Capturing Moments with Hashtag Authentic

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.

unInfluencer Vibes

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.

Thank you for reading!

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Making a Photo Book

Psst, scroll to the end of this post for a Papier discount code worth £10 off your first order. They do a lot of cool things, beyond their photo book offering, like personalised cards and notebooks. You’re welcome!

My mom had been asking for years that I make her a photo book of some of my own photos. And I finally got around to doing it last year for her birthday. It was the perfect time to finally put one of these together and I’m very pleased with the result.

A double page spread showing 2 photos on each page of the photo book.

Choosing a Supplier

To find a supplier that could print my photo book, I did an old-fashioned Google and compared the results. I mostly looked at sites that I had heard of. I ended up settling on Papier. I was familiar with their brand from their Instagram account. I liked the look of the product. And they had the added bonus of 40% off all photo books. This made it extremely affordable by comparison to other sites. Especially as I knew I’d likely want to add extra pages on top of the base price.

Creating the Photo Book

I went for one of the “minimalist” styles in the landscape format. I knew my mom wanted to use the book as a coffee table book, so I wanted something that would be a decent size and the landscape format just seemed to be the type of book you would flip through with someone else while sat together on the sofa.

Assembling the book itself wasn’t too difficult. I went through old hard drives and picked out various photos, making sure to find originals so I could get the highest resolution possible. Then I edited them in Lightroom to make sure that all my edits were consistent.

The web-based builder for the book was OK. It wasn’t the easiest to use, but I’ve definitely had worse. I had to do it twice because I exported my photos a bit too small the first time. It also annoyed me by saying my photos weren’t high enough quality, even though I’d exported them at massive sizes. For the cover photo, in particular, I exported it at a very high quality, but then the building tool told me the file size was too large. So I’d make it smaller, and then it would say the photo was not high enough quality. It was infuriating!

The paper texture I chose was matte paper. Now I really like the look of matte paper from an aesthetic point of view! I like that it doesn’t get fingerprinted and I like the more vintage feeling. But gloss paper will make the colours pop a lot brighter, which might be the favoured approach when printing photos. And, as my partner pointed out, while it doesn’t get fingerprinted, it makes it easier for stuff to get on the page and not be able to be wiped away.

I think if I could add another feature it would be the option for captions. While I think most of the collections I made are self-explanatory, I think a little note with the location and year would be beneficial. I think they mostly market to events like weddings, which are on one date and in one place, so I can see why they may not have that feature.

Overall, I would recommend Papier for printing photo books, and, in all likeliness, I will use them again at some point.

Looking for a Papier discount code?

If you’re new to Papier, you can get £10 off your first order. (Full disclosure: I will also be given £10 credit toward Papier products after you make your purchase.)

Thank you for reading!

Please share this post on social media, if you found it useful.
You can also buy me a coffee to help fuel further writing!

If you have a question, comment, or something to add:

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