My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!

Started Aug 25, 2013 | Discussions
Dan Wagner
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My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
Aug 25, 2013

I just completed my latest black and white street photography book titled: EXPOSED! PHOTOGRAPHS -- DAN WAGNER. You can view the whole book online: http://www.blurb.com/books/4547029-exposed in preview mode -- full screen if you like.

The photos were shot in and around New York City between January and August 2013. There are two photographs of artist/photographer Chuck Close who I was lucky enough to meet accidentally. Check out my other books if you feel like it, including my trip to Istanbul this past February and my magazine titled EYE TOURIST.  Everything can be seen for free. Earlier works are on my website danwagnerphotography.com

Please share your thoughts and feel free to ask any questions. Thank you.

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bosjohn
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to Dan Wagner, Aug 25, 2013

thanks for the heads up I will look for it

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Dan Wagner
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to bosjohn, Aug 25, 2013

Thanks. No need to look for it -- just click on link or copy paste...

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Pascal Riben
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to Dan Wagner, Aug 25, 2013

Dan Wagner wrote:

Thanks. No need to look for it -- just click on link or copy paste...

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Hello Dan, I'm curious: did you order a sample for yourself anf if yes, how is the B&W quality? I mean, is it a pure neutral B&W? Do you have details in the shadows and the highlights, etc.

Thanks!

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Vidau
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to Dan Wagner, Aug 25, 2013

Excellent book, intelligent presentation

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Dan Wagner
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to Pascal Riben, Aug 26, 2013

Thanks Vidau.

For black and white with Blurb you need to use an RGB jpeg file. I supply a 300 dpi RGB jpeg at maximum quality. I generally make the photos 10 percent lighter. I prefer the upgraded uncoated paper they offer. Blurb books are printed at several different regional printers. From my experiences quality control is not a priority. My take on it is that they want to turn the books out fast and they must do the math and have come to the conclusion that most people are too lazy or don't care enough to complain about a badly printed book. Often their black and whites will have a pink or greenish cast. I think this is an ink and registration issue. When this happens I take photos to prove the problem and they redo the book. Clearly they're playing percentages. Sometimes books arrive damaged -- this happens most often when I get more than one 12x12 book, and it happens because the books are not packed properly and bounce around -- so if you're paying $150 for a book and it arrives with smashed corners you will want a redo of course.

The highlights and shadow detail is pretty good for what it is. I've shown it to a few gallery owners and they thought it was good. What's really fascinating to me is to compare a Blurb book with a vintage photo book -- books that were heralded in their time, and so often the Blurb book is better quality. Unless of course it's an Avedon or other high end book. I do check the levels on my files in Photoshop and make sure they're good -- I think this helps. For color photos, Blurb has some useful recommendations in their FAQs.

All this being said, if you do your best to give them good files, and if you suffer through a redo or two, you can get a nice book. There are usually coupon codes. This month the code is AUGUSTSAVINGS for 20 percent off and I think it goes to 8/26 -- plus at check out they gave me a 30 percent off a second copy -- so I got two copies. I like the wraparound covers more than the dust jacket for purposes of showing my work to others because I think the wraparound wears better.

The smart thing to do is get one first copy and then look at each photo and you may want to make some lighter, or burn an edge or fix something -- in which case you make the fixes and re-upload the book. If you have two copies you're unhappy with, you can use those two to register your copyright online -- it costs about $35 to register and of course you print the shipping slip and send two copies to Washington.

I like being able to share my photos with others, and the fact that the book can be viewed online for free lets me do this. Obviously expecting others to pay the one off high printing price is ridiculous. I dedicate each book to a different family member and try to give them a copy if I can, but at the price it's not easy to.

People can also buy a pdf, but the way they do the pdfs now doesn't keep the spread format - which I want for juxtaposing photos on opposite pages.

Also, once you make one Blurb book you're happy with, you can easily reuse the layout, so subsequent books are easier.

By the way, I write the first version of the copy, and then give it to a copywriter to rewrite and proof. On some of my books I've asked art director friends to help with the cover. But most of the time I just keep it simple and use Blurb's formatted options.

Making a new book each time I amass a few hundred images I like, helps me have a way to view these selections in printed form. This helps me decide what I want to photograph next, what changes I want to make moving forward, and more. It has greatly helped me self edit, both in camera and afterward. And writing the copy is a great exercise too.

In terms of themes and projects, so many people want to see themes. Personally, I find themes can be boring and can also be a chore. Most of my books have a few themes -- perhaps 12 images of one theme, and then another theme or grouping. Maybe at some point in the future I will take the 700 or so fave images in the books and make one book of what I think are the best. I did something like this in April when I made a Blurb magazine. The magazines are very nice and economical but you have to do them in InDesgin. At some point Blurb may have something like Booksmart to work with, and that will be an improvement.

For editing I pick my faves from the images I've shot, then I have a folder of deletion of previous faves -- I will use a few of these if they work when paired with newer images. Then I start making groupings and pairings -- followed by more deleting -- three or four rounds of this works well -- then I have my wife look at my edit and she will have a few comments and will not like a few images -- if I agree with her I delete these images, but I figure if I decided to shoot the image to begin with, then it's on me as it should be. I upload the images into the Blurb Booksmart software which is free -- and I see how it all works and make changes.

