Poor as in “not rich”, although a poor as in “not good” photographer might benefit as well!
I’ve been reading a rather lengthy book of late, so we’ve not had any book reviews here for a bit. But in the last couple of weeks, I did squeeze in an interesting, albeit specialized book, Photo Hacks, by Mark Wilkinson and Imogen Dyer. The book would be of interest to people interested in photography; if that’s not you, there’s little point in even trying to remember the name.
Dyer is a young British gal who years ago started a YouTube channel, originally it would seem to basically document her life, like so many… so very many… others who figure their lives are enthralling to people far and wide. But over time, the attractive woman who did some modeling, did more and more of her videos about her modeling. Generally they were with photographer Wilkinson. In time the channel and website that followed became a photography hub, dealing far more with photo shoots and techniques than what teas Imogen liked or her shampoos of choice. A couple of other cute and personable models, Emma and Caitlyn, got involved and Weekly Imogen came to have thousands of subscribers and make something of a star out of photographer Mark. And deliver a steady dose of the best,worst “dad jokes” you’ve ever heard.
So when they decided to venture into publishing, their paperback Photo Hacks caught my eye. It’s much more a “how to” than a gallery-style coffee table book and the thing which makes it really stand out to me is that it is all about tips for making your photography better on a budget. Anyone with a bit of knowledge and a lot of cash … a lot … can get great photo equipment like macro lenses that will focus down to an inch (for instance, a Canon 85mm f1.4L lens would be nice gift for your dearest photographer… at $1599 in most large NYC shops), or rent you great professionally lit studios. Getting similar results with little money is a challenge, and the pair rise to that challenge in the book. It gives you page after page of idea for adding to your photo repetoire spending very little money. Some are obvious – use bed sheets for backdrops, use windows for a nice side lighting for portraits – others are far from. A cut-up cardboard box and aluminum foil to make a pro-quality lightbox? Paper plates to diffuse lights? An old Pringles chip tube for close-up shots? Genius. It also gives you some basic tips on finding good, free locales for photo shoots, how to prepare so one can work quickly and a range of other things useful for a learning photographer. While most of the tips are for those using SLRs, many could be adapted for use with any old digital camera or even your camera phone.
Once again, this is a book which would only interest you if you are at least a somewhat serious photographer. But if that’s you, and especially if that’s you and you’re without the bank account of an Annie Leibovitz, this book is highly recommended, and quite entertaining. I got my copy fairly cheaply online, but as it is British, you’ll probably need to find it that way if you’re here in the land where people selling things on their front lawn are having “yard sales” not “ boot fairs”.