Exposure for Outdoor Photography, a new ebook by Michael Frye, was just released by the folks at Craft & Vision. Like all of their ebooks, it’s quite affordable. And like most of their ebooks, it’s excellent1. Exposure for Outdoor Photography provides a great beginner-to-intermediate level guide to understanding how to make a properly exposed image using outdoor lighing, including how to create certain effects. I’ve reviewed an advance copy of the ebook; here are my thoughts (and I have a discount code at the bottom of the review).
As I mentioned above, this book is aimed for those getting started with photography or looking to move a bit beyond the basics. It’s not aimed at an advanced audience; if you’re a pro photographer you should move along. That said, the book provides over 50 double-spread pages of information. It’s not skimpy. The beginning of the book dives into the basics of exposure and the exposure triangle of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Each aspect is introduced and explained along with how it fits into the overall picture and interacts with the other technical elements in making a photograph.
The next topic is the histogram, something which is often glossed over as “you should learn this” or “expose to the right” but isn’t given much explanation. I was pleased to see that several pages were devoted not only to explaining the histogram, but in giving the reader hands-on exercises to experiment and create their own images that result in varying histograms so that a photographer can understand first hand just how a histogram relates to a particular exposure.
The last portion of the book is a series of case studies: a look at an image and the exposure techniques used to create it. The first case studies represent relatively “usual” scenarios such as controlling the depth of field or freezing (or showing) motion. The latter studies hit on more intermediate topics such as highlight recovery (what to do about bright white areas of an image), blending multiple exposures (including HDR), and a look at the zone system as it applies to digital photography.
Even though I already knew the material covered by this book, I really found it to have a refreshing approach compared with most photography tutorials and explanations that I read. Frye both explains and demonstrates in a way that’s easily understood, with plenty of photographs illustrating various techniques. The liberal use of illustrations, photos, and other graphical elements goes a long way to explaining the sometimes-dry technical material of proper exposure.
This is my new favorite basic exposure explanation. I’ll be recommending (or perhaps gifting) Exposure for Outdoor Photography to friends as they ask me the “So, how do I start to figure out what I’m doing?” At the usual Craft & Vision price of just $5, it’s a deal.
I kind of wish (not really) that they’d release a bad book so all of my reviews weren’t always so gushing. ↩