Book Review: face to face

Rick Sammon’s Complete Guide to Photographing People is just that: a comprehensive, in-depth look at how Rick Sammon takes pictures of human beings on his travels.

Rick starts by explaining that the camera looks both ways, which means that there is always an emotional connection (or lack thereof) between the photographer and his or her subject. This connection is at least as important as the technical aspects of taking the photo, since it determines the content. I believe that it is far too common for photographers to become far too focused on the technical aspects of photography instead of the content, so I like being reminded of this simple fact.

After a brief discussion of photo gear relevant to people photography, Sammon describes his “Photo Philosophies”. Basically, Sammon believes in making, not taking, pictures and he describes how to create an interesting picture using composition, props, dress, posture, etc.

Techniques for photographing people inside and outside are next, with, of course, a strong emphasis on lighting.

Finally … tadaaa … Photoshop. Thankfully, Sammon describes only techniques specific to his style of people photography, most of which are actually quite useful.

The book contains lots of pictures explaining the techniques and concepts Sammon is describing. The style is informal and fun. I would say that fun is the one word to describe what comes across very strongly in this book: Sammon clearly has a lot of fun in his work and he makes the fun come alive. I certainly had fun reading the book, which is invaluable in any book.

4 stars (out of 5)

4 stars (out of 5)

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