The approach I have taken to becoming a Digital SLR photographer has been to focus on the technical aspects first before I worry about the creative aspects. I did this because when I review my own images, if they are NOT sharp and colorful then I'm generally going to dismiss the shot right then and there. It can be the most creative and artistic shot ever made, but it'll never see the light of day because I'll delete it.
It isn't uncommon for me to send a picture I like to my friend, and co-worker, Sean Daniel, is one person who I generally send my favorite pictures for review. He generally looks at it and replies, hey you should check out Bryan Peterson's Learning to See Creatively without any other comments. I think this means, creatively your picture sucks Ron and you need a get a clue so go read this book.
Well for various reasons it has taken me over a year to get around to reading Learning to See Creatively, but in this case Sean was spot on. This is an outstanding book that should be read early on and multiple times during the first years after you step up from a point and shoot camera. Bryan's books is very well written and informative as he shows you how he gets some great shots and how you can take a shot from being just mediocre to outstanding. The approach is simple and not the least bit intimidating, and I found the book to be a joy to read. In fact, I've got these other books he has written on order:
- Understanding Shutter Speed: Creative Action and Low-Light Photography Beyond 1/125 Second
- Beyond Portraiture: Creative People Photography
- Understanding Digital Photography: Techniques for Getting Great Pictures
- Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition)
Yes, this book is that good.
One of the things that sets this book apart from others is that Bryan challenges you with assignments to help you apply what you have learned. He is a photography teacher, so this is a natural way for him to work. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit and the assignments are both fun and very inspirational.
To me a testimony of a good book is how many Post-It Flags I stick on things that made me say "AH-HA, I gotta remember that". For this book there were 10, and every one of them is a real eye opener for me.
I highly recommend you buy this book, read it cover to cover, and do all of the exercises. I feel quite certain that when you are done you will certainly be learning to see creatively!
Skill Level: Beginner to Advanced
Recommendation: If you want to take great pictures, this book will teach you how and then it is all up to you from there. Highly Recommended and dare I say - a must own?
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