As a celebration of spring weather coming again after three days of snow this week (not natural this time of year where I live at all) my book Working with a Naked Lady is on sale from now through Monday for only $2.99. Monday it goes back to full price again.
Today marks a year since I published my book Working With a Naked Lady. It was an experiment in several ways. By far it’s the longest thing I’d written last year and today is only approached in length by my recently completed Master’s thesis. It also gave me a chance to think about what I do when shooting and how I do it. I also had some hope that it would help other people getting started. I have heard from a handful of people
I posted an article back in February on some thoughts of those first few couple months and I thought I’d update it over the ten months since then. I’m going to intentionally be a bit vague on some things since there were a lot of experiments and trying things and some had restrictions on what I could share. This will be mostly of interest to others thinking of publishing or working on a book, but there are a few more things lower down that might be of interest to other readers (skip on down to the Next header).
I mentioned back in February that I wish I’d done more/better marketing and that’s probably still the biggest mistake that I made in this process. Next time I will start the marketing well beforehand. I didn’t really even put up a final web site for this book until about a month before it starting selling. Next time I figure I’ll start the web site around the same time I start writing the book. A good mailing list was my biggest advantage in the book and I want to do that again. That list provided the majority of my initial sales those first few days and I wouldn’t change much other than giving myself longer to put it together.
At some point I’ve sold the book directly, though Amazon for the Kindle, and through Barnes and Noble for the Nook. Without going into exact numbers, Amazon has been my best long term platform both in number of sales and income. In fact I’ve sold more books for the Kindle than both other outlets combined and the margin isn’t even close. My direct sales mostly came from the initial mailing list, but after the first month the Amazon Kindle won every month. Earlier this year the large margin was enough that I pulled the book from other outlets to make it exclusive for Amazon. The result wasn’t a large increase in sales, but it still looks to be the right decision.
One thing I’m not happy about that though is that it means that the vast majority of people who’ve bought my book are Amazon customers and not mine. It’s the same problem I’ve heard from developers in the app stores for the various software platforms. When someone buys my book for the Kindle, they buy it from Amazon and become a customer of Amazon (note it’s the same way for iBooks with Apple or Nook with Barnes and Noble). I have no idea who they are and unless they email me using the address in the book, I’ll never know a thought from them. I have no way of contacting them directly when I update the book or when I publish a new one. These aren’t new problems, a traditional book sold in a bookstore has the same issue. Still here the information exists, I just don’t have access to it and that annoys me just a bit, especially since Amazon is I’m sure taking advantage of that data.
The book’s never been a large seller. It’s probably too specialized to ever be more than a niche book. It did recently creep into the top 100 in a category for Nonfiction > Arts & Entertainment > Photography > Portraits under the Kindle store which is the first time I remember getting into any lists. I do find it interesting that Amazon lists a number of books also bought by purchasers which include (at least at the moment) two other how to photography books and a number of what I can best describe as low cost nude photo books. One of the how to books in particular is a quite good one that I’ve read and really enjoyed and I’m pretty happy to even be in the same room as it in any way.
I’ve also experimented with pricing a bit. I first found that free promotions had little effect. I didn’t see a significant change either before or after making the book free for a short period. In fact I would speculate that for a non-fiction work that is a single book, then there is little benefit in a free promotion. If I had other books available, then I expect the free sale might lead to purchases of the other books. For someone with only one book like myself though I feel it’s not of use. Also as the book has gotten older I’ve experimented with a few different price points, but mostly had the book priced at $9.99. I’ve currently moved to $4.99 and plan to leave it there at least through the end of the year. Based on results so far, which have seen better total income from increased sales at the lower price.
If I had to pick one long lasting effect though, it’s simply that I wrote and finished a book. Before last December 14, I’d never written anything other than for personal use or a school assignment. I now write paid articles on a part-time basis for a couple of web sites and am about to add a third to that list. I’m not sure I’d even had the confidence to even apply for those gigs without having done the book. While it’s not perfect by any stretch Completing a task of this scale
So what’s next? At the end of my previous post on the book I noted that I’d probably do it again. While it’s taken longer than I’d planned I am now starting on the next book. One thing I feel I did do in this one was try to cover too much. Initially I’d planned it to be more focused and specific to just focus mostly on art nude style work and be about the process and planning of that type of shoot. I ended up adding a lot more including whole sections that really were more on general photography. I’m going to go back and redo that decision.
