Saturday, March 20, 2010

Step by Step Wedding Photography, a Review

A friend loaned me a book by Damon Tucci titled 'Step by Step Wedding Photography; Techniques for Professional Photographers,' and I finished it today polishing off the last third of the book in one sitting.  The book is described on the back as follows: "In wedding photography, there are few second chances.  Coming home with professional quality images requires more than just a good eye, it takes a solid plan of action - and the ability to improvise on the spot when things don't go as planned.  In this book, acclaimed wedding photographer Damon Tucci takes you through the process he uses to maximize his efficiency, achieve dazzling results with natural light, make the most of even lack-luster scenes and backgrounds, and come home with the "money shots" every time.  From pre-ceremony  preparations to the last moments of the reception, Tucci walks you through each step of the day, telling you where to be, what to look for, and how to ensure client-pleasing results."

Now that I've totally given the back description of the book in an unimaginative way I will give the excuse that I thought it was a good descriptor of the book and what you are getting.  Unlike some of my competition I really enjoy going beyond the typical 6 hour coverage and fully documenting a wedding day from morning to the wee hours of the night.  It is exhausting, but highly rewarding as well and in my opinion is the only way to truly tell the story of the day.  This book lays it all on the line, telling you what to expect on a full day of coverage.

I go through a lot of books and a high percentage of them are photography related.  While I subscribe to online tutorial sites like Kelby Training, I find that books are my best source of learning as I can have them on hand for inspiration, I can review them at a thoughtful pace, and I can appreciate the images in them in print.  The images in Tucci's book range from technically proficient and somewhat standard wedding fare to jaw dropping and inspirational.  His style of photography isn't a perfect fit for mine, but nor should it be. We all need our own style and he points that out a few times in the book.  The type of gear you use, the lighting you prefer and your photographic art should be your own.

Where Damon's book excels is in laying out the typical schedule, to and fro and goings on of a wedding and the job of photographing that wedding.  He brings you from the beginning to the end of a day in the life of a wedding photographer and drops a lot of tips and hints that are time saving, helpful and will get you organized for the task at hand.  This is really an essential guide for a photographer considering their first wedding job.  But it is also extremely helpful for those that have been doing weddings and are looking to refine their workflow to better handle the very tasking job of documenting a wedding day.  The latter really describes me.  I'm in my second full year as a wedding photographer and some of the pointers in the book will be used in my next wedding.  In particular my struggles with getting through family formals quickly  have been helped tremendously with tips from this book.  While Damon isn't a big proponent of posing (and neither am I) he does give tips around guiding brides and grooms that will help speed things along and get you reliable shots over and over again.

I enjoyed this book.  Thankfully the person that loaned it to me was the other photographer from my studio that I work with so we can revisit it together.  If wedding photography is your gig, or your potential gig, you will be thanking yourself for picking up this book and following some of the tips within it.  Books may not excel at being current, they may not be free, but they are great for reference and idle inspiration and this one fits the bill well.  You can find it in the Amazon link on the top right of this blog.  As Damon would say, this book is the thirteenth donut in a bakers dozen, and that is how we roll.

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