This week for Word Wednesday, I have a great little book from publisher Laurence King. Henry Carroll’s Be a Super Awesome Photographer aims to help your child unlock their artistic side and maybe change the way they view the world. It offers 20 simple ways to take more interesting photographs, and whilst its aimed at kids, there’s plenty in here for grown-ups who want to make their social media feeds a little bit more interesting, too
What is Be a Super Awesome Photographer?
Subtitled, “20 Photo Challenges inspired by the masters,” this book takes its inspiration from 20 acclaimed photographs and invites readers to try out the techniques used. Interspersed between the challenges are 3 “Nifty know-how” sections and the book finishes with a history of photography. The book is a slim-square hardback, so fairly easy to carry around, should you want inspiration on the go. It’s definitely not pocket-sized, though.
Each challenge is a double page spread. One has the challenge written on it, the other a picture that was taken using the technique or idea given in the challenge. Each page of text explains how the technique in question will alter your perspective and a fact or explanation about what it is you’re doing.
- Pretend you’re a dog.
- Be sneaky (photographing people when they’re distracted).
- See things differently. Here’s where that skill for finding faces in everything might actually come in handy!
- Making up stories (I love this one). Essentially, snapshots of LARPing – what’s not to love?
- Make a scene. Another one for the wargamers. I really need to take more pictures of my other passion – wargames miniatures.
- Take selfies dressed as someone else.
- Making portraits of your family by photographing the things they leave around. (We are all made of books, games, and LEGO, in our house.)
- Experiment with light. Who knew light could be hard?
- Stop Time. Freeze Frame live action. Probably best not to push your brother down a flight of steps to do it though.
The Nifty Know-how Sections are:
- Composition. How best to frame your photos. The importance of leading lines and always moving to find the best angle.
- Light. I really needed this chapter. I’m pretty useless at taking photos, particularly of my miniatures and a lot of it comes down to light.
- Cameras. A brief overview of how digital cameras work, with a particular focus on lenses.
Why Read Be a Super Awesome Photographer?
Author Henry Carroll has written a number of photography books aimed at grown-ups, published by Laurence King, so I guess one aimed at children was a logical inevitability.
Sharing photographs appears to be a vital part of modern teenage life (though it’s skipped our house, so far). This slim volume is a great way to help your child’s photos stand out. It’s perhaps only a small thing, but in a world where being seen to be doing, is at least as important as actually doing, something that helps your child’s photos get noticed, might help them integrate with their peers. There is, of course, a flipside to this. Internet anonymity for our children may well be most parents’ preference.
Even if your child isn’t planning to share their photos, their phone provides a wonderful tool to explore artistic expression; even if they do mainly use it for watching YouTube. This book will allow them to investigate and understand the principles of photography. The immediacy of photography means that they’ll straight away see the benefits of making even only small changes to their composition.
As a parent of children who generally find artistic endeavors difficult and boring, books like Be a Super Awesome Photographer are great. Using this book it’s easy to immediately create something “arty” that you can be proud of. If things don’t quite work out, it’s reasonably easy to try again, making only small changes. Very quickly it’s possible to create a photograph that stands out from the norm.
The book costs around £10/$15 and for that price is well worth the investment. It should help you and your children unleash the power of your phone cameras and, who knows, maybe inspire a love of photography.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of Be a Super Awesome Photographer, you can do so here, in the US and here, in the UK.
If you enjoyed this post, do check out my other Word Wednesday reviews, here.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to write this review.