Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Art of Photography

Sandra here with a table of hot coffee, (Chocolate Velvet of course), hot chocolate and Teavana Teas.  Help yourself to a cup and let’s talk about the art of photography.

Now that indie publishing is becoming so popular and easy to do, we as writers are always on the lookout for lovely photos to put on the covers of our books, on our web pages and in our blogs.

Saguaro National Park by Linda Needham

Not only do we need lovely photos, but we are always on the look out for graphic artist to put those lovely photos into a format for covers.

By Linda Needham

As most of you know, I’m wintering in an RV resort in Tucson and while here, met a lovely artist. Linda Needham is a photographer and is gifted with a talent for capturing nature’s beauty.

By Linda Needham

Linda has some spectacular photography, some of which I will share with you today and others can be seen on her webpage.

Blue and black swallowtail By Linda Needham

I hired Linda last year to take photos for my webpage and personal photos for my bio pages and profile pictures for social media.   You might remember the blog I posted where I asked you to help me choose which photos to use.

Arizona Sunrise By Linda Needham

Here is what her bio says on her webpage.

Linda Needham is a freelance photographer living in Tucson, Arizona. Her career began in 2001 when she lived and worked at Glacier National Park. This experience awakened her dream of becoming a nature and wildlife photographer, making it a reality. Linda has traveled the country, exploring new vistas and capturing the beauty of America. In 2007, she worked with Arizona Highways Photographer Henry Holdsworth at his photo workshop “Yellowstone In Winter” and it changed her life.

By Linda Needham

Linda continues to refine her craft as she dives deeper into her artistry while discovering new paths for her creativity. The transformative nature of her work truly sets her apart from others in her field.

By Linda Needham

Linda has photographed majestic wolves returning from a hunt, hummingbirds in flight and at play, night-blooming flowers, scenic panoramas, the quiet beauty of everyday living and gorgeous desert sunsets.  Her extensive portfolio is available here on her website.

By Linda Needham

Don’t you love to read about other artists?  Do you notice a similarity between her art of photography and ours of writing?
She continues to refine her craft.
She brings to her viewers images of wildlife, nature and breathtaking settings.
She portrays everyday life.

Don’t we do the same thing with our words?  Art is art. I love it.

As an indie author, I have used photography from other sources as well. There are many reputable sources such as Bigstock, Shutterstock, and others. Be sure when you use any photos, you either have permission to use them and/or have purchased them for use.

Many photos can be used on a webpage or blog post if given credit. For example Linda gave me permission to use these photos in our blog. But if I wanted to use one on a book cover or for an item that is for sale, I would need to purchase the rights to use it.  Linda does sell the rights for use of her photos and you can find that on her webpage called lindasgardensanctuary.com

Migrating Cranes By Linda Needham

I have also purchased some of her lovely photos to hang on my wall in the motorhome. She does a fantastic job of framing them and sold them at the craft fair in the resort. They are really beautiful desert scenes that remind me of home when I’m traveling. smile

Most publishers, including Amazon, want assurances that you have the rights to the photos they are going to publish in your name.  So be sure and do your homework and obtain the rights to use the photos in whatever venue you choose.

If you have graphic art skills, you can use the photos to create your own cover. Yankee Belle chef Mary Jane Hathaway makes her own covers. She told us how she learned photoshop in her Yankee Belle post last Saturday.

Mary Jane's fifth book in the Cane River Romance series is up for preorder and at a special .99 until release day!  Book One is FREE.

I do not, so I hire a graphic artist to do that for me. (I am not jealous. I am not jealous. I am not jealous)

However, in the past, I’ve been fortunate to hire wonderful graphic artists.

Lena Goldfinch designed the covers for Love’s Miracles, Love’s Refuge and Love’s Promises. Lena doesn’t do graphic art any more because she is writing her own novels. I really loved her work.

I met Debra Lewis of Arenapublishing at the Society for Southwestern Authors meeting and she designed Love’s Dream Song. Because I thought it was so well done, I entered this in the cover art contest Judge A Book By Its Cover of the Houston Bay Area RWA chapter. It didn’t place. Sigh.  But it’s a winner in my eyes. smile

Speaking of that contest, Kim Killion designed the cover art for the Seeker anthologies and two of her covers won in that contest. Here is the link of the winners. JABBIC   Just be warned that covers for all genres are showing in the winner announcement. Kim’s covers are in the short contemporary category.

