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Planning a "coffee table" book...

Discussion in 'Tilted Art, Photography, Music & Literature' started by Speed_Gibson, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. Speed_Gibson

    Speed_Gibson Hacking the Gibson Donor

    Wolf 359
    This thread could be considered at least partially research into what interests people and what they will consider actually buying. Or just a place to discuss the venerable coffee table/picture books we have all seen over the years.

    Specifically my interest in this matter is for a project I am planning, and I would like some kind of feel on what will grab people's attention where they will at least consider saying "I want to buy this". My focus will on the greater Palaouse region (see this Wikipedia page if that term means nothing to you). This is my current "home turf" so to speak and most of this region is a very reasonable day drive at most for me.
    My intention is to shoot pictures entirely in TRI-X film (B&W, ISO 400). I was going to use my Canon FTb-QL from the early 1970's (and FD lenses) exclusively but I am leaning toward adding my Canon SL2 from 1990 or so to the mix which enables me to use my 50mm F/1.4 as it is is an EF mount lens. This would cover all four seasons and take some time obviously, but here are my questions, or at least one for now:
    0) Should I separate the 'rolling hills' shots and 'empty/scenic storefronts, small town americana, etc' into different smaller books? Or perhaps just different sections?
  2. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize. Donor

    Large City, TX
    I have no idea how to answer your question, but this deserves a bump.

    The only suggestion I have is more of a complaint (something to avoid). There have been quite a few times when I've seen fantastic photos ruined by having them on two pages. Obviously there are times when this can't be avoided, otherwise the coffee table book would be big enough to be a coffee table top. I don't know how publishers avoid 'split' photos as much as possible and make them work when they can't be avoided. Some do a very poor job.
  3. Speed_Gibson

    Speed_Gibson Hacking the Gibson Donor

    Wolf 359
    My plan from the start with this is avoid that very thing as much as possible and make sure each picture is no larger than 8.5"x11". Might not qualify as a true "coffee table" book but I am fine with that.
  4. oracle2380

    oracle2380 New Member

    The problem with limiting yourself to regional subject matter is that you limit your market of sale to the people from that region or immediate surrounding areas. Cast a wider net closer to populated areas and you'll have more success. Find yourself a niche or untouched subjects to photograph, make it interesting for the reader. Even if you cover ground already tread, look at it from another angle or change perspective to entice the reader into a new experience. Provide anew narrative to a familiar scene. Don't get specific about what you're doing on the evil interwebs.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Speed_Gibson

    Speed_Gibson Hacking the Gibson Donor

    Wolf 359
    My original post here is as detailed as I shall be getting on the internet. Seeing things through a 40 year old camera and venerable TRI-X film should be interesting, and yes the text will be arguably more important than the pictures. That part will be an educational experience for me as I am definitely from a much more populated region and not that familiar with this area overall.
  6. FreeVerse

    FreeVerse Screw Tilted, I'm all the way upside down.

    Suburban Chicago

    Could not agree more. Some of the most gorgeous photos in coffee table books are ruined by their editors allowing this. HATE HATE HATE when they do this.
  7. Freetofly

    Freetofly Diving deep into the abyss Donor

    I have this coffee table book...

    One picture on two pages done well. OnThisEarth-AShadowFalls twopagephoto.jpg OnThisEarth-AShadowFalls.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Speed_Gibson

    Speed_Gibson Hacking the Gibson Donor

    Wolf 359
    My initial thoughts were "no photos split on two pages" even before I posted this thread, but I am open to at least considering the idea. As oracle2380 said, I think the key to any good book of this type is to have pictures that give a fresh perspective or at least avoid copying the same look/thing you have already seen done. How that pertains to my project I am not sure yet, but people will be able to see the results if this actually goes anywhere. Still need to buy the film and and I would like to add a 28mm prime lens to the FD mount options before starting anything. My 28-80mm is nice (especially for $5) but a good prime is always useful.