Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hotel Civil Ceremony - Photo Shoot Preparations & Styling @ The Heritage Hotel Portlaoise

Interior Stylist / Photo Stylist Naomi Dunleavy

The Brief
The Heritage Hotel Portlaoise told us that the Civil Ceremony in their Mc Evoy Suite was the most important shot of the photo shoot. They liked the Civil Ceremony image we had created in The Imperial Hotel Cork  (see below) and wanted a similar opulent feel to their Civil Wedding


Civil Ceremony Setup in The Imperial Hotel Cork


Existing Setup
The Mc Evoy Suite was set up for a meeting on the day we visited the hotel for a recce. So I  managed to take a quick snap of the room just after the meeting had ended (see below). I also looked online and found an image of their existing Civil Ceremony setup so I could see their standard and make recommendations  (click on the link to view)



Mc Evoy Suite just after a meeting had ended. Note that my snapshot is of the opposite end of the room to the image the hotel had as David and I both felt that this was the nicer side of the room
 
Our Recommendations
1) Add neutral coloured tie backs to the curtains, tie them back and pin the inside of the tops of each pair together (to form an inverted V)
 
2) Replace the existing painting and plaque with either a larger painting or use the mirror I had seen in the Bridal Suite
Snapshot of the mirror in the Bridal Suite
 
3) Use a white skirt on the top table in place of the plain white table linen
  
4) I liked the ribbons in their existing image as they complimented the red carpet, so we decided to use them
 
5) Tidy the chair cover linen so it sits evenly on the chairs and level to the floor
  
6) Add some red flowers to the top table bouquet
 
7) Use 2 each of either; the 3 armed candleabras or the tall single candleabras and candles (of similar height) from their Maryborough Wedding Banquet Suite. I would decide which suited better on the day
 
8) Get 8 lanterns & candles (of similar height) for the aisle
 
9) Order 2 large triangular shaped bouquets of ivory flowers, with trailing greenery and pedestals for either side of the end of the aisle 

Pre Shoot Setup and Tweaking
The Civil Ceremony was to be shot on Day 2 of the shoot but I took a quick look in the room on the first day to see what progress was being made
While checking over the hotel's preparations in the areas being shot, I spotted a mirror in the hallway that I hadn't seen on our first visit and decided to use that instead of the Bridal Suite mirror as it was larger, more opulent and could remain in the Mc Evoy Suite (see both mirrors resting on the top wall in the room above)


While looking for 2 chairs to prop the Bride and Groom chairs on  for the shot in the main Wedding Banquet room (so they look more dominant than the other chairs), David spotted some beautiful wine coloured chairs with gold criss-cross detailing on the back. I thought these would be perfect for the Civil Ceremony shot. I had a choice of two styles of candelabra to choose from so I brought them over to the Mc Evoy Suite to decide on later

 
With all the major style decisions made and everything put into position, all that was left for me to do was to tidy the chair linen and bows and to remove scuff marks we had made on the carpet while we were staging the room
We had put everything carefully in place so I just used the head of the hoover to remove scuffs from the carpet rather than wheeling in the hoover 



Here's our final image 
Civil Ceremony in The Mc Evoy Suite of The Heritage Hotel Portlaoise

 
Click on the link below to read our blog on our preparations for the Drinks Reception shot in The Heritage  Hotel Portlaoise http://www.davidcantwellphotographyblog.com/2014/03/hotel-wedding-drinks-reception-photo.html

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Photographing a Car in a Hotel Meeting Room - Using Multiple Exposure Combination

We recently had a 2 day photo shoot for The Grand Hotel Malahide. The hotel has a number of meeting rooms, including the O'Carolan Suite which is on the ground floor of the hotel and has double door access to the exterior. They wanted us to style and photograph the room to show this flexibility. Luckily the owners happen to have an Excalibur car so, we decided to stage the room with the car and a drinks reception
 
The car, drinks table and pods had been brought into the room and roughly positioned. I determined camera angle while Naomi discussed prop placement with Paula Mc Corry (General Manager) and Louise Andrews (Director of Sales and Marketing)


