Sunday, April 12, 2015

Capture the Moment

Sarah Wilkerson, CEO of Clickin Moms, has compiled a photographic guide that will help open your eyes to the beauty of life--not just those high points everyone thinks about (weddings, birthdays and other milestones) but ordinary days of family life.

While I consider myself an inexperienced camera user, I can certainly appreciate a good photo and wish I could better capture the moments in our family's life.  My 15 year old daughter seems to have the knack that eludes me and I thought this book would give her some helpful tips for getting the best possible pictures out of our mediocre camera.  After perusing this book, I think there is hope for even me as Wilkerson condenses volumes of photographic wisdom into bite-sized pieces on each page.

From the very first page, readers are treated to magnificent photos. The title page, the copyright page, the table of contents page are all first and foremost gorgeous photos that create the focal point for each page.

The book is comprised of six chapters that cover the following topics:

  • Natural Light
  • Composition
  • Storytelling
  • Fine Art
  • Black & White
  • Low Light
What makes this book so fabulous is that it can be utilized on many different levels.  This book is so absolutely gorgeous, it can be appreciated on the most basic level as a showcase for photographic talent.  Now if you actually want to grow as a photographer, this book is genius in that within each section, photos are arranged by skill level--from beginner to advanced. So for someone just beginning, they will find tips and instructions for improving in each content area with some photos that exemplify the concept.  Later in each chapter, more advanced techniques are available for the more experienced. 

I love the format of the photo being the main focus on each page spread. Each page is bordered simply in white with a succinct explanation of how the shot was created or an explanation of the concept.  But for the more advanced photographer interested in experimentation or replicating as closely as possible, information is also provided regarding specific camera, lens, aperture, shutter speed and ISO for the image shown.

If not all of those terms are familiar to the starting photographer, Capture the Moment includes a very helpful photographer's reference with terms defined and explained.  It's a great little resource for new people (tucked in the back where it won't bother those who don't need it).

At the end of each chapter are "creativity exercises"  that vary in difficulty so that any skill level can find a way to apply the concepts within that particular chapter and topic.

I love how this book makes photography accessible to everyone.  There is something that will appeal to everyone whether you enjoy capturing people, scenery, food, animals, flowers, or just random objects.  Each photo caption includes photo credit and at the back is an alphabetized listing of each photographer as well as information about them and their website. With over 100 photographers contributing, the amount of inspiration from visiting all of those sites is truly mind boggling!

I can see this book as a great tool for any hobbyist of photography. I also think the book would make a great textbook for a homeschool photography class or even a project to undertake as a family. Then create a scrapbook of all the completed creative assignments.  What an awesome portfolio of work that would make!  Or how about a gift for new parents to give them ideas for capturing all the moments to come.

Hot off the press in April 2015, you can purchase Capture the Moment from Random House for $21.99. Your purchase will not only benefit you in the knowledge you gain, but it will also benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities because Clickin' Mama is donating 100% of the profits to this worthy cause. How awesome is that?!?

You can read a brief bio of the author here.  And for more tips and support, join the Clickin Moms Facebook community.  If you happen to live within range of San Antonio, you may want to consider attending Click Away, a photography conference coming to that area in October 2015.

Grab your camera, this book and start capturing the moments of your life!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The World Needs More Love Letters: All-in-One Stationery and Envelopes

Just as a clean and beautiful kitchen inspires culinary creativity, a fresh and beautiful piece of stationery inspires written creativity. The most mundane retelling of life suddenly becomes a thing of beauty when penned on lovely paper. This book contains 40 self-mailers (in eight designs) and includes enough circle stickers to secure the open sides of each letter. Pages rip out with amazing ease. Not sure who to write to?  The author includes 40 suggestions on letters to write inside the front and back covers.

Like many others, I have let my letter writing fall by the wayside as e-mails and texts have replaced more time-consuming snail mail. I enjoy re-reading letters from dear friends and seeing their unique handwriting and I'd like to think when I take the time to send a real letter that it has the power to encourage, inspire or comfort where needed.

For those wanting to get back into the habit of writing letters, this would be a great help on that journey. Maybe encourage a friend to buy their own and together take the challenge to follow each and every suggestion given: whether writing an apology, a thank you or retelling of some special memory.

Honestly, the pages are so beautiful, you may not want to part with them. In that case, you could leave the letters intact and use the book as a journal that could be letters to God, letters of reflection to yourself, or a place to record dreams for the future. Maybe even a series of love letters for a spouse.

Some other uses: for a high school grad to encourage them to write home (along with stamps!), a series of letters to a college child, letters to write and put in a scrapbook (to your unborn child or to your child as they grow over the years), as a gift to newlyweds to inspire them to write to each other even after they marry, to someone in the hospital to make use of some unexpected down time, for a friend on New Year's to help them with their resolution to write more personal letters, a terminal patient so they can use their remaining time to tell those they love how they feel or make amends where necessary.

The author, Hannah Brencher, wants to start a revolution one letter at a time. Watch her inspiring TED talk and you will definitely want to enlist. At Brencher's amazing website, The World Needs More Love Letters, you can learn more about her mission to encourage others with a handwritten letter. You may want to use some of the stationery in this bundle to write a note of encouragement to one of the featured people on the website. A little background is given and you can write a letter that will be bundled with others to deliver to someone needing encouragement.  What a fabulous way to make a difference!

Published by Potter Style, this book can be purchased directly from Random House for $12.99. Check out the author's bio and sign up for author alerts as well.

Disclaimer: I received The World Needs More Love Letters from Blogging for Books for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.