Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book review - Creative Photography Lab by Steve Sonheim with Carla Sonheim

The introduction alone was worth the price of the book. Explained in detail with easy to understand (and remember) analogies, are the usually dreaded manual controls, f-stops, aperture, exposure, lighting, shutter speed, depth of field, ISO, etc. I have never completely understood these things. Till now. After putting these principles to use and doing several of the labs from this book, I am now a better picture-taker! More creative. Confident. Higher quality photos. And relaxed enough to let my own style shine through.

There are 52 labs (fun, creative learning experiments) organized into 6 units. Each lab is on a two page spread, so you don't have to turn the page to view the whole exercise (love that). And Bonus - You can use your DSLR, your PAS or your smart phone!
Each lab contains:
A short materials list (for the mixed media projects) or a "settings to use" for your camera.
Short and to the point instructions with stunning visuals.
Quotes that are relevant to the lab exercises, from Jerry Seinfeld to Mark Twain.
Gobs of tips, tricks and techniques to try, things that I never would have thought of.

Each unit ends with a mixed media project by Steve's wife, Carla. Carla Sonheim is the author of "Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists", another book I have and highly recommend.

You could easily do one lab per day. At the end of 52 days I expect to have a real grasp of my camera and shoot like a pro. But I like the way Steve puts it best, "The goal isn't to learn how to take pictures like a professional, but to learn how to take pictures like you!" And that is the essence of this book

Some of the things I have learned so far:
Lab #33 - Self Portrait

Instead of his usual Charlie Chaplain or daffy duck avatars, this young man wanted a personal photo that would reflect his interests to use on social media sites. Mission accomplished!

Using information from the introduction and a couple of the labs, I am now taking better photos of my artwork, an unexpected bonus. Thanks, Steve!
You can buy Steve's book on Amazon