Here are some of the covers Kim Killion designed for us.

If any of you have sources for photography and/or cover graphic artists, please share their links with us. It is always wise to have a list on hand in case you need photographs or covers.

Thanks for joining us today. All who comment will be eligible for a drawing for a beautiful set of note cards printed by Linda Needham with her photography of birds.  Winner will also be able to choose an autographed copy of one of my novels.

Sandra Leesmith writes sweet romances to warm the heart. Sandra loves to play pickleball, hike, read, bicycle and write. She is based in Arizona, but she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome and enjoy the outdoors. You can find Sandra's books here on Amazon. Three of Sandra's most popular books are also audio books at Audible. You can read more of Sandra's posts here.

Sandra will be signing books at the famous Tucson Festival of Books held on the University of Arizona campus, March 12-13th. If you are in the area, be sure and stop by.

Don't forget that next month is SPEEDBO.  Be sure and sign up and get that next book written. Find details here.


Trixi said...

I love the examples of Linda's photographs here! She has some wonderful talent :-) I can see where these would work beautifully on the covers of books. Lena also did a fantastic job on your covers, Sandra!

And I'm a bit jealous of your traveling in an RV, that is our dream someday as well. To be able to have the freedom to go and see the US would be a lot of fun. Plus we have family scattered throughout the US to visit. Lord willing that will be us in a few years :-)

Having note cards with birds on them would be terrific as I'm a bird-enthusiast! I think I inherited that from my grandma, she had a big back yard that she put bird feeders out & dried corn cobs for the squirrels. I used to love going there, grabbing the binoculars she had & looking out the kitchen window to see our little visitors. I could watch for hours! We have a vast variety of birds here on the Oregon coast & I love discovering them. :-)

Lovely post Sandra! Thank you for sharing about the art of photography. Another favorite subject of mine.

Clari Dees said...

Great post! Love Linda's photographs. I enjoy playing with my camera, too, but nothing on the skill level of this lady. Thanks for sharing her talent with us!

Just Commonly said...

These are great! Thank you for sharing with us. I love to play with my camera and then play with Photoshop for fun!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Linda's work is amazing. You made me think of Seekerville's own Mary Hicks who is an award winning artist. What a great idea, to use commissioned artwork for covers!! Thanks, Sandra.

Mary Preston said...

It would be invaluable to be able to design and create your own covers.

Cindy W. said...

Loved looking at all the beautiful photographs. Linda definitely has a gift. I use to take a lot of photographs at hockey games and I took one that a studio asked if they could enlarge it and hang it on the wall. I felt so blessed.

Have a blessed day everyone.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, SANDRA, and thank you for starting out the day with beautiful photography! Ahh, the Arizona desert at sunrise. Magical. (By the way, did you see that big bright moon this morning??)

I love photography myself and am always slipping mine into my Seekerville posts--for instance, TOMORROW! :)

At first I wasn't sure I'd like digital photography--could I give up my beloved Pentax SLR with all its cool features and interchangeable zoom lenses and filters? But I LOVE it. So versatile, great in low-light situations, no more switching out film every 36 shots, no more dragging around a heavy boatload of accessories, easy to share via email and upload to the web, and no more waiting a week or more to see how my shots turned out! You can't beat that!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Wow, I love all the artists we have among us. I love that you are into photography. What a fun art form to enjoy.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Trixi You will LOVE traveling in an RV. The nice thing about that is you have all your own stuff inside. Like your own pillow. Your clothes hanging in a closet and not hauling a suitcase around. ANd you have your own food. I love to eat out once in awhile, but it gets tiresome on a regular basis. Plus hard on the diet in my case anyway. Can't refuse the french fries. LOL

And when you visit family, you have your own space to get away for a quiet moment when you need it.

Yep, you will love the RV. And you will love traveling around and seeing how the Lord has bless us with such a wonderful creation. I especially love that.

I loved hearing about your grandma's yard and the birds. Such treasured memories. My mom used to have the same thing and we would get a kick out of all the clever ways the squirrels could steal from the birds. So fun to watch.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Clari At least you have the skill and enjoyment of photography. Do you know photoshop? I really should learn, but it just overwhelms me. sigh

Have fun shooting those photos.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Awww Just Commonly I am not jealous. I am not jealous. LOL I think it is amazing what people can do with photoshop and their cameras. What a gift. Have fun.

