best photography books

book review: Roberto Valenzuela – Picture Perfect Posing

I’ve noticed that articles on Tangents which deal with the topic of how to pose people, gets a lot of attention. Posing is a challenging topic for most photographers except the very best who seem to have an innate gift for it.

Books on posing tend to approach the topic as a list of suggestions – the kind of “1,000 poses” type books. Another alternative offered is flow posing where you maneuver a couple through a number of poses mechanically. Both of these approaches means you have to memorize poses by rote, instead of understanding why the poses work, or how to improve a pose.

This is where Roberto Valenzuela’s book excels. He teaches a system. The Picture Posing System he has developed breaks posing technique down into 15 segments which he then carefully analyzes to show why certain poses work. Instead of recalling exact poses and trying to fit them to the person you are photographing, posing now becomes a series of conscious decisions. And that is what Roberto’s book teaches you – that series of decisions.

The book is divided into two sections. The first discusses the 15 segments to his Picture Posing System. (12 segments for individual poses; and another 3 segments for posing couples or groups.) The final section of the book deals with more advice on posing couples.

The segments discussed include topics such as:
– weight distribution and its effect on posing;
– joints and 90 degree angles;
– hands and arms – (an especially tough element of posing);
– posing with movement, feeling and expression.

 

Learn more inside…

{ 13 comments }

book review: Gregory Heisler – 50 Portraits

Gregory Heisler is an undisputed genius when it comes to photographic lighting. If ever you get the opportunity to attend a seminar by him, do yourself a favor. The story behind each portrait, and the motivation and the struggles to create those images, don’t just make for entertaining anecdotes – and Gregory Heisler is an entertaining speaker – but the stories are insightful. Educational. But not just educational in a do-this-do-that explanation of technique. It’s much more than that.

In this book he has collected 50 of his his best portraits he has taken during his career, and he discusses the thought-processs behind each image. He offers insight in how he came to take specific images, and how he decided why to set up up certain portraits in certain ways. Gregory Heisler’s humility, and the way he allows glimpses into the frustration and disappointments along the way – the struggles to get to iconic images – all this is told in entertaining and thoughtful way. There is also much to learn here.

This is a book to devour, and then dip into again and again. What truly impressed me about Gregory Heisler, is how innovative he is. He seems to want to steer clear of repeating formulas that work, and come up with portraits based on ideas that are challenging and full of risks.

Something I also found refreshing are the “Thoughts on Technique” at the end of each photograph’s description. Here he discusses technique – but not in the statement of bland numbers, but again, always with the thought-process in mind. And this is where the value lies in what he shows us – the way his mind works. The why and the how.I highly recommend this book.It needs to be on your shelf! For a mere $25 you have an amazing collection of images and words in hardcover, from a man who is endlessly inventive when it comes to photography lighting! That’s incredible value for money. This is a book to immerse yourself in, again and again, and feel inspired by.

 

Learn more inside…

{ 2 comments }

photography book: Direction & Quality of Light

Yes, it’s here! It’s available now. And I’m very proud of this book.

Since my previous two books, and with so many years of maintaining the Tangents blog, and doing numerous workshops and presentations, my “voice” has matured. My photography has improved. With all that combined, I really believe the material in this book is very strong. Essential even.

As I’ve told friends – I wish someone had told me everything that’s in this book, at a much earlier time in my development as a photographer. I feel it would’ve made so much difference to my understanding of the vital element of photography – light!

Right after I understood all the essentials – depth-of-field, shutter speeds, composition, timing, and all of that – instead of getting caught up in specific areas such as flash & off-camera flash & studio lighting … I wish that at the time I had truly grasped that it is all about the direction and quality of light. With this book, I try my best to share those “aha!” moments with you.

With that, I do believe this book can make a difference to your photography.
I believe that strongly in it.

The book might be at your local bookstore, but it’s definitely available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And if you like to, you can order an autographed copy directly from me. Of course, you can also order the book via Amazon.

{ 48 comments }

boudoir photography Baby portraiture is an unexpectedly difficult branch of portrait photography. You have to work around the baby’s schedule, and then there is the added challenge of making a baby which doesn’t move much, an interesting subject. It’s not like this little kiddo is going to hop, skip & jump around.

With that, everyone can use some advice and guidance to get an edge on the baby, and take some pressure off as the photographer.The book takes a wide approach to the topic, including maternity photography, newborn portraits and portraits of toddlers and kids. If you think about it, baby photography isn’t an isolated subject.

As a photographer and business person, it should be obvious immediately that there is a long-term relationship that can and should be developed with your client.

book review: boutique baby photography, by Mimika Cooney

Learn more inside…

{ 1 comment }

boudoir photography

Boudoir photography seems to have a surge in popularity in the past years. More and more interest by photographers – and it’s no wonder. As much as boudoir is a fascinating genre, it is also quite challenging.

The pressure is on *you* as the photographer to get the best images you can of someone who is most likely feeling quite vulnerable. So not only are your lighting skills and posing skills and your general skill as a photographer tested … your people skills really need to kick into gear too. Boudoir photography is personal photography on so many levels.

book review: boudoir photography, by Critsey Rowe

Learn more inside…

{ 3 comments }