Working every day as a professional wedding photographer, it’s easy to forget how long it has taken me to learn my craft and the steps along the way. Of course the very best way to learn any aspect of photography is by doing it but days are short, it’s raining here in Kent and above all Christmas is coming. Here are 5 (+1) books that I have read myself and think that nobody wanting to get into wedding photography (or all kinds of photography) should be without.
Let’s start with the basics – taking great pictures
If you have never picked up a camera (or at least a digital camera before) then for your first stop you could do a lot worse than The Digital Photographers Handbook by Tom Ang. I bought this last year as a Christmas gift for a friend who had just bought himself a Canon DSLR. Not only did he find it an incredibly useful book running from the basics of using a camera right through editing and workflow – I found that I just had to “browse” a couple of chapters while wrapping it. It’s very well written and hugely informative – if you’re getting your first digital camera this Christmas or are a little bit confused by all this digital “stuff” then definitely add this to your list!
Understand Exposure by Bryan Peterson. Modern cameras are getting better and better. Metering systems seem to second guess you and produce nicely exposed pictures time after time. Nice ain’t good enough I want to be in control of my pictures and this book will get you right on track. Learn about exposure once and it doesn’t matter how expensive or limited your camera is, you’ll be able to turn out great pictures again and again.
Light: Science and Magic. This is where it gets serious. I wouldn’t recommend this as a beginner’s book but if you want to take your photography further and really understand how to light the trickiest of subjects then this book has no equal. Highly recommended for intermediate to advanced photographers.
And now for the wedding stuff – top wedding photographers tips
Maybe one day I’ll get time to write my own book on wedding photography. In the meantime, here are a couple I’ve read, love and would recommend.
A few years ago, when I was first starting out in wedding photography, I had the opportunity to spend a week with Bambi Cantrell. Bambi works in the US and has photographed many celebrity weddings. At the time, her approach was totally new to the UK and it revolutionised the way I take pictures. This is the book I read directly after meeting her. It’s a great book but a lot of the examples are using film cameras. If you’re more into digital then you may like her book written with Skip Cohen – however I haven’t ye read this one, but I’m sure it’s great too.
Damien Lovegrove is a very well respected wedding photographer in the UK with a background in TV lighting. This book not only covers some of his top tips and ideas for creative lighting at weddings it also almost uniquely covers the business of wedding photography from a UK perspective. Be warned though – when I met Damien I ended up buying £5,000 worth of location lighting equipment…
Next week, I’ll look at books that help you sell your pictures.