Once camera lockdown was determined, everything was repositioned, tidied and styled. We wanted an evening look so the curtains were closed and taped at the sides to prevent daylight getting in and up-lights/ cans were introduced


Naomi replaced the vases of white flowers with the red ones from The Tara Suite Wedding Banquet (we'll post that in a later blog) as she wanted to add some more warmth to the image and compliment the curtains and carpet. More up-lights/cans are added to the left side of the room


Every 2nd up-light/can was transferred over from the left side of the room to the right, for a better balance. I started positioning Dedo lights to illuminate the car and took multiple shots. I placed the 1st Dedo light about a foot off the floor, just behind the back right wheel of the car and directed it towards a white sheet that 2 members of staff held up for me, and shot


The staff members moved around to the side of the car and again held up the cloth, while I placed a 2nd Dedo light in front of the first pod to the left of the room, directed it towards the cloth and took another shot. When lighting something very reflective, I always direct a point of light rather than a wide light source on a reflector rather than the item itself as it gives a beautiful, natural gradient light


On this final setup, I wanted light on the front wing and bonnet of the car so the table cloth was repositioned again (just out of shot, to the front right of the car), the 3rd Dedo light directed at it and I took another shot
The Dedo lights were then repositioned to illuminate the flowers on the pods and another shot was taken. All 4 images were then combined and the Dedo lights were retouched out. Here's our final image

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jewellery Photography - How I Created a Starry Background for an Alien Pendant

Alan Ardiff designs and manufactures unique pieces of jewellery that have novelty moving elements. Every piece is photographed on a blue background that matches their branded blue packaging. I then customise the background to compliment each piece of jewellery
High Nellie Pendant on Green Grass 

Surfs Up Cufflinks on a Sandy Beach
 
Secret Garden Pendant

My most recent shoot was to photograph a pendant of an alien on the moon so I wanted to create a starry background. Here's my final image
Alien Pendant
  
Below are the steps I took to achieve this look

Step 1  Creating the Star Shapes
I used the same blue Colourama background I use for Alan Ardiff Jewellery and cut random holes in it with a knife
  
Step 2 Lighting the Stars 
I used a combination of Bowens 1000 Flash Head and a Dedolight to create different intensities of light - View of the back of the background 

This is the effect they created on the camera side of background
 
Step 3 Lighting the Jewellery 
The trick with photographing jewellery is to light what the piece sees rather than the jewellery itself
I lit a white piece of perspex and an A4 piece of paper (through which I cut a hole for the lens to poke through) with 2 Dedolights. I find these very controllable 
 
I hung the jewellery from a boom arm over a piece of perspex. Because the perspex was convex, I needed to illuminate it all the way round. All the light on this is bounced off the reflectors I placed earlier. It gives a beautiful light. 
 
Final Step Star Effect 
The star effect was determined by the aperture I used. Because I used continuous light, a combination of shutter speed and aperture would give me the same exposure. I adjusted the aperture to give me the desired effect. A word of warning, if you use a slow shutter speed to get a usable aerator be sure the jewellery is absolutely still before shooting, to avoid the slighted bit of shake 
 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Hotel Wedding Drinks Reception - Photo Shoot Setup, Styling and Photography @ Portlaoise Heritage Hotel

Interior Stylist / Photo Stylist Naomi Dunleavy

Portlaoise Heritage Hotel invited us to photograph some of their wedding setups. They'd seen our images for The Imperial Hotel Cork's Civil Ceremony as well as Mullingar Park Hotel's Drinks Reception (see both images below), liked our styling and photography and asked if we could create similar images for them

Civil Ceremony @ The Imperial Hotel Cork


Wedding Drinks Reception @ Mullingar Park Hotel
Pre Shoot Walkthrough
We visited the hotel weeks before the photo shoot and walked through the areas to be photographed with their Sales & Marketing Manager, Aileen. I took some snaps of the areas, (to reference back to, for styling) and Aileen gave us some background to the hotel and their service style


Wedding Drinks Reception Image Brief
Aileen wanted us to create a Wedding Drinks Reception image to replace the hotel's current one (see below). She wanted the new image to have a feeling of elegance and warmth and to include staff in the image to reflect the service element of the reception. The hotel had added Madeira cake slices to their package and also now have pod tables so Roy, the Deputy General manager wanted these incorporated into the new image
Portlaoise Heritage Hotel's Existing Wedding Drinks Reception Image
(Screen grab taken with permission of the hotel) 

