Book Review: Picture Perfect Posing / Roberto Valenzuela

Picture Perfect Posing

Practicing the Art of Posing for Photographers and Models


US $49.99  CANADA $51.99


People often ask me for advise on photography.  There are a few things that the typical novice will ask me like, what's the best lens? What do you think about this or that camera body? What kind of gear bag do you use? I am always happy to listen and give them my advice and hopefully point them in a good direction.  The first book I tell the novice to read of course is the instruction manual for their camera.  Seriously, this is the best advice I can give to beginners.  Learn all the functions of your camera before you worry about anything else.  Be able to change focus point, ISO, shutter and aperture without taking your eye away from the viewfinder.  Know your camera functions completely and thoroughly.

On the occasion that I get to talk with intermediate and experienced photographers the subject typically goes in the realm of natural light photography, different types of strobes and of course the Nikon v. Canon battle people insist on having.  I am always glad to exchange knowledge on these issues and hopefully pick up a few pointers along the way.  As for the Nikon v. Canon battle?  Who cares!  Shoot what you like and don't worry about what anyone else thinks or says about it.

When conversations get deeper, into shooting techniques, posing, working with models or working with groups; that seems to be a conversation that is rarer still.  It seems as eager as some photographers are to impart their knowledge to others, there is a point where they draw the line.  I am happy to say that there is at least one photographer who isn't afraid to share their knowledge to the benefit of all photographers everywhere.  That photographer is Roberto Valenzuela in his book "Picture Perfect Posing".

Before I stumbled upon this book at my local Barnes & Noble, I can honestly say that shooting people was beyond difficult.  It was downright scary!  Where should they look, should I seat them or have them stand and Lord! WHAT DO I DO WITH THEIR HANDS!  If any of this sounds like you, continue on.

The Picture Perfect Posing System or "P3S" as it is referred to in this book is a 15 point system or checklist that Roberto has developed and employs to make sure that he gets the best images out of every session.  At first, reading about this system seems a bit complex and technical as he charts out his system. One might think "oh no...this is going to be too technical of a book for me" but I encourage you to push on.  Roberto writes in a very easy to understand manner and does not use technical jargon that needs to be researched to understand what he is talking about.  Along with his words, he incorporates his own images to show what he is writing about for good posing as well as bad. There is no part of the pose that he does not delve into.  From the basics of the spine, the eyes and the collarbone to the complexities of hands, fingers and point-of-contact between couples and in group poses.  Roberto shows and explains using examples of his own work with professional models, every day people, couples and groups and shows you the techniques he uses to get the very best images that he can.  By the end of the book you will look back at his 15 point chart and wonder why it looked so complicated in the first place!

This book is very easy to read but the knowledge he imparts is so deep and involved, I would suggest the reader take it all in slowly. Explore his techniques as you read with friends, family and even clients.  Once you understand what YOU are looking to create you will find it that much easier to guide  a client through a shoot with incredible results.  This book will take the fear out of posing people and can actually increase your confidence level going into a shoot or in going after new clients.

Is this the first book you should read? No.  READ YOUR CAMERA MANUAL FIRST!

Will this book turn you into an instant Master of Photography? No.  Learn your camera, learn proper exposure, composition and lighting techniques.

Is this book essential to working with people, both clients as well as professional models? ABSOLUTELY!

At $50, it will probably be one of the cheapest items you can buy to help improve your photography and allow you the confidence to chase your dreams of being a professional photographer/ artist.