Book Review: The Bird Photography Field Guide

Tipling's Bird Photography book cover artFocal Press (www.focalpress.com) puts out a series of Field Guides, little books that can fit in your gear bag, purse or backpack, letting you easily take a reference book with you when you go out to photograph. The subjects range from travel photography, to exposure, to bird photography to shooting weddings.

I’ve now read a few of the books in the series.

In this review we’re going to tackle The Bird Photography Field Guide, written by David Tipling, ISBN 9780240817767. The book not only includes a wealth of information that any experienced bird watcher or photographer would know, but also includes some basic photography info. While personally I felt that most of the basic photo education could have been left out, I do understand that there might be some folks brand new to photography who might be picking up one of these books—and in that case, you’ll not only learn all you want to about photographing birds, but also be able to better understand how your camera works. The book also covers some info on post-processing to enhance the photos you’ve just taken, and again while it is just the tip of the iceberg on post production education, its a good starting point for the novice digital photographer.

As someone who has photographed birds that can easily be found (meaning that I haven’t really searched out particular birds to photograph on any particular day) the author did a great job explaining the varied tips for capturing certain types of birds, and included tricks to getting better photos using blinds and how best to approach birds, among other tips.

The author’s experience photographing birds comes through, as the book is written in an easy to understand manner, ideal for the beginner photographer as well as the more advanced shooter who is looking to specifically learn about photographing birds.

And, because the Field Guide series of books are designed to be pocketable, you can easily take them with you into the field. Pricetag: $15.95, well worth the amount of tips you’ll get in The Bird Photography Field Guide.

— Diane Berkenfeld


Share

Book Review: UNMarketing: Stop Marketing, Start Engaging

Scott Stratten's Unmarketing book cover for review by picture-soup.comIf you want to get out of the “push and pray” rut and start the more responsive “pull and stay” approach to reaching and influencing your customers—then Scott Stratten’s UNMarketing: Stop Marketing, Start Engaging, published by Wiley (www.wiley.com; ISBN 978-0-470-61787-8) is the book you need to read. It’s a new view of [un]marketing—in the age of social networking, all access media outlets and building relationships with those consumers who are the voices of their peer groups.

In addition to being chock full of helpful tips and tricks that you can implement right away, the author has a writing style that’s just plain fun to read. The book jacket was designed to look like Kraft paper; the bar code on the back of the book jacket looks like it was taped into place. UNMarketing is well-written, the chapters are short, easy to read, and understand, and one of the best parts of the book… is the footnotes. Yes, the footnotes. They’re funny, nonsensical, and most are there only to break up the monotony of the pages—only UNMarketing is an enjoyable read, it isn’t stuffy or long-winded. And, its pages are filled with proven [un]marketing techniques—ideas sure to make a difference in your business, no matter what profession you’re in.

Things are different in today’s digital world. Consumers are using new avenues to get their information, and it’s important to engage your customers where they are. Stratten offers clear-cut tips for utilizing social media, viral marketing and plain-old good conversation to build relationships that translate into results. They just work! So stop going about marketing your business like you’ve been doing before and expecting a new outcome.

This book review is relatively short and sweet, an homage to UNMarketing. Why use a dozen words to describe something that only needs a few.UNMarketing: Stop Marketing, Start Engaging is a good book. Pick up a copy today. It’s only $24.95, and is well worth it.

For more information about the author, go to www.un-marketing.com.