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI Tina Award winnning??? Wow. Thanks for sharing that information. I didn't know. Congrats Mary

I love looking at beautiful photographs. They have a photography club here in the resort and many display their work at the craft fairs they have in the park. Just amazing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Mary It can be done. I forgot to mention that Julie Lessman designs her own covers in her indie books also. So much talent we have amongst us. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Cindy That must have been exciting to see your photo on the wall in a studio. woo hooo. Shows you do well with your photography skills. smile

You might be making your own covers some day. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Glynna Yes, I did see that gorgeous moon sitting on the horizon. What a sight. I thought about taking a picture, but it was more fun watching it. smile

And yes, the digital age is so much easier and cheaper than the old days. Remember having to take all that film in and have it developed? I took photography in college and learned to develop black and white photos. What a lot of work. Thrilling thought to watch the photo come to life.

But yes, even I can take a halfway decent photo once in awhile.But nothing like yours. smile

Can hardly wait to see what tomorrow brings. smile

Jackie said...

Great pictures and great post. I know we can't judge a book by its cover, but still the cover is so important. If an author doesn't spend time working on a beautiful cover, it's got to cross the reader's mind to wonder if how hard the author worked on the story.

Thanks for sharing!

Suzanne Baginskie said...

The cover is as important as the story inside, as is a good blurb. Both contribute to hooking a reader, the ultimate goal. Many people are visual and when they scan the bookshelves, a great cover will pull them in. The ability to produce one is very difficult. The true photographers also has a special eye and knows how to capture the best shot. I admire how they create these covers from a combination of real life and a hint their imagination. Great post today and very interesting.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jackie The cover is extremely important. Traditional publishers spent their most money on the cover. It is what the person sees first and foremost. The cover is a very important marketing tool.

Good point about wondering if the book is good. However, writing and photography are two different skills. Just because you are good in one doesn't mean you are good in another.

If you aren't good in doing your own covers, then hire someone who is. yep. That's what I do anyway. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Suzanne Yes, you are so right. As Jackie pointed out also, that cover is what is the most important part of the marketing of your book. IF you don't capture the attention of a reader right away, it won't matter how well you've written the book. If they don't pick it up to read, then you have lost them.

Of course this is all in the world of traditional publishing. Is it the same with digital? How many pick a digital book by cover? Or do you look for an author?

Rose said...


The photographs are gorgeous. I love the house/moon picture.

Someday I'm going to get to the Tucson Festival of the Book! My husband's relatives who live there say it's wonderful.

Kav said...

Oh, wow, those photos are breathtaking. Photography lessons are on my bucket list. Not sure if I have the 'eye' but I'd love to play around with it. After looking at those photographs I think I'll put those photo classes at the top of that list. I'd love to be able to do it.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Rose We are here usually from Jan to March. If you come out to visit them, let me know. It would be super to meet for lunch. I would LOVE that.

And yes, the Festival is amazing. My one friend said this about it. "Its a swap meet for intellectuals." Made me laugh. The university has lots of their programs open for observation. The outer space programs are really fun.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Kav Yes, a class would be fun. It helps to give you that eye. However, I still need much help. LOL

Hope you get to one. I know you'll have fun photos to share.

Connie Queen said...

Great photos and great covers are priceless!

Linda does an awesome job.
I struggle to take good pics if I'm just trying to sell something on ebay. Or taking some of my pups. I'm always having to retake pics because of something odd showing up in the background.

I'd love to design my own book covers but I don't think I could ever get it right. I have ideas but that don't mean I can get them from my brain to the paper. Much like y writing...

Connie Queen said...


Janet Dean said...

Sandra, thanks for today's post. I love Linda's beautiful photos! You're blessed to know her and have one of her photographs hanging on your RV walls.

Thanks for the reminder to get permission or purchase photos. For my posts, I either use my own photos or purchase them from Crestock. I take pictures with my phone. I've never been a camera bug, but I often wish I could capture the big, gorgeous views with my phone.

Your covers are gorgeous, Sandra. Very contest worthy!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, these pictures are gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

What a blessing to have a photographer's "eye".

I am somewhat controlling.

(Not as much as Tina).

But I am somewhat controlling, but I've never had the urge or desire to do my own covers because I have NO ARTISTIC TALENT. None. I see words clearly, and I can discern subtleties of meaning in twin paragraphs on a subliminal level, but I have no artistic talent.