So my next book will be a more general photography how to book. It’ll do two things. First it will let me focus more on a single specific thing, the technical aspects of photography. Second it’ll give me something for those who’ve asked for a how to guide, but whom I knew wouldn’t feel comfortable with my other book because of the nude content. Once I’ve completed that book, I’ll likely do a follow up that will focus on art nude styled photography. In short I’m really going to take this book and break it into two shorter books with each focusing on a segment of that book.
Stay tuned for more info on the next book later this month.
I published my book back last December and the sales generally met my expectations. I’d planned an updated edition for this summer, but that now appear to more likely be coming sometime in September. Life just got too busy from May through now and some things had to be pushed back. There are some updates to layout and organization to better explain some topics, error corrections, and perhaps most significantly larger photos. I’ll post an update here when the second edition is ready and it will be freely available to anyone who purchased the book either from Amazon or directly from me.
For now though I am trying an experiment. I’ve enrolled the book with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Select program which makes it currently available only through Amazon’s store for the Kindle. I’ve sold more books through Amazon than all other sources combined, and significantly so since about February so this seems the best place for this experiment. This means two things. First if you are a member of Amazon Prime you can borrow the book as part of the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library program for no charge. This give you full access to the book similar to borrowing a library book.
In addition I’ll be making the book available for free at least one time later this month to see the effect. I’ll announce those on the blog and Twitter on the day they are available so follow this blog or follow me on Twitter to be notified.
It’s spring. In honor of warmer weather and the ability to shoot outdoor nudes again, I’m offering my book for 25% off with the code SPRINGSALE through April 15. That let’s you pick up the book as a PDF and also gives you files for your Kindle, Book, or other eBook reader for only $7.49.
No April Fool’s joke.
Early last year I got the idea to write a short book on photographing the nude. I got encouragement to do so from a few models that I worked with along with a few other friends. I started on the book in April. In mid-December, I published it as an eBook that’s available as a PDF and for the Kindle and Nook eBook readers. With a couple months past that date, I thought I’d share a few thought on writing a book. These aren’t really specific to my book, but more general though I wrote my book with the idea it would be self-published from the start.
It Will Take Longer Than You Think
A good bit longer. I started planning the book in April, but really got serious about writing the book in May. I expected that I’d be done in August, but gave myself to the end of September as a buffer. As I’ve already noted it didn’t come out until December, a month and a half later than my worst case estimate.
I completed the first draft in late June. I sent copies out to some friends who’d agreed to review it. I was a bit behind my plan, but not too bad at this point. Over July feedback came in. I took the feedback and made my first mistake by trying to hop around and fix things as I saw them while also addressing the feedback. I tried to do all my edits at one time. By late July the resulting second draft was a jumbled book that didn’t flow as well as the previous draft in spite of the other improvements. I’d added new sections that didn’t fit well. Things didn’t flow smoothly and build from early items to more advanced topics, but skipped around. I knew the second draft wasn’t as good as my first, but I sent a couple copies out for review again. The feedback on this version agreed with my fears. The most accurate comment on the book was, “it wasn’t as clear as the first.”
By now we were into the second half of August, and I faced a choice on what to do. I wanted to write a good book and if that meant being later than I planned, so be it. I went old school by printing out the entire book on paper and bought a red pen. For the next month I almost always had a blue folder with me containing that printed copy and a red ink pen. I worked on the book just about every day. I went through the printed copy several times. First I clarified and reorganized the sections and filled in a few gaps to tie sections together. Then I worked to improve wording and clarity. Finally I went through to clean up grammar and spelling. It now had more red ink than the worst paper anyone ever turned in during English class. It took a bit more than another week to bring those changes from red ink on paper into my actual draft in Word. It was now the end of September, around the time I ‘d originally expected to be done at the latest. I had a much better book, but not a perfect one.