Our Recommendations
 To create a feeling of elegance, we suggested they;
1)  Replace the wine base and white linen on the drinks table with a white skirt and linen
2)  Remove the tea station and replace with additional wine glasses which should be arranged in 2 sets of circular tiers
3)  Replace the rectangular silver mulled-wine tray with a round one
4)  Place wine bottles (all the same brand) either side of the mulled wine bowl
 
To create a feeling of warmth, we suggested they;
1)  Replace the ivory bouquet of flowers with dark red roses
2)  Order 5 additional single stemmed dark red roses with leaves attached to wrap around the candleabras
3)  Replace the gold ribbons on the pods with red satin ones
4)  Borrow candleabras from their wedding banqueting suite and place them either side of the drinks table and on each pod, making sure the candles are all of a similar height. In the final image we actually used battery operated candles which a client (Shomar) had given us to demo
5)  As an optional extra, we suggested they add greenery to the stair railings. I had seen small trees in another area of the hotel that I was also going to position at the bottom of the stairs

Pre Shoot Setup and Tweaking
The hotel drinks reception took almost 2 hours to prepare, with the assistance of Roy Kavanagh (Deputy General Manager), Eoin Jacob (Conference & Banqueting Manager) and three other hotel staff. You can see some of the stages of prep below


Before 1
I placed tea-lights in the centre of a circular mirror I'd borrowed from the hotel's wedding banquet suite (to add some sparkle to the wine glasses) and placed wine glasses around the inside edge of the mirror. The florist wrapped a green wreath around the stair railing 

Before 2
Hotel staff put my trusty little iron to good use re-ironing the table skirt for the Madeira Cake table
 

Before 3
The Lemon Madeira Cake table is put into position while staff continue to re-iron the table skirt. I had intended using trees either side of the bottom of the stairs but I spotted black lanterns in the reception area and thought that their black frame complimented the black candleabras which would be placed on the pods and drinks table (in place of the candles on plates)
 
Before 4
We replaced the linen on the pods with larger ones so the black bases were no longer visible and I tied red satin ribbons around each pod. I actually used 2 lengths of ribbon per pod; I wrapped one around the pod and pinned into place, while the other was tied into a large bow. I pinned and taped the bows to the white linen so they would sit proud.
Note that we only used 2 of the 3 pods in our final images (below) as we wanted a clear view to the drinks table. We moved them onto the carpet and positioned them so that your eye would freely follow the curve of the carpet


A few more minor adjustments; a tree is positioned in the foreground to add softness to the image, staff models are put into position and posed, uniforms and hair is fixed. These are our final Hotel Wedding Drinks Reception images
Final Image 1 (With Staff)
Final Image 2 (No Staff)






Monday, March 10, 2014

Photo Styling - Adult and Kids Afternoon Tea in The Shelbourne Hotel

By Interior Stylist/Photo Stylist Naomi Dunleavy

The Shelbourne Hotel recently added a Kids Afternoon Tea to their Lord Mayor's Lounge menu. We were asked to style and photograph both their original Afternoon Tea (see below) and their new kiddies version (at the bottom of this blog)


Our Original Image for Afternoon Tea for Adults

The Kids Afternoon Tea is similar to the adult one (above) but is smaller, comes with more sweets, a hot chocolate drink and is served on their pretty pastel coloured delph
I was asked to style the image but the client didn't want to feature children in the shot. I'd toyed around with a few ideas (excuse the pun) such as; 
- A large doll or teddy bear on the chair,
- A small porcelain doll sitting leaning against the cake stand and
- Mums handbag on the other chair
Having worked with Yvonne (Director of Sales & Marketing) a few times, I knew she wouldn't like me to over style so I decided against mums bag. I felt the doll might put little boys off and adding a boys toy for balance would be too much so I decided to go with just a teddy bear as it was neutral and invoked images of a "Teddy Bear's Picnic" 
We decided that we would essentially work with the same setup as the adult Afternoon Tea but would make 8 slight changes (see image below)
Changes to the Adult Afternoon Tea to Turn it into the Kids Afternoon Tea 


