Read // Understanding Exposure

Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Cameraby: Bryan Peterson

If you’re inexperienced with a DSLR and want more control over your images, Understanding Exposure will help you make the move from Auto to Manual mode. Really it’s beneficial for anyone with manual settings on their camera, be it DSLR or compact camera or micro four thirds. When you (and by you, I mean myself) are learning your camera, it can seem quite technical and confusing. F-stops seem backwards! What the heck is ISO? Why do I need to use a slow shutter speed here but a fast one there? It’s like a freaking math lesson. (Confession: I like the technical stuff. I was one of those nerds who liked math and took AP calculus in high school.)

Before reading this book, I took two beginners’ DSLR classes at a local camera store. Having that hands on experience, feedback, and an instructor was invaluable. However, the class was aimed at the amateur photographer who simply wanted to take nicer photos of their friends and family. No problem with that but I needed more! Enter Understanding Exposure. I’m a read-write learner so it was great being able to set my own pace and focus on the parts I didn’t understand. Peterson’s style of writing is very easy to follow without being condescending.

The book is divided into sections including: Defining Exposure, Aperture, Shutter Speed, Light 100, and Filters, Special Techniques & Flash. The book is best digested if read in order. For example, you’ll want to read the aperture section, and then go out and practice, practice, practice in aperture priority until you feel comfortable. Then you’re ready to move onto shutter speed. It’ll be easier to understand the connections between the big three: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed if you feel comfortable with each one individually. You’ll then be able to confidently transition into full manual mode.

Here’s an excerpt from the Defining Exposure section:

If you want to shoot only “correct” exposures of anything and everything, be my guest. […] But I’m assuming that most of you who bought this book are tired of the shotgun approach and want to learn how to consistently record creatively correct exposures every time.

In a nut shell, that’s what separates good photographs from snapshots.

Bonus: The book has tons of full page photos with explanations of how the shot was taken along with exposure information.

{TL;DR} In my opinion, this is the first book you need to read, after the manual, when you purchase your first DSLR. You’ll learn not only about exposure but also light, lenses, and more!

Rating: 5/5

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