Besides reading blogs for tips and tricks, it’s sometimes also great to refer to handy guides. If you’re looking to get into wedding photography or if you’re already one but always looking for ways to improve then Digital Wedding Photography Secrets by Rick Sammon is a great book to pick up. The book is truly as versatile as wedding photographers need to be and will serve as both as learning guide and refresher to photographers. It’s a great time to talk about it with WPPI happening soon. My review is after the jump.
Sammon is not a wedding photographer, he’s more from the studio world: but he did create this guide using his studio knowledge and that of many wedding photographers. Nonetheless, the knowledge in the book is invaluable, tried and true, and still all very useful.
The book has nine chapters and expands on particular subjects through talking about pointers/tips and briefly expanding upon them all. For example, he starts out with his own recipe to success. In this recipe, he talks a bit about knowing your gear and focuses on particulars with examples. This process continues with other tips as well. For reference, his gear list is essentially the same as mine. When it gets into studio shooting though, he got a whole different set of toys to use.
The book is filled with loads of photos and examples which is really useful to illustrate the points Rick talks about. For example, as we know, most brides prefer the photojournalistic approach to shooting weddings vs the studio approach. Rick shows us just how important getting the correct lighting is in the studio by using reflectors, stands, etc. He also says that you need to get it right the first time and not try to play around as the bride and groom don’t want to see you mess around with lighting.
A way to do this: Rick suggests working with a dummy first.
In addition to that, there’s also loads of post-processing tips. Rick uses Aperture and Camera RAW mostly as well as talking about a couple of Photoshop techniques. All of this is talked about before the actual documentation process is expanded upon.
Chapter 4, Weekend Wedding Photographer, is perhaps the most essential chapter of the book and also the longest. It details everything in the wedding documentary process and gives tips, new approaches, angles of thought, etc. to it all. The excellent thing is that it also promotes creativity in your photography skills. This is always an essential skill to develop so that you can constantly reel in new clients with your portfolio.
After this chapter, it’s mostly photoshopping skills that are detailed.
So what makes this book different than all the others? Well, it’s affordable, fits well into a messenger bag when on the subway for reading, can serve as a reference guide in your bag if on a shoot (and you have a spare couple of minutes) and can also help you with everything you need to know in terms of actually shooting a wedding and getting the finished products out to your client. Where it lacks though is the actual business side of shooting. For that, you’re better off finding another book.
Either way, I totally recommend it.