camera to cooperate for creative exposure). I can also proudly say, since I started studying this book, I have actually taken my camera off Automatic mode (gasp!) and it now stays on Manual mode most of the time, unless my husband takes it to try getting a shot of something—then he has a difficult time trying to figure out how to get it back to automatic.
To check out a preview of this book or order a copy, you can click here.
WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.