I had to put the book down to work on other things for a few weeks. When I got back to it, I figured out what the earliest I could have a final pass to edit completed, finish getting the quotes and photos into the book, and get the preparation to sell it completed was mid-December. I chose December 14 because it was my birthday, and I liked the idea of the final book as a present to myself. I then worked to make sure the book would be ready to sale on that date. Not just the final edits, but the web site and sales locations needed to be completed by that date.
I made the last change to the book on Monday, two days before the book came out. That literally was just about the last possible moment. The final sales setup I completed in the wee hours of the morning of December 14 with the live sales starting later that day. The truth is that you’ll never be completely satisfied with your work. Like a painting or photo project, you don’t really complete it as much as you call it finished and let it go. I still feel like I could go back and do more work on the book. Maybe that will be second edition.
The book I had in mind at the start wasn’t the book I published in the end. Sure most of the book is what I envisioned. Before starting I built a list of topics to cover, and as I wrote I made notes of other topics to add that arose during the writing. Probably 1/3 of the book’s contents wasn’t in the initial plan. It needed to be there, but I didn’t see that until I noticed it missing as I wrote.
The biggest change I made in my concept occurred in September. From the start I’d discussed the book with several models to get ideas of the things they wish new photographers knew. Here I started to think of not just taking the advice, but quoting them directly in the book. In the end I was able to work in comments from several models that I interviewed and quoted for the eBook. I really think these quotes are one of the strengths of the book.
Even with a self-published book you can’t do it all. My best decision was to get a few people I trusted to give me feedback early on. You need people who like you enough to be honest and not just tell you everything’s great. I had three people who read the first two drafts and all provided feedback that led to a better book. It was sometimes blunt, but that’s what I needed. Like a photo you like because you remember the fun during the shoot and not the photo itself, you will fall in love with your own words. It takes a lot of time to write a book and it becomes a part of you. Getting someone else to look at your work, who doesn’t have that investment, and will give you honest and constructive feedback is vital.
The positive feedback also helps you keep going when frustration and aggravation set in. Even a simple comment like, “I knew you could do this,” can help a lot.
Also know your limitations. My design skills are okay. I can put together a pretty good design given time (a good bit of my life has been spent building web sites), but I’m not quick at it. So I hired someone to create a cover for the book. That was the best money I spent on the book. In the end I had to look at costs compared to benefits. A cover was worth a little investment. I would liked to have had a good copyeditor, but just couldn’t justify the cost.
It Will Suck Your Time
There were a few periods where it felt like I only went to work, worked on the book, and slept. Social life? Not as much. Downtime? Not as much. Writing the book turned out to require a major commitment of time, and that time had to come from somewhere. I turned down lunch invitations because I needed to spend that hour editing or writing. I didn’t become a hermit or cast aside the rest of the world, but I had to make decisions on what I would do. Sometimes I chose to go grab dinner with a friend, but other times I had to stay home and work. If you’re ever went to college part-time, it’s much the same set of tradeoffs. You have to balance what you want to do with what you have to do. Sometimes the book had to come first, but at least twice I set the book aside for more than a week as other things in my life needed the attention.
Writing the Book Is Only One Part
What I screwed up more than anything was marketing for the book. I put up a very simple site for the book during the summer. It had a just a few words on the topic and a copy of a cover that I’d put together in about ten minutes (see above), but little else. No sample text from the book, no photos from the book, no updates on the book. In fact I didn’t update the site again until late November, a few weeks before the book was available. In fact the book might as well have not existed as far as most of the world knew until about mid-November when I posted it here on my blog. Next time I’ll have a cover designed as soon as I wrapped up the first draft and use the cover to build a web site that tied into the book and have it out there several months before the publish date.
One marketing thing I did right was my mailing list. Before the book was available I had a place where people could sign up to be notified about the book. A couple weeks before I started sending out info and updates. On the day the book came out I sent out a message to everyone on the list letting them know. I got a very good response and the majority of people who got the email ended up buying the book.
