Digital Wedding Photography Secrets – Book Review

Digital Wedding Photography Secrets is a book from Rick Sammon.  If you’re thinking, “Wait, Rick Sammon’s not a wedding photographer,” then you would be right.  However, Sammon somehow pulls it off as a general introduction to photographic techniques and principals that apply to wedding photography, as well as ordinary portraiture.  Additionally, Sammon enlists the aid of a pair of experienced wedding photographers to go a step beyond lighting and technique and fill you in on some of the nuances of wedding photography. 

To give an idea of the overall contents of the book, here’s a list of the included chapters:

  1. Rick’s Recipe
  2. Lights, Camera, Computers . . . Action
  3. The Studio Shoot
  4. Weekend Wedding Photographer
  5. Pros Share Their Shooting Secrets
  6. The Woman’s Touch
  7. The Creative Touch
  8. Photoshop Must-Know Info
  9. Photoshop Enhancements

Make no mistake, this book is not an advanced-level reading.  It is a good book for beginners thinking about wedding photography or just starting out assisting.  It will help you organize your thoughts on getting through the wedding, and give you some ideas and inspiration for shots to watch for.

I noted earlier that Sammon is no wedding photographer; however, he is quite an accomplished photographer.  In the early chapters of the book as he discusses some lighting and composition basics of what boils down to “people photography,” he compares images that he shot of non-wedding subjects to wedding subjects pulled from stock photo houses.  While some may criticize Sammon for teaching wedding photography through the use of stock photos, I think he makes a good point of the fact that wedding photography is still people photography.

The book is not without other weaknesses though.  It is a little thin on text – using large photos to take up most of the pages with less text than I would have expected.  Additionally, the chapter “Lights, Camera, Computers . . . Action” is mostly filler with very brief commentary on the types of gear used/recommended, and little advice on why certain pieces of gear are better suited for weddings than others.

As noted above, Sammon hands off some of the finer points on the creative process of shooting an actual wedding to experienced wedding photographers.  In the latter portions of the book, Sammon provides images and commentary from pro wedding photographers one photo at a time.  Then, he hands off a couple of chapters to wedding photographers Stephanie and Shannon Smith as they walk through some specific aspects of their creative process – and this really ties the whole book up nicely.

Sammon wraps up the book with commentary on post production workflow and Photoshop tips.  If you are a Photoshop novice, you will probably find his pointers helpful.  If you already have an established workflow, there’s not a whole lot to offer in those chapters.

To wrap it up, Digital Wedding Photography Secrets is a nice little intro to wedding photography book that you can get through in a few sittings (it’s about 200 pages).  If you’ve been shooting weddings and have any level of comfort with doing so, I would recommend passing on this book for a more advanced one.  If you are a wedding photography novice, then you’ll probably find it worth the $20 street price.  You will likely find some tips and advice on wedding photography, as well as general people photography, that will help make you a better photographer.

At the time of this review, you can find Digital Wedding Photography Secrets for under $20 on Amazon.com.

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