— Diane Berkenfeld

Share

Book Review: Lensbaby: Bending Your Perspective

Lensbaby book cover for picture-soup.com book reviewCorey Hilz has written the definitive volume on Lensbabies, those selective focus lenses that often elicit curious wonder when seen for the first time—and have been known to reenergize their owners’ passion for photography. Lensbaby, Bending Your Perspective, published by Focal Press, an Imprint of Elsevier, ISBN: 978-0-240-81402-5, not only documents the swift growth of the line of lenses created by pro photographer Craig Strong—from the Original Lensbaby, to Lensbaby 2.0, Lensbaby 3G and Lensbaby Composer, Muse and Control Freak—but explains how each is used, with tips and techniques as well as a plethora of photography examples. In addition, the author also discusses use of the variety of accessories for the Lensbaby line. And, unlike a magazine article, which may explain how to use only one particular model, Hilz includes helpful information for each different Lensbaby. And, while the lensbaby.com website offers plenty of helpful tutorials and image galleries to view, I still love to read a book I can hold in my hand, (which is an added plus in this digital age).

Plenty of images are sprinkled throughout the book, from Hilz, a select group of Lensbaby gurus and photographers from the global Lensbaby community who submitted photos for possible inclusion in the book. Lensbaby incorporates both an instructional area and portfolios of work shot with various Lensbabies. And, one of the great things that Hilz has done, is mention which Lensbaby model and optic was used for each photograph, a great help for readers who might want to replicate an image they see in the book. Also nice to see is that the photographers included all work in different genres, so there’s a good variety of images, from weddings, portrait, fine-art, nature and commercial to view within the pages of the book.

For a photographer who has never used a Lensbaby, I think this book is an absolute must. It will give you the tips and tricks that are normally learned through trial and error—allowing you to quickly ramp up to mastering the nuances that come with working with Lensbaby lenses.

For someone like myself, who has used almost every Lensbaby that’s been introduced, the book offers inspiration. I also picked up a few new tricks from the pages of Lensbaby, Bending Your Perpective.

From subtle to strong effects, Hilz has included a little bit of everything there is to know about Lensbabies. Lensbaby, Bending Your Perspective is a great reference, one that I know I’ll turn to again and again. It’s definitely worth the $29.95 price tag.

For more information about the book, go to www.focalpress.com.

For more information about the author, go to www.coreyhilz.com.

For more information about Lensbabies, go to www.lensbaby.com.

— Diane Berkenfeld

Share

Book Review: Photoshop CS5 for Nature Photographers

A Workshop in a Book

photoshop cs5 for nature photographers book cover for picture-soup.com articlePhotographers Ellen Anon and her son Josh have written Photoshop CS5 for Nature Photographers, A Workshop in a Book, ISBN: 978-0-470-60734-3, published by Sybex, an imprint of Wiley www.wiley.com. The book is written for digital nature photographers who use Photoshop CS5, however the authors also include sidebars throughout the book for users of Photoshop Elements. In certain areas, a Photoshop only icon lets readers know Photoshop, not Elements must be used for a specific task. There are also Try it! sections that encourage readers to put the book down and practice the techniques you’re learning.

In addition to the book, there is a companion website with sample images and ancillary instruction that readers can access, to practice along with what the authors discuss.

One of the first things mentioned by the authors is to use good photographic techniques, because you should capture optimum images to work on, not just “fix it in Photoshop” later. This is the most important idea that every photographer should understand about their work and the use of Photoshop in post-production.

As with a volume on Photoshop tips or techniques, you’d expect sections devoted to such topics as Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw, which are included. Images and screengrabs are included throughout the entire volume, to illustrate the text.

Although the book is written for nature photographers, many of the concepts are basic to digital photography and Photoshop. However, the authors discuss specifics to the niche of nature photography because—if you’re a nature photographer it would be much easier to understand a concept by viewing images of a beautiful landscape not a portrait of a bride and groom or a commercial product shot. It’s the same for any other niche in photography—it’s easier to understand what you’re trying to learn when viewing imagery that matches what you want to create.

Specifically, techniques for nature photographers include blending using gradient masks, creating a virtual split Neutral Density filter, layers adjustments, as well as a chapter each on exposure adjustments, color adjustments, composites and creative effects. The chapter on output discusses general printing techniques including sharpening for output and media choices, as well as options that nature or fine-art photographers might be more apt to create, including adding borders, and how-to create business and greeting card templates.

