We all need a creative spark now and then, something to get the juices flowing and help us muster the energy to get out of bed at 4:30am for that shoot. Sometimes, I hit a creative rut, and when I do, it seems like there is always an excuse not to shoot. Bad light. Too many clouds. No interesting subjects. Or maybe the recession has you down and you can’t take that two-week safari to Africa this year. Well, a good book can cure that and I’m currently reading two that are chock-full of awesome shooting ideas. We all have room for creative improvement, and there’s nothing better than honing our skills or piquing our creativity by reading a good book.
My first read this summer has been Joe McNally’s The Hot Shoe Diaries. All I can say about this book is “wow”. If you are remotely interested in shooting events, weddings, or portraits, this book is an absolute must-read. Throughout this book, you’ll follow world-renowned photographer Joe McNally as he illuminates his subjects and his readers with small flash technology (ie, Speedlights). As the old saying goes, if you can’t bring your party to the light, bring the light to the party. After I read this book, I had to fight the strong temptation to go out and purchase 47 SB-900 speedlights.
Next on my list is Tony Sweet’s Fine Art Digital Nature Photography. You know all those cool filter packs, like Nik Color Efex Pro? I sometimes wonder just what do to do with all those interesting filter effects. Well, Tony knows exactly what to do. In this book, Tony will show you numerous techniques using Photoshop and many other techniques that can be done in-camera (like multiple exposures). If you need to fire up that creative spark, this is one of those books that can get you out of your rut and back in a groove. I highly recommend it!
So even if you can’t get out and shoot this summer, get educated!