One part of my job that gets to be a job sometimes is reading. The writing I do requires a lot of research reading. Making purchasing and troubleshooting decisions for Lensrentals requires a lot of research reading. So when I received a copy of Steve Simon’s book The Passionate Photographer: Ten Steps to Becoming Great it sat on my desk for a couple of weeks as ‘required’ reading took precedence. And I’ll be honest, the 10 Steps in the title made me think it was yet-another-cookie-cutter-book-of-photography-shortcuts.
But I took it on vacation last week, to give me something to read during 20 minutes after takeoff and before landing when they make me turn off my electronic gizmos. I planned on setting it back down as soon as I could power my laptop back up. But I ended up reading it for the entire flight. The excellent photos caught my attention early. The writing style was enjoyable and fun. And there were no cookie-cutter answers in here. Just lots of knowledge gained from extensive first-hand experience and shared in an easy-to-read, down-to-earth style. Steve emphasizes the practice and learning that are necessary to becoming an excellent photographer, but at the same time his enthusiasm and passion comes through loud and clear.
It’s a book filled with solid, good advice from someone who has been there, done that, taking photographs all over the world. He shares what has worked well, and what didn’t. (And let me say, Mr. Simon is a much more secure person than I am: he actually prints his rejection letters in the book to demonstrate how important perseverance is. I generally burn mine.) The book covers topics ranging from composition to lighting, from editing to sequencing a presentation, to getting published and shown.
If you’re looking for a great gift for a photographer (or yourself) for the Holidays, I recommend The Passionate Photographer highly. It was the best of both worlds for me: I made notes of some technical tips I want to try, but at the same time thoroughly enjoyed it just as a good read filled with excellent photographs.
As with everything I review, I don't get a dime or quarter or whatever the going rate is if you click through to it. I recommend this simply because I like it and think you might, too. I've linked the title to it's Amazon page for your convenience (and so you can check out the 5-star reviews it gets there and see I'm not the only one who loves this book).
If you don't like reading written reviews, drop by Steve's gallery and get an idea of just how talented he is.