Thursday, 14 January 2016

THOUGHTS IN THE LIFE OF A BOOK PHOTOGRAPHER

The tale you are about to read is based on a true story. It follows the life of a book photographer in their quest for The Perfect Shot. On this quest, they will meet many a trial and tribulation. To document their journey for posterity, a series of experts have extricated and summarized these obstacles as the book photographer perceived them in a sequential (though not necessarily cohesive) series of thoughts.

Not suitable for children under the age of 0.




- NEW BOOKS! MUST PHOTOGRAPH IMMEDIATELY!
- Or immediately as soon as the sun graces us with its presence.
- Maybe try with artific-
- No. No artificial light. Good lord. Delete.
- WHY SET THE ALARM FOR THIS UNGODLY HOUR?
- Oh, right. The photoshoot. Fine. But I'll do it grumpily.
- WHERE'S MY BACKGROUND GONE? COME BACK, BACKGROUND!
- There's a stain on my background.
- WHO STAINED MY BACKGROUND?
- Which props go with crazy-computer-sci-fi, crazy-computer-people-sci-fi, Victorian-England-sass, a-book-I-know-nothing-about and an assassin-novella-collection?
- NO PROPS, THAT'S WHICH.
- Maybe a scarf.


- God, the scarf was a bad idea. But I'm so lazy to move it now.
- I need to mix this up. HEY, THIS IS AN INTERESTING ANGLE!
- No. No, it isn't.


- Sorry in advance, Future Post-Production Me.
- Wow. Shooting this in direct sunlight was such a good idea.
- Not.

(I bet y'all thought I was joking about that sun.)

- It isn't dark to the eye. It isn't dark on the viewfinder. I've adjusted the ISO, the white balance, the everything. WHY IS IT DARK IN THE PICTURE?
- Maybe with the flash...
- No flash.
- God, no flash.
- Never the flash.
- Yeah, sure, overexposed and offset. That's just what I was going for.


- ALRIGHT, SUN, WE GET IT.
- Paperback down!
- The paperback has knocked all other paperbacks down, too!
- Domino effect!
- Jeronimoooooooooooooo!


- STAND ON YOUR OWN, OH MY GOD.
- Perhaps I should have done this on a flat surface?
- Oh, well.
- Really, the perfect time for the phone to ring.
- And ring. And ring.
- I'm not picking up, you know. I'm lying on the floor for this shot and I'm not even that flexible.
- Would you like it if I yelled at YOU like that?


- Hey, interesting angle!
- Curses on books with a makeshift grid on them. They go such a long way in illustrating how incompetent I am at framing shots.
- Curses on my incompetence at framing shots.
- Curses on what I could have done with this angle were I able to frame shots.
- Which I am not.
- For emphasis.
- Curses.


- Well, at least this one is decen-
- WHY IS THIS DUST JACKET REFLECTING MYSELF AND THE CAMERA?
- I've always dreamed of taking a picture one-handed while with another hand I hold up a sheet that will prevent the dust jacket from reflecting myself and the camera.
- Dream come true. Really.
- Aaaand it's unfocused.
- COULD IT BE MY SHAKING HAND AS I GO INTO A DOWNWARD-DOG YOGA POSE AND BALANCE THE SHEET WITH MY EXTRA ARMS?


- Oh, sure, but when I WANT IT to be see-through, it isn't.
- It was such a good idea in theory, and yet...
- Maybe if I kneel.
- Wow, so much worse.
- And now my knees hurt.
- I should buy flowers.
- Except they also don't go with these books.
- And I'd need to water them.
- My cactus died once. I was supposed to water it twice a year.
- On second thought, I shouldn't buy flowers.


- The One Where The Cover Reflects The Room or The One Where The Sun Obscures The Cover?
- Oh, look, this one's both.
- The suckage. Holy suckage.
- Wait, is this...
- Wow, battery. You do this to me now?
- Just wow.


- BOOK PHOTOGRAPHY IS THE BEST THING EVER! YOU SHOULD TRY IT!
- No, really, I highly recommend it!




These are the completely accurate and chronological thoughts I had while attempting to get a few decent shots in for a Christmas book haul post. I would like to thank my dear friend Dennis and my lovely co-blogger Natalie for sending me these books for Christmas (or, in Dennis's case, providing me with a gift card which I then proceeded to build a book fort out of), the sun for being present-and-yet-such-a-major-hindrance, and my complete and utter inability to get the aforementioned decent shots in. I have very little in terms of good-photography to show for it, but on the flip side, I have this post. I'm counting this as a win.

You're not beating me, sun!

So, talk to me, pumpkins! Do you ever struggle with photography (especially bookish photography)? What was the craziest thing you ever did in search of the perfect shot? And feel free to share your Bookstagram account names. We'd love to follow you, shamelessly rip off your good ideas and make half-assed failed attempts at them for ourselves. In no particular order. (Don't worry. Those will never see the light of day. Except possibly in a sequel to this post.)



15 comments:

  1. HAHA! OH MY GOD, THIS POST. OH MY GOD, THIS POST!!! It is perfection. AND FAR TOO ACCURATE. THIS IS ME! THIS IS ME!!! Especially with the sun. There is barely any frigging sun in the UK right now. I get up and it is pitch black, I go to work and it is still dark. I get home from work... IT'S DARK! And I had to take pictures in artificial light today and they looked AWFUL!!! GAH! I wish I could take better photos. And had all the amazing props. I ADORE YOUR BLOG. I just stalked you on all the way of ever btw ;) Insta, Twitter, Bloglovin' and Facebook hahaha. I WILL BE STALKING YOUR BLOG FROM NOW ON SO BE WARNED ;)

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    1. RIGHT?! I'm beginning to think we get exactly 0.5 minutes of sunlight per day, at precisely that time we're due at work/school and can't possibly stay at home with a camera. (*cough cough* Yes, boss, I uh... *cough* I caught this, um, virus. Um, darknessalergitis. So, you see... *cough* I can't possibly come in today.) I'm actually a freak who loves winter, but god, do I miss natural lighting.

