Saturday, 30 August 2014


Title: Tales Of A Super Hero Pro Wedding Photographer
Author: Bill Collins
Release Date: 10th June 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
Exactly what does one full time pro wedding photographer, with 45 years experience, encounter, experience and learn along the way? 

What interesting, often funny, tales does he have to tell us? What has he seen happen at weddings and receptions that may totally surprise or even shock you? 

What kind of people and sticky situations does he have to deal with over the years and how does he handle them? What big life lessons does he learn? 

The book is about one really struggling small town jack-of-all-trades type photographer/studio owner with a 45 year career. It tells how he made the big jump, at 35 years into his career, to becoming strictly a full time weddings-only photographer serving the three big cities 60 miles or more away from him to become successful at the regional level in the Mid-West. 

At the time, he saw his jump to offering regional wedding coverage as his only hope to being able to continue on full time in photography, as he was in a very tight and competitive local market in his small town. He was the underdog there, going up against two top level Master Photographers that really seemed to dominate that local market. 

The regional success he gained surprised even him, but it sure wasn't easy. The book could serve as a guide to other photographers wanting to make that big jump to regional coverage status, or even those wanting to go from being part time to full time wedding photographer. It tells of his successes, failures, mistakes made and lessons learned. Once successful regionally, he only had to work one day per week, on average, to clear $1k per week, doing only what he loved doing the most. 

He developed what became the top listed wedding photographer's website in his regional mid-west market at that time, topping all the search engines for all the popular search terms for wedding photographers in his markets of Indy, Cincy and Dayton, Ohio. He tells how he did that in the book, too. 

What he was taught by some of the country's top Master Photographers about wedding photography and group posing is passed on. The reader is also taught how to take the photos that separate the men from the boys, as one pro photographer he knew stated it. 

To help the reader succeed, the book includes: the closely guarded forms he created and used to run his business without having to meet clients face-to-face until their wedding day and the pitch he successfully used to attract and win clients by email. 

This isn't your average photography textbook! If nothing else, it is brutally and sometimes painfully honest. It is a different kind of read that many should find entertaining and educational. 

188 pages in 8x10 publisher's format, with about 180 smallish wedding photos. There is a page of 12 different photos, leading into each of the 14 chapters. The photos are smallish, in order to give the author the room he needed to get the tales told and information given.

Hmm I have to confess I'm a little intrigued as to what this e-book will deliver . . Will it transfer to kindle with B&W Pics well? Or will it look better on my tablet with colour pics well? Or will I end up advising you purchase the physical book?
The other thing that has me guessing is what type of book is it? A Photographers handbook, a Diary of a Photographer or a memoir?
So to say I have a lot of questions and different expectations of this book is kind of an understatement.

I was originally supplied with a file that didn't work so the author kindly gifted me a mobi file through Amazon UK, in exchange for my honest opinion.
So to clear up just one of my worries/questions from my "initial thoughts" . . .I sent the Amazon file to my Kindle and my new tablet. The formatting of the book works fine on both devices. If you want to checkout some of the detailing in the photographs I'd opt to put it on a device that shows colour, which is what I did. In fact after comparing the B&W Photographs to the same Photographs in colour I chose to read the rest of the book on my tablet.
As for my questions about the content of the book . . .it's well. . .a lot of things! It's part diary, full of tales about the Weddings that Bill has photographed. The book also has tips on posing Wedding groups for non professionals (such as myself) which  has some really genius poses to try. The book also generously gives tip and pointers for fellow professional photographers. Finally last but not least the book is a memoir of Bill Collins Professional Photography business. 
Now I've explained my Initial Thoughts of the book I'll try to tell you more in detail.
Bill talks about some of his original Bridal poses as well as his Photography techniques. Such as Bill has the male's from the wedding party (ie best man, groomsmen or ushers) to bend down on one knee creating a "seat" for the females of the wedding party (ie, Maid Of Honor, Bridesmaids etc) "sit" on the males knees. There is an example of this pose within the photographs included in the book and it really is an amazing photograph.
I love the fact that Bill offers such a thorough list of photographs he takes, as well as doing individual family groups for those attending the wedding. This statement reminded me of my Uncle's Wedding his photographer reminds me in some ways of Bill. My uncles photographer set up in a small corner of the reception and did family groups, so at the time that was me with my mum and dad. He got my dad to sit in the middle and myself and my mum slightly sideway's leaning towards him. It has turned out to be one of the only photographs of myself as a teenager with my mum and dad and since they are now divorced a highly treasured p
hotograph for me. Another thing that reminded me of my Uncles photographer was the fun "off the cuff" poses. At the church where my uncle was getting married there where some really old but gorgeous trees, the photography had my Uncle put his hands in his pockets and casually lean side ways onto the tree. (I think all  the family ended up buying copies of that one!) He then also got the Best Man to do the same as my Uncle at the other side of the tree. They looked like they were just casually waiting for a bus or something! (another popular print ordered). The only other potographer I remeber as original as the one at my Uncles wedding was the Photographer I had come out to my mums house and take photographs of my daughter when she was born. HE had amazingly different poses etc. I think Bill is 100% right when he says if you are really good people remember you, and you get more trade from recommendations. The other type of photographer that I'd say is remembered is the bossy miserable one that everyone wants to avoid lol.
Another thing Bill has taught me is the rule about not photographing the groups as the photographer has posed them. (Ooops apologies to ALL the photographers I have "shadowed" and tried to copy his photographs with my camera over the years!) Having said that I was once at a wedding and the photographer gave me tips on where to stand to get the best out of my camera and my photographs, so a BIG thank you to him!
The book also has plenty of technical parts about lighting, camera speeds etc for those Professional Photographers out there. I readily admit most of this part of the book went totally over my head.
The section that I'd say was memoir of Bill's business included someone having the cheek to totally copy Bill's website. It also covered the contracts Bill had his Wedding couples sign.
There's a section of the book about small claims court too. (Both Bill being taken there by a wedding couple and him taking someone to small claims court)
So I didn't think I had a great deal to say about this book, but I seem to have rattled on and on about it when I look at the length of this review! (a good sign I enjoyed the book, Bill!)
So did I enjoy the book? I really did enjoy it. It's the first time I've found a non fiction book that I found "un-put-downable. Would I recommend the book? Yes, to LOTS of different people, like Brides to help them choose a photographer, or to give them ideas on the photographs they want taken at their wedding. Then for other Professional Photographers who want ideas of different poses and camera advice etc. Or to anyone who wants an amusing read. Would I read another book about photographers?  Not sure about that, I think I enjoyed this one so much because of Bill's writing style.    



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