Book Review: A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book

Photo Idea BookThis weeks book review is not the usual novel but a book I received last Christmas and have been dipping in and out of ever since.

Most bloggers will be familiar with ‘A Beautiful Mess ‘ Blog. It’s a highly successful DIY-Craft blog written and created by sisters Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman. If you are familiar with their blog you will be well aware of the great images they share and the talent they have for photography.

At the beginning of the year, one of the goals I set myself was to improve my photography skills, and as a consequence display better images on Changing-pages.  Now, I still have a long way to go but I’m starting to understand a little more about what makes a good photograph, and I certainly know the  kinds of images I would like to be able to take.

Photo Ideas BookThis book has been so helpful.  Apart from being very pretty and full of gorgeous pictures it contains lots of helpful tips and suggestions for even the most amateurish of photographers such as me. This isn’t a technical photography book and it won’t give instruction on camera settings or the technical aspects of photography.  Elsie and Emma describe this book as an ‘ideas book’.  This is exactly what it is.  Its broken down into 8 helpful chapters each with its own collection of smaller sections full of ideas and inspiration to guide your picture taking.  It contains challenges and tutorials which are actually doable.IMG_3935I don’t take many pictures of people (or not for my blog anyway) and even fewer in which I feature myself.  However, this book has many great suggestions of how to take portraits and capture emotion that don’t involve the subject staring directly into the lens. Pictures that show people from a different perspective or surprising angle appeal to me.Photo Idea BookThe chapters which I perhaps found most useful we’re those on ‘Adding back drops and props’  I love a prop.  As a result of this I have begun to explore the  sorts of materials and backgrounds which enhance and add interest to my pictures .  A quick glance at my instagram feed reveals lots of pictures of food.  Not usually restaurant food but food I have cooked or prepared myself.  I would especially like to improve these pictures,  so the some of the suggestions on food styling and ways to add life to food photography are ones I shall go back to.

IMG_3936The little camera pictured is a camera we have had for a number of years and is now rarely used.  My husband has a DSLR and I currently I take all of my photographs on my i-phone 5s  – which incidentally  I love.  The immediacy and accessibility of it for me, is perfect.   This book has assured me that great pictures can be taken on an i-phone but it has also convinced me  I should start learning how to use a camera more effectively.  Watch this space as they say…..


  1. September 23, 2015 / 8:57 pm

    I’m not massively into photography, but this book looks gorgeous!

    • September 27, 2015 / 4:13 pm

      Thanks for you comment. Its a lovely book, lots of clever images and short chapters, I recommend it.

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