Creating a Picture Book using Amazon Comic Creator
If you try to make a picture book and get it published the more pictures you add the more expensive the book. It is so easy to price yourself out of the market with publishing anywhere that I know a lot of photographers have basically abandoned creating picture books for themselves. Previous versions of the Kindle, and the problems with creating an e-pub also mean that our pictures basically sat on our hard drives or in places like Smugmug or Flickr where we were lucky to sell anything.
The good part is that when Amazon moved into the comic book market allowing independent comic book creators to self publish to Kindle directly, that opened the door to photographers using the same tools to create an awesome picture book along the way.
Some caveats, your pictures need to be 800 X 1260/1280 in size, and have a max size of 126K, so you need to set your DPI at 96 to make sure you can keep your pictures at the right size to work with Amazon Kindle. Over the last couple of days I have gone through my archives of China and some of the cooler photo shoots to create books for Amazon Kindle. The fun part is that one of them sold within the first 24 hours of being posted so I am really hoping to see how sales go with Amazon Kindle.
The book I used for this project is FU We Are: Seattle Punk Rock, a picture book about the Seattle Punk Rock scene I have been trying to get published for the last two years. It took an hour or so to build it for the Amazon Kindle system, without having to argue with publishers who are becoming increasingly gun shy about taking on projects that might not have any economic output. Now given the price of publishing, I can understand that. The Seattle Punk Rock book is somewhere on the order of 130 pages, and there isn’t a popular band in there, but there is a lot about the Seattle Punk Rock scene.
Even if you never sell a copy you are only out about 2 hours of your life, and using Amazon Comic Creator for picture books is about as easy as anything I have encountered in online printing anywhere for any reason. No haggling, no pain, easy to use, there is also a really handy video of about 15 minutes that walks you through the whole process. I did pre-stage everything for this, but honestly, set aside an hour or two to make this happen and you will have your kindle ready picture book uploaded and for sale very quickly.
Color Your Own Pinup A Saucy Coloring Book
Sometimes weird ideas happen, and over my career I have taken a ton of pinup style pictures, and they are generally popular. It is a fun style to take, and a fun style to show off that everyone has the ability to do some form of pinup work. So a friend of mine was commenting on the pictures and said “hey why don’t you make a coloring book” so that people can color their own Pinups? Well, it seemed like an interesting idea, and since I know how to do a line drawing out of a picture, it seemed like a pretty simple project to take on. And about 48 hours later, there is now a Color Your Own Pinup coloring book that you can get on most e-commerce sites.
The cool part is that everyone is going to make something here, I’ll make a little bit, the modes will make a little bit, and yeah I went through lulu so they will make a little off this as well. I did try create space, but the lack of a decent formatting template in PDF, and not being able to make it past their inbuilt checker without spending a few hundred dollars was a drag. I know how to format a book, but getting through create space for a small 30 page book is really something horrific to go through. They are fine for regular narrative print books, but I really just wanted a cheap happy fun little saucy coloring book. Not a major production, cheap is good, but getting past the system for anything like a comic book sized book is a pain in the butt.
So here it is, ready to go, you can pick up a copy at Lulu, and in a couple of days everywhere else you can think of. In the long run through, as always interested in hearing what you think and if this is worth going ahead and doing something like this again. There are tons of pinup pictures out there, making a fun happy saucy coloring book is sometimes something you will want to do in the future as a photographer. And honestly, making money off of pictures is generally hard enough to do, if you can come up with a simple straight forward idea like a coloring book for you pinup pictures, why the heck not? The good part is when everyone wins, and money gets to go to everyone who is involved in the book. And the people who helped come up with the idea and encouraged you to do something a little silly, a little fun, and a little weird like this.
Event Photography Akicon 2012
Event photography is probably one of the more fun things I get the opportunity to do. There is a lot of enjoyment running around a convention taking pictures of the Cosplay that you get to see, because the people who wear Cosplay really try hard to be as accurate as possible with their costumes, and generally just want to have some fun with it. Event photography is also fairly easy as many people want to have their pictures taken for later use. All the events I go to the pictures are Creative Commons, just mention my name or send me a link back and life is wonderful. The cooler part is that given that the pictures are Creative Commons about 90% of the people who use the pictures later on also do link back and give me the credit for the pictures. There is a wonderful synergy between photographers who hand out their cards so that people can find the pictures later, and the actual use that those pictures have online.
Usually I run around with the camera set in Aperture mode, with a flash using a Gary Fong diffuser on my larger flash. Since most of the pictures are taken inside and outside that setting just makes it easier to go on the fly letting the camera do the work while I try to keep photo bombing out of the process. You will get the back of people’s heads, body parts, hands, and blurry pictures if you are not paying attention not only to the crowds, but to the generally bad lighting or harsh stark lighting. Most of the Con’s here in Seattle take place in the early spring or late fall, indoors and outdoors, lighting is what you bring with you to smooth out what the venues provide.
This is from Akicon 2012, you can see from the various lighting sources, indoor fluorescent, indoor bulb, and outdoor stark light from the sun with heavy shadows that this event was difficult to photograph. It is fairly easy to get a press pass for the smaller events, but you really do owe it to the event to share the pictures once they are done. Sharing means the event organizers and the event attendees see your work and you stand a much better chance of getting back in to the show in subsequent years. You also get the benefit of feedback from the people so you can improve your work, and you get the benefit of them sharing your pictures to help build up your name.
Good publicity and the ability to get into the events that is the important part, working on your photography also helps along the way. You will get a unique experience at shows and events, ones that are far removed from the controlled environments of the photo studio.
Akicon 2012 Cosplay pictures