View Full Version : Photo Shoot Advice?

01-20-2008, 04:58 PM
Has anyone been involved in a photo shoot for their book? I'm not talking about windswept models and exciting scenery. I'm off to Massachusetts next week to spend two days consulting on the techniques photographs for my next knitting book. We've got a hand model lined up and I'll be making sure that what is shown in the pictures matches both my intentions and the text. The photographer has been photographing the knitted pieces (flat samples of knitting and garments) for the last week or so, so I'll also be reviewing those images to make sure they are right side up and that they show the correct details.

My editor and possibly the designer for the book will be there, so I'll have experienced people on hand, but I'm still curious...

What surprised you about the process? What did you do to prepare for it? What did you wish you'd known before photography began?

01-20-2008, 10:22 PM
I did primary photography for my second n-f. The biggest p-i-a is the pub didn't want digital. Yeah, I used to love shooting 35mm, but the extra time and expense (mostly the time) was pretty noticeable.Since you've got a model, presumably you have no release problems (--that was something else I had to work around but I'll leave the topic alone as it doesn't seem to apply for you.) Shooting still items shouldn't be nearly the challenge as moving targets--your knitting pieces should show off wonderfully. The other thing I was careful about was varying colors, to include background colors, but you're having this done by a pro-shouldn't be a prob. Your photog is less familiar than you about the book layout, however, so if you're envisioning photos A, C, G, and X together in one section, while the photog happens to shoot sequentially and vary the backdrops, remember, you might have just pulled all blue backgrounds, for ex, on two pages, which might not have been what you wanted.

01-21-2008, 01:34 AM
Thanks for the comments--good things to think about. In this case, layout, backgrounds and envisioning aren't my responsbility, they're the designer's, so she and the editor will have to worry about continuity, not me (thank goodness!). I have no say in layout, except to comment if it gets in the way of imparting the meaning to the reader. If the original concept is still alive, I think they will be using white backgrounds throughout, because ALL of the color in the book was supposed to come from the knitting, since it's a book about color techniques in knitting. Photographing knitted fabric to show the effects of a particular technique can be tricky. The piece may look great, but you may not be able to see the detail that supports the text. I hadn't considered the need for releases. The publisher arranged for the model and the photographer, so any release is their problem.

01-21-2008, 05:31 AM
I haven't written a book, but I've edited magazines, and any time I've been involved in photo shoots of any kind--people or products--one thing I've noted is the vast amounts of *down* time.

Prepare to not be engaged in anything useful for long periods of time, while the photographer sets the lighting, positions the pieces, etc. There's nothing you can do about that other than be patient and try to absorb what you can from the experience and have fun. (And, if you have a Blackberry or something, or even a tiny notebook, maybe get some work done).

Also, don't be shy about speaking up. You are the knitting expert, you're there as a consultant, it's your book, they want your opinions and ideas. (In my case, it was always paintball stuff... I had to make sure staged photos looked realistic or we didn't do anything dumb like have parts of a paintball marker on backwards.)

Again, that was for magazine shoots, but hopefully it will help a bit to let you know what to expect.

Also, some practical advice: the lights can get hot after a while if you're in a studio setting, so dress in layers. :)

Good luck and have fun!

01-21-2008, 08:49 AM
Thanks for the advice. As to downtime - all I have to do is bring my knitting in order to be occupied :) If things go as planned, there shouldn't be much downtime for me, since I'll only be there the last two days of a two-week shoot. All the completed pieces should have already been photographed. Dressing in layers - good idea. Especially since it's going to be about 10 degrees outside.