I can edit books.

But I can't design artwork, so hats off to Mary Jane and others who have that in their skill set. That's awesome.

Right now I'm plotting out ideas for future series. (Not REAL PLOTTING, Vince, just the general outline so I know who's doing what and why they absolutely, positively can't!!!!) :)

That's the kind of stuff I can see, the storyline, the plots. But I am so appreciative of those who can design covers.

(Which is why I pay Kim Killion to do it for me because it is not a Ruthy strength!!!)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sandra, I just read your comment to Suzanne, and I'm in total agreement! And I know it's a learned skill to some degree, but I'm delighted to be able to do my own website.... doing covers would put me over the Celtic Author Goes Mad and Ruins Everything edge.

I have had to learn that it's okay to not do everything.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Clari Dees has the eye.

The brat.

She intrinsically understands placement and off-set and lighting and whenever she posts something, it's special.

Did I call her a brat, already???

Oh, yes. I see that I did. :)

And she's got a NEW BOOK OUT!!!!!!

kaybee said...

My head spins...but it's good to know this in case I ever go indie. I love Linda's work, especially the one of the moon rising over the old mission. That "says' Southwest to me.
I am having a pretty light week in my day job, the schools are closed for vacation and I'm between elections (between the primary and the March Madness of small-town New Hampshire town and school elections), and I have fairly large chunks of time to write this week, including All Day Wednesday. A gift of time. I'm going to polish my entry to the Harlequin pitch event and work on some contest entries.
Kathy Bailey

Jill Weatherholt said...

Ah...to be in Tucson. I love it there!
Thanks for introducing us to Linda. The covers are fantastic!I've been known to purchase many books based on the cover alone, Sandra.
I love to take pictures and even with a very inexpensive camera, sometimes I can get some decent shots.
Enjoy your time in Tucson!

Caryl Kane said...

Linda's picture are AMAZING! I appreciate those that have an eye for art.

As a reader, I a drawn to the cover art. Creating a cover is so fascinating.

Please enter me into the draw.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Connie Queen You are too funny. I know the feeling of having it in the brain but not on the paper. I imagine that applies as well to photography. LOL

Have fun

Sandra Leesmith said...

I'm with you Janet I worry so much about the copyright that I just take photos with my phone and hope they will do. I do love the photos on our blog though. A picture is worth a thousand words--right?

Thanks for the compliment. The covers were all due to the artists, not me. My editor, Amber Stokes had a lot of input also. I miss working with them.

Wilani Wahl said...

I loved looking at Linda's photographs. Photography is one of my hobbies.

I am struggling with Vertigo again today. I am trying to push through it. Need to get a lot done in order to enter the Love Inspired challenge.

Have a great day everyone!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Ruthy controlling??? Really????? LOL
But we love how you control things Ruthy sweet. You do it so well. So don't worry about it. smile
And we all benefit from it. smiling again.

Yes, I'm with you on the NO TALENT for art part. I always call my sister who has all that talent in the family and have her decorate my house, help me pick out clothes. Yep. The whole shot. She even hangs my pictures for me. Like I said. I just don't have the eye for it.

ANd thank the Lord for my sis, Clari Dees, Mary Jane, Mary Hicks, all those talented people out there who do. Yay

Sandra Leesmith said...

Yay Kathy (Kaybee) Way to go and what a blessing to have all day Wednesday. whoop whoop.

And what an opportunity from Harlequin- right? I'm so thrilled for all of you who are going to take advantage of their offer. Yippee

And I love that photo also. One of my favorites.

Janet Dean said...

Sandra, I'm a visual person, very impacted by what I see. Blog photos just jump out at me and hook me in and drag me along. One day soon I'm going learn to put words on photos and look savvy. :-)


Janet Dean said...

Wilani, sorry about that vertigo. Hope you're over it soon!


Sandra Leesmith said...

HI Jill Yes, I imagine you would miss Tucson. There are so many interesting things to do and see here.

I bet you have some great photos. At least you get out there and try which is more than I can say I do.

