Photo Fusion – Book Review

Photo Fusion is a book by Jennifer Bebb that deals directly with integrating audio and video capture into wedding photography coverage.  This is a book written for photographers – specifically, wedding photographers.  The clear goal of the book is to bring experienced photographers up to speed with this new genre of wedding coverage, focusing mainly on adding HDSLR video capture to the wedding day coverage.

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

  1. Stills + Audio
  2. Stills + Audio + Video
  3. The Cameras
  4. Sound Recording
  5. Hardware and Software
  6. Light
  7. Equipment You Might Need
  8. Wedding Day Set Up
  9. Filming a Wedding Day
  10. Fusion and Other Photography
  11. From Camera to Computer
  12. iMovie 09
  13. ProShow Producer
  14. Fusion Online
  15. Fusion to Order

As you can see from the chapter list, Photo Fusion offers a rather ambitious amount of coverage for this topic.  And, frankly, Ms. Bebb pulls it off quite well.

As noted above, Photo Fusion is not a book for the novice photographer.  In fact, there’s very little photographic instruction in the book.  The focus (pardon the pun) of the book is on making the transition from photography coverage at weddings – to photography combined with some audio and video coverage at weddings.

Bebb is not preaching that wedding photographers need to dump photography coverage in favor of video coverage.  To the contrary, the core of Bebb’s message is in adding valuable audio and video content only as a supplement to existing photography coverage.

Additionally, this is not a “how to do everything with an HDSLR” book.  While you may gain valuable insight on using a DSLR in other genres, Photo Fusion specifically addresses weddings, along with some discussion of applying it to engagement and other portrait sessions.

While there is plenty of discussion about gear and technique in the book, Photo Fusion is more about style and vision.  There is a lot of good discussion on how and when to use audio recording on its own and how to integrate that with both photo and video capture.

The great thing about Bebb’s penmanship is that she is speaking from experience.  And while she is obviously not the foremost authority on the use of HDSLR video cameras, she speaks with the authority and genuineness of someone who has made the most of HDSLR video capture in her respective niche.

I was really surprised at the amount of information included in Photo Fusion.  There are a lot of photography books that give a cursory/obligatory “gear” chapter, which mostly serves a filler for the book with very little substantive content.

While there is a “gear” chapter in Photo Fusion, Bebb takes the time to talk about specific pieces of gear and identifies key points of their functionality and why these pieces are important to her.  Additionally, this introduction to gear is reinforced throughout the rest of the book as Bebb references back to these points while discussing when and where to use specific pieces of gear as she walks through a wedding day shoot.

The post-production chapters for iMovie and ProShow Producer were another series of chapters that I didn’t expect the level of detail that I read.  I consider myself a fairly competent iMovie user; however, I admit that I learned a few things through Bebb’s discussion of her iMovie workflow.  While I haven’t used ProShow Producer, the same level of detail is apparent in that chapter as well.

The proof is in the pudding, which you can evaluate with the companion DVD included with the book. This DVD shows off a number of applications of Bebb’s Photo Fusion process.

The companion DVD features Bebb along with her husband Stephen, as they walk you through many of the topics in the book.  You also get to see several examples of real fusion products shot by the Bebbs, along with their commentary on techniques.

Anyone who is looking to get into video capture at weddings or events would do well to pick up Photo Fusion.  Jennifer Bebb has put together a solid resource for this new market of fusion art.

Photo Fusion retails for $39.99.  At the time of this review, you can find Photo Fusion for around $26 on Amazon.com.