Reviews

Books that Inspire, Motivate and Educate Photographers

Regardless of whether you are just starting out or you’ve been in the photography business for years, it is important to stimulate your mind, replenish your motivation reservoir and improve your skills. One of the best ways to do that, is reading (or listening to audiobooks). The following list includes a few of the books we’ve read this year and a few that were suggested by our readers. Most are not even photography books but are more creative, inspirational or business oriented. We would love to grow this list so please submit your favorite books that inspire, motivate and educate using the  form at the bottom of the page.

Photography


Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer

Going ProGoing Pro is the essential guide to leaping successfully into any genre of professional photography. Industry powerhouses Scott Bourne and Skip Cohen share invaluable advice on defining your niche, putting together a portfolio, pricing and showing your work, marketing, positioning your brand, and, most important, building an online social media platform from the ground up.

 


For the Love: An inspirational Guide and Adventure into Photographing Your Family

For the LoveA personal and inspirational guide and adventure into photographing your family and inviting time to breathe, time to love, and time to embrace what you have. An invitation to explore your creativity, whilst also recording the moments that your heart tells you that you must.

‘For The Love’ is for anyone who loves photography, as it is a gentle reminder that we need to slow down, record, and remember these precious days.


Fine Art Wedding Photography

Fine Art Wedding PhotographyA guide to the next big thing in wedding imagery that shows wedding photographers of various levels how to evolve past photojournalism to the higher-end, more stylised look brides want, with specific design, composition, posing and lighting techniques that makes any bride’s wedding photos look like the pages of a glossy lifestyle magazine. Thanks to Abundant Life Images for the suggestion.

 


Motivation/Inspiration


Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve JobsBased on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.


 
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything


The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the Element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve at their highest levels. With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility. Drawing on the stories of a wide range of people, including Paul McCartney, Matt Groening, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Bart Conner, he shows that age and occupation are no barrier and that this is the essential strategy for transform­ing education, business, and communities in the twenty-first century.


The Gifts of Imperfection

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough,” and to go to bed at night thinking, “Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.”


Have a Little Faith: A True Story

Have a Little Faith is a book about a life’s purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man’s journey, but it is everyone’s story.The book follows the spiritual journeys of three men—a suburban rabbi, an inner-city pastor and the author himself.

 

 


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Announcing Crave Design

Crave Photography launches their new photography design site today featuring inspired design templates and marketing tools. To celebrate the grand opening, Crave Design  is offering an amazing giveaway –one of everything in the store!! And until October 8, save 25% off on all design items. Go check it out at cravemydesign.com

Crave Design

Review: Damien Symond’s Clean Processing in Raw Class

Disclaimer: Damien Symond’s Clean Processing in Raw class was provided to me free of charge in order to write a review.  I do my best to provide you with a fair and accurate review and opinions stated are my own.

Damien Symond’s Clean Processing in Raw Class


If you’re a photographer moving from JPEG to RAW and need help understanding the editing process with RAW photographs, then you should consider taking Damien’s class. A $75 class consisting of informational slides using Facebook as a platform, Damien walks you through what each slider in ACR/Lightroom does as well as help you understand basic RAW workflow.

If you want to try out the class, the first module is free.

Platform, Ease of Use, Support

The class is hosted on Facebook as a platform, so you have to be Facebook friends with Damien in order to gain access to the class. I’m not a huge fan of having to do this (even though Damien and I were Facebook friends before I took the class) but once I got into the class, I actually felt it was a great way to set up his class: you can see how many slides are in a module, you can see questions from other students as well as Damien’s answers, and since Facebook is something most people use, it was fairly intuitive.

To start, Damien sends you a message with the table of contents of the class as well as a PDF workflow chart (one of the best things about the class is the PDF chart you receive). You simply click on each link in the table of contents to get through each of the 11 modules.

Each module is well-written and easy to read. Damien writes in a conversational tone that makes even the most technical thing easy to understand. In addition to written modules, some have videos where you can watch Damien going further into the topic.

In addition, if you have any questions, Damien promptly answers all of your questions. Although I have yet to ask a question, he’s always been incredibly responsive to my e-mails.

