I nev­er would have guessed, back in the dark ages of the mid-1990s when my first romance was pub­lished, that the list of tools for the 21st Century work­ing romance writer would include a Canon Rebel T3i DSLR cam­era with all the bells and whis­tles.

But, here’s the new truth: work­ing writ­ers are no longer allowed to hide out behind their screens and bang out sto­ries.  We got­ta get out there and engage our romance read­ers with images and adven­tures.  And that’s all good, by my lights.
Extreme Close Up

New Tools, New Lessons

New tools, new cam­era, new lessons in how to work all those but­tons and gears. Remembering what f-stop means, how to read the expo­sure meter, which lens does what, shoot­ing video and timed pho­tos, etc.  Above is an image from my home­work in prepa­ra­tion of my research trip to the UK — try­ing out a lens exten­sion tube.

Funky results and soooo much fun to see the world through a new set of lens­es!

Better Images

Since I base all of my his­tor­i­cal romance nov­els in the UK, cas­tles and manor hous­es are my bread and butter–uhm, make that my tea and crum­pets.  I’ve used dig­i­tal point-and-shoot cam­eras dur­ing my pre­vi­ous research trips, snap­ping tons and tons of pho­tos of details of door hinges and land­scapes and mine shafts and rugged coast­lines.  Good, but not great.

Smart phones and P&S cam­eras cap­ture love­ly mem­o­ries, but in this new Age of the Image, as a work­ing romance writer I need more sophis­ti­cat­ed tools for shar­ing my expe­ri­ences with my read­ers.

Legal Landscape

A work­ing romance writer can’t just grab any old image off the net and share it on the web or slap it onto their indy cov­er.  Someone owns the copy­right on that image and might (should) object.  With that threat upper­most in my mind, my cam­era becomes anoth­er sur­pris­ing tool of the trade, allow­ing me to snap my own images — after first receiv­ing per­mis­sion from the “snap-ee” — mak­ing my work legal and above-board.

Working Romance Writer

I keep­ing think­ing there’s no more room in my writer’s tool­box.  But there’s always some­thing new and excit­ing com­ing at me around the cor­ner.  Next time, I won’t be sur­prised; I’ll be ready with my DSLR cam­era!  Snap!  Right.