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Foreword by Skip Cohen Translating the chaos of the real world into a breathtakingly simple, beautiful photograph can often seem like an impossible task. With busy, cluttered backgrounds and subjects who don’t know how to pose, how can you take control and get a great shot no matter the situation? In Picture Perfect Practice, photographer Roberto Valenzuela breaks down the craft of photography into three key elements–locations, poses, and execution–that you can use to unlock the photographic opportunities lying beneath every challenging situation. Valenzuela stresses the need for photographers to actively practice their craft every day–just like you would practice a musical instrument–in order to master the art of making great images. With chapters that offer practice exercises to strengthen your photographic abilities, you’ll learn how to approach a scene, break it down, and see your way to a great photograph. The Location section features chapters that cover symmetry, balance, framing, color elements, textures, and much more. The Posing section includes the Five Key Posing Techniques that Valenzuela uses every time he’s shooting people, as well as a complete list of poses and how to achieve, customize, and perfect them. The Execution portion, with sections like “Lighting through Direction” and “Simplicity through Subtraction,” reveals Valenzuela’s overall approach to getting the shot. The book also includes an inspiring and helpful chapter on deliberate practice techniques, where Valenzuela describes his system for practicing and analyzing his work, which leads to constant improvement as a photographer. If you’ve been frustrated and overwhelmed by the challenges of real-world locations, posing your subjects, or executing a great image–or if you simply want to become a better shooter but don’t know where to start–Picture Perfect Practice gives you the tools and information you need to finally become the kind of photographer you’ve always wanted to be: the kind who can confidently walk into any location, under any lighting condition, with any subject, and know that you can create astonishing photographs that have a timeless impact.
Photographer, author, and educator Roberto Valenzuela has a proven track record for teaching and explaining difficult concepts to photographers of all skill levels. His remarkable ability to break down complicated ideas into understandable, approachable elements that photographers can truly grasp–and then use their newfound knowledge to improve their photography–made his first book, Picture Perfect Practice, a breakout success. In Picture Perfect Posing, Roberto takes on the art of posing. For many photographers, after learning to compose an image and even light it properly, a portrait can still easily be a failure if the pose is not natural, elegant, and serving the needs of both the subject and the photographer. Instead of just showing page after page of poses–like most posing books on the market–Roberto actually breaks down the concept of posing by examining the anatomy, starting with the core foundation: the spinal chord and neck. Building from there, Roberto discusses every component of what makes poses work, as well as fail. How should the model hold her hands? Bend her elbows? Position her fingers? Should the model look toward or away from the camera, and why? It all depends on what the photographer wants for the shot, and Roberto discusses the entire process, from the intent of the photographer through the execution of the pose. For those who have been discouraged by an inability to pose their subjects, or who have simply not known where to start in order to "figure it out," Picture Perfect Posing is the essential resource they need to learn how posing truly works, and how they can learn to direct the exact pose they need for the shot they want.
Without light, there is no photograph. As almost every photographer knows, the word “photograph” has its roots in two Greek words that, together, mean “drawing with light.” But what is less commonly acknowledged and understood is the role that shadow plays in creating striking, expressive imagery, especially in portraiture. It is through deft, nuanced use of both light and shadow that you can move beyond shooting simply ordinary, competent headshots into the realm of creating dramatic portraiture that can so powerfully convey a subject’s inner essence, communicate a personal narrative, and express your photographic vision.

In The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow, Chris Knight addresses portraiture with a unique approach to both light and shadow that allows you to improve and elevate your own portraiture. He begins with the history of portraiture, from the early work of Egyptians and Greeks to the sublime treatment of light and subject by artists such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. Chris then dives into a deep, hands-on exploration of light, shadow, and portraiture, offering numerous lessons and takeaways. He covers:

    • The qualities of light: hard, soft, and the spectrum in between
    • The relationships between light, subject, and background, and how to control them
    • Lighting patterns such as Paramount, Rembrandt, loop, and split
    • Lighting ratios and how they affect contrast in your image
    • Equipment: from big and small modifiers to grids, snoots, barn doors, flags, and gels
    • Multiple setups for portrait shoots, including those that utilize one, two, and three lights
    • How color contributes to drama and mood, eliciting an emotional response from the viewer
    • How to approach styling your portrait, from wardrobe to background
    • The post-processing workflow, including developing the RAW file, maximizing contrast, color grading, retouching, and dodging and burning for heightened drama and effect
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    • How all of these elements culminate to help you define your personal style and create your own narrative
Good lighting is everything in portraiture. The right light sculpts our subjects, smooths the skin, evens skin tones, and helps create the feeling of a third dimension in a two-dimensional image. The gold standard of lighting has, for the better part of a century, been produced by artificial lights (hot lights or strobes) in the studio. These sources allow for precise lighting effects on demand. However, artificial light cannot match the beauty or ambience that gorgeous natural light creates—and studio lighting can break the bank. In part 1 of this book, Carl Caylor introduces readers to a failproof method for understanding, shaping, and harnessing natural light for dazzling results that rival studio-lighting looks. Using your powers of observation, an understanding of the physics of light, and employing a couple of inexpensive tools (reflector panels to bounce light and a gobo to block light), Caylor shows you how to make the most of the sunlight for indoor and outdoor location shoots—and even studio work. You’ll learn how to tweak the direction of light and manipulate lighting angles to re-create classic portrait lighting styles—short lighting, broad lighting, Rembrandt lighting, and more—that flatter and contour your subjects’ facial structures to make them look their very best. In part 2 of the book, Carl provides an in-depth analysis into the techniques he used to create 60 beautiful natural-light portraits in myriad locations and circumstances, producing a wide range of portrait looks. Readers will learn how to integrate other elements that are important to building an effective portrait—including prop selection, wardrobe, composition, expression, posing, and even planning for a top-notch, contrasty black & white shot. The text in this book, along with inspirational images, will coax many readers to enjoy a “back to basics” approach that will allow them to produce technically exquisite and profoundly artful, flattering portraits that will sell themselves to clients every time.
Creating flattering poses for portrait and wedding clients is key to success as a professional photographer, but it can be difficult to quickly move through a series of poses that results in flattering images and a wide variety of portrait looks. In this book, posing guru Doug Gordon (of Long Island, NY) distills his popular flow posing techniques to show readers how to establish a basic standing portrait pose that is perfectly suited to traditional/classic portrait looks, then fluidly progress through a series of minor posing adjustments, framing changes, and camera angles to build a cache of over fifty client-pleasing poses suitable for a wide range of clients and locations. Readers will learn how to slim clients, lengthen the body, elegantly pose hands, mask perceived imperfections, and make every client look and feel their best in front of the camera to deliver profit-building portraits in minimal time.
This book teaches all the fundamentals of portraiture and has detailed photo sequences showing how to arrange light and lighting accessories. It includes information on creating a wide range of styles, choosing the right equipment, composing the background and placing and positioning the subject for maximum effect.

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