Thanks for substantiating the claim that covers are important. They really are. I remember when romance authors who hated the bodice ripper covers and were pushing for the flowers instead, found out the flowers didn't sell because the shopper didn't know that was a romance and they did know the bodice ripper was and bought them even though they had to hide them with book covers when reading in public. We found the same thing with our anthologies. We found those with couples on them sold better than just the scenery covers. People know its romance when they see the cover. (We don't have bodice ripper covers though LOL)

Janet Dean said...

Connie, I can identify. It's difficult to get what we imagine onto the page in words that do the story justice. Thankfully we can revise and embellish until it's close to what we'd pictured.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Caryl I'm glad you like the photos. She has some of birds that I just love. She did one with an owl in flight and hawks also that are gorgeous.

I do love a good cover. I like to go back and keep looking at it while I'm reading. And its extremely annoying if the cover doesn't match up with the settings and characters in the book.

Myra Johnson said...

Lovely photography, Sandra! And important reminders about making sure we have all the necessary rights and permissions before using someone else's photos. Even on those stock photo sites where you can purchase and download photographs, you do have to read the fine print so you know exactly how and when you can use them.

Sandra Leesmith said...

HI Janet I learned how to do that last December in Apple class. It really isn't that hard, but just takes time which I seldom have. Well I have the same time as always. LOL but the time management skills are disappearing these days. sigh.

Oh well.

But you will be very savvy when you learn. smile I'll be impressed.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Wilani I'm so sorry about the vertigo. Sure hope you feel better soon because you want to be sure and take advantage of the LIH opportunity. What a sweet deal for all of you. It is wonderful to get in when they are looking for authors.

How interesting that photography is one of your hobbies. I bet you have some lovely photos to share.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Good point Myra When I 'm going to use a photo for a book or webpage, I go ahead and buy it. I want to be sure I have the rights.

And even the photos you buy have fine print you need to read. They sometimes have restrictions and conditions.

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, Sandra, I just LOVE talking book covers because it's so much fun to see the evolution of a cover from ideas to snapshots to completion. And the right photo is soooo important!!

I love all of your covers, but then I love all of your books, which only enhances the covers for me.

Since I've gone indie with Isle of Hope, I have to admit that I really enjoy the cover process. Don't get me wrong -- it still intimidates me, but it's really exciting to come up with my own ideas and see them fleshed out, knowing that it all came from my little peabrain! ;)


Debby Giusti said...

Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing Linda's work. The desert has its own beauty. As you might remember, we lived in the Mojave Desert for two years.

Love those spectacular sunsets too!

I enjoy using my own phots on blogs and FB. Also fun to group a few together into a collage. I have a free app on my phone, GRID ART, which makes it easy peasy, even for me!

Sandy Smith said...

The photographs are beautiful.

I would love to win the notecards and one of your books. Please enter me in the drawing.

Tina Radcliffe said...

And btw, thanks for the Speedbo shout out, Sandra. Gotta have books to create covers for, right?

Love your highlighting trick. Do you know I can never make that work for me???

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Julie Speaking of covers, yours are gorgeous. Go see them folks. ISLE OF HOPE and GLIMMER OF HOPE are in Amazon here. Julie's hubby does her covers and he is really a terrific artist. He does our bookmarks and some of our webpage graphics also. So clever.

btw I've read ISLE OF HOPE. It is a fantastic read. ala Julie style. Lots of love and emotional passion. Just what I like in a romance novel. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks Debby for the app. I will have to try it. Anything that is easy peasy is what I need.

btw I love all the paintings and art work you post with scripture on Facebook. I have meant to ask you where you got all that beautiful artwork. Did you buy an app or a set of photos because they are really lovely. Make me think of church every time I see them.

Speaking of art in church, remember the gorgeous stained glass ceiling we (You, Ruthy and I) saw in the church in Dallas when we were at a conference there? It was an angel carrying a man cradled in his arms to heaven. I think of that often.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Sandy You are entered.

Happy writing today.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Tina Are you telling me you have difficulty with anything? I'm not believing it. You always know how to do everything. You're my heroine for real. smile

Do you mean make the ink a different color. You click on the A with a thick line under it. Oh yes, you do have to highlight the text you want to change first and then click on the A and click on the color you want.

I am so excited. For once I'm helping you. It is ALWAYS the other way around. chuckle.


Barbara Scott said...

Gorgeous photography, Sandra! As an editor at various publishing companies, I worked with cover designers a lot. Normally, we'd receive three cover comps and then a team of us would choose the best one, or go back to the drawing board.

