(A little late sneaking this review into July——there just aren’t enough days to blog in June!!)
I bought this book a few months back, flipped through it to look at all of Jose’s beautiful photos, but never really took the time to digest the material inside it. Given that June is (was, since you’re reading this in July) one of my busiest months of the year with engagements and weddings, and because I knew this was a relatively quick read, I thought this was a good month to tackle it. I think the important aspect to this goal of mine (of reading one photo/biz book a month) is to recognize that it doesn’t have to be a BIG book to count or something incredibly dense and wordy. There are still some GREAT take-aways to be had from these pictorial lesson books (and its format reminded me a lot of Bryan Peterson’s “Understanding Exposure” — still my No. 1 recommendation for new photographers wanting to learn how to shoot manual. You MUST read that book!)
Here were just a few of the take-aways I had from Jose’s book (based on the bent-down corners I kept and the notes I scribbled!)
• Think about investing in a video light—I haven’t done this yet, but I loved Jose’s insight into how a few small video lights can be less obtrusive than on-camera flash (do any of you readers use video lights? If so, I’d love a recommendation!)
• Jose’s exposure rules for his style of work: 1) Overexpose 2) Expose for shadows 3) Photograph with aperture wide open—I appreciated how he included all the camera data with his images and gave insight into how he got the exposure.
• Don’t be afraid to shoot in Aperture Priority—while I shoot everything in manual, I found it somewhat reassuring to hear that Jose (expert that he is) keeps his camera in Aperture mode a lot when he shoots. When I find myself second guessing settings, it’s a mode that I need to remind myself is there for me if and when I need it.
• LOVED Jose’s suggestion on how to get a laugh from his bride and groom while photographing them during portraits: Have them kiss, but do it with their eyes closed. “Because their eyes are closed, they always miss, and end up kissing each other’s forehead or eye or chin. Inevitably, they crack up, genuinely laughing at themselves, and that’s the moment I’m looking for.”
And finally, one last tip I put into use from Jose at my wedding last Saturday:
• “Once they reach the last row or pew, I ask them to pause and kiss. I get that shot with my 16-35mm for a wide-angle view of them kissing and everyone behind them standing up and clapping. That is a winning shot right there. I did it as an accident once, and I’ve included it at every wedding I’ve done since.”