1) Remove the decorative chair cushions and replace the one on the left with a large teddy bear with a red ribbon (for a punch of colour)
2) Replace the white porcelain cup and saucers with the pastel coloured mugs and saucers
3) Change the style of the napkins from the decorative "Bird of Paradice" to a "Bunny Rabbit" fold. Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration. I had earlier pinned "How To Make a Bunny Rabbit Napkin Fold" to my Pinterest page for reference  
4) Place the kiddies Afternoon Tea stand in the foreground and the adult one in the background (for scale)
5 and 6) Remove the plate of sandwiches and the sugar and milk porcelain delph
7) Replace the silver vase and flowers with a more simplistic glass vase and softer toned flowers
8) Replace with white porcelain plate with the kiddies pastel coloured one
This is our final Kids Afternoon Tea image
Kids Afternoon Tea




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Leonard Nimoy's photography back on exhibit at R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton

George Lenker By George Lenker  masslive.comon February 25, 2014 at 7:49 AM, updated February 25, 2014 at 3:15 PM
__________________________________________________________________ 
  
Leonard Nimoy.jpg
Leonard Nimoy 
Sure, William Shatner made some records, but his singing was mostly seen as camp. When it comes to pursuing other arts seriously, Leonard Nimoy is the "Star Trek" cast member who dares to go where no others have gone before.
 
Nimoy, a serious photographer has exhibited his work worldwide, including the R. Michelson Galleries (132 Main St.) in Northampton. And that's the venue for a new showing of Nimoy's work, starting March 1. Richard Michelson answered a few questions about both the artists and his work.
 
You've done Nimoy exhibits before. How many were there, when were they, and what were they about?
While we always have a sampling of Mr. Nimoy’s work on display, we have had three full-scale Nimoy exhibits over the past 10 years in our Northampton gallery. We have also curated many additional exhibits at museums and galleries around the world.

R. Michelson Galleries originally exhibited "Shekhina," Mr. Nimoys photographic exploration of religion and sensuality. "The Full Body Project" was his examination of our concepts of body image and attractiveness. This was accompanied by a two-day symposium at the gallery where Mr. Nimoy and other speakers challenged society’s traditional views of beauty. Our most recent exhibit, “Secret Selves” consisted of 100 life-size photographs, shot entirely in our Northampton gallery. This exhibit was based on the Greek mythology that humans were once four legged and four armed. When they became too arrogant and powerful, Zeus split them in two. Since then mankind is in constant search for our other half in order to feel complete. Mr. Nimoy took photographs revealing the never-revealed self, or other self that people had hidden or were searching for.
 
What was he like to work with as far as from a photographer/gallery owner point of view?
If all my artists were as easy to work with as Mr. Nimoy, my life would be immensely easier. People always want to know what he is “really like,” There is not a kinder, gentler man that I know. He is intelligent and inquisitive and funny and easy to be around. The book, "Secret Selves," includes a DVD of Mr. Nimoy’s interactions with many of the subjects, and you can see the “real Nimoy” in the interviews he conducts. Every subject was immediately put at ease.
 
What is this new exhibit, what's in it, and how did it come together?
 This new exhibit is really four exhibits. Three institutions in Boston will be showing different bodies of work, and we will be exhibiting some of his very early photographic attempts in our Northampton gallery. It came together because we had been getting a number of requests to exhibit his work in Boston, Mr. Nimoy’s home town. So the idea crystallized to do these exhibits concurrently, so collectors could travel from on to the other.
 
What do you personally like about his photography?
 Mr. Nimoy is foremost a conceptual photographer. He does not carry around a camera and randomly shoot. He has an idea, and explores it through the medium of photography. His eye for light and composition is without equal and his photographs are informed by his deep intelligence and questing nature. He transforms even the simplest images.
 
