We’re thrilled to kick off our brand new author interview series, Behind the Book, with the lovely and talented Susan Tuttle.
Shutter Sisters: First, tell us about your new book.
Susan Tuttle: The title is Art of Everyday Photography: Move Toward Manual and Make Creative Photos. It was published by North Light Books in August 2014. My publisher did an awesome job of creating a brief summary about the book as seen on Amazon. I’d like to share that with you… “In this easy-to-understand book, Susan Tuttle encourages the reader to get her camera out of “auto mode” and finally learn how to use its features to create beautiful photos capturing the everyday moments of life, including portraiture, landscape, still-life scenes, food, pet photography, street photography and more. In addition to camera basics, Susan includes many tips and techniques for getting the most out of smartphone cameras and photo apps.”
I was thrilled to have a variety of talented digital SLR and mobile photographers contribute to the book. Within its pages you will find the work of Tracey Clark, Susannah Conway, Vivienne McMaster, Daniel Berman and many more!
Since I wrote more than the book could hold, my editor and I came up with the idea to include it in an e-companion to the actual book, which you can access through a link mentioned at the bottom of every other page of the book.
SS: Tell us why you wrote the book Art of Everyday Photography.
ST: I get so excited by the process of teaching and learning! Before my photography/author/online instructor career, I was a K-12 public school music teacher for 10 years. So, I’m definitely a teacher in spirit and feel a calling to share my passions with others. I feel fortunate to be able to share through my blog, books and online photography, iPhoneography and Photoshop classes.
SS: What did you enjoy the most about writing the book?
ST: A digital SLR camera is a tool plain and simple. I am excited to be able to empower the reader to learn about all of his/her camera’s functions so that he/she may make more creative photos. Yes, you can learn to shoot in manual, and I guarantee the process of learning how is way less daunting than you may think. Shooting from the gut will always be the most important factor when it comes to making beautiful photos, but think how much more powerful your photos will become if you know how to use your tool to best realize your creative visions!
SS: What was the most challenging part of writing it?
ST: That is easy to answer. It would be making sure that all of the technical information was spot on, especially as information was edited and shifted around during the layout and design stages. Also, I made it my top goal to make sure I presented this technical information in a fun, easy-to-understand and inspirational way. This required me to make multiple drafts and edits, to make sure I was giving my best teaching throughout the book.
SS: Did you shoot the photography specifically for the book or did you curate the images you already had, or both? What was the process like?
ST: Both! Every image in the book had to be selected with such care as each needed to demonstrate a specific technique or tip. I also wanted them to not only be technically-good, but infused with something much more which comes from ‘shooting from the gut’ — something spiritual, if you will. Some of the images that I had in my archives made perfect fits, so I used them. The meat of the book was composed during the winter months. Drawing from my archives allowed me to include photos from multiple seasons, thus allowing for color! I also took fresh shots — for one I wanted to include new shots never before seen on my site. I also needed to take shots of things I didn’t have examples of in my archives. For instance, I needed shots of lightning and some fireworks. I think I got some spiritual help along the way — we experienced a lightning storm like never before, so I had lots of stunning lightning shots to choose from.
SS: What is your favorite photo you shared in your book? Why is it your favorite?
ST: I honestly don’t have a specific favorite, but one that always makes me smile is this wide angle shot I took of this little girl at a birthday party. Wide angle shots taken from above like this distort figures and can give them a cartoonish effect that looks adorable with kids and pets.
SS: What one tip would you share with people who want to start taking better pictures right now?
ST: Shoot from the gut!
“I believe that there is extraordinary to be found in the ordinary, and that we can elevate our everyday lives by embracing and honoring that which is simple.” – Susan Tuttle
Susan Tuttle is both an iPhoneographer and DSLR photographer from Maine, USA. She is the author of four instruction-based books (published in the US and abroad by F+W Media, North Light Books) on the subject matter of mixed-media art, digital art with Photoshop, iPhone photography and DSLR photography. Her fourth book on DSLR photography and iPhoneography called Art of Everyday Photography: Move Toward Manual & Make Creative Photos has just been released. Susan’s iPhoneography has won numerous recognitions and awards, including American Aperture Awards (AX3) 2013 first place in the ‘nudes’ category, first place in ‘portraits’ for the Paris Mobile Photography Awards 2013, and several honorable mentions for the Mobile Photography Awards 2012 and 2013. Her mobile work has been exhibited in New York, London, Paris, Prague, and was recently part of the Photo Independent Art Fair in Hollywood. Susan just released an online course co-taught with mixed-media artist Alena Hennessy, called Co-Lab: Paint, Paper and iPhoneography Magic. She also offers an online course called The Art of iPhoneography Self-Portraiture. Susan was recently named Technical Advisor for Somerset Digital Studio Magazine.
Her past titles include Photo Craft: Creative Mixed-Media and Digital Approaches to Transforming Your Photographs (North Light Books, 2012, co-authored with Christy Hydeck), Digital Expressions: Creating Digital Art with Adobe Photoshop Elements (North Light Books, 2010) and Exhibition 36: Mixed-Media Demonstrations and Explorations (North Light Books, 2008).
Susan shared a stunning photo essay with Our Collective this month. Don’t miss it! And be sure to take advantage of the amazing discount she’s sharing with us for her Art of iPhoneography Self-Portraiture class.