Book Review: Capture the Moment: The Modern Photographer’s Guide to Finding Beauty in Everyday and Family Life, Sarah Wilkerson (2015)

April 20th, 2015 2:34 pm by Kelly Garbato

Love the Creativity Exercises

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Blogging for Books.)

According to its website, Clickin Moms was founded by Kendra Okolita, who wanted a safe place to talk photography with her friends. Over the years, it’s evolved into a “community of over 16,000 professional photographers, aspiring professionals, and women who are simply passionate about capturing the lives of their children.” Written (or perhaps “compiled” is a better word) by company CEO Sarah Wilkerson, Capture the Moment: The Modern Photographer’s Guide to Finding Beauty in Everyday and Family Life is a photography guide that couples tip and tricks with large, bold images contributed by Clickin Moms community members, thus capturing the spirit of the website.

Capture the Moment is divided into six chapters, each focused on a discrete aspect of photography: Natural Light; Composition; Storytelling; Fine Art; Black & White; and Low Light. Each page features one tip paired with an image for illustration; in some cases, the spread takes up two full pages. Along with the photographer’s name, each photo includes information about the camera, lens aperture, shutter speed, and ISO employed in the creation of said image. The result is a photography guide that’s aesthetically pleasing, but sparse on text: nice to look at, but with a minimum of instruction. As a beginner, I found a wealth of inspiration here – but more advanced photographers may be disappointed (or outright bored).

I can’t help but notice that this book has already undergone a revision: Goodreads lists a 2014 edition that was published as Capturing the Moment: Inspiration and Techniques for the Modern Photographer, and in 2015 it was rebranded as Capture the Moment: The Modern Photographer’s Guide to Finding Beauty in Everyday and Family Life. As another reviewer noted, the book is more a list of tips and tricks as opposed to a technical or instructional manual – so I think the new title is much more appropriate.

While it’s true that some of the advice is almost painfully elementary – to use one much-cited example, “turn off your flash: Avoid red-eye and unexpected bright glares by turning off your camera’s automatic flash.” – I don’t think this paints an altogether fair picture. As Wilkerson notes in the intro, “the accompanying tips within each chapter progress from elementary to advanced.” “Turn off your flash” appears on page ten. The advice grows more complex and nuanced from there.

Of course, the advice offered here isn’t specific to photographing kids or even families. While the photos do indeed focus almost exclusively on families, the tips are applicable across a wide range of situations.

I especially enjoyed the creativity exercises found at the end of each chapter (usually three or four, with a moderate amount of guidance). I would have loved to have seen more, but these are likely to keep me busy enough as is.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

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