Do you think it's difficult for someone so well-known in one aspect of his career – as an actor and incredibly popular TV series – to break out into another art form? Talk a little bit about that. How is it helpful and how is it not?
When we first exhibited Mr. Nimoy’s work, we did so under a pseudonym. The response from critics and our collectors was astoundingly positive. We had “discovered” a new talent in the field, and his work was selling. Mr. Nimoy started taking photographs at age 13, developing them in his bathroom-darkroom of his small Boston apartment. He studied photography with Robert Heineken at UCLA, and at one point seriously considered leaving acting to concentrate on his photography. He is no dilettante, having studied the field for almost 70 years.

Certainly many people come to his exhibits because of the celebrity, but they leave taking about the art itself. I see it happen every day at our gallery—skeptics become collectors and enthusiasts.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Best Photography Books of 2013 - Photo.Net Picks

As David is putting the finishing touches to his photography book "Snap Dragons" (a collection of the world's greatest photographers), I thought I'd take a look at what was popular on the photography book shelves, in 2013. 

Original Source http://photo.net/equipment/best-photo-books-2013/

 
1. Inspiration in Photography: Training Your Mind to Make Great Art a Habit
 
Author: Brooke Shaden
Published: September 2013 by Focal Press in North America and Ilex Press elsewhere
Details: softcover, 192 pages, 10 × 9.2 inches
List price: $34.95/£17.99
 
Cara St Hilaire - bookshaden bookBrooke Shaden’s latest book Inspiration in Photography is an insightful look into her world of conceptual fine art photography. Offering helpful tips on both how to narrow in on creativity and on the practical tools needed to achieve such imaginative images, this book is certainly a rare find.
 
As one of the most recognized names in modern photography, Brooke Shaden sheds light not just on her own methods, but on how to truly find and create a style all your own. Well known for her self-portraits and artistic vision, she takes the reader through her process of both coming up with an idea and executing it well. Shaden will encourage you to think outside the box and dig a little deeper to find your own artistic calling. While the work displayed seems motivation enough, this book will also offer a multitude of exercises to help you find your own vision in any setting.
 
Inspiration in Photography is an ideal balance of incitement and instruction. It is ideal for anyone looking to shake things up in their work or narrow in on their own unique style of photography.
 
Who is this book for? This is an ideal book for your true photographer. This is a great book for anyone currently in the photography field who is looking to reignite their creativity and learn interesting new tricks of the trade. It doesn’t matter what type of photography you are interested in, Inspiration in Photography is written to help artists find the individuality in their own styles.


 

2. Capture the Magic: Train Your Eye, Improve Your Photographic Composition

Author: Jack Dykinga
Published: November 2013 by Rocky Nook
Details: softcover, 188 pages, 9.9 × 10 inches
ISBN: 9781937538354
List price: $39.95/£30.99
 
Cara St Hilaire - book dykingaCapture the Magic by Jack Dykinga discusses how to transform moving ideas, feelings, and experiences into exceptional photography. While it is often we are moved by a particular emotion it can be difficult to transform that into moving and relatable imagery. Jack Dykinga discusses finding both the commonality in human biases and the most complimentary composition for any photograph. By asking basic questions about what we’re photographing, he helps the reader figure out what is important in the image and therefore what to focus on.
 
In addition to composition and focal points, Capture the Magic teaches the reader to use what’s available and how to be flexible to various circumstances. Jack Dykinga believes photography is as essential form of communication capable of crossing linguistic borders. He teaches an array of essential photography techniques used to form this connection and creatively express yourself through an image.
 
Who is this book for? Capture the Magic is the best beginner photographer’s guide around. This book touches on all of the most basic and crucial elements of photography needed to become a true photographer. A step beyond semantics of using the camera, Capture the Magic is about teaching the reader to use the surroundings, emotions, and connections made available.



 

3. Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs

Author: Steve McCurry
Published: September 2013 by Phaidon Press
Details: hardcover, 264 pages, 13 5/8 × 9 5/8 inches
ISBN:9780714864624
List price: $59.95/ £39.95
 
Cara St Hilaire - books_mccurrySteve McCurry is one of the most prominent photo-journalists currently living. In his latest book, Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs by Steve McCurry, the reader is brought along on some of his most incredible quests around the world. Known for his captivating images of people and exotic places, Steve McCurry shares the exhilarating stories behind some of his most iconic photos.
 
