Take a PICC
by Reed Brown
Genre: Nonfiction / Photography
Print Length: 107 pages
Reviewed by Toni Woodruff
A quick & easy guide to seeing the photo before you even take it
Photography is about more than just peering through the lens and hitting the button. It’s more than just understanding the settings on your camera or phone. To take the best pictures, you’ll want to engage your options and angles and to read the art-first concepts in Take a PICC.
Reid Brown is a photographer with a goal of changing the way you learn about photography. Where many books and resources spend pages, minutes, and even hours discussing your picture-taking device and your options within it, Brown reverses the structure: tells you to focus on the real world first—noting the lighting, the subject, the background—and then learning to adjust and understand your settings afterward. Like this, it should mirror the exact picture-taking process. Since you shouldn’t be adjusting your settings until after you’ve seen the picture, you should learn about it this way too.
Interspersed with the tips on how to see the best pictures are original photographs by Reid Brown. One thing I really love about this is that he includes his mistakes too. It’s easier to understand where pictures can go wrong by seeing first-hand examples from an expert. This helps us understand, but it also gives us the peace of mind that even the best start slow or still make mistakes.
When it is finally time to dive into operating the specifics of your camera, Brown proves helpful, especially in relation to ISO (sensitivity to light) and shutter speed. I could see this book being used as a guidebook in addition to a class, as it is easily skimmable and provides a number of lines for journaling and note-taking.
While the succinctness and skimmability is a positive, the size doesn’t always feel like one. There are usually only a hundred words or so per page, and a handful of pages are given strictly to lines for journaling. Because of this, it feels too empty to be as helpful as I need it to be.
I leave the book with a few more definitions, but I wouldn’t say I’ve developed a deeper understanding of many of them. Since so much is described using only one or two sentences, I don’t have the chance to learn it over and over again from different angles, making sure it snakes into and stays in my brain for the next time I go to take a picture. It also pays more attention to cameras than it does phone cameras.
Take a PICC has a strong foundation and a lot of valued purpose in varying from the photography guidebook norm. You can learn all of the fast-moving tips in this book in a day with time left to get out there, put your new knowledge to the test, and take some great pictures.
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