Our Book Cover Shoot Equipment

Book Cover Shoot Equipment Besotted Blog.com

I want to preface this by saying this is what we used for our shoot, this is not standard, although I do believe a good wide angle lens would probably be seen on most commercial shoots. Speaking of commercial shoots, I’ve been on several and all of them have been done in darkened cave like studio’s with artificial light, even the ‘windows’ were lit up by lights. Since this was a smaller production we were able to use natural (window) light, but I have a hunch it may have been a preference all around.

The most asked question about our shoot was the equipment used, and even though in our photo classes we stress it’s not the equipment that makes the photographer or photograph I will make the addendum that you may need some specialized equipment for a commercial shoot so you can achieve the shot that both you and your client envision.

Below you’ll find the equipment used for the book cover shoot, some of these items I would recommend for your blog/product shooting please feel free to ask us any questions!

//OUR BOOK SHOOT EQUIPMENT//

A full frame sensor camera- If you are shooting commercially you will want to be using a full frame camera.* Most of our consumer cameras are crop sensor not full frame, the one that I shoot with is cropped, but I wish it was full frame! I found this blog post helpful in explaining the difference.

Extra battery

A wide angle lens-Both Michelle and I prefer prime lenses to zooms. She used her trusty nifty fifty and rented a 24 mm.  She says she wants a 24mm now, I don’t blame her.

A sturdy tripod with a pistol grip.-Michelle found this steal of a tripod. She bought hers (the same one) for twice the price, it’s on sale right now, so if you are in the market for a tripod I would urge you not to wait!

A side arm. If you don’t know about this and you are shooting food or product shots overhead this will be a game changer!  It allows your camera to be positioned parallel to what you are shooting below it.  No more dangerously having your tripod at the edge of your board in precarious positions!  We like the Manfrotto (very sturdy).

Sandbag-A sandbag will help with balance when using the aforementioned side arm.

Reflectors-We had some handheld reflectors and at Aran’s studio we were able to use an extra large one with a stand (I want one so badly now). Here’s a similar one.

Laptop for tethered shooting.

Tether cable- I’m actually going to get one so I can start shooting tethered for my product photography. It makes looking at your camera’s LCD screen for shooting seem like child play. I need this!

Lightroom 5, for shooting tethered. All this tether talk, now you may want to know what the heck I’m talking about?  Michelle promised a quick tute on it but basically it’s shooting and having the images pop up on your laptop screen in Lightroom. It helps to really be able to see the details that you may have missed if you were looking solely at your LCD screen.

Some things we didn’t have but would have been useful:

Photo assistant-We all took turns holding the small reflector but it would have been nice to delegate the task to an intern!

As you can see we stayed true to form and maintained a less is more philosophy. Michelle’s shooting was sublime (I have always been a fan of how she captures light), Sanae is pretty much a creative genius her props were insane and we were both humbled by her humbleness. You of course can take any of this info and translate it into any of your future shoots, good luck!

*For those starting out you can always rent a full frame camera for your shoots. My suggestion is to always practice with any equipment you rent and aren’t familiar with prior to shooting for your client.

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups, they just welcomed to the world a baby girl. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

The Prepping of a book cover shoot::Part I

Book Cover Prep Besotted Blog

Before I start this post, I do want to do what I never like seeing other bloggers do and apologize for my absence.  I am sorry, I want to be here more than anything and I am working on trying to figure out the next phase of this here site and how I can come back on a more frequent basis.  I am not doing great on the work/mom  balance (or juggle) and trying to figure out how to do that; obviously it’s possible I see others doing it and flourishing (and it kind of makes me feel super inept) but I will persevere and hopefully I can share soon what worked for me and my chronically inept mommy self! And now back to the post…

On Instagram last week I made a mention that we (Michelle and myself) were in the process of prepping for a book cover shoot!  The amazingly talented Sanae Ishida (pron. sun-eye) is working on her second book this year (a very unique take on a sewing book) and asked Michelle and I to help out with the book cover shoot. We were so honored to be chosen for this incredible opportunity (Sanae is both a talented photographer and stylist in her own right, so it’s an extra honor and a whole lot of extra pressure!)  Michelle and I are always fascinated by the creative process and the challenge of figuring things out and this has definitely been a learning curve. There isn’t exactly a book or resource on how to shoot a book cover so we thought we would show you our process and behind the scenes. We shoot this week, a two day shoot, the second day at Aran of Cannelle et Vanille‘s famed studio! [Read more...]

Conquering tummy time

conquering tummy time besotted blog

Becoming a mother has not been the smoothest transition for me. uh-uh. I have all the love, affection and basic needs down (besides sleep, but I’ll write about that when I get some), but there’s so much more that I was never expecting or ever knew existed that I have been slowly slogging (is that even a word?) through. Not until the day I was to leave the hospital with my bundle of joy did the words ‘tummy time’ ever mean anything to me, nor did I know the concept, but in the weeks and months to follow I would become intimately familiar with it and learn to dread it with all my heart. So would my daughter. For those of you not ‘in the know’, tummy time is when you put your baby on their tummy to help them strengthen the muscles in their neck and back (via them lifting their tiny noggins, or large noggins, baby head to body ratio…).  Whenever I would try, my normally happy daughter would go ballistic.  I would stop tummy time and then spend hours and days, okay months worrying that she would never hit her milestones like rolling over, or worse having a neck that was too weak to hold up her head.  Then my childhood best friend who is as granola as they get sent me a text that read, ‘have you heard of Magda Gerber?’. I answered, ‘like the baby food?’ and she said ‘No. Look up RIE.’ So, I did.  I read and read and read some more and you know what?  I liked what I discovered, mainly because the philosophy did not include the dreaded tummy time.