The section on composites included techniques using stitching, HDR and compositing items from multiple images into one image. Other helpful topics include using plug-ins where applicable, selective adjustments, and painting globally and selectively for fine-art images. One of the more unique techniques is using Photoshop’s Liquify feature to create a one-of-a-kind look—reminiscent to what photographers used to do by altering Polaroid SX-70 prints.

Articles by guest contributors are sprinkled throughout the book, and bring a more rounded view to the reader. Photoshop CS5 for Nature Photographers is full of gems of information—from enhancements to images that give them everything from a natural look to surreal, and everything in between.

For more about the authors, visit their websites: www.ellenanon.com and www.joshanon.com.

— Diane Berkenfeld

Share

Book Review: Virtual Reality Photography

Creating Panoramic and Object Images

vr photography book cover by scott highton for picture-soup.com book review

Virtual Reality Photography, Creating Panoramic and Object Images (ISBN 978-0-615-34223-8) is written by Scott Highton, an expert in virtual reality (VR) photography. There are two types of VR photographs: panoramas that show a 360 degree view (outward view of your/the camera’s surroundings) and object photographs that show 360 degrees of an object. Think of websites you might have visited where you can “turn” a product to see it from all sides; or a website that lets you “walk into” a room and view it as if you were inside the building—those are examples of VR photography.

The author is one of the pioneers of VR photography, and as such has both the experience and knowledge needed to not only understand, but, educate readers about the principles and techniques of VR photography. Highton has produced the definitive book on VR photography. Not only does he explain the principles behind the different types of VR photographs, but he goes into further detail explaining the nuances of creating the images, from the planning stage through to completion.

The book is separated into four sections, the first on basic photography principles and techniques, the next two sections on panoramic and object imaging respectively, and lastly a section on business practices.

Equipment is discussed in detail, both the equipment needed for capturing images as well as the software to create the final VR images. In addition to equipment that may need to be purchased, when possible, Highton includes items that a photographer can fashion himself; as well as inexpensive items that can be used in a studio situation and which may already be lying around your home or studio.

Folks who capture VR—panoramic or object photography—may be pro photographers, but odds are they’re likely also realtors, web designers or others in interactive media who have varying levels of photography understanding. Pro architectural or commercial product photographers, who never had the need to study VR photography and now have to ramp up their knowledge and produce panoramic and object VR imagery are also target readers of this book.

For this reason, Highton felt it was necessary that he include a basic photography section in the book. “This book is intended to help all of them [VR photographers]—as a reference resource providing specific information they might need at a given time, rather than as an intended cover-to-cover read. The book includes technical notes for those who really want to delve into the math or physics of how things work in photography, but is otherwise written and illustrated in a straightforward manner intended to help photographers at all levels better understand their craft and techniques,” says Highton.

For those photographers who know the basics, simply jump ahead to the sections you need to learn about. Then again, if you flip through the basic photography section you might even pick up something you hadn’t known before. Highton has put together one of the most comprehensive sections on basic photography that I’ve come across.

Highton explains further, “There are so many foundations of photography that need to be understood, if not mastered, before one can create effective panoramic and object VR imagery. It made sense to provide those foundations as a separate section in the book, which is also regularly referred back to throughout the book. For example, it is important to understand the basics of photographic exposure in order to be able to calculate an effective (and consistent) exposure for an entire 360-degree panoramic sequence, which could have illumination levels varying by 10 or more stops (between sunlit and shadow sides of a panorama). Similarly, it is important to understand the basics of focus, depth of field, sharpness, hyperfocal distances, etc. in order to maximize sharpness throughout a 360-degree panorama. Without having these basic photography foundations available, many readers of the book would become lost as they delved into the more complicated technical demands of creating interactive photographic VR.”

