writing a book | the photography

Marian ParsonsPhotography, Running a Business, Writing a BookLeave a Comment

I’ve written a few posts about the experience I had writing my book and it’s been a while since the last one.  I thought it was about time I picked it up again.

When the reality of a book offer from Thomas Nelson was right around the corner, it needed to be decided if I would do the photography or if we would hire a professional or perhaps a hybrid where I take some pictures and a pro swoops in for the money shots.  I was not 100% confident in my photography abilities, so I sent them some of the shots I did for Cottages & Bungalows and HGTV.com to get their opinion.  We had a conference call about it a few days later.  I was out shopping with my mom and I remember sitting on a planter outside of Kohl’s when I learned that I would be the photographer for my book.  The only photographer.  And I’m not a photographer.  I have an amateur camera and can fit all of my gear in one bag.  I don’t have any fancy lighting or readers or meters and I’m basic in Photoshop at best.  From the photos I sent, they had confidence that I could do it, so I took the plunge and agreed to do it.

I was glad, though, that I could work on my time table and capture the book entirely from my perspective.

The first bit of business I worked on was the cover shot.  We thought a table setting would be nice, so that’s where I started.  I purchased all sorts of yummy baked goods, fresh flowers and pears.  We were a little stuck on pears for some reason.  I scheduled a day to shoot and my team at Thomas Nelson was standing by via e-mail to receive the pictures and discuss them while I had everything set up.  I snapped a bunch of shots, sent them along, received feedback, made adjustments and took more pictures.  It went something like this…

“Okay, we like this, but not the red pear.  Can you get a green pear?”

That’s when I pick up the phone and call my husband.  “Can you pick up a few green pears and some brown pears for me?”

“How’s this?”

“Yes, we like that pear.  Can you get it from the same angle as the shot with the red pear?”

For some reason, I loved photographing the baked goods.  I think those muffins were calling my name and that may have had something to do with it.

The table shots were looking a bit too foodie, so I took some pictures in the living room and then snapped this one in my family room on a whim…

It ended up being the perfect composition.

So, we scheduled another shooting day and experimented with some different chairs, pillows and accessories.  (The line of pillows, chairs and accessories in my dining room was pretty impressive!)

I would get notes back like, “Can you turn the chair leg out a bit more?”  or “What does it look like with the ticking pillow?”

We finally found the perfect combination…

The cool thing about this is everything in this picture is so me.  I upholstered the chair, painted and refinished the dresser, made the curtains, made the wreath, made the grain sack pillow.  I also knew that anyone who read my blog would instantly recognize this as “Miss Mustard Seed.”

We even got the green pear in there!

I’ll share more about the photography in my next post,  including the gear I shot with, how I developed the pictures and how we decided which photos made the cut.

writing a book | the photography

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