I have been utilizing many of their tenets since E. was 3 months, allowing her to naturally find her way and I am happy to share that as soon as I stopped trying to put her on her tummy she started to try on her own to get there and now spends a great deal of time there without a fuss!  She’s become very coordinated (well, as coordinated as a seventh month old can be), she had even developed enough strength in her arms by 5 months that she could scoot herself around on her belly across the room! At six months she was basically crawling. I did not see that coming at all and really expected to have many months before I had to worry about mobility!

I am not following any one philosophy on baby/child rearing, instead I am truly learning as I go (and hoping all the while that I don’t do anything that messes her up for life, I think I am doing pretty good so far). I do like a lot of the RIE tenets (and if you are interested I can get into more detail) and maybe answer some of the ridiculous misconceptions about it.  Like I said, I don’t follow anything rigidly/verbatim (I still do a  ton of baby wearing), as my granola friend said when she mentioned it, ‘use whatever resonates with you.’ A lot of it seemed very common sense based. I am just happy to have found a happy alternative to putting E. on her belly and not have her screech so loud the windows threatened to burst.  When I mentioned this problem on Instagram a lovely mom chimed in, “my children didn’t like tummy time either, never did it and I am happy to report as adults they can hold their heads up just fine thank you.”

Additional resources:

Janet Lansbury

Baby Knows Best: Raising a Confident Resourceful Child the RIE Way

A good post that discusses her RIE experience  (heads up the mother is very granola so if that’s not your thing you have been warned…)

How about you?  Have you ever heard of Magda Gerber/RIE before? Do you have questions about it?  Did you find another successful way to conquer tummy time? Did you eschew it as well? I am always interested to hear what other moms that have come before me have done, since there is no longer a ‘village’ to raise your children, the internet will have to do;)

Summer Reading List

Summer Reads besotted blog

Ah summer, it’s finally here! Time to play outside, eat piles of fresh berries, make some sun tea, and devour a few interesting books. My preference is for fiction with a plot that covers some ground and isn’t too bogged down by flowery language. Dense descriptions make me nod off, which is useful for a natural sedative, but not a good recipe for finishing a book. Here are a few recent reads I’ve enjoyed, in case you have the same criteria:

Currently reading: I Love You More, by Jennifer Murphy.

It’s unlikely you’ve heard of this one, because it’s a freshly released debut novel. It only came to my attention because it was quietly penned by one of my neighbors! I had no idea she was a writer, I barely know her, but I am thrilled for her. You don’t get a book deal with Double Day without some serious chops. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m already charmed by the central character (a 12 year old girl cleverly named Picasso).

What She Left Behind, by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Two stories intertwined: a modern day teenager recovering from a family trauma & a woman who is committed to an asylum in the late 1920’s (even though she is perfectly sane). It’s a story about appalling injustices, and how people react to them. I was not expecting my heart to be in my throat for so many chapters! One night, my eyes were still wide open at 3 am, (but it was worth it).

Note: If you are familiar with the second season of American Horror Story, you may find yourself waiting for Jessica Lange to pop up somewhere in the asylum. Yikes!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

A professor with Aspergers devises a plan to find a mate, and is led through unexpected adventures with squirrely people who don’t adhere to his plan. The story is told from the professor’s perspective as he processes all of these unexpected events, which I found delightful and insightful.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel by Alice Hoffman

Coney Island curiosities, a murder mystery, two people in love with the deck stacked against them, and ok, I admit it – one of the main characters is a photographer. I was fascinated by the descriptions of a not yet fully developed Manhattan, woods teeming with deer and other animals living along the Hudson River are so hard to imagine now!

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

Even though this is a work of fiction, I felt like I came away with a real impression of what life could feel like for the citizens of North Korea. This Pulitzer Prize winner lingers with you for awhile. I may have been so intrigued that I made my husband watch a number of documentaries with me, then I talked his ear off about North Korea for a few more weeks. I’m pretty sure he loved it.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Tristan has already mentioned these, but they are worth mentioning again. Such imagination! There are heros and villians, it’s very cleverly written, and of course I love that Ransom Riggs collected the photos first, then built the story around them. I can hardly wait for the third book in this series to come out.

Finally, I don’t think it’s possible to write a reading list right now without including The Goldfinch and The Fault in Our Stars. You can’t lose really, both of these deserve every bit of attention they’ve received.
Have you read any good fiction lately? I’ll need to line up another book soon!

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, designer and co-professor for Souvenir Foto School. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.

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LETTERING SUPPLY RESOURCE LIST!

huge lettering supply list besotted blog

I have wanted to create this for a while, but it was easier said than done!  I have finally put together a list of supplies to start your lettering journey in an easy (I hope) visual guide. I didn’t get specific on all the nibs or nib holders, I may create another gallery for a more advanced supplies list but this is the list I get the most emails on and it covers everything from books/classes to the paper and ink I recommend.

If you have questions or have requests of what you would like to find lettering wise, please let me know and I will try to address them for future add-ons to the gallery.

Be back soon!

P.S. The lettering font I used at the top of the post can be found here!

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