It’s not the Field of Dreams. Just because you write a book, doesn’t mean people will come and buy it. That’s the challenge I’m facing now, simply getting people to be aware of the book.
You Will Learn as Much as You Teach
I didn’t right a book to get rich. I wrote it in hopes I could help other people learn. What surprised me is how much I learned while writing the book. It’s one thing to do something, but it requires more thought to describe to someone else how you do it. It’s one thing to build rapport with a model, but another to explain how I do it for someone else. It’s one thing to plan a shoot, but another to describe the process.
By writing the book I had to think about how I did things. In some cases I liked the process and put it down. In others case I realized places I could do things better. I adapted. Just by having to think about what I do, I had to evaluate it. I think that doing this means I’m a better photographer than before I started the book.
I May Just Do it Again
So after more than six months of work, and so many hours that I really don’t want to know, I’d do it again knowing what would be involved. Not only that, but I’m thinking about doing it again. I have two ideas in mind and once I get a little more time behind me, I may just tackle one of them and start on the next book.
A bit more than six months after I seriously began writing my eBook, it is now available for purchase. I’m both excited and a little nervous to put this out there after so long. I always heard the description that art is never complete, but only abandoned. Definitely put that as my experience with this eBook. Until literally the last day possible, I edited and made changes. I make no claims of perfection, but I really believe this contains valuable information for anyone either new to photographing of the nude or frustrated with their efforts to do so. My focus is not on the equipment, but on planning, lighting, and working with the model to get the best results. My focus is on making art through photography of the nude form. You find learn more about the book and buy it at http://www.workingwithanakedlady.com/. Still working on The formatting for the Kindle version that will (hopefully) be available through Amazon early next week.
I’d like to especially thank Melissa Troutt, Katlyn Lacoste, Hannah Perez, Bree Addams, Nyxon, Keira Grant, and Brynn Cook who were especially helpful by doing interviews that are part of the eBook or reviewing parts of the eBook along the way. You’ll find all those wonderful models quoted in the book along with photos of them and many more. In the eBook you’ll see photos of:
It’s been a long ride and over the last month it feels that I’ve done little other than work and edit this eBook. Writing it turned out to be much more work than I expected, but also more rewarding than I’d expected. It’s also been the reason I’ve been rather silent on here the last few months with all my writing time focused on the book instead. I have a lot of shoots to catch up on editing and a lot to post here. The irony is that I shot quite a bit in November, but had time to edit almost none of it. I have shoots with some old friends in Melissa Troutt, Adrina Lynn, Charlie Kristine, Nyxon, Katy T, Xlcr Moon coming in addition to some new models in Kerri Taylor, Rachel Dashae, and Briella Jaden. I also have some material that didn’t make the final book for size or time reasons I hope to put out here sometime soon.
Let me begin by stating that equipment doesn’t matter as much as you think. I don’t mean that equipment is unimportant. I can be a tech head as much as anyone and spend hours discussing the differences between megapixels, sensor sensitivity, and lens specs. I will spend hours researching any technology related purchase to make sure I find the one that is just a little better.
The truth is that you can have the best equipment and still take crappy photographs. Great images are being taken every day with camera phones and simple point-and-shoots. Equipment is a necessity, but knowing how to use your equipment is far more important than the brand or model of your equipment. To take the photos you have in your mind’s eye, you will rarely find your equipment to be the most important tool. Knowing what you want to capture and having a plan to do this are more important.
You generally get what you pay for when buying photographic equipment. I suggest frugality when starting out. In most cases lenses, cameras, and lights that cost more do so because they have better quality, more capability, faster recovery time, or more features (though there are always exceptions). As a beginner you probably don’t need many of these more advanced features. Starting with a beginner DSLR will be adequate. The key is to buy solid equipment when starting out that you can expand and grow as your needs increase. Be smart about spending money to get the best bang for your buck.