The sections on creating panoramic and object photography offer a wealth of education. Photos and diagrams accompany the text throughout, to help explain the various techniques. Where appropriate, the author includes creative options that VR photographers can use to take their imagery to the next level. He also discusses shooting panoramas underwater, and includes a chapter on aerial photography.

The business practices section is a great addition to the book, especially for photographers who have never had to quote or shoot VR photographs in their career before. In addition to basic principles that the author includes in the book such as a glossary of business/legal terms, he also explains the nuances of a commercial VR photography shoot and the added costs, both in the capture phase and post-production, so photographers reading the book won’t end up undercharging for their services. He also includes a case study of a shoot, complete with estimates from multiple photographers showing the differences in how they shoot/bill jobs. If you’re just getting into this type of photography, the business section alone is a must read.

To purchase Virtual Reality Photography, Creating Panoramic and Object Images, go to http://www.vrphotography.com/bookpromo.html.

Diane Berkenfeld

Share

Book Review: ProBlogger, Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income

By Diane Berkenfeld

ProBlogger, Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, second edition by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett is a great book for the beginner or advanced blogger looking to take their blog or blogging to the next level. The book, ISBN 978-0-470-61634-5 was published by Wiley (www.wiley.com). The authors are well known in the blogosphere. Rowse launched problogger.net with best practices, tips and more for the blogger; Digital-Photography-School.com, which is widely popular with beginning and intermediate digital photographers; and numerous other blogs. Garrett has been working on the web since the mid-nineties. His blog, chrisg.com offers visitors information on new media, blogging and online marketing.

The book is an easy read, which having been written by bloggers is expected, as writing for the web is slightly different than writing for print—its usually shorter, with lots of digestible items. You can easily read through the book in a weekend, or flip through it piecemeal, reading the sections that you’re interested in most.

Both authors are veteran bloggers, and although the subhead of the book reads: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, they are honest about the fact that it takes years of work to build a blog or website up, to bringing in such revenue. And even with time and hard work, few blogs may reach this pinnacle.

I think ProBlogger is a great book. It offers a lot of tips and techniques for building a blog or website through such tactics as SEO, social media, and more. The authors also explain what not to do to increase your search engine rankings.

The authors spend a lot of time discussing content. Content after all is king, isn’t it? And for a blog to be successful, quality content must be posted on a schedule that visitors want (meaning not posting too often, or too little). Various types of content are mentioned, including article series, guest bloggers, forums, and interactivity between visitors and bloggers via comment areas.

Rowse and Garrett discuss whether or not to place advertising on blogs, how affiliate advertising works, and how to package your site when going the direct route with advertisers. They also talk about buying and selling blogs.

In addition to writing about their own blogging experiences, the authors also include examples of successful blogs and explain the best practices that were used to grow them. Throughout the book, the authors include the web addresses of sites that readers should visit for helpful information, some that I had known about but many others that are new to me and I will be visiting in the near future. The authors also share bonus content with readers, by directing them to a web address to access it.

Whether you’re blogging for fun or profit, ProBlogger is sure to provide you with helpful tips to reach your goals.

For more information about ProBlogger, Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, second edition, check out the website www.probloggerbook.com.

• Some of our visitors might be wondering why we’ve included a review of a book that isn’t necessarily about photography here on picture-soup.com. The answer is because there is a wealth of information that the authors of ProBlogger offer—that would be helpful to anyone with a blog or website—and that includes the many professional photographers who regularly come to this site.  — Editor

Share

Book Review: The Art of Digital Photo Painting; Using Popular Software to Create Masterpieces

By Diane BerkenfeldSholinLarkBookCover

As a photographer, I can take great photographs, but I can’t draw, sketch or paint, so when I first discovered software that allows you to transform your digital images into artistic masterpieces that have the look of a painting, I was giddy with excitement. Then I saw the great images that professional photographers and Corel Painter Masters have created and thought to myself, “there’s no way I can do that.” And then I read The Art of Digital Photo Painting; Using Popular Software to Create Masterpieces, by Marilyn Sholin; published by Lark Books, (www.larkbooks.com) ISBN: 978-1-60059-101-3.