Over the past 18 months I've averaged one book every three months. The quickest turnaround was my Istanbul book. I left on 1/26/2013 for 13 days and had the book done and up on Blurb on 2/26/2013.

Well, sorry for such a long-winded and rambling reply -- hopefully this info will help others. And what's really great about doing your own book, is you don't have to wait for someone else to do it for you -- as in trying to get published. I also think it's better, much better than paying to enter photo contests, or paying entry fees to be in group shows. It's kind of liberating. And it motivates one to get out and shoot more, and try new things, and decide what means the most to them.

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Pascal Riben
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to Dan Wagner, Aug 26, 2013

Dan Wagner wrote:

Thanks Vidau.

For black and white with Blurb you need to use an RGB jpeg file. I supply a 300 dpi RGB jpeg at maximum quality. I generally make the photos 10 percent lighter. I prefer the upgraded uncoated paper they offer. Blurb books are printed at several different regional printers. From my experiences quality control is not a priority. My take on it is that they want to turn the books out fast and they must do the math and have come to the conclusion that most people are too lazy or don't care enough to complain about a badly printed book. Often their black and whites will have a pink or greenish cast. I think this is an ink and registration issue. When this happens I take photos to prove the problem and they redo the book. Clearly they're playing percentages. Sometimes books arrive damaged -- this happens most often when I get more than one 12x12 book, and it happens because the books are not packed properly and bounce around -- so if you're paying $150 for a book and it arrives with smashed corners you will want a redo of course.

The highlights and shadow detail is pretty good for what it is. I've shown it to a few gallery owners and they thought it was good. What's really fascinating to me is to compare a Blurb book with a vintage photo book -- books that were heralded in their time, and so often the Blurb book is better quality. Unless of course it's an Avedon or other high end book. I do check the levels on my files in Photoshop and make sure they're good -- I think this helps. For color photos, Blurb has some useful recommendations in their FAQs.

All this being said, if you do your best to give them good files, and if you suffer through a redo or two, you can get a nice book. There are usually coupon codes. This month the code is AUGUSTSAVINGS for 20 percent off and I think it goes to 8/26 -- plus at check out they gave me a 30 percent off a second copy -- so I got two copies. I like the wraparound covers more than the dust jacket for purposes of showing my work to others because I think the wraparound wears better.

The smart thing to do is get one first copy and then look at each photo and you may want to make some lighter, or burn an edge or fix something -- in which case you make the fixes and re-upload the book. If you have two copies you're unhappy with, you can use those two to register your copyright online -- it costs about $35 to register and of course you print the shipping slip and send two copies to Washington.

I like being able to share my photos with others, and the fact that the book can be viewed online for free lets me do this. Obviously expecting others to pay the one off high printing price is ridiculous. I dedicate each book to a different family member and try to give them a copy if I can, but at the price it's not easy to.

People can also buy a pdf, but the way they do the pdfs now doesn't keep the spread format - which I want for juxtaposing photos on opposite pages.

Also, once you make one Blurb book you're happy with, you can easily reuse the layout, so subsequent books are easier.

By the way, I write the first version of the copy, and then give it to a copywriter to rewrite and proof. On some of my books I've asked art director friends to help with the cover. But most of the time I just keep it simple and use Blurb's formatted options.

Making a new book each time I amass a few hundred images I like, helps me have a way to view these selections in printed form. This helps me decide what I want to photograph next, what changes I want to make moving forward, and more. It has greatly helped me self edit, both in camera and afterward. And writing the copy is a great exercise too.

In terms of themes and projects, so many people want to see themes. Personally, I find themes can be boring and can also be a chore. Most of my books have a few themes -- perhaps 12 images of one theme, and then another theme or grouping. Maybe at some point in the future I will take the 700 or so fave images in the books and make one book of what I think are the best. I did something like this in April when I made a Blurb magazine. The magazines are very nice and economical but you have to do them in InDesgin. At some point Blurb may have something like Booksmart to work with, and that will be an improvement.

For editing I pick my faves from the images I've shot, then I have a folder of deletion of previous faves -- I will use a few of these if they work when paired with newer images. Then I start making groupings and pairings -- followed by more deleting -- three or four rounds of this works well -- then I have my wife look at my edit and she will have a few comments and will not like a few images -- if I agree with her I delete these images, but I figure if I decided to shoot the image to begin with, then it's on me as it should be. I upload the images into the Blurb Booksmart software which is free -- and I see how it all works and make changes.

Over the past 18 months I've averaged one book every three months. The quickest turnaround was my Istanbul book. I left on 1/26/2013 for 13 days and had the book done and up on Blurb on 2/26/2013.

Well, sorry for such a long-winded and rambling reply -- hopefully this info will help others. And what's really great about doing your own book, is you don't have to wait for someone else to do it for you -- as in trying to get published. I also think it's better, much better than paying to enter photo contests, or paying entry fees to be in group shows. It's kind of liberating. And it motivates one to get out and shoot more, and try new things, and decide what means the most to them.

