Washington DC Wedding Photographer: Stephen Gosling Photography
The first thing I want to say is that I am under no illusion that people read my blog, let alone other photographers. I in no way think that the way I do things is the correct way and I am not writing these posts to tell people how to shoot or how to run their businesses. I am however going to be writing about my experiences; my failures, my successes, etc. If these posts help anyone, great! If not; no big deal.
That being said…
I’ll be honest. I left the writing of this post a little later that I should have and the idea came to me very late, but, I actually like it, because I think it shares a good point.
I am by no means perfect (don’t get me wrong; I’m awesome!). Nor is any photographer. If there is a photographer out there who says that they know everything, and that they have nothing else to learn, then that photographer should retire. There is always new stuff to learn, and to see and to do. We (as photographers) are lucky enough to work in an ever evolving profession where equipment and techniques change and develop and improve constantly. And to help us through that are books! See I got there in the end…
So this post is just a little about some photography books I have and why I think they’re helpful. Not all of them are wedding related. And they don’t have to be. Some are business books, some are portrait books, and others are just books by incredible photographers.
These are actually books that I had when I was college back in England. One of the reasons that I wanted to become a photographer was National Geographic. And Steve McCurry (above left) is one of the most amazing portrait photographers to ever have worked for Nat Geo. The image of the Afghan Girl on the cover is one of his most famous images and if you don’t know who he is; GOOGLE HIS ARSE THIS MINUTE! The books on the right here are small books that were cheap to buy (which was imperative when I was in college). They are made by Phaidon and were part of the Phaidon 55 series of AMAZING photographers. I was very in to black and white printing when I was in college and basically lived to be in the darkroom. Printing my images was such a part of my process back then and I kind of miss it now. But I still go to these books from time to time and look at the incredible monochrome imagery for inspiration.
The two books above are about lighting. Using off-camera strobes and getting amazing affects. The book on the left is by Zack Arias and the book on the right is by Joe McNally. Both amazing photographers, who produce stunning work time after time. And if you’re looking for some good blogs to check out, theirs should be on top of your list.
Now for some wedding books. Jose Villa (book on the left) is a film photographer who produces STUNNING photographs. I have been following his work and have been an admirer of his style for a long time now. He produces dreamy images and his book not only explains how he makes said images but also how he runs his business. Definitely a book I go back to often. The book on the right is a general technique book and is always a good place to go to refresh myself.
Business books. John Harrington‘s book above right is a hefty read. It’s not a picture book. It’s a BUSINESS book. It tells you all about contracts, invoicing, and 900 other things you should know about running a photography business. I have never sat down and read it cover to cover, but when I need to do something business related; I find the chapter about it in this book and start from there. How-to books; above right you’ll see Photoshop and Lightroom books. I am on further versions of the software now but these books were very helpful to me when learning the programs and occasionally still help me when I get a little stuck.
Both of books above are about marketing, promotion and running your business. Not wedding specific, more aimed at commercial photographers. But their lessons hold true to all photographers. Again books that I go back to a lot.
On Photography by Susan Sontag. This one is a real read. It is a book I had to read for college and is all about the theory, purposes and applications of photography. It’s a bit of a slog to read it but one that I was glad to have made. And then last but not least is another wedding specific book which has helped me develop my shooting style, things like timelines and contracts and all other things weddingy.
Moral of the story… I guess is that you should always be looking for new inspiration and new things to learn to help yourself grow as a photographer and as a business person. Now go back to your day and do some real work!