I’m just going to say it: I’m often skeptical about buying books written by “influencers.” I’ve bought a couple, and read reviews of a few more. Nowadays, I pay them hardly any notice. Still, something drew me towards Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker.
While I do follow Sara on Instagram and Twitter, I hadn’t listened to much of her podcast by the same name, so I didn’t really know what to expect.
The main draw was how uninfluencer the book felt. I was inspired by the mantra of “moments, not things.” It seemed more like a book about photography than one about social media. And… surprise, that’s what it was.
I am the worst for buying books and then letting them collect dust, but I honestly loved this book. I read it over a few days and came away feeling inspired at the end of each session.
A Wide Range
The first thing that struck me was how accessible the book feels. It really puts an emphasis on how anyone can enjoy photography, as so many people carry cameras with them at all times anyway. At the same time, it didn’t feel limited. There’s such a wide range of information and different ideas on how to use photography to tell a story.
Actionable Tips & Tricks
I’ve studied photography for quite a while. I chose it as a discipline when studying New Media at post-secondary. I’m pretty familiar with composition and camera settings. But I still found something new to take away from each chapter. Whether it be a technical tip, or just thinking about social media in a different way.
I was a bit afraid that the activities throughout might feel a bit more like a fluffy blog post with the same kind of tips that you can find on a million websites online. This was not the case. Rather, the activities were very helpful and felt like doing an actual photography course.
I still need to go back and do some of them properly, which is something I’m really looking forward to. It’s like going back to school!
A Faceless Photographer
Sometimes I feel awkward on Instagram because I have almost no desire to be in the photos I post. There’s a definite bias toward images that contain the account owner on Instagram, to the point where it seems like many are models rather than photographers. I’ve always wanted to be more of a photographer and to share moments around me with very little time in front of the camera (for my face, at least). And I think for a long time I felt a disconnect between that side of me and what I most often see on Insta.
After reading Hashtag Authentic, I feel more focused. I feel like my Instagram account can be what I want it to be – a gallery of bits and pieces of the things I see and experience.
At the same time, it did help me think of more ways to be in my photos, even when I am faceless. I found myself using the “phone in mouth” trick to get both of my hands in frame (and yes, it was as ridiculous as it sounds). And it did make me think maybe I could show my face every so often.
I’m sure it’s obvious by this point, but I cannot recommend this book enough for someone looking to be inspired to create and tell stories, by the everyday things around us.