Book Review: Your Family In Picutres

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I tend to be a documenter. I was the girl in high school who was taking pictures at the football games on Friday night- and not just because I was the yearbook editor. I genuinely love to take pictures of life. College was another great time for taking pictures, what with new friendships forming and an endless supply of time on our hands. Then, there were the early years of marriage. Photos from this time consists mainly of pictures of our cats and newlywed couple selfies. Whatever, they were cute (and so were we). And now, I have a family and two little girls. I have to restrain myself not to document their every breath. I know each moment is precious and fleeting, and I want to capture it to the best of my abilities. Enter my amazing husband at Christmas 3 years ago. He bought me my first DSLR camera and I've been in love ever since. Originally, he bought it for me so that I could hone my craft on our oldest daughter who was just about 7 months old at the time.  What a great age for practicing camera settings and lighting balance!

I am not a home-cooked photographer who thinks I've now gone pro because I have basic knowledge of f-stops and photoshop. I am constantly learning and have a long way to go before I would even call myself "good." But ultimately, I want to use my photography to bless others through an organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. You can read more about them on their website, but they are an amazing organization. That said, I have a lot to learn and truly enjoy practicing and experimenting with photography. This is why I was so excited to read Me Ra Koh's book, Your Family In Pictures!

First of all, the book is GORGEOUS. Brimming with photos from Me Ra and many other people, nearly every page showcases a brilliant photograph. If you've ever read Me Ra Koh's blog, you know what an incredible woman she is. She isn't just a photographer. She's a mother, a wife, a writer and a survivor of several painful seasons of life. One of her great passions is to empower women-- especially moms. Her genuine, multifaceted heart comes across loud and clear in this book, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. Each page is filled with not only perfect "photo recipes" (as she calls them), but with encouragement and a call to be brave behind- and in front of- the lens.

The book is full of helpful tips and practical advise for turning the most common moments into captured masterpieces.  For instance, who knew that when taking Halloween photos, asphalt can be the perfect surface for bouncing soft light off of your subject??  And that oh-so-elusive glowing Christmas tree shot? Yep, she's got a recipe for that in this book, too. But my favorite section of this book is the one about family portraits. Probably fitting, given my current season of life. She has a page where she writes about the importance of mom taking a self-portrait. If it weren't dark outside right now, I'd be setting up my camera for a self-portrait! On the importance of stepping in front of the lens, she writes, "I don't want the generations after me to simple hear the stories of who I was. I want my loved ones to see the photos that document the chapters of my story: the milestones I reached, the journey I've walked as I discovered my condfidence and love for myself, the mysteries and hardships I pushed through to experience victory and freedom." WOW! In a world that is innundated by mindless selfies, this encourages a different look at the self-portrait and encourages a vulnerable, searching purpose behind them. I can't wait to try this. 

In addition to scene-specific recipes and tips, there is a wealth of beginning photographer knowledge in this book. Everything from the best time of day to shoot to how to choose the right camera and/or lens for you. This is absolutely the most informative, engaging and inspiring book on photography I have read to date. I would recommend it to everyone I know who owns a camera-- and that includes the camera in your phone!!

You can order this book online here. Also, here is a link to Me Ra Koh's fantastic website. 

Though I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purposes of this review, the opinions are my own. 

And just for fun, here's a recent family pictures I took this past weekend:

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