Book Review: The Portrait Photography Course

The Portrait Photography Course: Principles, practice, and techniques: The essential guide for photographersBy Mark Jenkinson

I love reviewing books from advanced to beginner because they help keep me fresh and maybe lend insight to new teaching methods. That being said…

It seems rare to see a book appropriately titled. So many books want to apply to everyone that they end up all being the same. This book is appropriately titled. If you are interested in portrait photography and are a student, GET THIS BOOK. If you are fresh out of school and considering taking photography from hobby to part-time, GET THIS BOOK. If you have a year or two under your belt and are hitting a bit of a dry spell, GET THIS BOOK. If you call yourself a ‘self-taught photographer who just uses natural light because you don’t like how flash looks’ GET THIS BOOK.

Reading so many books I also really REALLY appreciate a well-designed book. The style of having a tutorial for 2-4 pages is great for my short attention span. But don’t be fooled the amount of information in these short pages should leave you doggy earing/bookmarking/tabbing sections. This book I plan on revisiting on some of the lessons (In your photography career you will go through un-inspirational, dry chunks of time and need a boost/assignment).

It is a fast read so each sliver of subject might be a bit shallow for some viewers. Example: There is a section on LightRoom and Photoshop… to be fair they are very decent tips, but to me, this warrants a couple books by themselves. The history is the same thing as many other books ‘did you know renaissance painters applied many of the same…’ It’s necessary to have in a book but if you’ve read anything about history you can skip this section.

I read about half of the interviews in the back and have to say Mark’s lead in to the Wedding Photographer Karen Cunningham’s interview is something EVERY wedding photog should read. You will read through the lines nodding your head in agreement, finishing with “HE UNDERSTANDS ME.”

This book didn’t blow me away at first but was good, so it was lining up to be a four-star review, but then realized I had taking pictures of segments with my phone to send to other photographers and realized, yeah, this gets five from me.


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