There are many brands of good cameras and other equipment out there and I’m not going to get into what brand is better because ultimately it doesn’t matter. You can go out and buy the same guitar and amplifier as Eddie Van Halen or Stevie Ray Vaughn, but when you play it’s still going to sound like you playing the guitar. Likewise you can buy the exact same camera gear as another photographer, but you will be the one taking the photos. You need to know and learn how to get the most out of your equipment. Technical ability is the start, not the end of producing work that you’re proud to show others.
We’ll begin with the most basic, and most necessary, of the photographer’s tools, the camera.
I divide cameras in three types. The first type is the point-and-shoot camera that is usually small and self-contained. These cameras are generally designed to be simple to operate and compact enough to take everywhere. They are targeted at casual shooters and work great for the types of photos that most people want to capture – memories of time spent with friends and family. These cameras will make most of the decisions for you and get decent shots most of the time.
The second type of camera is the camera built into most new cell phones. Many cell phones now contain a camera nearly as capable as a point-and-shoot camera. They also have the advantage of being almost always with you without carrying a second device.
The third type of camera, and the one we’re most concerned with, is the SLR or single lens reflex camera. These are named for the mirror system that directs light from the lens to either the viewfinder or image sensor/film. When the camera uses an image sensor instead of film, they are usually referred to as digital SLR or DSLR cameras. I will largely reference DSLR cameras in this eBook for the times that I reference a camera. Most of the concepts here are just as appropriate for a film SLR and many even will be relevant to a point and shoot camera or camera phone.
The first obvious difference of the DSLR from the other types is that the DSLR camera will feature lenses that can be changed. This allows you to choose a lens depending on the type of photos being taken, a feature referred to as interchangeable lenses. The greatest advantage of the SLR and DSLR comes from this ability to change lenses to match the needs of your shoot. While many better point-and-shoot cameras will let you tweak exposure settings, a SLR will give you more options and a greater range of settings that give you more control and flexibility. Most SLR and DSLR cameras also offer a mode that works similar to the point and shoot and makes most of the decisions for you.
You’ll want the extra functionality that a DSLR offers, but don’t feel that you need to buy the top of the line pro model and a dozen different lenses before you take a single photo. Start small and keep things affordable. Buy a good, basic DSLR to start with and look for a kit that will includes a basic lens in one package. If you want to splurge, spend the extra money on a better lens. Be aware you can easily spend more on your second or third lens than you did for your camera body. By starting small you can learn your equipment. When you start to hit the limitations of the equipment you have, you’ll know it’s time look at an upgrade.
New cameras and lenses come out everyday. Any advice that I give here will be outdated by the time you make it to this page of the eBook. I suggest looking at reviews of the current equipment. Some resources for sites that I currently like and use when considering new purchases are listed on the web site for this eBook under Book Resources. Reading a number of sites to get a variety of opinions will serve you well as every reviewer will have biases and preferences that influence reviews. Before you buy a camera you should definitely hold it in your hands to make sure you like how it feels and can work the buttons and controls easily. Cameras are one of the items that you really need to touch and try before you buy.
I suggest that you ignore film when starting. That may seem sacrilege to many, but the truth is that learning with digital will be a simpler process. As a photographer of the nude you can’t just drop your photos off at the local pharmacy to develop. You will likely need to find a specialty developer willing to work with nudes or learn to develop your own photos. Developing your own photos will require a darkroom space, chemicals, and equipment. I primarily work in digital, but do own and occasionally use a film SLR. If you feel the desire to move in that direction, by all means follow that interest at some point. Starting with digital will still make things easier while learning.
And just for the record, I use a Canon camera.
Without a lens, your DSLR is just a camera body. As mentioned under cameras, you will often find kits offered that pair a camera body with a basic lens. The job of the lens is to collect light and bring it to the sensor in the camera. As a photographer there are two primary aspects of a lens you should be concerned about: focal length and aperture.
