Saturday, November 15, 2008

:REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Capture the Portrait: How to Create Great Digital Photos by Jenni Bidner

UPDATE: The lucky winner of this giveaway has been announced! Check it out here.

Like most scrapbookers, with this hobby of mine came a desire to improve my photography and I have read and reviewed several photography books in the past.

My most recent photography related read was Capture the Portrait: How to Create Great Digital Photos by Jenni Bidner.

Jenni is a professional photographer and the author or co-author of over 20 books on photography. Most of her books are related to animal photography, but the cover (yes...I can be a cover judger) and description of this book intrigued me, so I thought I would give it a read.

The book is divided into 10 distinct chapters.

Chapter 1 - Introduction
The very first chapter discussed something that I had never really thought much about before in that there really are many different types of portrait photos. She really tackles the question of "What is a portrait?" and discusses the different types and helps the reader to decipher which they prefer.

Chapter 2 - Photo Fundamentals
This chapter covers topics such as how to hold the camera, digital file format, image quality, and white balance.

Chapter 3 - Portrait Basics
There are several 'rules' that come into play when taking portrait images. In this chapter, Jenni discusses many of those rules and also discusses when to break the rules - my favorite part.

Chapter 4 - Composition
In this chapter, Jenni covers tips for composing your portraits. This is probably one of my favorite areas of photography and one of the things that has most improved the end result of my photographs.

Chapter 5 - Light & Portraits
Any half-way serious shooter knows that light is key to any good photo and this chapter helps you know what to look for and what to avoid when it comes to lighting your photos.

Chapter 6 - Flash & Portraits
Although natural light is generally preferred, flash does have a place in some portrait situations and Jenni give some great tips on when and how to use flash to your best advantage.

Chapter 7 - Portrait Styles
Jenni revisits the topic of the various portrait styles that she touched upon in the introduction. In this chapter, she goes into much more detail in term of how to achieve the style you're working for whether it be a candid portrait, a complete set up or something in between.

Chapter 8 - Posing
Posing can be one of the most difficult parts of portrait photography for many photographers as what looks natural doesn't always feel natural to the subject of your photo. Jenni offers some great advice on posing to get natural looking shots.

Chapter 9 - D-SLR Tips
Although all of the tips and topics in this book can be applied to a point and shoot, this chapter focuses on some specific advice concerning lenses and setting that can help you get the shot you want with an D-SLR.

Chapter 10 - Processing Software
The shoot doesn't end when you click the shutter. This chapter covers over a dozen ways that you can improve your photos after the download.

This book is easy to read and has tons of wonderful portraits throughout which are great inspiration for your own photo shoots. In many places there are also examples of 'good' and 'bad' photos side by sides which really helps the reader to understand the effect of the techniques being discussed.

If you're looking for a book with in-depth technical camera language, this isn't it. It's easy to read and has useful information that you can begin using immediately to help improve your portrait photography.

4.5 STARS!!

??? I am always curious and open to hearing the opinions of others. If you own or have read this book, please feel free to share your opinion of it in the comments below.

Visit the Capture the Portrait: How to Create Great Digital Photos page at You can also read more of my reviews for other recommendations.

Another great giveaway for you ladies!! Simply leave your comment to this post in the following format:


The question, you ask? What is the one thing you struggle with most when it comes to photography?

Leave your comment by Monday, November 17th, 11:59 PM (CST) in order to be considered to win a FREE copy of Capture the Portrait. I will announce and contact the random winner via email on Tuesday.

Upcoming Review:
Modern Memory Keeper: A New Approach To Scrapbooking Your Family Legacy
by Ronee Parsons

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