Posted on 13 Comments

Book Review: Shooting With Soul

Shooting with Soul by Alessandra Cave, a book review at Polka Dot Cottage

I did a little dance when this book came in the mail a few weeks ago. It is so perfect for me right now. I don’t know if you’ve noticed the lack of crafty show-and-tells around here lately, but I just haven’t been cranking out the projects. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t want a pile of wool on my lap in the summer (so, no knitting or crocheting to speak of). Or maybe it’s that I don’t want to make a gigantic sewing or polymer clay mess in my workspace (aka the dining room table). It could be either of those things, but I think it’s just more likely that right now all of my creative urges are being filled quite nicely by photography.

It happens. You know how cyclical I am with my creative urges. It’s just photography’s turn.

So, you can imagine then, that a book called Shooting With Soul would be right up my current alley.

Shooting with Soul by Alessandra Cave, a book review at Polka Dot Cottage

Shooting with Soul by Alessandra Cave, a book review at Polka Dot Cottage

Shooting with Soul by Alessandra Cave, a book review at Polka Dot Cottage

The book starts off with some charming pictures of adorably vintage cameras. These photos illustrate the more technical topics of the book: Choosing a Camera, Types of Lenses, etc. The entire first chapter is a good place to start if you are still gathering up your photographic equipment or if you would like to better understand some of the technical aspects of photography, such as exposure.

This, however, is not a technical manual so much as a guide for feeling your way around with a camera. And that is perfect for me. I’m at a point in my photography where I am comfortable with the basics and I am comfortable with my camera. A manual wouldn’t interest me much at this stage except as a handy reference to tuck away on the book shelf. But a book like this? Oh this one is going to see some action in the coming weeks!

The author shares this “magic recipe”:

(See) + (Think) + (Feel/Connect) + (Shoot) = Great Image

That sounds a bit vague, I know, but you are not left alone to figure it all out. The rest of the book is spent in pursuit of Great Images through 44 exercises.

Shooting with Soul by Alessandra Cave, a book review at Polka Dot Cottage

The exercises are definitely my favorite part of this book. They remind me a lot of the prompt-based Picture series of classes that I’ve taken with Tracey Clark. Alessandra Cave (she’s the author – did I not mention her? oops!) recommends spending about a week with each prompt, to really dig deep and explore it. That’s a good approach, and one I may go back to sometime, but I have a different idea for now:

August Daily Photo Prompts!

You probably know by now that for 2014, my daily photo project for the year has had a different theme every month. I’ve decided that during August, the theme will be Shooting With Soul, and it will be based on the exercises in this book. I plan to choose a new prompt each day, doing the 31 exercises that grab me the most.

August daily photo project at Polka Dot Cottage, featuring the book Shooting With Soul

You’re invited to join me (as you have been every month this year). You will need to get a copy of the book, of course, and then you can just choose whichever prompts you would like, one-a-day in whatever order you would like to do them. Be sure to use the #pdcsoul hashtag wherever you share your images so that we can all follow along with each other.

Even if you have use for a daily photo project right now, if you are interested in exploring photography as a means of expressing yourself in an artful way, I think you’ll like this book. Each of the 44 exercises includes an explanation of the theme, two or three example photographs, and a sidebar of Instructions, Techniques, and Shot Ideas. Cave provides plenty of guidance through each exercise, while still leaving enough room for your own personal interpretation.

Intrigued? You can get Shooting With Soul at amazon.com or your favorite local book shop.

(The usual disclaimers apply re: books received, reviews given, and links provided.)

Posted on 13 Comments

13 thoughts on “Book Review: Shooting With Soul

  1. Hi Lisa! I ordered the book! This is good timing for me too. A hand injury has me slowed down but by golly I can still take pictures! You are so way beyond me in the tech area — how will you be sharing pictures? I haven’t learned anything that deals with #’s yet. I know, I’m behind the times… Looking forward to getting the book and am really excited about the exercises!

    1. Excellent!
      I share my pictures on Flickr, but I also have them copied to Twitter and Facebook, and I share them in a weekly roundup on the blog every Saturday, so I’m pretty much everywhere 🙂
      Hashtags are fairly simple. Just add the “#pdcsoul” (or whatever hashtag you want) to your twitter, facebook, instagram, or flickr post, and it should become a clickable link when you save it. Clicking on it will bring up a list of public posts where anyone else has included the same hashtag. I hope that clears it up a bit!

  2. Great review, and prompts are good sometimes. I snap something daily all the time, but I’m thinking of photo themes too, just posted about what I call Spotted Photo Theme on my blog right now. 🙂

    1. I am learning that I can only do prompts for a short while before I start to get tired of them. Two months seems to be my limit. It’s only August 1st, and I’m already looking forward to a more freeform September project 🙂

  3. […] It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. August’s theme is “Soul” based on the exercises in Alessandra Cave’s new book Shooting With Soul.) […]

  4. […] It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. August’s theme is “Soul” based on the exercises in Alessandra Cave’s new book Shooting With Soul.) […]

  5. […] It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. August’s theme is “Soul” based on the exercises in Alessandra Cave’s new book Shooting With Soul.) […]

  6. […] theme was “Soul” based on the exercises in Alessandra Cave’s new book Shooting With Soul. For September, I’m taking a break from photo prompts and simplifying with an easy theme: a […]

  7. Yay!!! Thanks <3

    1. My pleasure. In the end, I ended up with a nice little collection of photos for my “month of soul” 🙂

  8. […] It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. The theme for July was “Summer” where I used Tracey Clark’s daily photo prompts from her Picture Summer class. August’s theme is “Soul” based on the exercises in Alessandra Cave’s new book Shooting With Soul.) […]

  9. […] It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. August’s theme is “Soul” based on the exercises in Alessandra Cave’s new book Shooting With Soul.) […]

  10. […] theme was “Soul” based on the exercises in Alessandra Cave’s new book Shooting With Soul. For September, I’m taking a break from photo prompts and simplifying with an easy theme: a […]

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