Writing a book for the Canon T5i
Writing a book is an intense project. Creating the Canon Rebel T5i Digital Field Guide was no different. I had to push every button and experiment with every feature to understand the best way to explain the camera to my readers. It’s quite the process.
It may seem obvious that understanding the camera is important, especially if you are going to write a book about it. It’s deeper than that. The fact is the camera manual is full of good information, but it doesn’t explain how to apply creativity to the features of the camera. At least not at the same level as a good companion book. About one-third of the book is about the buttons and features, which is important to know. The other two-thirds of the book are about how to create better photographs with your Canon T5i/700D. That is something the manual really doesn’t do well. Take a look at the book’s glossary.
As I did before, I invited other photographers to participate. I think it’s important to add a variety of voices and levels of experience to the mix. Here are the photographers who submitted contributions to the Canon T5i book:
- Jeff White
- Trevor Current
- Todd Muskopf
- Aaron Hockley
- Pascal Depuhl
- James Brandon
- Geoffrey Creighton
- Brian McLernon
Obviously, a big part of creating a book is the writing, but it’s the promotion after its launch that can make or break a new book. For my last book I waited until it was published to start sharing promotional videos. This time I shared a video the day the camera was announced. (I wasn’t even sure if I was going to write the book.) As I write this post, I have more than 6,000 views for my Canon T5i introduction video (see below), shot only a few months ago. This is compared with the 1,200 views currently logged for the T4i video I shot last fall. Although, I had limited information about the camera when shooting the video, this exercise shows how important it is to get in the promotion and information game early. It’s a good marketing lesson for everyone.
The camera doesn’t have a lot of upgrades compared to the Canon T4i. The main difference is the rubber grip. There was a grip recall, which I believe is the main reason Canon came out with an update so quickly. Canon also added another STM kit lens option to the lineup (EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens). The camera has new mode dial that turns 360 degrees. The camera mode dial also has a new SCN (scene) option that allows you to apply additional modes, once available on the T4i dial, now selectable on the touch screen.
Below is the list of features provided by Canon:
- 18.0 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor, 14-bit A/D conversion, ISO 100-12800 (expandable to H: 25600).
- High-speed continuous shooting up to 5.0 fps.
- 9-point all cross-type AF system.
- EOS Full HD Movie mode with Movie Servo AF for continuous focus tracking of moving subjects, manual exposure control and multiple frame rates (1080: 30p (29.97) / 24p (23.976) / 25p, 720: 60p (59.94) / 50p, 480: 30p (29.97) / 25p), built-in stereo microphone, manual audio level adjustment, and Video Snapshot with editing for expanded movie shooting options.
- Vari-angle Touch Screen 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor II (about 1,040,000 dots).
- Scene Intelligent Auto Mode delivers expertly optimized photos and offers improved scene detection for amazing results when shooting at night.
- Advanced imaging features like Handheld Night Scene mode, HDR Backlight Control mode, and seven Creative Filters that display in real-time during Live View shooting.
- Multi Shot Noise Reduction provides outstanding noise reduction while preserving precious detail at high ISO speeds.
- Compatibility with SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards.
- Compatible with the full line of Canon EF and EF-S lenses.
Writing the book
I had a little less time (five weeks) to write the T5i book compared to the T4i (six weeks). It was also a little easier to write a book from which I had a lot of base material to pull. I was building from the ground for my previous book.
How do you write a book in five weeks? It’s the same as if you were writing a book in five months — you write every day. If you are writing over a long period of time, the number of words may vary. With a quick deadline book, such as this, you need to plan how many words you need to write each day.
I like to write a few pages or a chapter and then put them away to review later. Often, I skip words when writing or when immediately editing my work. Reviewing my writing later with fresh eyes is helpful. I also like to use the WordPress plugin After The Deadline, now found in Jetpack, as a spell checker. It does a lot more than spell check; it looks for jargon and grammatical errors, to name a few features. Even with this editing system, I still need another set of eyes to review my work. Everyone does.
Usually my wife, Shirley, is my go-to editor for blog posts and a quick check before I send my writing to the official book editors. Unfortunately, this time Shirley was working hard on another project for one of her clients. With that said, my apologies to my editors at Wiley for the pain, I assume, caused by me not having a second set of eyes available for this book. Fortunately, the editors at Wiley are professionals and do a great job taking care of business.
Writing a book is hard enough. Writing a book about a camera means taking plenty of photographs to demonstrate its capabilities. Fortunately, one of my local camera stores Camera Mart, was kind enough to let me use one of their Canon T5i cameras. The camera on the cover was shot on the showroom floor.
This will be my last digital field guide. I have other projects to focus on. I would like to thank everyone at Wiley for the opportunity to write two books for this series. Both books were a huge challenge, they made me a better writer, and a little bit more organized.
Although much of my public life is focused on helping photographers in the world of business and marketing, teaching photography is in my blood, too. I’ve taught photography at the university level for about 15 years. I’ve given seminars. Now I have a few books under my belt. I will continue to share photography ideas using short videos on Instagram. You can easily find my tips with the hashtag #roshtips.
My next series of books will be self-published. I’m currently writing the next incarnation of the One Hour book series that began with One Hour Photographer. Download the first chapter free to see if you like it. Once you are on the email list, I’ll update you when the next book comes out. It will most likely be “One Hour Freelance.”
Considering both the T4i and the T5i cameras are about the same, which book should you buy? I guess the easy answer is to buy the one that matches your camera. Each book does have its own advantage. I think the T4i book has more dimension and voices from other photographers. In some cases, I believe the T4i book has better demonstration photographs, too. The advantage of the T5i book is its deeper information; I was able to expand on a number of topics while trying to increase the page count. Each book has its strengths and weaknesses. Of course, if you are still conflicted, buy both.