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Capture the Moment

Since I got into photography as a hobby since 2011, I’ve wanted to learn about composition. Before I even owned a camera with manual settings, I soaked up an entire book on exposure. I learned a bit about composition from that beginner book, but I still felt like I wasn’t quite able to get the shots I really wanted – you know, the ones I could envision in my head. Why wasn’t it working out? I knew something was missing.

I bought a book on composition, but the print was so small and there was so much text that I never did end up reading it. From photography blogs, I picked up tips here and there, but when I heard about this book on Blogging for Books, it sounded like I could learn a few things.

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Capture the Moment features a collection of photos from people just like you and me – hobbyists who seek to capture the moments of everyday life that are worth remembering. It’s less intimidating knowing that all of the photos were taken by women, most of whom are moms!

The book is broken up into several categories, such as Storytelling, Natural Light, and Fine Art. If you hadn’t figured it out by now, I was most intrigued by the Composition section. However, I learned so many things from the Storytelling and other sections that I never would have thought of otherwise!

The unique aspect of this book being written by women is that there is an emphasis on the emotional aspect that photos bring, and that you can put into your own photography. Capturing my emotions doesn’t come naturally to me, by any means, so it poses a worthy challenge for something that I can work on. There are tons of ideas for how to do this in the Storytelling section.

The best thing about this book is how fun and easy it is to read! That sounds silly, but who else besides toddlers get to read a picture book?? Budding photographers, I suppose! Each page features a lovely photo (camera settings included), with just a short paragraph-long tip about how to capture one particular aspect of that photo.

For example, page 58 says, “Minimize distractions: If an element doesn’t add to the image, it probably detracts from it. Exclude or minimize elements that don’t contribute to your story or design. Creative exposure, changed perspective, or selective focus can all help to isolate your primary subject visually within a complex setting.” And includes this photo:

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Note the irony of the background in this photo…ha

Some of the most helpful tips for me were:

Use directional light to give your subject dimension
Observe changing light throughout your home
Take responsibility for every item in the frame
Consider visual progression
Employ chromatic contrast
Seek out patterns
Incorporate narrative conflict
Think about beginning, middle, and end
Incorporate the light
Use photography to explore and express your own emotions
Shoot from unusual positions
Remove or obscure a critical element
…and many others!

All of the tips were intelligent (not blatantly obvious) but explained in a simple, easy-to-implement way. I feel like anyone can use this book and be at a great starting point, with lots of room to grow.

At the end of each section, there are several assignments to practice what you’ve learned. I ended up at Longwood Gardens one day, and focused on capturing the light, telling a story, and bringing out emotions through the image. I ended up with the following… They’re all iPhone pictures, so they may be a little grainy, but I thought about each one a little more intentionally than I normally would have.

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I highly recommend Capture the Moment if you’re a new photographer, or an experienced amateur photographer! You are likely to find inspiration, and some new ideas to add to your craft!

Disclaimer: I received Capture the Moment for free from Blogging for Books, in exchange for my honest opinion.

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