Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Review of "Exposed", by photographer Michael Clark...
This is yet another in a series of reviews written by the of readers here at Weekly Photo Tips, if you you'd be interested in writing a review just drop us an email and we'll throw your name "in the hat" from which we pick our reviewers.
Now back to the business at hand, the review of "Exposed: Inside the Life and Images of a Pro Photographer", by Michael Clark. This review is written by Paula Apro who is both a photographer and a yoga instructor and I have to be honest, after reading it I (almost) regretted sending her the book, as it sounds too good to have missed!
Here is the Review:
I recently had the pleasure of reading "Exposed: Inside the Life and Images of a Pro Photographer", by Michael Clark. The book was very unique in that it wasn't just a "How-To" photography techniques book. In fact the photo tips were really a side line to the positively fascinating stories of Michael's adventures as an action sports photographer. Have you ever looked at ridiculous adrenaline sports action shots and wondered how on earth they were photographed? Well, this book explains just that. If you have an interest in both photography and adventure sports, you will love this book. In fact, my husband (who is not a photographer) insisted that I read most of the book out loud because he was so interested in the adventure sports stories. These stories weren't just what equipment was used and how the lights were set up (although all of this information is also included at the end of each story) but Michael takes the time to really set the scene. And some of the scenes were nothing short of amazing.
Take for instance his coverage of the Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race. This just happens to be the toughest race in the world, with only the most elite athletes participating. You can't even imagine what the photographers go through! As if getting the perfect shots isn't enough work, the amount of physical hardship that Michael had to endure was just unreal.
Each story explains the extreme conditions and how he managed to work within those conditions. From catching the monster waves during surfing competitions and creatively shooting Red Bull's base jumping, to only being given 2 minutes and 10 total shots to shoot a pro golfer, Michael explains what it's like to work under the extreme pressure of high paying and high profile clients.
All of this extreme sport photography may seem glamorous, but when Michael explains the amount of stress that this job causes it made me realize how few people in the world could do it. As much as I love adventure sports, I realized that I could never do this job. What I did take away from this book was the necessity of stoking your creative spark and creating your own body of work on self-assignments. No matter if it's in sports photography or any other niche, he explains the importance of going out and shooting what you enjoy in order to build your portfolio. Most of the paid assignments that Michael got came as a direct result of his self-assignment work. Perhaps everyone should place as much importance on their self-assignments as they do on their paid assignments.
One of the most valuable parts of the book was the fact that Michael showed his work as it came straight out of the camera. Then he covered (in detail) any and all adjustments that he made to the photos in both Lightroom and Photoshop, until he finally showed the final picture. One of the photos that I found the most interesting was one of his surfing shots that didn't look like much straight out of the camera. But after the post production edits, that once-dull photo scored him an account with Apple. And of course, this was a self-assignment shoot. Just proves his case even further. In addition to the technical details that he shares, he also outlined the exact equipment and used for each shoot (including an explanation of why he choose the equipment he did) and in most cases there was even a diagram illustrating the lighting setup.
In a nutshell it was a great combination of photographic inspiration, technical details, and pure reading enjoyment. I know a picture alone is worth a thousand words, but the chance to hear the stories behind those pictures was a pure treat.
A DVD is also included with the book, it's over 2 hours and covers color management, "how to", and Michael's start to finish workflow using both Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6 for images that were featured in the book.
The combination of the book and DVD make this a "must" have.
Thank you Paula for this review.
I would strongly suggest hat you take the time to check out Michael's website and his blog, as you will be truly amazed.