Book review #9

Secrets of Great Portrait Photography: Photographs of the Famous and Infamous. Author: Brian Smith.

I was very happy to be given this book as a christmas present. Not only is it about  photography, its about portrait photography; a genre of photography that I am developing a growing interest in.

The book ties in with a very personal project that I am also shooting for my level three city and guilds course.

A quick nosey at the back sleeve ‘about the author’ informed me that he is a photographer with a considerable pedigree.

Reading this book is fast & easy. It is almost as if the author is sat in front of you chatting about his work. Its relaxed and very readable.

The first few pages offer some insight into Brian Smith’s influences, his journey as a photographer and what we, as viewers might expect to get from this book.

I read on and at one point, I can’t remember exactly where, it started to feel a little boastful… ‘ I’ve shot this person, that person, been here and there! ‘ At this point I wasn’t so sure what, if anything was going to be learned from continuing with this book.

However, that was very short lived. There are great portraits in this book along with some information about the shoot and actually, what is being pointed out is not ‘I photographed this person here‘ in a showing off sort of way but more of a subtle nudge of inspiration; that with hard work, a bit of drive and determination, shooting interesting people in awesome locations is achievable to those that keep pushing doors open.

Throughout the book it is clear that the author has a passion for his photography.

As a reader you’ll find enthusiasm, humour and a number of very useful tips in this book.

I found the book extremely useful for my current project, where people are so busy, I literally have fifteen to twenty minutes of their time to get in, get set up and get my shot within only a few frames.

Location portrait photography is challenging enough without the added pressure of working super fast.

Reading Brian Smith’s Secrets of Great Portrait Photography: Photographs of the Famous and Infamous. certainly prepared me psychologically for the assignment I was undertaking.

I’m definitely going to be looking up more of Brian Smith’s work and would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in portrait photography.

For the record, I do not know the author and do not have links with anyone from the publishing company.

Thanks for reading this review.

Jim Jimmy James

 

2 comments

  1. I checked out his portfolio, and he does take some stunning images. I would imagine his trick is to have mastered lighting the shots, something that has always put me off of portraiture. There are many famous sitters indeed, and some quirky stuff I liked, such as the nudists, and the funky alternative Miss World. Then again, he is in Miami, so he has a great location to start with.
    Cheers mate, Pete.

    1. On my current project I’ve had a couple of episodes that probably would have really set me back if I hadn’t of read this book.
      Looks like he may have done some video talks, so I will check those too. Cheers.

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