Author Marilyn Sholin is a professional photographer, Corel Painter Master, and educator. She is known for her digital photo paintings, and has authored a great book for photographers who want to learn how to fulfill their painterly visions of enhancing their own images.

Corel’s Painter XI is such a great piece of software—it’s the best around for emulating the look and feel of a variety of painting/drawing media. It can also be intimidating when you see the amazing photographs that have been enhanced using the software, not to mention the freehand pieces that talented artists have created with the program.

The majority of the book covers Corel’s Painter program, although the author mentions a few other software titles and plug-ins that are great additions to any digital imager’s repertoire. A chapter is dedicated to explaining the basics of Painter, including an overview of the palettes, tools and more.

The publisher created a website with downloadable files that are used as examples in the book, so readers can follow along with the tutorials, and be able to see how the final product should look. It’s almost like being in a class or workshop—you’re doing the work so you’re learning—but you’re going at your own pace.

The author discusses multiple ways of using Painter’s powerful tools, including some great shortcuts. Sholin writes in an easy to understand tone so readers won’t feel overwhelmed. She offers step-by-step instructions for painting from multiple sources, portrait painting, and mixing media in one image. The book includes techniques for digital photo painting of portraits, landscapes, still life, and an entire chapter dedicated to flowers. Dozens of examples, screenshots and tips are included throughout the book.

Whether you want to add a realistic painterly effect or go wacky with color, this book will show you how.

Examples of different ways you can “add to” your images with digital borders—complete with instructions—shows readers a great way to add a little “oomph” to their final images.

Sholin also includes examples of painterly photographs from other pros, which is great, because it shows varied styles and techniques that different photographers specialize in.

I love the look of images that have been enhanced with Corel’s Painter software or other such digital photo painting techniques, and as I photographer, I want to be able to create such masterpieces of my own. After reading The Art of Digital Photo Painting; Using Popular Software to Create Masterpieces, I’m not intimidated anymore. In fact, I’m more excited than ever about working on my digital painting skills.

If you’ve thought that you couldn’t turn your photographs into digital paintings, buy this book—the $19.95 will be money well spent.

To see more of Marilyn Sholin’s work, go to her website at www.marilynsholin.com. To learn more about Corel Painter software, go to www.corel.com.

Share

Book Review: Ellie Vayo's Guide to Boudoir Photography

By Diane BerkenfeldVayocover

Have you thought about adding Boudoir photography to the other services your studio offers but was unsure of how to go about doing so? Then Ellie Vayo’s Guide to Boudoir Photography is just what you’re looking for. The book, published by Amherst Media (www.amherstmedia.com; ISBN 978-1-58428-253-2) retails for $34.95.

“Boudoir photography is more than posing and lighting; its about building confidence, trust, and of course, producing the highest-quality art,” Vayo explains. And her book is filled with helpful information regarding all aspects of boudoir photography. The author includes an important chapter on “The Psychology of the Woman” to help the reader understand their clients better.

Within the pages of her book, Vayo shows the reader how to create glamorous, flattering images of any woman—regardless of her age, shape or size. “My ideal client is in her forties,” Vayo says in the book. These are established career women with the income to purchase high-end photography. This is so important, especially from the point of view of a photographer looking to add a specific type of photography to their business. Not all clients will look like models, so you really need to know how to best shoot women of all body types.

The book is a comprehensive volume from marketing boudoir photography services, how Vayo books jobs and sells/upsells clients, as well as posing women with different body types.

She points out the importance of shooting without distraction of studio personnel, or family members/friends. And she notes that male photographers should definitely have a female assistant present to alleviate concerns that clients may have about posing in the nude or semi-nude.