The cover is the #1 reason readers buy a book, so even in indy publishing, an author needs the best one they can afford. If you're artistic and a whiz at PhotoShop, you're way ahead of me.

The cover for my first book by a major publisher was an original painting. I'm sure it cost them a fortune. So when I updated the novel for its 20th anniversary, I found an incredible photo of Cathedral Rock and a cover artist did all the heavy lifting to design it. Much better than the original one! All that to say, design or hire out the cover, but either way, make sure it tells the story at a glance and looks professional.

Please throw my name in the hat? RV? ;-) for the prizes you offered. Have a great winter in warm country!

Clari Dees said...

Sandra, I have never used photoshop but I do play with other free versions of photo-editing programs.

Ruthy, you always have such kind things to say about the pictures I post on FB that you can call me a brat anytime you want! :-) Especially when you give a shoutout for my new book. Thank you!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Barbara Thank you for the input from a traditional editor's point of view. Yes, I remember the days when the covers were painted first. That's how I got the cover for FLOWER FOR ANGELA. It was really special because I ended up with the painting as well. smile

And yes, those covers are important. They are the first thing we see in a book.

Your cover sounds wonderful. I love Cathedral rock so imagine it must be gorgeous. What is the name of the book?

Hope you are doing well also.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Clari What are the free software programs you use? Maybe some of our readers will want to try them.

And here is the link to your book SOME ENCHANTED EVENING released Feb 17. Congratulations.

Missy Tippens said...

What beautiful photos, Sandra! Tell Linda thank you for letting you share them today.

I'm really impressed with how well Mary Jane (Virginia) did on her covers. I would love to learn to work with Photoshop and do some designing. Maybe someday!

Lyndee H said...

HI Sandra,
Enjoyed the photos and your thoughts, today. I just sat with my granddaughter the other day and we again looked at the AZ book you sent me as a Seeker prize last month. I've really enjoyed that book. Thanks so much! Oh, and later, my granddaughter was drawing cactus, lol. She's four. She wanted me to take her for a drive to see them - like they were down the street peeking from the Chicago snow, ha!

Missy Tippens said...

Hahaha, Ruthy! I love how you quickly assured Vince you were not doing REAL PLOTTING. ;)

Barbara Scott said...

Red Rock country is so beautiful, isn't it, Sandra? The book's title is Sedona Storm. It's in the vein of This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. Selfless promotion alert. It's available on Amazon. I actually make a few dollars on it every month, enough to buy a Starbucks coffee occasionally. Here's a link: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=sedona+storm You can still even get copies of the original, which is amazing to me! LOL

Clari Dees said...

Sandra, thank you for sharing the link!
For free and easy picture editing I use the photo editing software that came standard on my Windows 7 computer (I can fix some lighting and color issues there), and if I want to add text or special effects filters, I use PicMonkey at www.picmonkey.com. They have a ton of features you can use free or you can pay to use all their features. Maybe one day I'll break down an purchase and learn PhotoShop. Seeing Mary Janes' covers sure makes we want to better my photography and editing skills! She's GOOD! Wow!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Missy I caught that remark to Vince also. Too funny.

I'm with you on wanting to learn photoshop, but I keep putting it off because it just sounds so intimidating.

I'll let Linda know you liked her photos. They really are lovely.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Lyndee that is so cute. She wanted to see a cactus in the snow? Children that age are so precious.

So glad you like the book. I thought they did a nice job with such lovely photos of colorful Arizona.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks Barbara for sending the link. Here it is live. Sedona Storm

And yes, red rock country is gorgeous. Totally amazing.

Jeanne T said...

Sandra, what beautiful photos Linda takes! I enjoy photography, and almost all of the photos on my blog were taken by moi. Sometimes I go to freedigitalphotos.net for images. That may have already been mentioned.

I thought of something while I was reading . . . I've received compliments on my photography, and I'm wondering if I should offer to sell some of my photos . . . can you do that on a blog (I don't have a website right now)?

Anyway, I loved seeing all the lovely covers and what people are able to do with Photoshop (I'll be reading Mary Jane's post on PhotoShop).

Fun post, Sandra!

DebH said...

hi Sandra
thanks for sharing all the awesome pictures taken by your friend. They are gorgeous. Every time Seekerville posts about book covers, my itch to create book covers acts up and has me scratching. I use Photoshop at my job and I've had fun creating book covers in the past, but not for "real" books (with the exception of Mary's novella Closer Than Brothers).

