Sunday, February 24, 2019

Nonfiction Sunday: Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker

Author: Sara Tasker
Series: N/A
Audience: +16
Genre: Nonfiction, Photography
Publisher: White Lion Publishing
Release Date: February 19th 2019
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform, with 400 million monthly active users worldwide, half of them under 25. While some of these people use the app as a personal tool, many also use it to build their creative business endeavours, from food and drink to fashion and lifestyle.

Sara Tasker has tapped into this as an Instagram coach, an iPhoneographer and social media influencer. Her chronicle of authentic everyday life and her mindful Me and Orla blog has developed into a business in which she allows access to free insta-tips, alongside some hugely popular paid for e-courses for independent creatives.

One of her followers, Emma Mitchell a jewellery designer and artist, took her Instagram following (silverpebble2) from several hundred to 87k and gained a book commission within a year.
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and White Lion Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

This book was recommended to me by Renee from The Caffeinated Reader and although I didn't know what to expect, I went into it with an open mind. I am happy to say that this book was fantastic and it exceeded my expectations.

My relationship with photography started many, many years ago, when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I never had the greatest relationship with my maternal grandfather, what with him not being a huge part of our family, but we did have a few things in common, me and him, and one of them was photography. I remember looking at the family albums from when my mom and her sister were kids, and all those photographs were taken and developed by him. Since we're talking late 60s early 70s here, most of these photos are in black and while, with a few of them colorized during - I assume - the developing process. Ever since I first saw those portraits I knew I wanted to learn how to take good photos, but every book I've tried to read in the past about it felt stuffy and I couldn't ever manage to get through to the end, because it always focused on technical knowledge that I couldn't remember. So when I requested this book I expected much of the same, but at the same time I had high hopes because it mentions Instagram, and for some reason Instagram looks friendlier to me for photography sharing than any other social media account out there.

Hashtag Authentic is more than just a how-to book for photography and growing your channel on Instagram. It's a book about the creative process, how to take a simple idea and make it amazing, how to select which hashtags to use, what are the best free and payed editing apps to use, and even ideas on what to photograph. I loved the exercises a lot, because they went beyond "take a pretty picture of a tree and share it" and instead they talk about the reason behind a photo, what you're trying to show, what are the various elements in a photo, what is your desired style of photography, and stuff like that.

I mentioned that the book is about so much more than photography, and it is. It's a book that encourages you to take that camera and use it, even if it seems scary. It's a book that encourages readers to stop being camera shy and think about why exactly you don't like to have your photo taken. Honestly, this last one made me realize how in the pre-social-media part of my life, back when the Internet was just a fancy word that meant a rather distant technology that mainly rich people had access to, I had no problem with being photographed. But once social media started gaining more and more notoriety, and once it became apparent that the photos can and do get used in slightly inappropriate ways, I slowly started to appear less and less in photos. And I love the example Sara gives from her own life regarding the photos with her infant daughter and how she wished she had more photos with both of them from when her daughter was a baby. That's the perfect example as to why you should remember to not hide from the camera.

Another thing that I loved about this book is that in the beginning Sara talks about the difference between film photography and digital photography. I used to be rather good at film photography. Not knock your socks off good, but I took decent photos. My passion were trees, and I loved playing around with different cameras. I had a Kodak one, that was really good, but I also loved the results I got from less-than-great cameras, like a lipstick-shaped one I won in a contest when I was about 14. Now I probably wouldn't even remember how to put the film in the camera to be honest, which pains me. But what Sara said was all true. I remember the care with which I put in the film to try to not damage it, how I had to know how much I had to turn the dial in order to get to the next photo, how to check how much photos I could take, and then the excitement of waiting for it to be developed. It sounds tedious, I know, but it had a romanticism that digital photography lacks.

Since this is a book about photography and Instagram, there's also quite a few discussions on how to use Instagram to showcase your photography in a way that is attractive. I never before thought to plan my feed or to try to understand why some feeds appeal to me more than others, but now I find I pay more attention to that aspect of my Instagram browsing sessions. There's also a discussion about your personal safety, with tips and tricks Sara uses.

The most important lesson for me in this book however has nothing to do with photography or social media. Instead, it's about empowerment and courage. Sara mentions how you should stop procrastinating and just do whatever you want to do, even if you think you don't have that expensive equipment everyone seems to be using. She encourages her readers to make mistakes, which is the most important and powerful thing I've ever read. Maybe it sounds stupid, but I've never before encountered a book where mistakes were discussed as learning curves and opportunities. And I honestly needed that.

I won't go on further, even though I could, because I really hope you guys pick up this book and read it. It's a fairly short book, but it's full of valuable lessons, and I hope you guys will find it useful. As you can probably tell, I really loved this book and it helped me find my courage to pick up my camera again and use it beyond what I do for bookstagram.

5 Cups rating @ Ruby's Books

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...