This reader review of Brian Peterson’s Understanding Exposure was submitted by one of Digital Photography School’s beloved forum moderators – Saralonde. Thanks for going to the time to write this review Saralonde!
Book Rating: 4/5
Of all the photography books I have on my bookshelf, and believe me, I have quite a few, this is the one that stands out as the most helpful. It is the first one I recommend to new photographers and it is one that I refer to when I need a bit of a refresher. It will take the fear out of moving from the point and shoot modes to the creative modes of your camera.
Don’t let the dry title fool you. This book will help you with composition, depth of field and other aspects of photography.
Easy to read and straight-forward, Understanding Exposure offers the basics of aperture, lighting and shutter speed, photography’s basic triumvirate, to beginning and intermediate photographers. The book is divided into these three topics, as well defining exposure, special techniques, and a discussion of film vs. digital. This is not a highly technical book and any technical points are well-written and easy to understand.
The book includes many pictures that illustrate his concepts quite well. Being a visually inclined person, which is why I like photography, a good example shot often reinforces what you have just read. These are not just pretty pictures to show you his abilities as a photographer, but practical. Particularly helpful is his inclusion of exposure settings and lenses used for each image. It will help you analyze why his shots turn out the way they do and give you a starting point for shooting similar types of pictures. He also includes some exercises throughout the book to help you practice what you have just read.
An interesting section deals with what he calls the “Who Cares?” apertures. Peterson lists these as the f/8 to f/11 settings that you should use when depth of field is not critical, but you want sharpness and contrast for your shot. Also helpful to me was a discussion of the depth of field preview button, something I had long ignored.