(and when I say books, I guess I mean albums. But since I don’t really make traditional albums, I’m really talking about photography books.)

I’d say about 60% of my clients order coffee-table style books as an option or part of their wedding photography package. I’m not pushing photography books here, but I do want to talk about the importance of keeping that photo book in mind when you’re photographing a wedding, even if the client hasn’t ordered one. Because as a photographer, thinking about book layout gives you direction and purpose when you’re shooting. It gives you objectives to keep (verticals! details! patterns! colours! bride and the ladies! groom and the fellas! moms+dadsx2!) because you’d need these things when designing a book. Even if that book never gets made. It gives you some roots and foundations to build on, without stifling your creativity. In fact, having a book in mind can really stimulate your creativity – having some basic parameters within which to shoot can actually really set you free as a photographer (and actually that’s something not totally unrelated to using prime lenses instead of zooms). It’s not having a shot-list per se, but rather the structure within which you can work out your visual narrative. Without this structure, things can get a little out of hand, and, yes, you can forget to include some things – things that don’t seem too important when your shooting, but are glaringly obvious in their omission later on.

True story: I used to never shoot verticals. Never. Then I started designing books, and when you’re designing a vertical book, you need strong vertical images, not just cropped horizontals. Now I shoot lots of verticals. Love ’em. Can’t get enough. Now during a wedding I’m always on the lookout for a nice graphic detail that would make a great cover. I’m always on the hunt for diptychs – image pairs that I think would look great side-by-side in a book. Now, more than ever, I’m using negative space in my compositions because when I’m shooting I’m simultaneously thinking about layout. Designing books has helped me develop my style and try to visually explore things in a different way.

Books. Go ahead and make one, at least, you know, in your head.

 

Leave A

Comment

05.03.2012
I shoot about 1% portrait...time to change!
Reply
    julianwainwright
    05.03.2012
    It's nice to mix it up.
    Reply
05.03.2012
Love the design of the book and the pictures!
Reply
05.03.2012
I have the exact opposite feeling: I shoot waay too many verticals and sometimes it's difficult to find a proper composition in the album. Gotta listen to this and think ahead. Thank you!
Reply
    julianwainwright
    05.03.2012
    Hey Pedro, that's interesting. I just assumed it was most people's inclination to favor horizontals. Maybe because I'm from a photojournalism background, dunno.
    Reply
05.03.2012
I shoot about 1/2 verticals. Absolutely love this wedding album.
Reply
05.03.2012
I was just about to quit shooting verticals and then I came across this blog post. Should I keep on them? I'm starting to shoot weddings, so every time I try new things in order to find my own voice. When it comes to books (I prefer them over albums), I like horizontal books, but it's true that you need verticals for stuff like diptychs. I totally agree with your point about having the book in mind when shooting. It's something I never do but I think I should be doing. I'll take this in mind when shooting my next wedding, cause I wanna see the effects on my narrative. Btw, love your photos!
Reply
    julianwainwright
    05.03.2012
    Hey Miguel, whatever floats your boat, so to speak. I think my point isn't so much that everyone should be shooting verticals, but that we should be thinking about the overall visual narrative, and how the images would play out in a book layout. So it's important to think about verticals/horizontals, but also composition, colours, etc.... Thanks for reading!
    Reply
06.03.2012
interesting point of view, and something to think about.
Reply
31.05.2012
stunning choices & layouts Julian
Reply
21.09.2012
thanks for this! i love how you blog about your point of views. it really gives us a whole lot of thinking and yes! we should be shooting more strong verticals as we are doing photobooks and photo albums on 80% of the wedding we shoot. btw! you have great photos and layout showcased in this blog.
Reply