Thursday, September 11, 2014

Photography Book Review - "Your Family in Pictures" by Me Ra Koh

Your Family in Pictures
The Parents' Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits, and Everyday Life
by Me Ra Koh
Published by Amphoto Books
160 Pages
Genres: Nonfiction, Photography, Reference, Hobbies
About this book:
"For parents (especially moms) with little to no photography experience who want to capture better portraits and photos of their families using any camera.
What parent doesn’t want to capture the perfectly imperfect joy of family life through photos? From holidays and vacations to portraits and shared moments, celebrated photographer (and mom) Me Ra Koh not only helps moms and dads take better photos, but inspires them to discover photography as a way to connect with, cherish, and celebrate their family. With forty beautiful “photo recipes” anyone can follow—with any camera—preserving your family’s story has never been easier!"
Your Family in Pictures is a great book for those who tend to leave their camera settings on auto because they don’t have much time to play around with adjusting their camera settings all the time trying to figure out what works, or are not sure what settings they need to set their camera to in order to get the results they want in their photos. I will admit it. I bought a DSLR camera and I almost always leave it in auto mode. After buying it, I had planned on studying more about photography so I could figure out what to set my camera to for the photos I wanted to take, but life got in the way and I haven’t had the time to study photography much, which is why I leave my camera on auto unless I have a few hours to play around with the camera settings and am taking pictures of still objects. But when it came to taking pictures of people, I didn’t know what settings to set my camera to in order to get the best results. Well, that’s were this book is a great book to have. The author provides a lot of tips and information in an easy to understand format to help get the best results with the photos you take of your family (or people in general) whether you’re using a point and shoot camera or a DSLR camera.

Chapter 1 is about setting yourself up for success. It includes tips for finding the best lighting, ideas for getting your family in the mood for taking photos, tips for black and white photos, ideas for candid photos, and more.

Chapter 2 is about developing a photographer’s eye. Some of the things included are tips on how to figure out what type of pictures you like to take and what you look for in your photos, tips on when to shoot in black and white versus in color, ideas to experiment with like taking photos with different colors, textures, shapes, etc., and how to be a storyteller through your photos.

Chapters 3-7 are each focused on different themes that you would take photos for. The themes are Everyday Life, Holidays, Family Portraits, Tweens and Teens, and Family Vacation and Travel. In each one of those themes are different topics related to the themes, such as “Fourth of July” under Holidays or “A Day at the Beach” under Family Vacation and Travel. Each topic has a “photo recipe” listed which includes helpful information on how to take great photos relating to the topic selected. Each photo recipe lists when to take the photo, how to prep for the photo, what settings to put your camera on for both point and shoot and DSLR cameras (aperture, iso, shutter speed, etc.), how to compose the photo (the best lighting, angle, framing, etc.), and how to capture your photo (what to focus on). There are also example photos for each topic with the settings the photographer used to get the photo listed next to it.

Also included in the book is an appendix with tips on choosing a camera and the differences between point and shoot and DSLR cameras, as well as an index in the back of the book.

I like how the author has taken most of the guesswork out of figuring out what settings to put my camera on when I want to take a certain type of photo. For example, if I want to take a photo of a Christmas tree all lit up with lights, I can go to that topic in the book and set my camera settings to the settings listed in the photo recipe. I may need to make some minor adjustments, but it’s great to have a good starting place to begin with rather than not having any idea about what to set my camera to and missing out on a great photo because of taking too much time to figure out settings. I also like that her focus in this book is capturing your family’s story in your photos. As a scrapbooker, that is something that’s important to me as that is what scrapbooking is about: capturing and preserving your family’s story and memories. Overall, this is a great book for novice photographers who want to take their cameras off of auto mode and learn how to take better quality photos.

*I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

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