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The Visual Palette

Book Description

With just a rudimentary understanding of exposure and composition, one can capture fairly competent images of attractive subjects. But is that image remarkable in any way? Does it really say anything? How does one capture, edit, and share images that stand out from the crowd and express a distinct vision of the world? How do photographers develop and define their own voice?

In The Visual Palette: Defining Your Photographic Style, photographer Brian Matiash outlines and illustrates mindsets, approaches, and techniques that photographers can implement in order to apply their own unique stamp on their photos. Matiash concentrates on the ability to train oneself to “see differently”—whether you’re behind the camera, editing an image, or sharing your photo with others—and this book explores ways to help photographers do just that. Matiash examines his own path to creativity and personal style and then encourages readers to use that knowledge gained to forge their own paths.

What sets The Visual Palette apart is that Matiash considers the entire image-making process, including both image capture and post-processing, when discussing how to develop a photographic style and express one’s vision. Throughout photography’s history, astute photographers always knew there were two crucial opportunities to express oneself: during the capture and in the darkroom. As Ansel Adams said, “The negative is comparable to the composer's score and the print to its performance.” In that same spirit, The Visual Palette considers both image capture and post-processing as equal partners in the creation of the image and the expression of one’s vision.

The book is organized into three sections: composition, post-processing (what Matiash calls “Stylization and Editing”), and sharing. Each chapter tackles a concept, such as compositional rules (and when to break them), then Matiash shares “My Story,” with a specific example of that concept in action in his own work. Finally, there is a “Your Story” segment where, with prompts and exercises, Matiash empowers and motivates the reader to examine their own work or practice a new technique in order to further develop their own photographic style.

Beautifully illustrated with Matiash’s photographs, the book covers topics that range from fundamental to creative. The ideal reader is a beginning to intermediate photographer, including photography enthusiasts, hobbyists, advanced amateurs, and any and all photographers interested in landscape, nature, urban, and architectural genres of photography.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Acknowledgements
  6. Table of Contents
  7. Chapter 1 The Ever-Expanding Journey
    1. Growth Is a Lifelong Process
    2. I, Photographer
    3. You’ve Got to See. See?
    4. It’s Mine. My Precious
    5. The Roads of the Journey
  8. Chapter 2 Rules, Rules Rules
    1. Obey the Rules . . . Sometimes
    2. Rule 1: The Rule of Thirds
    3. Rule 2: The Construct of Depth
    4. Rule 3: Leading Lines
    5. Your Takeaways
  9. Chapter 3 Looking to See
    1. The Task of Seeing
    2. A Case for Rubbernecks and Ballheads
    3. My Legendary and Infinitesimally Short Attention Span
    4. The Big Apple of My Eye
    5. Your Takeaways
  10. Chapter 4 Allies in Distortion and Perspective
    1. See What You Want to See
    2. Leading Lines
    3. Depth of Field
    4. A Friend in Distortion
    5. The Dutch Tilt
    6. The Funkbuster
    7. A Word about Distortion and Compression
    8. Your Takeaways
  11. Chapter 5 The “Gimme” Shot
    1. What Exactly Is the “Gimme Shot”?
    2. The Gimme Shot in Practice
    3. Your Takeaways
  12. Chapter 6 The Best-Laid Plans
    1. Fortune Favors the Prepared . . . Most of the Time
    2. Before the Shoot
    3. Heading to the Shoot
    4. After the Shoot
    5. Your Takeaways
  13. Chapter 7 Forever The Tourist
    1. A Fateful Stroll in Infrared
    2. When in Rome
    3. Your Takeaways
  14. Chapter 8 Post-Processing and The Rightings of Wrongs
    1. The Tragedy of the Sloppy Photo
    2. Correcting Perspective
    3. Correcting Color
    4. Correcting Anomalies
    5. Your Takeaways
  15. Chapter 9 Philosophies of Stylization
    1. Photography’s Cosmetics Department
    2. Seeing with Your Creative Eye
    3. Greatness in an Ensemble
    4. Your Takeaways
  16. Chapter 10 The Tools of The Trade
    1. Rhyme and Reason
    2. Your Bag o’ Tricks
    3. High Dynamic Range (HDR)
    4. Split Toning
    5. Texture Blending
    6. Black and White Conversions
    7. The Case of Protanopia and Deuteranopia
    8. Your Takeaways
  17. Chapter 11 You = Your Brand
    1. What’s in a Name?
    2. This Lifelong Marathon of Mine
    3. Your Takeaways
  18. Chapter 12 Give a Little Bit of Yourself
    1. The Fine Art of Sharing
    2. Your Brand Value
    3. Defining Your Brand
    4. Consistency: Content’s Queen
    5. Serialize Your Content
    6. The Rules of Engagement
    7. Your Brand IRL
    8. Your Takeaways