The job of an editor goes beyond working with words. Storey editor Lisa Hiley reflects on an editor’s role when capturing a book’s content in images.
One of the more enjoyable parts of my generally fun job as a Storey editor is going on photo shoots. It’s nice to get out of the office and away from the computer, and as someone who focuses on words all day, I relish the chance to be involved in the visual side of bringing books to life. Since the author of the book is often on site for shoots, these occasions become a great chance to develop a relationship that sometimes only exists via email and phone.
You never know what to expect on photo shoots. They can be exhausting, hectic, and frustrating. While everything is carefully planned in advance, everyone has to be flexible and willing to pitch in. Editors might find themselves chopping fruit, washing dishes, schlepping props, crouching beneath tables to keep them steady, holding lights overhead, smoothing out wrinkled clothing on models — you name it.
In June of last year, I flew to Colorado for a shoot for 101 Western Dressage Exercises for Horse & Rider. We needed several specific shots including the all-important cover. Our authors, Jec Ballou and Stephanie Boyles, arranged for a couple of magnificent Andalusian horses to be our models and found a private ranch where we could shoot against gorgeous scenery. Our terrific photographer, Jason Houston, proved a quick study in capturing equine action.
|The horse stays in the picture: Editor Lisa Hiley (left) surveys photographer Jason Houston’s computer setup to make sure they have the shot they need. Consulting are co-author Stephanie Boyles and cover model Fino, with his owner Frances Carbonnel. Photo © Jason Houston Photography, LLC|
My jobs on the shoot included showing up with coffee and breakfast at 6 a.m., keeping track of the shot list, making sure the riders had the right clothes for each shot, fetching lunch, looking at every set of shots with the authors to make sure we had what we needed, and shifting cones, ground poles, and other equipment as necessary. We had to work around a few glitches, including a very small paddock with excellent footing that proved a bit tight for our claustrophobic cover star (we moved some fence panels and tried another spot later in the day). I also happily talked about horses, watched horses in action, held horses, fed treats to horses, and mucked out a stall — just another day at work!
If only I’d been able to convince my boss to send me to New Mexico to work on the photo shoot for that new cookbook ….
|The cover, featuring Fino, the Andalusian stallion|