Focal length, usually measured in millimeters (mm), notes the distance from the center of the lens to the sensor when focusing at a point an infinite distance away. Because of the way lenses are manufactured this might not be the physical center of the lens. Think of it as a measure of the field of view or how much of what’s in front of you the camera will capture. A lens with a low focal length will capture a wide field of view or a wide angle of the scene in front of you. The scene will also appear further away. In fact you can capture a wider angle than you can see with the unaided eye. A lens with a high focal length will zoom in to a scene and show you a narrow field of view. The scene will also appear closer to the viewer. A lens with a low focal length will also be called a short lens and one with a high focal length will also be called a long lens.
Photo 3 – In both these images the model and I remained at same location, but I changed the focal length. I shot the photo on the left at 40mm and the photo on the left at 51mm. Notice that the objects in the photo taken with a larger focal length appear larger and that background objects in that photo appear closer to the model.
If you wanted to take a picture of an entire valley from a mountain, you would use a short lens and therefore a wide angle. If you wanted to take a picture of just a cabin in that valley you would use a long lens. Generally a focal length of around 50mm is considered to record a scene the way the naked eye sees it.
There is a complication on focal length specific to digital cameras. The focal length of a lens generally is given relative to the traditional 35mm film size. To reduce cost, many digital cameras use a sensor smaller than this 35mm size. The smaller sensor results in what is called a crop factor. This is the ratio that the smaller sensor changes the focal length of the lens. For my Canon T2i this ratio is about 1.6 which means that a lens showing a focal length of 50mm will actually function as 50mm x 1.6 or 80mm would on a 35mm sensor. The result is that I get a tighter field of view than I otherwise expect for the focal length of the lens with this camera. Therefore if I want a result of a 50mm lens on a cropped sensor, I must use a lens showing a smaller focal length. On my 1.6 ratio camera, this means I’d need to use a 50 mm / 1.6 or about a 30mm lens.
Using a lens with a small zoom will make objects appear further apart in distance from the camera than a long zoom of the same scene. Think of a wide angle as stretching the distance between objects in the scene while a zoomed lens compresses this distance and makes objects appear closer together. You can use this to either shrink or stretch the apparent depth of your scene.
Some lenses have a fixed focal length that cannot be varied. These lenses are referred to as prime lenses. Other lenses will transition through a range of focal lengths and are known as zoom lenses. Zoom lenses are popular because of the flexibility, but this flexibility comes with some loss of clarity since the lens must work through a larger range of settings. You also will usually find a smaller widest aperture in a zoom lens compared to a fixed lens of similar cost.
We will discuss aperture later, but for now know that a lens will usually be marked with the largest aperture it will support. A fixed lens will have a single number, while a zoom lens will usually state the largest aperture the lens supports at each end of the lens’s zoom range. You will hear the terms fast and slow to describe a lens. This is in reference to the maximum aperture of the lens. A lens with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 is slower than one with a maximum aperture of f/4.5. A greater maximum aperture produces a faster lens.
For most work I use a zoom lens with a range of 18mm to 135mm. In addition I often use 24mm and 50mm fixed lenses. Those fixed lenses have a larger maximum aperture than the zoom lenses allowing use in darker conditions or to produce a smaller depth of field.
Each camera brand usually has a specific mount and only lenses made for that mount will work with the camera. Camera manufacturers generally only produce lenses for their specific camera and these usually work across models. Many third party lens makers produce their lenses with a mount compatible with each of the major camera brands. You can also find adapters that will let you use some lenses, especially older film SLR lenses, with older mounts on newer cameras. These adapters usually do not support the automatic features the lens offers such as automatic focusing.
A better lens will provide more improvement in the quality of your photos more than a better camera body. You will be better served upgrading your camera lenses before buying a new camera body. In fact when you start running into limitations in your equipment you likely will find it in the kit lens before the camera that you bought with the lens. As long as you stay with cameras with the same mount (generally the same brand) then your lens investment will come with you as you buy new camera bodies in the future. The one exception will be if you buy a lens specifically designed for cameras with a cropped sensor and you later purchase a camera with a full size sensor. In this case the lens may no longer work.
