Photographing Your Family
, By Joel Satore with John Healey.
I originally picked up this book to help me get more creative with the day to day shooting of events in my family. Sometimes, the hardest pictures to take are with the subjects you see everyday. And for that reason alone, the book did not disappoint. The book is written by John Healey who acts as the voice of Joel Satore, who is a fantastic photographer. John Healey’s writing is captivating and pleasant to read.
The writing is strong and the photographer just as intense. This man takes his pictures very seriously. In one section he describes trying to take a picture of a butterfly captured between Plexiglas with a plane in the background. He waited three days at an airport to take that shot. This was a bit shocking for me: the ability to cut and paste that wee butterfly into the picture would have taken me about two minutes in Photoshop. But then again, I’m no purist. This is a man that leaves cameras around his house to capture those spontaneous family moments. I’m lucky if my camera and flash card are in the same location at my house.
The first chapter section will leave you feeling somewhat cringing with shame if you’ve ever been guilty of lining up your relatives and asking them to pose in what he terms the ‘bowling pin’ line up. Yet he rescues you out of this pit of self flagellation to give you great suggestions for the next 60 pages on how to see your family differently. Indeed, you will learn how to perceive the image from angles and compositions you may not have previously even thought of.
The rest of the book gives a great basic introduction to such topics of post production techniques (using photoshop), printing and storing your photographs and choosing your equipment.
Another welcome aspect to this book are the images feature your average, normal people. They are not professional models – they are close to the type of people you actually see day to day. It’s a refreshing change to the multitude of ‘pretty people’ you see in many photography books.
I would highly recommend this book for amateurs who are either just beginning to think that they would like more from their photography, to intermediate photographers who need some creative punch in their family shots. Better yet, buy this book for your Aunt Betty who always makes you line up every Thanksgiving for the prerequisite family ‘shot’.