Not your traditional review
100 Techniques for Professional Wedding Photographers by Bill Hurter is a tricky book to review because my normal methodology for doing a review doesn’t apply here. Rather than talk about each chapter (of which there are 104 in this book), I will simply share my thoughts about this book in general.
This book starts off with some advice about what makes a great wedding photographer and then goes through 100 thoughts really on what is important for a wedding photographer, but really most concepts apply to any type of photographer. The author includes images and antidotes from his experiences as well as 50+ other photographers (listed at the end of the book in the “The Photographers” chapter). However, a better way to think of this book is as a conversation you might have if you were sitting in a room with Bill and his friends enjoying a beer and just having conversation. This is great because you get a lot of information and will find yourself nodding your head in agreement with many of the concepts, but what a scenario like this lacks is the depth to apply many of these concepts. For example, point 27 – Posing Couples – is something entire books have been written about, but here it’s a couple paragraphs and a few great photos. Now this isn’t a bad thing, but it is something to keep in mind when going into this book. This isn’t “How to Apply 100 Techniques…”, it’s more like “Here’s a list of 100 things you better know well before becoming a Pro Wedding Photographer”.
I was very excited about this book when Kate at Amherst Media had sent be a big stack of books last year, so I saved this one for last. Even though the first 18 points were clearly not very good, it picks up when Bill starts talking what he knows about and doesn’t disappoint. It’s a food for thought book that leaves you well fed and inspired to learn more, so I recommend it as a primer to anyone who thinks they are going to take on the daunting task of shooting a wedding (and we all get asked at some point).
You should be able to put “I have mastered that concept” checks next to all 100 points before you shoot your first wedding solo. If you can’t, then spare the bride the disappointment and suggest to those who ask that you’ll simply be a backup wedding photographer. It’ll save your reputation, friendship and maybe even your wallet (i.e., legal ramifications).
Skill Level: Anyone who hasn’t shot a wedding, or didn’t know what they were doing when they did
Value: Very good as a primer to get you oriented
Recommendation: If you are going to shoot a wedding, then get it