Book Review: Face to Face: Rick Sammon’s Complete Guide to Photographing People

| August 5, 2008

Recently, I’ve read several books on how to photograph people. One of my favorites is Face to Face: Rick Sammon’s Complete Guide to Photographing People.

The book has about 280 pages and is full with stunning pictures of people from many places around the world. The pictures are a great inspiration and alone would be worth the price of the book.

But beside the pictures, Rick Sammon also shares many of his tricks and secret on how to get better images of people.

The book is divided in five parts:

Parts 1 gives an overview of Rick’s top tips on photographing people and also explains what equipment he uses.

Part 2 covers Rick’s Photo Philosophies. This is my favorite part of the book and full of useful stuff. For example, Rick explains why placing the subject in the center is normally not a good idea, why you should shoot both horizontal and vertical frames of a subject, or when and how to pay people.
Rick urges you to always be aware of opportunities, explains how to dress your subjects, how to think creatively and how to take funny pictures.

Part 3 covers outdoor photography. Here, the author explains how to get the best light using reflectors, diffusers of fill flash. A very interesting chapter covers how to turn your garage into a photo studio without the need for expensive studio equipment. A very good and detailed chapter is the one on how to photograph festivals (using a Chingis Khan Cavalry Ride performance in Mongolia as an example).

Part 4 is all about indoor photography. Here Ricks tells the reader how to get the best lighting indoor, how to shoot silhouettes, basic flash techniques for indoor shooting, how to get great studio lighting without spending all your money, how to use mirrors or how to practice with a mannequin.

Part 5 covers Rick’s ways to enhance a picture with Photoshop. This is not a detailed introduction into Photoshop (there are ton’s of other books out there about Photoshop), but a summary of how Rick uses Photoshop to get the picture he wants. Techniques covered include how to make great Black and White pictures, softening skin, removing distracting elements and more.

In the epilog Rick repeats some of his advice and encourages you to get out and shoot and try the techniques covered in the book.

I really like the book and the authors writing style. It’s easy to read and the text is a perfect fit for the beautiful images. It’s never boring or too technical. From reading Rick’s book, it’s clear that he absolutely loves what he is doing and this is reflected in the quality of his images and his writing.

If you want to take your people photography to the next level, I highly recommend this book.

Buy from amazon

Category: Books

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