Gift Guide : Coffee Table Photo Books

photobook gift guide via besottedblog i

It’s that time of year to do some gift guiding!  I am a gift guide junkie, seriously, I love checking out what people have rounded up and speaking of round-ups I should put together a fave gift guide round-up, my faves always being ones that have seamlessly mixed hi + lo.  Today we are sharing our favorite photo coffee table books by some masters. My good friend Suzonne has a collection of coffee table worthy photo books all of them featuring black and white photography. I am not big on collecting usually but I thought this was right up my alley. Why not start a collection for your fave photofile? Feel free to make any suggestions!


01. Herb Ritts : L.A. Style

02. Irving Penn : Centennial

03. John Malouf : Vivian Maier

04. Rodney Smith : Rodney Smith Photographs

05. Elliott Erwitt : Personal Best

06. Hiroshi Sugimoto : Seascapes

not shown but we recommend-

Diane Arbus : An Aperture Monograph

Richard Avedon : Woman in the Mirror

Linda McCartney : Life in Photographs

Keith Carter : Fireflies

Saul Leiter : Early Black and Whites

Slim Aarons : Women

Mega list of documentary family photography resources

documentary family photographyI wanted to do a round-up of documentary family photography resources in case this subject has peaked your interest. I know how hard it can be to find good information on a subject and how convenient it is to have it all in one easy to reference place, so I collected the following documentary family photography resources for you!  Even if you don’t have children, I think that if you are interested in documentary photography for friends and family that these are great starting points. I have loved researching this genre, Michelle and I even have a beta set of black and white documentary style presets we’ve been working on in the Foto Rx lab that we will be releasing next year, from rich and sharp to dramatic and gloriously grainy, sure to make editing your sessions a breeze.  We want you to have images that are print worthy!



Kirsten Lewis Real Family Photography-The class is long, but Kirsten is one of the top photographers in this field and it’s chock full of information, I can highly recommend.

Felicia Chang the Unapologetic Life-I wrote a review here.

Point of View Documentary photography

The Documentary Approach

Composition Clinic for Documentarians with Zalmy Berkowitz

Documentary photography with Ami Vitale

Tutorials, Interviews + Inspiration

Jennifer Tonnetti Spellman shares many of hers here.

Kirsten Lewis on family photojournalism

Sham of the perfect-I devoured all of their artist interviews in one night. Such incredible insight and inspo.

Community for documentary photographers

Photographer and father of 6 Alain Laboile offers endless inspiration a must visit!

The difference between lifestyle and documentary photography


Your iphone would work for personal work, but if you are thinking o taking on clients here’s some of the equipment the pros recommend-

Full frame camera (we have a Canon 6D in the studio)- Nikon 750 (what Felicia Chang uses)

Sigma Art 35mm (this lens kept coming up over and over again)-For Canon | For Nikon

24mm lens for wide angle shots

50mm lens

Photomechanic for culling images

$10/mo Adobe Creative Cloud plan

Foto Rx Black and White documentary style presets (coming soon!)

photo by alain laboile

Documentary Family Photography

felicia_chang_documentary_family_photograher_viabesottedblogWhen Michelle and I were working on choosing a focus for our business one of the questions we asked is ‘what would we regret if we didn’t do?’ I knew that I would regret not documenting my daughter’s life and I don’t mean documenting it in that polished way for Instagram (you know what I mean), but truly documenting moments and time. We both decided we wanted to have a photo-centric business, but not in the usual capacity, (because well, we don’t do anything the usual way). From the day we made our decision I have spent countless hours studying and refining my eye and craft, not always hands on with the camera, but really exploring the medium. I have read books (many I plan to share one day soon) and taken classes from photographers I admire and I don’t plan on stopping my education anytime soon.

I recently had the pleasure to take a class from Felicia Chang, a Canadian documentary family photographer. I highly recommend her class for anyone that has an interest in this style of photography. Even though I love a clean and polished image, with beautiful light and all the stars aligned, etc. the reality is I have more moments on the daily of a 4 year old that believes clothing is optional and my dining room often has markers and Legos 10 inches deep. These are memories I want to remember as well, these are memories that I don’t share on social media but I don’t want to forget. The good, the bad and the ugly, it’s what makes life beautiful and authentic. I prefer the candid photographs and honestly I think my heart would break a wee bit if she started to say ‘cheese’. Of course sometimes I get lucky and get a great candid and I do think in documentary photography luck plays a big role, but I also wanted to know what I needed to set myself up for so I could have some more ‘luck’. The class is brief, there’s an in depth PDF that you can refer to that goes over all the concepts in the videos, it even has a great list of equipment Felicia uses and books she recommends. The class is hosted at Click Photo School, which is part of the forum Clickin Mom’s, the name is a misnomer, you don’t need to be a mom to be in the forum (I was a member for years before I had a child) and you don’t need to be in the forum to take the class BUT if you are in the forum, you can ask questions of the teachers and also the students, it’s a great way to really get as much out of the classes as possible. My most favorite part of their photography classes (and Felicia’s class is no exception) is the way they are taught, they feel very much as if a friend that knows a little more than you is giving you a one on one lesson, they are able to break down hard concepts into ways that are extremely easy to digest without ever dumbing anything down. I always walk away inspired and ready to try a new technique or concept. Felicia’s class ‘The Unapologetic Life’ is currently $25USD but should easily be 3 times that amount! If you have an interest in family documentary style photography this is an easy intro class and if you have been shooting this style for a while, it’s always great to hear another perspective from someone else successful in the field!


Photographer Felica Chang

The Unapologetic Life (class)

Incredible photography forum


grateful via besottedblog

We wanted to make sure we popped in to let you know how thankful we are for your support (and visits!) whether you are just stopping by for the first time or have been visiting for years, we are grateful for each and every note and peek into our world. We could not have had the wild success of our latest launch Rare Bird Fonts without your continued support, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We are wishing you all much happiness and health for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday (for those in the U.S.) our friends abroad happy, happy Thursday! We are feeling so grateful, thank you.

photo by tristan b.

Up your product editing game!

foto-rx-product-editing-live-edit-fragrance(1)We had an amazing week with our Lettering Rx giveaway, the tool to help you quickly clean + digitize your lettering and illustrations. Now that you have your lettering and illustrations cleaned and digitized you may want to start placing them on products and getting them photographed and up in your shop. You are going to need a little editing help and that’s where our #1 best seller Shopkeeper’s Helper comes in!  Quickly clean + edit your product images, use your beautiful visuals to sell your wares. You only have one chance to make a great impression when people are browsing Etsy and the like, make them want to visit your shop! If you have an online shop this is the time of year to make sure it is in tip top shape with your visuals.

Every Tuesday until the end of November we will be giving away one Foto Rx set to help you up your visual brand presence. Starting today we will be giving away the incredible workshorse Shopkeeper’s Helper, the quickest and easiest way to clean +edit  your product photos. Getting a clean white background is finally at your fingertips!  How to enter:

Go to our Instagram Foto Rx feed and follow us (if you aren’t already)

-Like the post

-Leave a comment

For additional opportunities to win:

-Tag a friend (or two or….) in the comments on @fotorxco (that friend will win if you do!)

We will announce the winner on our feed on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, Good luck!


Shopkeeper’s Helper-Easy product photo editing

Foto Rx Instagram feed

A mega collection of product photography tutorials

Photo edited with Foto Rx | Stockholm Clean X Minimal

Photoshop CC subscription