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Book Review: The Luminous Portrait & more..

If you’re anything like me in the off season, you use the winter time to get cozy with a book or two an catch up on some reading. I recently had a short hiatus and found some time to do this a little early and also revamp a few things about my business.

Honestly, thank goodness for Amazon. As a native English speaker living and working in Sweden, it’s hard to get good books in English in the shops, here. I am all for supporting books stores, but it’s so disheartening taking the 30 minute bus trip into the city only to find that there’s been nothing new on the shelves for the last 3 months. Add that to the fact that Amazon periodically has free shipping to Sweden and, well… the deal is done, which is a shame, really. But it is what it is. So, let me share a few selections I recently perused and whether or not they were worth it.

Let’s start with The Luminous Portrait by Elizabeth Messina and Jacqueline Tobin. Released this year, it is by far one of the most gorgeous reads that’s graced bookshelves both real and virtual in a long time. At 176 pages, it’s quite a substantial read for a softcover but it’s filled with delicious, airy images from Messina and informative descriptions on how to “get the look”. Let’s face it, Messina can do no wrong with her imagery, everything she points her Contax at is sure to glow! And that’s what The Luminous Portrait is all about. The glow. How to get that beautiful natural glow in your photography. Granted, Messina is a purist, but you don’t need to be a film shooter to adore this book. It might just inspire you to move back (or move on to) that roll of Fuji or Ilford you’ve been hoarding but too busy or afraid to use… 5 stars from me. A lovely and inspiring read packed with dreamy… wait for it… LUMINOUS… images!!

Also released this year was Tamara Lackey’s Envisioning Family: A Photographer’s Guide to Making Meaningful Portraits of the Modern Family. Don’t let the title fool you, though, you certainly don’t need to be a pro photographer to thumb through this little gem. Although, if you’re not interested in back story then maybe this one isn’t for you. Beginning with a short history of ‘family’, it moves into Tamara’s own family history and her journey to find (and adopt) her children. Much less a technical bible and more a bible of the heart, Lackey’s open-ness and honesty when sharing her story is touching and it melds with her intention for the book to ‘make meaningful portraits’, but at 262 pages this can get a little much, so reading it start to finish in one sitting may not be best. However, piecing it up and allowing it to digest is the way to go. If you think Sandy Puc is emotional… then wait until you read this! Brilliant read for Mums or Dads who are looking to inject some fresh feeling into their work… but it won’t teach you how to use your camera. 3.5 stars.

Sometimes, a light read is on the cards and Paul Arden’s It’s not how good you are, It’s how good you want to be is certainly light. Both in text and in heart. Packed with heaps of little “Ah HA!” moments, Arden’s book is aimed at getting you to see things a little differently. Maybe you’ve had a stale week, or feel like something is missing from your life, business… whatever… Arden offers a few words of encouragement, inspiration and above all, laughs to lighten the mood and get you thinking outside the box. You’ll find yourself nodding along in agreement and even laughing out loud on the bus on your way home from work. File this under Self-Help or Business… whatever… it’s both, and it’s eye opening. Worth the read, for sure. 5 stars.

Lastly, and very disappointingly, but not unexpected, is How to blog your wedding business: A straightforward guide to creating a blog to promote and strengthen your wedding business By all accounts, 100% a business book, but unless you’ve never used a computer and have no idea what a blog is, this is not worth the money for the 53 pages of double spaced “no shit, sherlock” writing that is inside. However, this is made perfectly clear by Gould at the beginning and is aimed at beginners… and like, I’m talking ‘grew up in a cave, never used a computer, never seen CreativeLIVE beginners’… not ‘already shot first wedding, watch CreativeLIVE, already have a blog but no customers beginners’. It’s just not worth it if you’re in this category. I’m sure it’s valuable to some, but there are far better books out there on this topic… and, well, come on… blogs aren’t rocket science. Skip this and invest in a creative/entertaining writing book, instead if you really want some help blogging. Had I seen this book on a real shelf, and not a virtual one, I would not have paid money for it, really. 🙁 1 star.

I’ll be reviewing a few others a little later, including Worth Every Penny by Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck, too. So stay tuned for the next review. Happy reading!

  • Irina Nilsson - December 3, 2012 - 16:47

    Great to get good book tips. Now I just have to order a couple of your recommendations. 🙂ReplyCancel

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