Photography Books

I Ate the Props

The Art of Food and Drink Photography

Are you a foodie? Do you like to photograph food and share the images with your friends from your phone? Do you buy cookbooks just because they have great photos? Are you making a family cookbook? Do you have a food blog that you would like to illustrate with better photographs? Do you want to create delicious looking images that make the viewer lick their lips? Well, if you answered yes to any of these… welcome aboard!

Here are my expectations for you. Start taking full control over your camera to get the look you want. Understand the basics of food styling and how that relates to composition and balance. Learn a lot of behind-the-scenes tips. Follow the thought process of how to create any great image. Learn the basics of how to light food and drinks more effectively with your cell phone as well as a bigger camera. Learn how to do Painting with Light to enhance every image with my photography books.

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Our quest as food photographers is to make our subject look so yummy that the viewer can almost taste it. I am going to go through my thought process in the order of what decisions you will need to make so you can see that there is a similar pattern of actions that can be used for every food image as well as any other subject.

The thought process is all about creating a strong composition with good lighting. Making a beautiful image that is full of details, tells a story and creates an emotional experience that lets us sell emotion with each image.

Working in the studio is the best teacher. You will learn a lot about lighting and see that it is not as complicated as you thought. Observe and use a little common sense and it will work just fine, especially with any continuous light source including the sun. What you see is what you get. You will also carefully and slowly learn more about your camera and lenses in this controlled environment. If taken to heart, it will also affect how you approach photography outside the studio. You will never finish this learning process. Photography is changing every day.

The chapter order coincides with my shooting workflow. It is the same thinking that I use for every image, not just for things in the studio. As you will see, a lot needs to happen before you bring the camera into the mix. Also important is to understand the basics of food styling and how that relates to composition and balance. I will be giving you some assignments to build confidence and proficiency. Learning the basics of how to light food and drinks more effectively will also work with your cell phone. I will be talking about Painting with Light and how you can use this technique to enhance every image. Get inspired with this straightforward and simple workflow to improve your approach to all your compositions and expertise with lighting.

“This is a great book on how to set up and take still-life images! I found many pearls of wisdom and recommend this for anyone interested in close-up and still-life photography. There is much to learn from lighting, setting up the composition, and getting the right exposure. This is a must read for photographers!!” – Robert M.
Photography Books

A Soldiers Prayer

From the Citadel Through the Vietnam War

It is important to preface this collection of poems, so you are aware of their context and why I have decided to publish them. I am Jim’s sister and the sole survivor of my family. He left me a notebook filled with pages of these poems, which had been typed on an old manual typewriter over a period of years from his time in college at the Citadel, to Vietnam and after. I felt it was time that I share them and express how proud I am of him for his writings and his commitment to freedom.

The poems are not just about war. They are about courage and honor and tell the story of how a boy becomes a warrior. They are about dedication, sacrifice, and the fear of love and death.

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Jim did not believe in the Vietnam War, but he believed in his country. He possessed a great deal of courage and commitment to what he believed in: honor, loyalty, respect, and discipline. However, he came back broken with not much chance of putting all the pieces back together. War does that. I cannot imagine what he saw and continued to see in his mind’s eye for decades after. I believe that his love of history and writing became what saved his psyche.

In some of the poems, Jim speaks of the cost of freedom, facing death, and the creativity required in an unconventional war. It is the duty of every American soldier to protect our freedom. This might require them to lawfully take another person’s life. To do this he had to understand the depth and burden of that duty. This responsibility is the hardest and most challenging commitment that anyone can have. He was entrusted with that burden daily. He was tested mentally, physically, and emotionally. How he reacted defined him as a soldier, a leader, and a man.

He died in 2009 from complications from Agent Orange that he came in contact with on a daily basis in Vietnam. The Veterans Administration sent my mother a check for $19,000 several years after his death because they finally acknowledged the effects of Agent Orange. The value of a Vietnam Vet’s life seems to be comprised of a folded flag, a small bronze plaque on his grave, a Xerox copy of a letter from President Obama, and a check for a ridiculous amount of money. I had to look beyond all of this and go back to what my brother valued. I needed to share his commitment to honor, courage and discipline as his true value to our country. Here is Jim’s story in his own words. They are pieces from his soul.

“Vietnam was the defining event of my generation. Because the country turned increasingly against the war, we struggled as cadets to adjust to what became a sad routine to learn of the deaths of guys we knew. Ori’s poetry is a lifeline against despair from a war that destroyed any boyish dreams of doing glorious mythic deeds.” – Jan Barry
Photography Books

5 Important Elements of a Portfolio and Critique

Whether you are preparing a portfolio for your website, trying to sell your skill to a client in order to get a shooting job, submitting images to a juried exhibit, preparing a portfolio to submit with a college application, or meeting with a gallery director to show your work, there are some important universal things to consider.

