What I’m reading: Striking Poses and Master’s Guide to Wedding Photography

I’ve just read two outstanding photography books. I’ve been going through the entire photography section at the library (and neighboring libraries) and looking through the sections in virtually every bookstore in my path, and I’ve only bought a very few books–just the ones that I think I’ll want to refer back to. Both of these have jumped to the top of my list.

Striking Poses: Creating a Visual Dialogue is a book of environmental portraits shot all over the world, with each one accompanied by a short conversation with Max Fallon, the photographer. His focus on people and relationships as a way to tell the story of a location, to enhance what one normally sees in location photos, gave me a lot of food for thought. I enjoy shooting closeup portraits with a wide open aperture–but now I want to try doing more wide-angle portraits. I got a taste of that shooting Mina’s going-away party and I need to spend more time with that. (I also need to buy some new gear to really be able to explore it…which is its own whole quagmire.)

The absolute best photography book I’ve read since, well, ever is Masters’ Guide to Wedding Photography: Capturing Unforgettable Moments and Lasting Impressions by Marcus Bell. He’s a very successful Australian photographer. Don’t let the title fool you; although wedding photography is the explicit subject, the lessons here would apply to any type of photography with people. The images in this book were unique and timeless, but what really made the book outstanding was the balance of different styles of information–technical and artistic, personal and logistic, etc. It goes from gear info to developing relationships, then shows some ways to demonstrate and highlight relationships photographically, talks about workflow and processes, and gets into step-by-step descriptions for selecting and creating master images. After reading it, I went back through all of my Tibet photos and did selects and edits, and now I feel like I have a real album. Then there were some great ideas about client management, marketing, and sales. It just hit all of the bases and did so in a way that was thoroughly relatable and highly educational. Outstanding!

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