Each photo that you take will require an amount of memory to store on the camera. The device that the photo is stored onto is known as a memory card. A few cameras include a small amount of built in memory to store images, but you will want or need a memory card to store the images taken by your DSLR camera. There are two common types of memory cards you’ll find in digital cameras. The first is the small, thin SD card and the second the larger Compact Flash card. They are not interchangeable. You should make sure which type your camera uses before buying a memory card.
The camera sensor size is measured in megapixels. While many photo formats use compression to reduce the size of the photo, you can assume that the megapixel gives a good indication of the size of each photo captured by your camera. Most memory cards will state on the packaging the approximate number of images they hold for a given megapixel camera. I suggest buying at least two memory cards as it will give you a spare to use if you fill up one during a shoot or one malfunctions during a shoot. Swapping cards only takes a few seconds while copying images off a card can take several minutes.
Memory cards will be rated with a maximum speed they can transfer data. A faster card allows data to be written more quickly and therefore clears the camera buffer more quickly for new data. You will want a higher speed card if shooting images in fast succession with your camera often called “burst mode.” If shooting video on your DSLR, you will likely find it requires a minimum card speed. The manual for your camera will provide this information. On my Canon T2i a class 10 card or better must be used for video.
I’ve known photographers who use a different card for each set and then let the photos copy off the card while they begin the next set of images. This minimizes the risk of losing photos if a card goes bad. I do believe it’s a good idea to get the images off a card as quickly as possible and I never erase the images off a card until I’ve verified they copied correctly.
You can conduct successful shoots with those three pieces of equipment. After you have worked for a while you will likely find two items that you may want look to add to your equipment. One will be artificial light sources and the second will be a light meter. Both of these we will discuss in the section of this eBook on light.
No matter what equipment you own you must learn to use it. As boring as it may be, read the manual that came with your camera, flash, or other equipment. If you don’t like the manual (or as happens too often happens the manual was badly written or translated) most popular brands of cameras have books that delve into the operation of your specific model of camera. There may be features that would be valuable, but not obvious from the controls. Ultimately equipment is your tool in photography. You would learn to properly work your new chainsaw before trying to cut down a tree, and you need to learn your camera equipment properly. While you are less likely to cut off your leg if you don’t read your camera manual, you are just as likely to not get the results you want.
Last year I started a series on this blog that I’d hoped to turn into a how to series. Basically I wanted to go through the things that I’d learned since starting to photograph the nude and share the lessons and experiences. I quickly realized that I couldn’t keep posting at the rate I’d hoped and I ended up setting the project to the side. I didn’t give up on the idea though and after a little encouragement this spring started looking at the notes I’d made and what I’d written with the idea of turning it into an eBook.
This summer I began working on that eBook. I wanted to cover the things I wish I’d known when I first picked up a camera and asked someone to pose nude for me. Too many photographers focus on just the technical side of photograph. While it is important to get lighting correct and I think too many photographers and books for new photographers overlook the even more important aspects of working with models and moving from just snapping pictures of a pretty woman to trying to create something deeper.
Many hours later I’ve almost completed the eBook and am ready to announce it. How to Work with a Naked Lady be available for purchase beginning on December 14, 2011. The book is right now at 119 pages (that may vary a page or two as I finish editing) and contains forty photographs (that will probably increase a bit as I finish editing). I plan to have it available as a PDF file and also on the Amazon Kindle and it will be priced at $9.99.
I also interviewed and discussed what I cover in the book with several experienced and talented models. Many of them have appeared on this blog before and include Melissa Troutt, Katlyn Lacoste, Bree Addams, Hannah Perez, Keira Grant, and Nyxon. Their input and feedback directly influenced the contents of the book. I address the problems they’ve seen, the things they wish photographers did, and what they need from during a shoot to get the best work. This isn’t just me providing advice, but also advice and suggestions from models about what you should and shouldn’t do.
More info about the book can be found at http://www.workingwithanakedlady.com/. I should have a sample chapter up in a few days along with some sample content from. You can sign up to be notified as updates are published to the site and when the book is available. There will be a special discount for everyone who signs up before December 14.