How To Shoot A Reportage By Enzo Dal Verme
Enzo Dal Verme is a photographer whose work has been published in Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, Flair, Elle, Glamour and many other magazines. For an official price of €8.59, Enzo practically gives away his own tips and tricks in his aptly-named electronic book How To Shoot A Reportage: brutally practical tips and tricks. Indeed, this 68-page PDF is filled with plenty of truly practical advice and photography showcasing Enzo's work. An EPUB version with fewer images is available for less and a print edition is coming soon.
This electronic book is roughly ordered chronologically relative to how a reportage is built from the ground up. It starts from idea phase, advancing to logistics and preparations, covering camera techniques, interviews, post production all the way to delivery and publication. It flows quickly from one topic to the next, addressing lesser-known tips to advance the process of creating reportage photography. As such, and given the length of the book compared to the depth of the subject, basics are assumed or dealt with briskly. If this your first exposure to reportage photography, you may be left with as many questions as answers. On the other hand, if you already know the basics, Enzo's advice can tip the scale in your favor for your next reportage.
This book is available directly from Enzo Dal Verme's blog.
How To Shoot A Reportage speaks from Enzo Dal Verme's personal experience. It is largely a collection of ideas and suggestions which have worked for him over the years. Throughout the book, the tone of writing reflects this well. Reading this book is almost like having a 68-page conversation with the author. As one would expect of a successful photographer, he honed his skill over time and learned from mistakes. The advice in this book is here to help newcomers avoid the same mistakes. Enzo says this will prepare you of different mistakes!
The information in this book can be grouped into loosely related concepts but there is no formal organization in terms of sections and chapters. Each concept is explained simply and concisely in one or two pages. Half of each page is usually occupied by a well-taken photograph, so text is very focused to say the least. Images that accompany text are sometimes illustrative and sometimes there simply for emphasis.
A reportage has to be brought to life from an idea to being accepted by a publication. This is what is covered in the first seven pages.The next good chunk of the book is devoted to logistics from pre-trip planning to packing and making contacts. A good amount of advice involves how to use your time efficiently and start interacting with potential subjects. When shooting on assignment, it is rarely the case to have an abundance of time. There are lots of tips about saving time and being flexible, they each make a small difference but together they can make the difference between success and failure.
Shooting advice fills the middle part of the book. There is not much cohesion here as topics vary widely. Like the rest of the book, these topics are not intended for beginner photographers. You should certainly know things like aperture and shutter-speed before reading this book. While topics are each simple enough, someone who is completely new to shooting a reportage will probably finish the book with more questions, particularly since Enzo's advice often involves asking yourself questions too. Each reportage has to be different, so it makes sense not to have absolute recipes for everything.
For a reportage, compared to general photography, the pieces must form a complete and tight whole. There are loose ends to take care of and considerations to fill, many only discoverable by asking yourself more questions. The end of the book is about bringing all those parts together. The whole reportage, photos, interviews and text become the product being sold to a publication which must consider how it will sell to its readers.
Overall, this electronic book fills its promise well. Its direct and concise style divulges advice at a rapid pace while covering all aspects of building a reportage. Given its length and breadth, it is understandable that there are prerequisites to be able to put it all to use. There are some places where advice is unfortunately vague or deferred to intuition but there is plenty of practical advice as well.
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