I recently received Steve Simon’s The Passionate Photographer: Ten Steps Toward Becoming Great as a gift from a family member. After having read through the book, I wanted to share my thoughts since I feel it’s a book that should be on any serious photographer’s must-read list.
The book is structured in a series of Simon’s ten steps for becoming a passionate photographer. Each of these steps is explored in depth. Most of the steps sound straightforward at first (passion, volume, light, editing, etc) but Simon does a great job of moving beyond a superficial treatment and getting into the meat of each subject.
One step that stood out is step three which involves “working” a subject and not giving up after the first or obvious pictures. After addressing the basic image and identifying “the moment,” options are explored including changing vantage points, zooming, deconstructing the scene, and other elements including patience.
Unlike many photography books which spend hundreds of pages discussing gear or technique, The Passionate Photographer explores things at a higher level including the process and decisions being made about the direction of one’s photography. In the section about portraiture, instead of simply discussing posing and retouching, Simon talks about candids, formality, access, and other issues.
Vision, portraits, comfort zones, light, editing, goals, sharing… these are some of the topics inside The Passionate Photographer.
Is This Book For You?
I suspect if you’re reading this, the answer is yes. I opened this review noting it should be on the must-read list for any serious photographer. I didn’t specify professional photographers, but they would most certainly fall into that category. It’s also very applicable to hobbyist photographers who enjoy creating images and want to improve the quality of their work.
Getting the most out of The Passionate Photographer will require a bit of work. Simon provides great, practical advice for developing projects, exercising technical skills, connecting with subjects, and sharing and marketing one’s work, but to gain the benefit from his suggestions a photographer should be prepared to put in a bit of effort to improve one’s craft. In exchange for that effort, the reader should see noticeable progress in his or her photographic journey.
Buy The Passionate Photographer from Amazon or your favorite bookseller.