Someday... maybe when I actually finish writing a book of my own. Or, I finally get organized enough to set up "shop" in the "home" of my computer and the internet. *sigh*

Seekerville is FULL of talented people - all encouraging each other to reach our potential. Which is why Seekerville is such an awesome place!!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Clari Thanks for sending the link for www.picmonkey. I've heard of it before.

And yes, Mary Jane does a wonderful job. Sounds like you do also. Its that creative talent - right???

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jeanne T Several people use blogspot for their websites. I don't think there is any problem with it. Might want to be sure and read the small print when setting up.

And sure, why not sell your photos.

We are artists and thats what artists do with their art. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Deb H. I remember you talking about doing graphic art before. Yes, you should do it. However, when you do it at work, it gets tiring to do at home too. But the dream is germinating in your heart. When the time is right, you will know it. smile

And maybe you can give an online workshop on how to use photoshop. That would be a winner since so many have expressed a desire to learn it.

Just sayin.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Aw, Clari, sweetums, nothin' but love for ya'!!!!!!! Meant every word!

Sherida Stewart said...

Sandra, what a wonderful post! Linda's photos are simply beautiful! How fun you found each other.

I like to use my own photos on my blog.....inexpensive, no legal issues, and I like doing photography. My brother is a watercolor artist and photographer. He's said he'll "give me a deal" when I'm ready for a cover. :)

Thanks for this post. All your covers are stunning so you know what to look for and have the right eye for creating covers.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Sherida, Thank you for the compliment. I guess I can see something I like when it is finished. But to picture it in my mind and create it? Nope. Not me. Those book covers were created by Amber Stokes and Lena Goldfinch. Then Debora Lewis followed their example with Love's Dream song. I'm thrilled of course. They all did a beautiful job.

How blessed you are to do your own photography. I love the photos on your blog. And you're right, it helps to not have to worry about legal issues. And to think your bother is an artists also. Yay!

I can hardly wait to see your book covers. smile I bet they will be lovely.

Cara Lynn James said...

Sandra, Linda's photographs are gorgeous! I love pictures of nature and beautiful scenery, especially from other parts of the world.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Missy, it would be wrong and possibly even sinful to misrepresent myself, right???


Gotta go in with an idea and then I develop them as I write... and then rewrite... and then rewrite....

You get the gist, LOL!

CatMom said...

Great post, Sandra!
Echoing what others have said about Linda's beautiful photography -- she is very talented. Thank you for sharing some of her work today.
Must get back to writing! Trying to get my Genesis entry polished and submitted so I'll be ALL READY for SPEEDBO!!
Hugs, Patti Jo
p.s. I think your covers have all been very nice, Sandra. :)

Pam Hillman said...

Oh, this was fun! I enjoy learning about design. Must go check out Mary Jane's post in the Yankee-Belle Cafe! :)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks Cara Hope you are having a great day. I would love to see some photos of your area. smile I bet your beaches are gorgeous.

Sandra Leesmith said...

I think we all do a little of both plotting and pantstering don't you? I mean, a plotter has to get creative. And a pantster has to be sure the plot is there. You are too funny, both of you MIssy and Ruthy. But I do agree that we all lean toward one or the other. God loves variety. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thank you Patti Jo . You are always so positive and kind hearted. Love it.

Sure glad you're almost finished with your entry and getting ready for Speedbo. Yay.

Happy writing.

ps. Thinking of you is making me hungry for peach ice cream.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Pam Her book cover thing was nestled amongst some yummy crab. Makes me hungry thinking of it.

Loved your photos in Facebook today. Talk about fun photos. Those were precious.

Debby Giusti said...

Sandra, the sacred art I post on FB with my scripture passages are all in the public domain. There are works of the old masters so I can use them as long as I add the Public Domain-United States tag.

Sandra Leesmith said...

That's great information to know Debby. Thanks for sharing that. So how do you find it? Do you go to Public Doman-United States or do you look for the tag? I'll have to look and see if Ican find it.

I imagine there are many things that are in the public domain besides religious art.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Well, you have to have a story idea to start with, I think. And I plot as far as series outline, and then conflicts.

But I don't go further than that because as characters walk in and out, they create their own drama and then my hero and heroine react to it.

