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Learning to See Creatively, Third Edition:…

Learning to See Creatively, Third Edition: Design, Color, and Composition…

by Bryan Peterson

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Learning to see creatively. Wow. Think about that. What a huge and bold title for a book. Is seeing creatively something we can teach? Or learn? And, if so, how?

Bryan Peterson takes on this task. But he doesn't seize the reigns of teaching-to-see-creatively lightly. After all, this is the third edition; Peterson has been grappling with the ideas in this book since 1988. Peterson is no novice to photography, to creativity; his website reminds us that he has been a successful commercial photographer for over thirty-five years. He has lots to share with those of us who have just come to this world. And he does so.

Peterson shares his secrets of how to see creatively in three ways. First, in a didactic, left-brained way, he provides the design, color, and composition rules for photography, some of which, one hopes, we have intuited for ourselves through our early successes and failures. Second, he shows lots of beautiful examples of his struggles to try out the rules. And, third, he offers exercises to build personal knowledge of those rules.

Some books can be read in an hour; this book is a book I've lived with for several months. That, for me, is the mark of a good book: I don't just read the words, but I reread the words and try out the ideas.

It's the trying out of the ideas that is most important, I think, in a book like this. So I thought I'd share some of my results.

For a true test, you'd really need to see some before pictures, but take my word for it, these are much improved.

What do you think? Does this sound like a book you should read? ( )
  debnance | Dec 28, 2015 |
Learning to See Creatively, Third Edition: Design, Color, and Composition in Photography by Bryan Peterson is built on the idea that creativity and the art of seeing from behind a camera lens can be taught. With a conversational writing style, detailed photographic examples, and exercises for me to try, the book is a great expansion of the resources I have to improve my photography.

Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2015/08/learning-to-see-creatively.html

Reviewed for the Blogging for Books program ( )
  njmom3 | Aug 26, 2015 |
Useful for Beginners and Pros Alike

(Full disclosure: I received a free book for review through Blogging for Books.)

Originally published in 1988 and revised in 2003, the third edition of Bryan Peterson's Learning to See Creatively is all-new, completely rewritten and re-illustrated, with a brand new section on Photoshop. This is my first Peterson book but, judging from some of the other reviews, he seems to be a well-known and respected photography author and instructor.

And it's easy to see why: Learning to See Creatively is accessible and well-written, with a positive, can-do attitude and plenty of helpful illustrations and activities to help get those creative juices flowing. Peterson frequently includes photos of the same subject, taken from multiple angles and perspectives and with different composition and framing, to give the reader an idea of what works - and what works better. (His eight-photo spread of the Dutch windmill is my favorite use of this technique.) There's a decided emphasis on personal vision with creative exercises to help you find your own.

The book's divided into five sections, which you can either browse or read straight through. "Expanding Your Vision" challenges the reader to think about what you see - vs. what your camera sees. There's also an excellent primer on choosing the right camera lens for the job. The "Elements of Design" introduces us to line, shape, form, texture, pattern, and color, exploring how they work in harmony - and how we can best coax them into working for us. "Composition" covers everything from the basics (horizontal vs. vertical orientation; the rule of thirds; contrast) to more advanced topics (working your subject; breaking the rules). Last but not least are the chapters on "The Magic of Light" (direction, color, overcast and rainy days) and "Photoshop."

Peterson includes a fair amount of technical detail, including information on the camera and settings used to take each picture. While the more advanced stuff made my beginner's head spin, I wouldn't steer newbies clear of this book: the many lovely photos offer readers new and exciting ways of approaching photography. From portraits to landscapes to abstract macro artwork and tourist attractions that have been done to death, examples run the gamut and provide a wealth of inspiration.

Professionals might find some of Peterson's views controversial (he's pro-staging and pro-Photoshop - as long as it doesn't make you lazy IRL), but being a beginner, I didn't really see the big deal. Live and let live. Unless you're a photojournalist, then staging becomes a little more problematic, methinks.

My only caveat: if you like what you see re: Photoshop, don't begin and end with the last chapter. Definitely pick up a dedicated Photoshop guide (or two) in order to get the most of it.

http://www.easyvegan.info/2015/08/24/learning-to-see-creatively-third-edition-by... ( )
  smiteme | Aug 15, 2015 |
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"Completely revised and updated throughout, Bryan Peterson's classic guide to creativity helps photographers visualize their work, and the world, in a whole new light by developing their photographic vision. Fully revised with 100 percent new photography, this best-selling guide takes a radical approach to creativity by explaining how it is not just an inherent ability but a skill that can be learned and applied. Using inventive photos from his own stunning portfolio, author and veteran photographer Bryan Peterson deconstructs creativity for photographers. He details the basic techniques that go into not only taking a particular photo, but also provides insights on how to improve upon it--helping readers avoid the visual pitfalls and technical dead ends that can lead to dull, uninventive photographs. This revised edition features a complete section on color as a design element and all new photographs to illustrate Peterson's points. Learning to See Creatively is the definitive reference for any photographer looking for a fresh perspective on their work"--… (more)

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