top five tips: book photography

31 January 2014

quite a few people have complimented me on my photographs i include in book hauls (thank you) and then orli asked me if i would do a post on my tips for good book photography. i asked around and it seemed like you guys were all interested so. ta da! sorry it's so wordy, i tried breaking it up with a few photographs but - i think it still looks a bit like an info overload. sorry again and i hope you read until the end! if you don't have time, just read the headings (!).
NEVER TAKE PHOTOS IN ARTIFICIAL LIGHT.
just don’t. ever. even if you have a professional camera that you can use in manual and change the aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings, i still wouldn’t recommend it for book photography. why? because what’s the rush? unless you are at an evening event inside who needs to take photos with no natural light? just wait until morning when the sunlight is streaming in through your window. the problems with artificial light are:
a) it makes your photo look yellow.
b) the colours of your books don’t look their true tones and shades
c) you will get light spots (those blinding white/yellow spots on shiny surfaces  where the light has reflected that ruin a photo)
d) they don’t look professional. (sunlight makes the background of your photo look white and clean where artificial light makes everything look fake and the background dark)
ANGLES ADD INTEREST.
there’s nothing wrong with taking a photo of a book straight on, or at a bird’s eye view. But with the former, sometimes it looks like a kid’s taken it; and the latter can sometimes go wrong (especially when I try!) because if you don’t get the position and alignment of the book right everything looks wonky and off-kilt. So, say you’re like me and when you do a book haul you have lots of books to photograph, instead of taking them individually, or just pasting covers from goodreads into your post, pile your books up, and take a photo of them. not too many in one go otherwise you won’t be able to fit them all in. and take photos at different angles. Experiment. I generally take about five photos, maybe more, at different angles, before I pick my final one. The angle of your subject is important because if it’s a straight pile of books, photographs can look boring//unappealing, so when you take a photo with edges of books at different angles for example, it spruces up the picture a little - which brings me to my next two  points.
COLOUR COORDINATE//MINIMIZE THE DISTRACTIONS
if you have quite a few books, sort them into piles by colour: this adds interest and gives it a ‘professional’ feel. It also helps to bring together the entire photograph so it doesn’t look messy and harmonizes the finished image. once you’ve sorted your books into coloured piles, you need to find a background that’s simple. white or cream (something soft and not bright) is what I usually use, although any colour as long as it’s not too bold and is one uninterrupted colour. this is because you need to make sure that when you take your photo, the only colour in your photo are the book (covers). otherwise the viewer’s eye will get distracted by all the colours going on and won’t focus on what you want them to, the books! you can however, have a coloured background if you have a non-coloured book, like a pile of black books, or small pops of colour from around the book pile that coordinate with the colour of the books you are photographing. for example, when I take photos of black books I make sure a little of the patchwork quilt I have on my bed peeps in from one corner of the photo to make sure my picture isn’t too ‘bland’.
IT'S OKAY TO EDIT
and finally, my last point. it’s okay to edit. i do. nearly everyone i know does. there’s no need to add mountains of effects onto it, it’s like someone who’s pretty without makeup, but layers on a ton anyway which makes her look overkill. if she just put cream and vaseline on for example it’d enhance her features and make her face look fresh but not unnatural. so it’s the same with editing. if it’s a grey day outside but with enough natural light to take use, i take the photo then edit it so that it’s slightly brighter. or if it’s extremely sunny outside, i take my photo but edit it so that it becomes a little dimmer. editing doesn’t mean that your photograph will be classed as fake; it just shows that you know when you need to touch up your photographs a little to increase the quality of them.
what did you think of this post? was it helpful?

38 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the tips, Hawwa! Great post, I definitely agree with the lighting and the editing tips. Lighting is just so so important, it makes a picture look so much better and brighter. And the editing, I love using Photoshop and Picmonkey to edit the pictures, and add filters and stuff, it makes the picture look so good :)

    -Erika
    The Red Bookmark

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  2. Will definitely be giving this a go - thanks for the tips Hawwa!

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  3. Great tips! It's much like any other sort of photography. Natural light is often the best and angles are THE best. I also love how you use the rule of thirds in your photos here. Very useful techniques. I rarely have any hauls because I'm broke, but still. Excellent tips.
    -Kelsey

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    Replies
    1. Yes THEY ARE. Thank you and well...FIND SOME MONEY SO I CAN SEE SOME PHOTOS. ;)

      Delete
  4. This great really helpful when took book pics faout you need a light background so you can see them i wish could get proffisinal camrea your lucky or got a proffisnal one.

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  5. That's pretty good! Thanks for the tips! :)

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  6. This post was so good! I envy your pretty photos, Hawwa ;D I might try taking photos for book hauls instead now with these tips- normally I just copy the covers over from GR. Thanks for the tips!!:D
    -gee :)

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    Replies
    1. thank you and THANKKKSS <3 Yes please! hashtag don't be lazy :P

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  7. i wish i could write a comment as good as jaden's. oh well, that'll never happen...

    anywayz, i think you're just teasing us because no one can do book photography as well as you can. :P
    i remember when i used to use my ipod to take the pics for my book hauls *cringes*

    thanks so much for the tips! :D

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    Replies
    1. meh, you'll never have enough swag for that..:P

      o__O YOU FIGURED OUT MY ULTERIOR MOTIVE ALREADY. ;) Ahaha i remember that to......:P

      You're welcome and i expect to see some AMAZING photos soon...

      Delete
  8. Nice post, Hawwa! Your photos look so professional!! And you explained everything really well :D I generally just take pictures whenever I remember I need to, without much thought to the lighting etc. I just plop the books on my carpet (which is white, so it does make for a pretty good background) and don't think about the composition of the photo at all really...so, thanks for the tips! :D

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    1. Awwh thank you! And yay, i think i'm pretty bad at explaining things (well, i am in exams..)

      TUT TUT - but that will never happen again right?! and woah, white carpet. HOW DO YOU KEEP IT CLEAN?! ;P

      Delete
  9. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

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  10. Just came across this post now, but it's very helpful. It's the first ever post I've seen giving tips to book photography. Thank you! <33

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