How To Write a Photography Book

It must be very easy to write a photography book. That’s why there are so many of them, and they’re mostly all the same.

It’s very simple first you come up with a title that implies you’ll tell the reader how to take a nice picture like the one on the cover, for example “modern infant and child photography”. The cover of course will be a classic example of just that.

Then you write 1 page about how the book came to be. Just make this crap up; say you’ve got a passion for this particular kind of work (even though it’s you’re 18th book on photography) and couldn’t find a good book. Mention how it was an idea in your head for years and the publisher was instrumental in something blah blah blah.

Then you spend 5 pages talking about yourself, how great you are, how modest you are, and what amazing things you’ve done. Be sure you plug at-least one of your other books, and your amazing (and expensive) seminar; which is either somewhere tropical (ie. Micronesia) and very expensive to fly to. Or somewhere very dull (ie. Calgary Alberta.) Be sure to include around 10 pictures you’ve taken.

Then you spend 10-25 pages discussing the history of photographic equipment and process. Be sure not to mention any people, techniques or trends. You’re only going to cover details of how people created photos in the old days. This will make you seem more like an expert and it will give you a chance to include some public domain images. Be sure not to credit anyone for them or even give dates. This section is the place to include a cute hand drawn diagram of a camera that cleverly looks taped on to the page!

Next is the real meat, the bulk of the book, the stuff that makes it seems like it’s worth paying $26.95 for (though the cover price will be $34.99.) You’ll want 80-120 pages explaining how a camera works. Mention every few paragraphs how film and digital differ but give the same result. Make sure not to give any guidelines for selecting equipment or what features are important. You should also devote a page to explaining how film is better than digital in some ways, but digital is more practical and getting better all the time. Mention how you really like film but reluctantly went digital. Basically you can just copy and paste this from one of your other books, or your publisher will fill it in. This is the place to include the rainbow rectangle with the gold border labeled “image sensor”.

The next 10 pages will explain exposure in very vague terms, however they will make no mention of dynamic range. You will mention RAW photography but nothing about it beyond that it’s better. This must seem slightly out of context when it happens, you just want to make it clear that you use it, mention here how film has all the advantages of RAW. This would also be a good time to tell the reader they want to buy a light meter and show a picture of a very fancy looking incident-light meter.

Over the next 5 pages you’ll explain that it’s all irrelevant and what matters is the creation of the image and that people shouldn’t get hung up on technical details.

You then spend 6 pages telling the reader what you’re going to tell them in the next section (the topic of the book). This should contain at-least 4 pages of photos.

Then you will take 7 pages to tell them, including more photos. Ideally one of them will be a bitchy looking female model in a knee length dress leaned up against a distressed doorway who’s architecture hinting at a southwestern venue.

You then include 20 pages of case studies with photos. The case studies will be made up examples of when you might use the technique and some photos that make use of the technique. None of these photos should be the stunning ones from elsewhere in the book. Make sure to include one case study of a rather plain looking blond model in a jean jacket sitting on a stool in the studio with no expression other than boredom on her face.

Then you spend 3 pages telling them that other techniques may work better for them in some situations include photos.

You then chop it up so that it’s in segments each only 15 pages long, each segment will begin with two pages. The left page will be a photo (it can even be the same photo for every segment) the right page will be the title and a short three sentence description of what’s in that chapter, however the description can not include any information not obvious from the title.

It’s almost time to publish!

Get another photographer to write a forward talking about how you’re the best photographer and how amazing the book is. This photographer ideally should not have the same last name as you. This photographer should ideally be retired, and obscure, preferably with a foreign sounding name that has a hyphen in it.

Then you tack on an index, maybe a few pages of other books the reader might be interested in; all of which are nearly identical, and probably written by you.

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