This book by Kathleen Hawkins is an interesting read. It gives you the feeling that you’re actually reading three books in one, one is entitled “How to Switch Your Photography Business to Digital,” the other is “ABC of Digital Photography,” and yes, “Children’s and Family Portraiture.”
Read through the table of contents and see what I mean. Reading the book itself confirms this. Kathleen seemed to have written this for folks who have a photography business but are still reluctant to go digital (are there still such dinosaurs, or am I so late in reviewing this book?), so she offers a sustained and convincing proposition that switching to digital is good and indeed profitable. She goes at length in Chapters 1 & 2 to convince recalcitrants to embrace digital or perish!
Which is not to say that the first two chapters are wasted, because in those, Kathleen also shares with us her insights on industry changes and such matters as copyright, advertising and stock photos from her own experience as a professional photographer (Ms. Hawkins is a member of the WPPI and PPA and has written other books).
Of course, if you’re one of those dinosaurs who still have to make the transition to digital, then those first two chapters are lifesavers indeed.
Then she proceeds to explain the ABCs of digital photography, what equipment to evaluate, how to choose a camera, even enlightening us on the difference between CCD and CMOS sensors and explaining the use of CD and DVD burners.
Chapter 6, Marketing in the Digital Age, is a gem, reflecting Kathleen’s polish as a Business Administration professor. It offers very valuable tips about running a photography business and how to interact with clients. It also offers a no-nonsense discussion on how to create a successful Internet presence, very valuable for photography businesses who want to go online.
All throughout the book, from cover to cover in fact, are lovely photos of children and families. The photos alone are quite inspiring and very instructive. Some captions relate to how those images were achieved, others just relate to what Kathleen wants to tell you in each particular chapter.
Chapter 7 is where the author discusses children’s and family portraiture, planning the shoot from clothes, props, etc. Towards the end of the book is a bonus. Chapter 12 profiles seven professional photographers who offer tips and ideas from their own careers.
So, what do I make out of the book? It’s a distillation of the author’s own experiences as a professional photographer and business person, and it’s not exclusively about photographing children and families. The insights she shares as a professional are very much worth the read.
Plus, the book looks really good.
Digital Photography for Children’s and Family Portraiture by Kathleen Hawkins, Amherst Media, 8 x 11 inches, 127 pages, $29.95 USA, $44.95 Canada
Table of Contents
About the Author
Fear and Procrastination
Commitment to Change
2. Costs versus Payoffs
Increased Artistic Control
Seminars and Conventions
4. Evaluating Equipment
CMOS and CCD Chips
Full Frame Capture Capability
Shutter Response Time
Lens Capability and Accessories
Color Depth/Bit Depth
Price versus Quality
Photo Manipulation Software
Other Useful Software
Video Proofing Tapes
LCD Projector/Digital Portfolio
5. Creating an Effective Digital Workflow
6. Marketing in the Digital Age
Educating Your Client
Show, Don’t Tell
Marketing Tips That Make You Money
7. Planning the Shoot
Props for Children’s Theme Images
Family Portrait Props
8. Digital Capture
Technical and Organizational Modifications
9. Post-Session Production
Saving Your Images
10. Photo Manipulation
Creating a Copy of the Background Layer
Convert Images to Black & White
Convert Images to Sepia
Create a Vignette with the Soft Omni Effect
Convert Images to Watercolor using Procreate Painter
Make Images Part Black & White, Part Color
Use the Gaussian Blur Filter to Achieve Selective Focus
Special Effects Plug-ins
The Monday Morning Filter by nik Color Efex Pro!
The Duplex Filter by nik Color Efex Pro!
Auto FX’s Photo/Graphic Edges Software
John Hartman’s QUICKMats Software
Prep for Proofing
11. Album Production and Assembly
Basic Monitor Calibration with Adobe Gamma
File Prep System
Color Correction – Using Levels, Using Curves, Color Balance
Retouching – Using the Lasso Tool, Using the Healing Brush and Patch Tools
Preparing Files for the Lab
Rotate to Vertical
Burn a CD/DVD
Creating Digital Albums
Saving Your Work
Suggested Proofing Policies
12. Contributor’s Corner
Kevin Richard Reppenhagen and John Eric Dove
Appendix: Digital Process review