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I love the Shutter Sisters style of photography.  It’s contemplative, peaceful, emotional, meaningful.

Their book, Expressive Photography, is a relaxing meditation on how to introduce this style into your own photographic life.  No complicated theory, just suggestions, ideas and encouragements leading you to realize that you have these photos in you already.

The book is organized by chapters that each cover a different type of photography.  From Portraiture to Stillness, Documentary to Childhood.  Spaces, Tables and Togetherness.  10 chapters in all that explore each type of photography.

Each chapter has the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Approach
  • Perspective
  • Composition
  • Lighting
  • Details
  • Processing

Each section is written in the beautiful Shutter Sisters style of prose that is almost poetic and easily conjures visual images to go along with the text.

Beautiful photographs are on each page too, along with analysis of what makes the shots work.  There is some talk of lenses and camera settings, but not enough to be intimidating.  The tips that are given are along the lines of this tip on capturing bokeh:

After setting up a shot in front of an area of dappled, spotty light, “Use slow movements to recompose the shot as you watch the light in the background.”  This will give you control over where the bokeh spots appear in the background.

The processing ideas are similar.  Suggestions are made about how particular treatments will work with  types of images, but there is not much in the way of specific “go to this menu and choose this setting” type tutorials.  This is clearly not a textbook.  It’s more of an idea book that unleashes your creativity to go whichever direction it wants.

One of my favorite tips that I learned on the processing side? If you have unwanted haze in an image, increase the blacks slider in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw to remove it.  I use that one all the time.

Expressive Photography is the kind of book that I will read from cover to cover multiple times.  And will thumb through for last minute inspiration and centering before going on a shoot.  Have any of you read it?  Do you feel the same way?