One of the great things I like about Vayo’s tone throughout the book, is that she understands that not all professional photographers have the access to large budgets for props and backgrounds. She offers tips from her own past experience—for finding inexpensive items that can be used—while you are building your studio business. One of these tips is that you don’t need a wind machine when a hair dryer on the “cool” setting will do.

She discusses various settings that can be used for these images, using sets or backdrops, window lighting, and outdoor settings, including location shoots.

Numerous images are peppered throughout the book, showing the wide range of imagery that makes up boudoir photography. While most folks would think of nudes as the definition of boudoir photography, many beautiful boudoir photographs feature women wearing clothing or draped in fabric. Even the creatively posed headshot of a woman wearing little clothing, and with a seductive expression is a boudoir image.

Although much of the boudoir photography that Vayo shoots is of female clients, she does on occasion photograph guys too. In these cases, she makes sure to have a male assistant with her. Regardless of whether the subject is a man or woman, Vayo recommends meeting with your boudoir clients beforehand for a consultation. This is a great suggestion and can help you immensely in capturing the ideal images for your customers.

As well as the sections on shooting, Vayo spends a great deal of the book explaining how she markets her boudoir photography, client booking, as well as how her studio presents proofs and final images to clients.

The author includes information on post-production, from the standpoint of enhancements that clients may ask to be made to their images, such as retouching away years. She also includes examples of various software techniques that can be used to create finished images, and the software that her studio uses.

Ellie Vayo’s Guide to Boudoir Photography is a definite read if you’re interested in adding this niche to your studio’s photographic offerings.

To see more of Ellie Vayo’s work, check out her website at www.evayo.com.

Share

Book Review: Sculpting with Light

allisonearnestcover

By Diane Berkenfeld

With her first book: Sculpting With Light, Techniques for Portrait Photographers, (Amherst Media, www.amherstmedia.com ISBN: 978-1-58428-236-5) author and pro photographer Allison Earnest eloquently begins by explaining why we as photographers use light to sculpt our portrait subjects. She goes on to explain the physics behind light, for the scientific view of how light—its intensity and color—helps us create our photographs.

Earnest discusses the types of light: natural ambient illumination, strobe (studio and on-camera flash) as well as hot lights. She also touches on techniques for capturing great portraits on location, softening harsh sunlight, the use of flash-fill in daytime photographs, as well as mixing artificial and ambient light in the evening. The author touches on lighting ratios and why it is so important when using digital capture to get it right in the camera.

The author explains in detail how to use dimensional lighting to sculpt a portrait. She covers the basics of portrait lighting and then explains the different lighting set-ups and poses to use to flatter your subjects while minimizing distracting facial features. Earnest includes a list of distracting features that your clients will likely want minimized and explains the lighting and posing you should use for each, for a more flattering portrait. Examples are included throughout the book, often showing both the more flattering way of capturing your subjects and the not so flattering way so the reader can compare the images and build an understanding of why certain techniques work. The book also incorporates many lighting diagrams and illustrations showing where the light falls on the subject(s).

Earnest muses about finding a subject’s inner light and bringing it out in a portrait—the goal of the professional photographer. Being able to do that effectively, sculpting light creatively to flatter your subject is what makes the difference between an amateur picture taker and a professional portrait photographer.

In addition to showcasing the basics of lighting, Earnest also explains the different qualities of light and how they allow a photographer to sculpt their subjects with illumination.

Earnest shows how lighting and posing work hand-in-hand to flatter a subject’s features. She also talks about how clothing choices can improve a portrait, and shows examples.

Earnest touches upon the technique of painting with light, one of the more unique ways to light your subjects. She explains how it is done and shows examples of images that were captured by painting the subjects with light from flashlights or other constant light devices during a long exposure. The photographs that Earnest uses to illustrate this technique are absolutely beautiful.

I would have liked it if the author spent more time discussing this technique, as it is such a unique way of creating beautifully sculpted images and is a subject not often talked about in great detail in books on lighting.

