Tuesday, February 2, 2010

10 Great Photography Projects - SoFoBoMo 2010

Difficulty Level: Hard, not technically but in all the things that need to be done in a short period of time

SoFoBoMo 2010

This year SoFoBoMo it is set to start any time during the month of June and then to be completed within 31 days. The eBook (PDF) must include a minimum of 35 of your images that are only taken during this time period. Text is optional but for me this really anchors the story and theme all together into one unit.

SoFoBoMo Official site is: Web site
The picture included here are from my 2 SoFoBoMo Books
The Solo Ph(F)oto Book Month (SoFoBoMo) is, in my opinion, one of the best projects that a photographer can undertake and with the full knowledge that it will lead to stellar learning  opportunity and enrichment in having the finished book. It will make you think differently about photographs both individually and as a collection.

I have participated in this project for the first 2 years and will again for the 3rd year. The idea behind this was started by Paul Butzi ( (Musings on Photography ) but its success has been because the many photographers over the years who have not only finished their book but more importantly blogged about the their experience. What a great way to learn from so many talented photographers.

Do take the time to review Paul B articles under SoFoBoMo.

There was even a discussion group created by Hugh Allison
You can find it at

A Photo Tells a Story

If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a collection of ten (10) images is a short story and 35 images must be a full novel.

That’s why this project is hard. It’s like creating a full novel and then there are only 31 days to complete it in.

The first year, which was also the launch of SoFoBoMo, was hard for me mainly as I didn’t really know what I was doing and there wasn’t a lot of experience in the online world to seek help from.

But once through a round of producing an eBook, it now became easier. Even during my second book I had to change themes part way through and I still managed to produce a reasonable photo book.

For a project to be successful, having the work planned out in advance helps you understand the full end-to-end effort and gives you that comfort-level of being able to adapt should that inevitable constant ‘Change’ show up.

Remember that any planning work and getting equipment and tools together is not part of the 31-day window. Take your time to get it all right now, as this will help you out later on.

I find it’s best to have a back-up theme, while probably not as good as your first choice, it will allow you to complete the book should something unforeseen happen with the first idea.  Completing the book is more important than how super your images are.

Once you have your theme and locations selected I find there is 4 distinct phases that breakdown nicely to 1 week each in duration during the go-live event.

Acquire images – Week 1
If a lot of planning has gone into this section it goes from being the toughest section, to if lucky, one of pure enjoyment.

Take a lot more photos than you plan or even think you will need. It just pays to have extra. Before you are finished from a specific shoot, turn-around and look for more. Unless you are good at photo books, ‘More’ is the name of the game.

Processing – Week 2
There are a lot of images to go through and this week is for cataloging and rating each image on its own quality.  Look over the better images several times but don’t try and layout the book just yet. Just focus on images that you like.

This part doesn’t actually take a week but with good planning and knowing the first section is critical we now have a few days to re-photograph some scenes because either we didn’t get them right or we want some other sets.

Selecting and arranging Week 3
The really hard part is over and we can enjoy the process of selecting the Best set of images to layout in a photo book. The original theme may change at this point, most likely not a whole lot anyway. The theme was a guidance tool to narrow down the field of images to photographs. It’s a discovery process and you are never quite sure where they lead. Therefore, staying flexible on ideas makes it easier and more enjoyable.

If you have access to programs that can create slide show programs then create a new set every time you are thinking about the order and pairing of photos that create the storyline.  When you start out thinking about time-lining the photos start with small sets that capture the basic essence of the book, a bit like chapter headings

Too many at once can make it seem more like work. I like to start small and then add adjectives (photos) around the theme.  Make what you are doing play, not work, and be willing to accept whatever unfolds.

Depending on the length of textual information in your book, start taking notes on ideas for captions and other descriptions of sets of photos.

Publishing the Book Week 4 and Finally Done

There is a lot of Publishing Software available free or use your word-processing software.

If it doesn’t export as a PDF file, I use PrimoPDF  (free) to create PDF files.

Two Free versions of publishing software I have tried:

Open Office, which I’ve used for both books and is my preferred software as it allow 0” margins for when you wish a different coloured background and it also exports in PDF.

Tip: when inserting images anchor the image to page to keep in same location. If anchored to paragraph I found these image will move around when I make changes to the text.

Scribus, which is more professional, but I found I had to have the image sized exactly for each change, as image wasn’t adjustable. Maybe I was doing something wrong.

Then upload and take a look at all the other eBooks.

Planning tips:
Get weather forecasts for the upcoming week. Depending on whether you need sun or clouds or both, plan each day based on the anticipated weather. While we all like to complain about the weather, forecasters never get it right. It does help to understand that if you look, and with the changes over the week this remains mostly accurate. Then only slight delays or early arrival for each change in weather.

I Have read most of the entries form last year.

I hope to see some of your eBooks this year.

Niels Henriksen


Adam Cope said...

great read,fab photos as per usual.

shouldn't a blog post with several images in read like a book any wya, albeit with scrolling rather than turning pages?

it's the thread, the message no?

nielsp said...

I agree a story is even important in a longer blog article, especially if there's images.

When I write an article with several images I do screen view with all images to see how they flow together.


Related Posts with Thumbnails