The Class/Information Presented

For RAW shooters

Even if you’ve been shooting in RAW for a while and in general, have a pretty clean processing style, this class is a great way to fill in whatever gaps of knowledge you may be missing. For me, I’ve been shooting in RAW for as long as I’ve done photography professionally and it was really helpful for me to see how I should be editing my photographs: which order I should be moving the sliders in Lightroom and why. It was also helpful for me to see his ideas behind the “perfect white balance” and “perfect skin tone.”

So, even if you’re comfortable with editing RAW photographs, this class is a great way to reinforce ideas and fill in gaps of knowledge.

For Beginners

If you are a beginning photographer, this class is a MUST. Inspire Me Baby receives a lot of submissions for features that are supposed to be a photographer’s BEST work and you would be surprised at the number of submissions we receive that don’t have the basics down like exposure and/or color balance. Damien’s class is a wonderful way to understand the basics of editing RAW and in a sense, what a good, basic photograph should look like.

If you’re comfortable shooting with your camera and have a calibrated monitor, taking Damien’s class should be your next step to help you understand what you’re doing when you’re editing (in RAW).

Time

The beauty of online classes is that you can do it when it’s convenient for you and Damien’s class is no exception. The materials are available to you for 12 months, which I hope is plenty of time to get through the class!

I was able to get through the modules in a day but now need to go back and take the time to apply the concepts I learned to my own RAW workflow.

Overall

Damien’s class is well-written and well-presented with a LOT of useful information without the fluff. The class in addition to being able to ask Damien questions, our “Photoshop master,” is definitely worth the $75.

For more information, please visit Damien’s website.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Boda Bag vs. Shootsac – THE SHOWDOWN

Thinking about a camera bag? There are so many choices out there ~ hopefully I can help you figure out what works for you before you spend some $$ (like I did :( ). Here is my review of the Boda bag vs. Shootsac. Note: This review is for the first generation of the Boda bag but can probably apply to the new one.

The things I carry in my bag: 2 lenses, Bottle of water, Memory cards, Wallet, iPhone, Business cards, Keys, 6 camera batteries, 16 AA batteries, Lens cap (when shooting).

WINNER: BODA BAG

The Boda Bag has a pocket for everything I need for my portrait sessions and weddings. Pens, business cards, memory cards each have a designated spot. Once I started using the Boda, I designated certain pockets for my wallet and cell phone. I ALWAYS knew where everything was. If whatever I was looking for wasn’t in that pocket, I would panic.

When I switched to the Shootsac, yes, there are pockets, but nothing to differentiate one from the other. Although I tried to designate pockets for batteries and my wallet, etc., when I’m in a rush, one thing might end up in a completely different place. This leaves me a little disorganized and ALWAYS rifling through my bag to find something. Plus, I had to purchase a memory card holder just so I had a place to keep my memory cards from falling out. Speaking of falling out, there have been one too many times I thought I lost my cell phone because it might have slipped out of the Shootsac.

WINNER: SHOOTSAC

The Boda Bag is definitely bulkier than the Shootsac. One of my biggest complaints when shooting an 8 hour wedding is how much my shoulders ached at the end of the day. I also always had trouble squeezing between the chairs at a reception when shooting a wedding. I hated this since I like to be as fast and mobile as possible. Too many times, my Boda would smack guests in the head. Probably not good.

The Boda bag also boasts that it can be worn around the waist, which is the reason why I bought it in the first place. Boooo on them as the waist strap they provided was too big for me. I guess I’m not an average sized girl by Boda standards.

The Shootsac lives up to its promise that it conforms to your body. The weight and conforming features is what I love most about the Shootsac. Makes a lot of difference at the end of the day of an 8 hour wedding. And no smacking guests in the head anymore.

WINNER: SHOOTSAC… BUT NOT BY MUCH

Without any discounts, the Boda bag (v3) sells for $195 and the Shootsac sells for $170.

Actually, it depends on what your needs are. If practicality is important to you, then go with the Boda bag. If comfort and style are important, then go with the Shootsac. For weddings where you NEED to be efficient, the Boda bag is probably a better consideration for you. (I seriously hate rifling through the Shootsac for stuff.) For portrait and engagement sessions, the Shootsac is a great bag.

Do you know any other great bags? Do you have Kelly Moore’s bag? Jill-E? Epiphanie? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.