Capturing the fun and joy of childhood. The giggles,the smiles,and the mischief. One photo at a time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Review: Children's Portrait Photography Handbook (Bill Hurter/Amherst Media 2010)

In the art of photography one is always learning how to see, and how to capture beautifully what they see.
Children’s portrait photography is no different, but I personally think that sometimes photographing children can hold more of a challenge than photographing adults, or landscapes or nature.
True that children seem to switch from one emotion to the next faster than a jackrabbit scared by a fox it seems, but that’s all part of the fun and challenge involved.
Bill Hurter tries to calm the photographers nerves and shine a light on how to go about capturing the beauty of childhood in his book “Children’s Portrait Photography Handbook ” (Amherst Media 2010)
For if the photographer isn’t calm and collected how can the child that is to be the subject of your images be relaxed and ready for a session?
With over 30 years of experience in the  photography field, Bill knows his stuff and explains it in very understandable terms.
Bill takes the photographer through a variety of camera techniques such as lens advice, focusing tips,tips on depth of field,and shutter speeds for outdoors,moving subjects, and handholding of the camera.
He’ll also discuss digital considerations such as battery power on the camera, LCD playback, camera settings,ISO, and contrasts.
You’ll also learn some techniques for studio lighting such as set ups for softboxes and reflectors, and properly positioning your lighting sources.
You’ll also learn valuable tips on utilizing outdoor and natural lighting such as window lighting and how to diffuse it if necessary, and what is the best time of day for photographing a child, and more.
You will also learn what to do when you meet your subject for the first time, and how to properly pose the child, how to work with an assistant, or the mom and dad.
There are many valuable tips on posing children and young adults, newborns, and  babies. You will also learn tips on properly composing your image, clothing ideas for different settings,how to work with the older child, teens and young adults,and also how to present the finished product.
Throughout the book you will find numerous photographs from a number of talented photographers across the nation. With the photographs shown you will also see the tips such as the lens size, exposure time, and type of camera used and other important details on how the image was created. For the pro photographer this added feature is important to garner inspiration for new and tried and true techniques that render amazing results. I really enjoyed seeing how other photographers utilized the light in their images. For me I love to see how the light is captured to bring out the best in a subject. I was not disappointed. I know that I’ll be turning to this book time and time again to garner inspiration and advice in my own work.
If you are a mom wanting to improve your photos of your children, or if you are a professional wanting to garner a bit more advice and inspiration in the art of photographing children then this book is one to add to your collection.
The lessons and tips throughout are invaluable for taking your photographs from mere snapshots to spectacular works of art.


About the Author:
Bill Hurter started out in photography in 1972 in Washington, DC, where he was a news photographer. He even covered the political scene including the Watergate hearings. After graduating with a BA in literature from American University in 1972, he completed training at the Brooks Institute of Photography in 1975. Going on to work at Petersen PhotoGraphic magazine, he held practically every job except art director. He has been the owner of his own creative agency, shot stock, and worked assignments (including a year or so with the L.A. Dodgers). He has been directly involved in photography for the last thirty plus years and has seen the revolution in technology. In 1988, Bill was awarded an honorary Masters of Science degree from the Brooks Institute. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary Masters of Fine Arts degree from Brooks. He has written more than 35 instructional books for professional photographers and is currently the editor-in-chief of Rangefinder and AfterCapture magazines.

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