Featuring 14 of McCurry’s photo stories, this book gives readers an insight to how he not only finds the stories, but his approach to interpreting them uniquely. He shares not only his striking photography, but snapshots of his life as a photojournalist including photos, maps, journal entries, and more. With newly articulated essays, Untold gives you a sense of not just the event but the intimate nature of photographing the event as well. The reader is offered an authentic glance behind the scenes at the life of a true voyager. Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs is an essential read for any aspiring photojournalist or anyone with that wander-lust spirit!
 
Who is this book for? A must read for all aspiring photojournalists! With incredible imagery to inspire a wander-lust spirit, this book offers true life tales of the adventures embarked upon to create such incredible work. Whatever the style of your own photojournalism, Untold is an excellent rendition of the patience, luck, and fortitude it takes to be an awe-inspiring photographer.



 

4. The Minimalist Photographer

Author: Steve Johnson
Published: April 2013 by Rocky Nook
Details: paperback, 144 pages, 8 × 10 inches
ISBN:9781937538095
List price: $32.95/ £25.50
 
Cara St Hilaire - books_johnsonThe Minimalist Photographer by Steve Johnson emphasizes the need to remove the non-essential from the essential in both our images and our approach to photography.
 
As a photographer, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the abundant information and gear made available. Steve Johnson addresses this issue by promoting a minimalist approach to the field in all aspects pertaining to buying gear, simplifying workflow, and uncluttering the composition of images.
 
In his latest book, Steve Johnson discusses the importance of having a personal style and philosophy in photography to help guide your pictorial endeavors. The Minimalist Photographer focuses on the simplifying all things photography from equipment and technique to light and the history of photography.
 
Who is this book for? This is yet another excellent read for aspiring photographers. Breaking down the many overwhelming aspects and complications of photography, this book manages to focus on what is most relevant in true photographic creation. The Minimalist Photographer touches on all of the key components of authentic photography in an easy to digest and extremely helpful manner.



 

5. Lightroom 5 Unmasked: A Complete Guidebook to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Author: Piet Van den Eynde
Published: 2013 by Craft and Vision
Details: ebook, 356 pages
List price: $20
 
Cara St Hilaire - Book_Eynde_LightroomLightroom 5 Unmasked is full of information for someone new to Lightroom, beginning with what Lightroom is (and isn’t), all the way through the different modules: library, print, develop, and more. An especially notable feature would be the case studies (69 of them!) throughout the guide that are a key reason why this book is featured on the top 10 list. The case studies speak to different styles, offer tips that are legitimately useful (such as turning images into business cards), and share critical technical information as well (such as_Raw, JPG, or Raw + JPG_ and Help My Hard Drive is Full!). The author has left no detail about Lightroom undiscussed.
 
The other key reason this guide is featured? The author’s photography is really inspiring, which surprisingly is something that is often lacking in photography software how-to’s.
 
Who is this book for? If you are thinking of adding Lightroom to your life, this should be the first purchase after you download your new software.



 

6. The Way of the Digital Photographer: Walking the Photoshop post-production path to more creative photography

Author: Harold Davis
Published: July 2013 by Peachpit
Details: paperback, 192 pages, 8 × 10 inches
List price: $34.99/ £21.60
ISBN: 9780321943071
 
Cara St Hilaire - book_davisThe Way of the Digital Photographer is all about the “camera-computer partnership” of the digital medium. Using Photoshop as the editing software of choice, the very talented author takes you far beyond Photoshop 101. Instead, he focuses on ways to use Photoshop to enhance creativity, using incredible photography examples. For example, he uses 35 four minute exposure photos of a night sky with a pre-sunset shot of the same location, and uses this beautiful masterpiece to show you the screen blending mode.
 
Who is this book for? Though this covers the fundamentals in the beginning of the book, this is really for intermediate Photoshop users that have some basic knowledge to start with. This is also for people who want to go beyond the purist mentality; those willing to expand their photos into a more artistic realm.