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Dan, I have - of course - read your full answer and I don't know how to thank you for all these so useful informations I had looking for without never find them. Many many many THANKSSSSS !

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bosjohn
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to Dan Wagner, Aug 26, 2013

Dan Wagner wrote:

Thanks. No need to look for it -- just click on link or copy paste...

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well fry me for an oyster your right and a very fine collection and record of NYC. I find some of your images funny haunting stimulating and more good show good book

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Dan Wagner
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to bosjohn, Aug 26, 2013

Thanks bosjohn!

Forgot to mention, Blurb books charges 25% more if you replace their logo with your own. This is really punishing. I mean 25%? That can be over $40 on many books. Thing is, you're going to tell everyone you know to view the book on Blurb anyway -- the number of people who will view the printed book can often be counted on one hand. So in my opinion Blurb should let people use their own logo -- most people will be too lazy to use their own anyway. But, that's city hall, what can you do?

One can do some nice things with Blurb's iPad book versions -- you can add motion and more. I think this has some great commercial applications.

Blurb used to have a much better iBook (not pdf) type version that one could list for sale for as little as $1.99 -- this was nice for friends or relatives who wanted a copy they could look at on their iPads and such. And they could be marked up -- lets say $2 which brought it to $3.99 which is still cheap. But get this, Blurb won't pay off until you reach $25 -- which takes forever -- I only did this once, and then they deducted $5 as a service fee.

There are other places that make books, but to my knowledge they generally cost more.

My current inspirations are Weegee, Plachy, Avedon, Webber, Ritts, Watson, Salgado, and more. Just finished Weegee's autobiography -- fantastic! His father earned a living with a pushcart in the Lower East Side. My great grandfather did too. And Weegee was a nudist, womanizer, slept on the street or in boarding houses, had a makeshift darkroom in the trunk of his 1938 car -- he even asked gangsters to not steal black cars for their murders because lighter cars photographed better -- and they complied. Some of his technique can be applied today. And he has great advice and not just about shooting, but on how to interact with people and subjects in a variety of situation to accomplish your photographic goals.

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robertorinehart
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to bosjohn, Aug 27, 2013

yeah it looks really interesting. Thanks for the share.

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Dan Wagner
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to robertorinehart, Aug 27, 2013

New blurb 25% discount code 8/27 five days is: SUNSET25

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Gesture
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to Dan Wagner, Aug 29, 2013

Great notes, Dan. I admire your discipline in organizing your work this way.

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Dan Wagner
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to Gesture, Aug 29, 2013

Gesture wrote:

Great notes, Dan. I admire your discipline in organizing your work this way.

Thank you. I wish family albums were organized. Here's the funny part -- I've already begun the next one -- or at least have one rainy shooting day under my belt. One of the photos is on my Tumblr blog. I have a second one which is really interesting of someone in handcuffs being thrown into a paddy wagon shot yesterday near Washington Sq Park in NYC.

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ianbramham
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to Dan Wagner, Aug 30, 2013

Excellent book Dan!

Ian
Fine Art Photography Website: http://ianbramham.com/

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Dan Wagner
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to ianbramham, Aug 30, 2013

ianbramham wrote:

Excellent book Dan!

Ian
Fine Art Photography Website: http://ianbramham.com/

Thanks Ian,

That means a lot to me, especially after seeing your website because it's not often that I look at someone's work and say to myself I would have shot that too and printed it the same way. So often, even in galleries one sees bad printing -- and even if it's online, if the contrast, tones, and burning and dodging isn't what it could be, then that's not good. Of course if the shot isn't good, then nothing can really save that. Anyway, love your work and your appreciation for the square. If you find yourself in NYC, please feel free to contact me -- if time permits I would be happy to show you some landscape spots that would appeal to your aesthetic.

Dan

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A Subset
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to Dan Wagner, Aug 30, 2013

Dan,

Thanks so much for sharing this with us.  New York is such a wonderful place to photograph!

- A.

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Dan Wagner
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to A Subset, Aug 31, 2013

A Subset wrote:

Dan,

Thanks so much for sharing this with us. New York is such a wonderful place to photograph!

- A.

I like photographing in NYC. However, I always wind up walking 5 or more miles in search of the shots I want. Istanbul is similar -- I have a blurb book from there too. I generally like urban areas. I hope to photograph Berlin, India, and many other spots finances permitting.

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MrScary
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to Dan Wagner, 11 months ago

Dan--I see you did a 12x12 square..What sizes were your images ? Were they all the same size and when inserting onto the page you dragged around to fit ? Or did you do differing sizes for each page. Your Book Preview on Blurb at large size looks really good.

When I do a book, my images are Large size Jpgs and when I view on Blurb site some always look noisy but the Book when I get it Looks really Good.

Any Help would be Greatly Appreciated. Thanks

P.S--Your Book looks Great..Well Done

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ffnikclif
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Re: My B&W Street Photography Book: EXPOSED!
In reply to Dan Wagner, 11 months ago

I love the pictures & the lay out. Two pages side by side with a certain relationship &/or look. Very well done & professional. Thank you for sharing & good luck with all your projects. You have a good eye & a bright future.

Fred

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