This workbook is designed to help you edit and organize your artwork into a solid portfolio presentation with lots of great tips from Nancy Ori, author, juror, curator of hundreds exhibits, and instructor.

I developed these thoughts over the years as a method for creating my own portfolios, as well as for students to see where their presentation might need more emphasis or even how to get started. Remember that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

Learn how to begin the sorting and editing process, along with lots of tips and answers to your questions. Hear what a client, gallery director, or judge of a juried show is really looking for. Think about how to balance your expectations by knowing how to prepare for the interview because you understand what will happen at the meeting.

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Included are lots of examples of how to group images within a juried show submission or portfolio. Over the years, I have juried and curated thousands of images for competitions, exhibitions, as well as have been a photographer looking for a job, and have also been the person who hired many photographers for assignments. I know what works. After many private and group critiques of student work, it was time to write this book to help others not only edit, choose, and order the right images, but to also understand how to react and take away valuable information from every review, critique and interview.
Photography Books

Nature as Inspiration for Art

The Elements and Principles of Design in Nature with Photography and Other Mediums

The focus of this book will be on the concepts and techniques essential to creating an expressive image from nature. Attention to detail and feelings about a natural scene begin before capture and should extend through to post processing and finishing of any art piece. It is the total workflow where all of this happens, not just the manipulations in the post processing of your images or applying paint to a canvas. I will be encouraging you to slow down and look more closely at the natural world around you. Breathe it in. By examining the colors and shapes of trees, animals, or flowers, you will become more aware of the effects of light and shadow at different moments or notice the ways a landscape can change over time.

Nature is a broad topic to discuss fully, so I am going to try to simplify it as much as I can and talk more about nature as it relates to design elements, how it influences our perception, and how to interpret it in a way that helps to give it a voice.

This book is not about how to use your camera except how it relates to our topic. It is more about how to use your brain to understand the core attributes of what you are seeing in nature and see it in new ways.

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As for the capturing of the image, we will cover the elements and principles of design, scene evaluation, visualization, considerations for composition, using light, shadow, and form, equipment thoughts, and a lot of other tips and ideas. Most importantly, this book is an introduction to seeing, feeling, and communicating in a new way. There will be new words to learn along with some new actions.

I will be demonstrating how I approach an image from start to finish with many examples. My approach to image making has always been to do just that… to make a photograph, not take a photograph. If you are truly thinking about what you are doing and what you really want, you are making an image. It is a total body action that includes the mind and heart. When someone refers to taking photographs, the first thing that comes to mind is that they are stealing it and running off. I have observed people doing just that. It is crazy behavior and generally just produces poorly constructed snap shots.

We live in an amazing time of technology relating to photographic arts. The cameras today are truly remarkable in how they do so much to help us get a great photograph. In less than a second, we can capture an entire scene. What the camera cannot do for us is interpret the full impact of our emotion at that moment, as well as create something that can communicate that emotion. To do that, we need to invest our time to think about what is going on in front of us and what we want to say about this situation. We need to use the elements and principles of design to make the image.

Pendragwns of the Isles

The Romances & Tragedies of King Arthur, Guinevere and Sir Lancelot

By Seamas O’ri

From the little we know; a great story has emerged from Celtic Britain. It is the story of King Arthur. Unfortunately, most of what is accepted today is based upon material written hundreds of years, indeed, in some cases as much as a millennium and a half, after the late 5th and early 6th centuries AD, when he is said to have lived.

These volumes place the story of King Arthur in its true historical setting, with an understanding and appreciation of the social undercurrents taking place in that time period.

The six volumes of The Pendragwns of the Isles are historical fiction, based on two primary elements: first, an attempt to take the reader back to the actual period, where possible. Minus the trappings of the later Middle Ages usually associated incorrectly by Arthurian literature to this age; and second, while attempting to be slightly more historically correct, also to keep to the basic plot, with, of course, some new twists to keep the reader interested. Each tale is narrated by a major participant picking up where the prior narrator left off.

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Volume VI is the Companion Book which contains detailed descriptions of characters, maps, and an extensive glossary. It is a valuable resource and recommended as a companion to the other volumes.
“I have read the two first volumes in Pendragwns of isles series and love the stories. I always was a great fan of Arthurian fiction, and these books are a refreshing add to the traditional tales of King Arthur and his knights. I read about the enormous work of your brother to write these stories. His love for writing really touched me.” – Cristina M.
“The Pendragwns of the Isles is a 6 volume series covering the story of the Pendragon rulers of Post-Roman Britain including Arthur. The first volume begins far ahead of Arthur’s time and concludes with a narrative by Myrddin (Merlin). The author has obviously done a tremendous amount of research for his story and the book is filled with information on Celtic religion, culture, and politics. The dialogue is fashioned out of the common speech patterns of the people, and one must read it very carefully. Each part is told from a different point of view, which is very effective. Arthurian fans will want to read this book. I have already begun reading Volume 2 as well.” – Kindle Customer


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