 

7. Zen Photographer: Turning Your Passion Into Focus

Author: Dan Bailey
Published: September 2013
Details: ebook, 81 pages
List price: $12.95
 
Cara St Hilaire - book_bailey.jpegSometimes, you just get stuck in a rut. If you’ve been doing the same thing for eons, you need to change it up and keep with the times as well. This book, Zen Photographer gives you a swift kick in the pants. The author’s enthusiasm and good energy is extremely motivational (kind of like you are in auditorium seating, taking notes, and listening to him break you down and build you back up again) and it is a dose of reality at the same time. He encourages you to take risks and avoid getting lazy at all costs. If you are running your own photography business OR a serious amateur who isn’t sure of the next step, this book will literally help you feel empowered.
 
Who is this book for? Truly for all levels that are serious about photography, this book is especially ideal for long-time photographers that feel stuck, be it running a declining business or feeling creatively blocked.



 

8. Blogging for Photographers: Showcase Your Creativity and Build Your Audience

Author: Jolie O’Dell
Published: May 2013 by Ilex Press worldwide and Focal Press in North America
Details: paperback, 160 pages, 7 × 8 inches
List price: $24.95/ £12.99
ISBN: 9781781579978
 
Cara St Hilaire - books_odellA business-savvy photographer will tell you how important blogging is. Even pro photographers blog as a key component of their web sites to let people know what projects they are working on, what is important to them, what their style is, and ultimately increasing traffic to their site/business. Blogging for Photographers is a great place to start if you don’t have blogging experience.
 
Written by a former Mashable and current Venture Beat journalist, Jolie O’Dell—with brevity—teaches you how to start a blog, what to blog about, how to make your blog a social media hub, how to network and create partnerships, create a brand, and create content that is actually engaging (like a photo a day contest, for example). It isn’t all that easy to “put yourself out there,” but this guide really does make it feel far less daunting.
 
Who is this book for? This is a solid reference to have at any level, whether you are a hobbyist or making a living from your photography. Even the most professional photographer may not have any idea where to start when it comes to blogging.



 

9. Bellies & Babies: The Business of Maternity and Newborn Photography

Author: Sandy Puc’
Published: August 2013 by Wiley
Details: paperback, 224 pages, 9 × 7 inches
List price: $24.95/ £23.99
ISBN: 9781118407509
 
Cara St Hilaire - book_pucThe standards get higher and higher with maternity and baby photography and you have to stand out and be creative to get new business. Sandy Puc’ explains how to get started and stay successful in Bellies & Babies.
 
After you’ve decided which packages/plans you’ll offer, you move to your marketing plan, studio creation, tips to get your lighting prep set, and more — even post-production. Once again, as we’ve mentioned in previous titles, the photography is inspiring. The author has a very clear sense of style that is in high demand, and merely the pictures in the book will inspire new poses and props for future shoots. You’ll also be on cute overload after looking at so many fetching babies!
 
Who is this book for? The semi-pro photographer who is starting to ramp up their family portrait business or the photographer who is just starting out. This would also be helpful for a pro who has a lagging business or dated look to their photography and needs a bit of inspiration.



 

10. Gregory Crewdson

Author: Gregory Crewdson
Published: October 2013 by Rizzoli New York
Details: hard back, 400 pages, 13.9 × 12.9 inches
List price: $150/ £95.00
ISBN: 9780847840915
 
Cara St Hilaire - book_crewdsonGregory Grewdson is an artful new book featuring work by one of today’s most well-known creative photographers. His work is often described as รข€œbeautifully epic," “strange and inexplicable,” and “uncanny and dramatic.” In his latest book, Gregory Crewdson displays his very individualistic style photographing small town America and delicately walking the fine line between a science-fiction thriller feel and that of a psychological drama.
 
Known for his elaborate setup and meticulous attention to light and detail, Gregory Crewdson features work from several of his series as well as a short discussion regarding his overall process. With a film-director type approach he is able to highlight the beautiful and eerie moods of seemingly quaint locations. This book is an impressive display of one of America’s most acclaimed and theatrical photographers.
 
Who is this book for? This is a beautifully composed book of outstanding work by one of America’s most innovative modern photographers. With an extremely unique approach to the craft and stunning imagery to back him up, this piece is ideal for fine art photographers and admirers alike.