Book Review: The Wedding Photography Field Guide

Wedding Field Guide book coverOnto field guide review number two. Michelle Turner’s The Wedding Photography Field Guide, capturing the perfect day with your digital SLR camera is published by Focal Press, (www.focalpress.com), ISBN 978-0-240-81787-3.

Let’s say that you’re going to be attending a wedding, and are passionate about photography, and you want to know more about the types of images you can capture—then you’ll be happy with The Wedding Photography Field Guide. You can definitely learn a lot about the types of photos that wedding photographers like Turner are shooting for their clients. The price is very affordable, and the field guide small enough for you to slip into your gear bag to refer to in a pinch.

As someone who has shot weddings and assisted other photographers with them for over a dozen years, the idea of a field guide type of book being written to teach someone how to shoot a wedding is fine if its designed for someone who isn’t planning on beginning a wedding photography business.

A book that talks about the various techniques for creative imagery doesn’t also need to explain that wedding photographers need to own and bring backup equipment to a job; or explain what a D-SLR is, what memory cards, flash units, or other basics that any pro is familiar with and are needed to shoot a wedding. If you’re going to be shooting a wedding (as a hired photographer) you had better know all about the equipment that you should own, and know that equipment thoroughly.

That said, I do think the author has a lot of advice to share on shooting creatively.

If you’re a photographer—a pro—and have shot weddings, say in more formal traditional ways, and want to read a book on how to shoot in a more contemporary style, then you will find this book to be helpful. The author includes a lot, and I mean A LOT of examples of images, showing not just one-offs, but a series of images from each bridal couple that she’s using, as examples, to illustrate the various situations she talks about.

If however, you’re buying this field guide to keep in your camera bag when you’re working a wedding… then personally I don’t think you’re experienced enough to be shooting that wedding, not for hire anyway. Wedding photography is not for the faint at heart. there is no do-over if you don’t get the shots.

On the other hand, if you are a pro wedding photographer and pick up Turner’s book to expand your knowledge of current trends or are looking for new ideas to use in photographing the affairs you’re booking, then you will find this book to be helpful. For that The Wedding Photographer’s Field Guide is well worth the $15.95 price.

— D.B.

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