      *FANGIRLS* EEESHK! I'VE BEEN STALKING YOU FOR A FEW MONTHS NOW (noooo shame, your blog is entirely wonderful)! We included it in our list of favorite blogs discovered in 2015 in our End-of-the-year survey. <3 So we are HUMBLED AND HONORED TO BE STALKED BY YOU BACK. We can't "follow back" because we already follow you everywhere. But if we could - we would! Again! For emphasis! (WHY can we only follow our favorite blogs ONCE?)

      - Lexie

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  2. LOL SO ACCURATE. I love it. Unique posts like this are my fave. I really struggle with photographing my books ever since I switched from iPhone to low end android phone ;/

    My instagram is Stef_nicholas and I do post bookish things sometimes. LOTS of adorable baby pics ;)

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    1. We're your 600th follower, Stef! CONGRATS ON THAT MILESTONE! :)

      I sympathize on the low-end Android issue. On a rare occasion when I see a pretty book in the wild and have only my phone on me, well, it's not an equally pretty result. Low-end androids aren't fond of high-end pictures. I use a dSLR at home, then transfer them to my computer to edit in Photoshop, then (if Instagramming) I send them back to my phone to upload. Joy.

      And thank you SO MUCH. <3 This is basically a post in lieu of an actual book haul, because sometimes it's easier to just chronicle your thoughts than try to rescue truly bad shots in post-production.

      - Lexie

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  3. This post is me with a lot of things. I'm not the best at photography (my sister's way better), but I try to make it work haha. I'd rather have people take my pictures for me ;; This post speaks to my soul, though. It really does.

    My instagram is ahn.yoo though it's mostly personal than a book instagram.

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    1. Ahhh, and your story speaks to MY soul, too! It isn't enough that the sun/the phone/the reflective covers actively plot against us. But on top of that, everyone else is SO MUCH BETTER at it, it feels like.

      But, hey, we have good intentions to spare!

      - Lexie

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  4. YES. I BASICALLY JUST NEED TO SAY YES. I do insane things for bookish photography. Including standing in bushes and traipsing down my back yard (which is like a CLIFF FACE because it's so steep) with 938493 books in my arms while the neighbours....I don't know. Peer and judge? WHO CAN KNOW ABOUT NEIGHBOURS. Either way who takes photos of books? wEird people, that's who.

    Also plastic and glossy covers are my DEATH. -_-

    Also rain. When it rains for daaaays and days and DAYS and you can't get good enough light for a good shot. *WAILS*

    And yet book photography is the best??? And I'll never stop??? BUT THE STRUGGLES ARE REAL.

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    1. You know, I was already imagining your backyard as a steep tropical rainforest of wonder and doom! THIS CONFIRMS IT! I don't have much of an outside in downtown-chic (pavement and grey is our aesthetic, sadly), I USED TO, and I know how those cliffs can be hazardous to a poor, mesmerized bookish photographer's health (and reputation).

      Here on the northern hemisphere, it's that time of the year where the light and sun are strictly optional, so I FEEL YOUR PAIN for each and every single one of those dark, dark days.

      But at the end of the day - BOOK PHOTOGRAPHY IS THE BEST OF EVER! Precisely!

      - Lexie

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    2. I feel like I should probably add that the backyard-imagining stemmed from your Instagram feed, not my creepy cross-continental, trans-Oceanic stalking. *nods* Just to put that out there, for your peace of mind.

      - Lexie

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  5. AHAHHAHAAHA THIS IS FANTASTIC. TEARS OF LAUGHTER RIGHT HERE.

    Artificial lighting is a beast and should be killed with fire. And my old crappy phone camera? Yeah, not the best at taking photos. Exposure was terrible.

    But that's what editing is for, right? ;)

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    1. I feel like Editing-Us hate Past-Us more than anyone else in the world! When drafting a novel: Editing-Me will take care of it. When photographing: Editing-Me will take care of it. When making terrible life choices: Editing-Me will take care of it.

      Editing-Us are not amused!

      BUT WRITING IS HARD AND ARTIFICIAL LIGHT IS TERRIBLE AND PHONE CAMERAS SUCK AND LIFE IS CONFUSING AND IT'S 1000% NOT OUR FAULT! Right?

      - Lexie

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  6. OH MY GOSH! This was so funny! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE :)

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    1. Thank you very, very much! ;) 'Twas my intention.

      - Lexie

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  7. BRILLIANT POST! I can 100% agree to EVERYTHING from this post! This is me. Every time! Also you made me laugh out loud a few times, haha. But yes, the struggle is real and yet it's SO MUCH FUN. I once climbed a wobbly chair to get a great shot of my new books from above and ALMOST fell to the floor ... thanks god I didn't, that would've really hurt, haha.

    Yvonne @ A World Between Folded Pages

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  8. This was so entertaining! I'll be honest, I don't make as much effort as this, but it is frustrating to get the perfect picture. I really need to work on it and start getting into it more... I just wish I had more props to use. Great post! ... Thanks for stopping by Literary Constellation! :)

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