Right now I'm trying to figure out if I should make a serious plot funnier.... or make it a funny plot and make it serious.

This is like "Mostly Sunny" or "Partly Cloudy".

The difference is subtle, but it does exist.


Sandra Leesmith said...

I usually start with the conflict and then try to figure out the characters and the plot that would go with it.

Mulling too.

Been working on my novella. Its almost done. But I'm thinking of going back through and putting in some humor. Its much too serious.

I love humor and you do it so well Ruthy.

Go for it.

PS the mulling stage can be fun, don't you think?

Sandra Leesmith said...

I like to get into the setting too. That usually comes along with the conflict. Then I start looking at photos to get my mind there.

My novella is set in Arizona, so Linda's photos get me right into it.

J Baugh said...

Thank you for sharing. Linda's photos are spectacular!

Debby Giusti said...

Sandra, I find the pics on the Net and then check the copyright.

By the way, my app that makes collages is PhotoGrid. I called it something else earlier but checked my phone. I use the free version!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks J Baugh, I'm sure she will appreciate your compliments.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks Debby I'm sure some of our readers will want to check out PhotoGrid and use some of their apps.

I put in the link for it.

How interesting that you find the copyrights on the photos. Good advice.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Debby Where on the net do you look for the religious photos? Do you go to a particular site or do you just google religious photos?

Beth Schwarzlose said...

I love book covers, it's the start of the story, sometimes I take it in before I even read the title. Those photos are beautiful and from a part of our country I've not had the opportunity to visit yet. Thanks for sharing!

Laura Conner Kestner said...

Great post, Sandra! Thank you for sharing Linda's beautiful photos today - love the moon shots! I also appreciate the information on Bigstock and Shutterstock. Off now to Google the word pickleball.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Beth Yes, I'm with you. I love looking at the cover before I start reading.

Hopefully you will be able to visit Arizona. It is very beautiful.

Happy reading.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Laura Thanks and I'm glad you found Bigstock and Shutterstock.

So did you discover pickleball too? Be careful because it is very addictive. smile

You can learn all about it on the website for the USA Pickleball Association. There are even videos there that really show the game.

Audra Harders said...

Sandra, what a lovely post on photography! All the photos you've posted are awesome. Linda is one talented lady and of course, the Arizona landscape gives a photographer with an eye for beauty the most magnificent opportunities to capture the moment.

I'm so envious of folks who can capture mood and essence in their pictures. To me, my pictures look just like that -- pictures. A couple of years ago, my husband bought an impressive looking digital camera for my birthday. The thing has everything on it. You'd think just by complication and buttons alone it would take great pics, LOL!

I'm working on increasing my skill with the camera. I'm not holding my breath.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Audra, What a blessing to have such a nice camera. I am looking forward to seeing some of your photography. I bet we will really enjoy your photos also. You live in a gorgeous part of the country also. smile

And I bet your photos are more awesome than you are letting on. chuckle

Have a great week. Happy writing.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Well Folks, Its past bedtime here for me. Sure was great having you join us today and enjoy Linda's photography. I think she does a fantastic job.

Sure hope all of you have a great week reading and writing.

If you come later, I'll check in the morning and put your name in for the drawing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh just remembered. Don't forget to plan ahead for Speedbo. You can sign up here for SPEEDBO

Laura Conner Kestner said...

Sandra, I truly had never heard of pickleball. It looks fun! Learn something new everyday :-)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Yep, Laura You will love it if you ever try it. Its easy to learn. Everyone we have ever taught can play a game their first day out. They may not be very good at it, but it is easy and fun.

Good exercise too.


Tina Pinson said...

Had a few Arizona pictures myself, now we're back in Colorado so I'm getting pictures here. I was trying to take one yesterday for hubby's business card. The back picture for the cover of This Shadowed Land was a picture I snapped. I caught the sun casting a ray right on a lone tree. Had the cover artist Switch out the tree with the one I have on each cover in the series and add a wagon.

Edwina said...

Beautiful pictures, Sandra! Thanks for sharing!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Wow Tina P Great job on doing the cover yourself. It is a terrific cover. Great job with the feel of the story in the cover. You are definitely an artist.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Edwina Always so fun to see you've popped in. Happy writing.

Deanna Stevens said...

Loved the photos! The covers are beautiful, well done!

Janet Kerr said...

Stunning pictures!