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Monday, October 1, 2007

E-Books: New Directions In Photo Publishing

The photographer's new market is your own computer. Expand your work into the world of profitable self-publishing

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 E-Books: New Directions In Photo Publishing

What photographer hasn’t dreamed of publishing a book of his or her work—or, more exactly, having a book published, because both the technology and the expense of do-it-yourself publishing is daunting? Publishers, alas, aren’t usually so eager to bring your best photos to the public, understandably, because fine printing is devilishly expensive, so much so that publishers can’t charge their usual markup on a photo book, and most photo books just don’t make money.

Innocently, my husband Lito Tejada-Flores and I began publishing photo books years ago, not realizing just what a risky business it was. If we had understood what we were getting into, we never would have dared to bring out that first book. But against the odds, we survived, even flourished as small independent photo publishers, and my first book of landscape and nature photos, High Color: Spectacular Wildflowers of the Rockies, sold 24,000 copies in four printings. Even so, bringing out each new photo book is a scary proposition; you take a deep breath and either go into debt or watch your savings account flatten out overnight. But no longer....

An electronic photo book is simply a richly illustrated PDF file that you can download and view on your computer screen, turning the pages with a keystroke. The e-books we have are set to open in so-called "full-screen mode" on a black computer screen with no distracting menus, just the image of the photo book page. You use the arrow keys to navigate from one page to the next. And, of course, the better your computer monitor, the better an electronic book will look.


 E-Books: New Directions In Photo Publishing  E-Books: New Directions In Photo Publishing
"I discovered the marble caves of Lago Carrera at precisely the right time in my photographic life," says Linde Waidhofer. "But what to do with this growing collection of images? Create and publish an electronic photo book. Printing and distributing a traditional fine-art photo book on such a relatively unknown and faraway place would have been a doubtful proposition at best. But now a book on the marble caves exists, and landscape photo lovers anywhere in the world can download and enjoy it for about the price of a latte at Starbucks."

Producing an electronic photo book isn’t expensive. It takes time and thought and some modern computer skills, but there’s no real up-front expense, other than the inevitable investments in today’s cameras, scanners, computers and software, beginning, but not ending, with Photoshop. Yet those expenses are already an inevitable part of the photography game these days.

Creating Your Own e-book

The process of creating an electronic photo book is straightforward and, in its first stages, is the same as that for creating any photo book: defining the theme, editing and then sequencing the images by looking for correspondences and connections between one image and the next. Almost always, this involves tough decisions and ruthless editing. We're all in love with our own images, but they don’t all deserve a place in any given book.



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