Wednesday, October 14, 2020

PHOTO TIP #2 for Illustrating Your Next Book: Double Page Spreads

For many years I worked with professional photographers who illustrated my books with their photos. We worked as a team--I wrote the text and the photographer took the pictures. I learned a great deal about photography from them. I have been both author and photographer for several of my newest books, including Hatching Chicks in Room 6 and Butterflies in Room 6. The first book for which I was both author and photographer was Easter Island (Clarion, 2000)

As I was cleaning out files recently I found a list of photo tips from my friend and fellow Grinnellian, Martha Cooper, a professional photographer and illustrator of three children's books, My Two Worlds, Lion Dancer and Anthony Reynoso: Born to Rope. At a class we taught together some years ago she handed out a list of photo tips. Today, almost everyone is a photographer--we carry cameras in our pockets in our phones. Whether you are illustrating a children's book, creating a magazine story, or assembling a slide show or family album, or even just sharing a favorite photo with a friend, I think you will find her advice useful.

LOOK and THINK before you shoot. A good eye is more important than a good camera.
Tip #2: Keep space restraints in mind. Sometimes a single photo is enough to tell a whole story. If your photos are likely to be used small, keep your compositions simple. If there is a chance of a double page spread, be sure to shoot some horizontals. (Martha Cooper)

Example: When I visited Easter Island, I purposely shot the picture of Ahu Tongariki, the row of stone figures at one of the historical sites, as a horizontal leaving plenty of room in the sky for text, anticipating that it would work well for the copyright and table of contents at the beginning of the book. (Easter Island is out of print but available as an e-book at Amazon.)

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