Earnest discusses the technical aspects of photographic lighting in a way that is easily understood by the reader. And she incorporates commentary on why certain aesthetics make for a better photograph—for a more rounded volume on the subject of lighting. Much of the book contains the author’s photographs, however for the section on ambient lighting, she also includes images by other pros that illustrate techniques used to turn harsh daylight into soft dimensional illumination.

Whether you’re just beginning your photographic career or want to brush up on lighting techniques you don’t often use, check out Allison Earnest’s Sculpting with Light and you won’t be disappointed. The price is $34.95.

For more information on Allison Earnest or to see more of her work, check out her website at www.allisonearnestphotography.com.

Share

Book Review: The Art of Pregnancy Photography

PregnancyPhotogBookCoverBy Diane Berkenfeld

Buffalo, NY-based book publisher, Amherst Media, (www.amherstmedia.com) publishes photography books, covering a variety of topics, educating photographers in learning what is involved in genres they may not be familiar with but want to add to their businesses. One of the titles published in 2008 is The Art of Pregnancy Photography by Jennifer George (ISBN: 978-1-58428-218-1).

Maternity photography—photography of the expecting mother-to-be in her glowing beauty—is a growing market that many portrait and wedding photographers are adding to their offerings. Many of these photographers, though certainly not all, are new moms themselves who have discovered the beauty of maternity portraits.

Jennifer George, an award-winning photographer based in San Diego, CA authored The Art of Pregnancy Photography to share with other photographers how to go about adding maternity photography to their businesses. The book, written for the advanced photographer, discusses the artistic and aesthetic aspects of maternity photography.

Annie Leibovitz’s infamous portrait of a nude, seven-months pregnant Demi Moore, on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine in 1991 greatly affected how Americans respond to such portraits—to the point that we’re now comfortable seeing and displaying these tasteful images in our homes.

The use of lighting to flatter the female form in addition to explaining how props such as flowing fabrics allow you to create beautiful portraits that show the mom-to-be but also allow for creative partial or full nudes to be captured that are quite artistic. She discusses flattering lighting on location as well as in the studio, which is helpful to the photographer who doesn’t normally shoot with artificial lighting.

George is thorough in her coverage of the genre—from discussing the aspects of adding maternity portraits to your existing business, how to go about soliciting clients and building a relationship so you become their photographer for all life events, to which types of poses work well, how to blend the lines between single portraits and add the husband or partner, and other children.

One of the most important aspects to Maternity photography is the photographer’s ability to connect with the client/subject as well as the mom-to-be’s comfort being photographed. George explains this and continues throughout the book, not only displaying examples of her own imagery but incorporating captions that explain the technical challenges of the specific images shown.

Capture alone is not the only way to create such beautiful images as the ones displayed in the volume. George talks about the way that Photoshop can help a photographer take their images to a new artistic level.

She also offers examples and suggestions for post-production manipulation techniques and includes screenshots and detailed instructions. These serve as an added educational aid, which is important because not only does she show final images, but explains in detail how they were created.

One of the most helpful parts of the book is the section on marketing and sales. George explains what types of final items clients are often likely to purchase. This is important to know, because these images, while beautiful, may not always be appropriate for display in a living room. She also goes into the tips photographers can use to build a mom-to-be client into a client for life. Such programs include the ‘First Year of Life’ Line, how to integrate baby portrait settings; as well as where to advertise to potential clients.

Another great part of the book is the section where George talks with nine other pro photographers about their perspectives on pregnancy portraits. By including the views of other photographers, the book is more well rounded and not just a solitary viewpoint from the author.

If you’re contemplating adding Maternity portraits into your studio’s repertoire, check out The Art of Pregnancy Photography by Jennifer George. The book is packed with information that will be helpful to you, and is well worth the $34.95 pricetag.

For more information about Jennifer George, visit her website at www.jennifergeorgephotography.com or her blog at www.jennifergeorgephotography.wordpress.com.

Share