July 7, 2003 – Longtime St. Thomas resident Bob Coates, whose successful second career as a photographer got its start on the island about a dozen years ago, is the author of a new book on state-of-the-art wedding photography packaging.
Titled "Photographers Guide to Wedding Album Design and Sales," the publication is the first of its kind, a "how-to book for photographers who want to offer the latest-style wedding albums to their brides and grooms," a release states. It's aimed primarily at the professional trade.
Coates interviewed 14 of the nation's top wedding photographers "to find out how they are doing their business in the new age of digital imaging," the release states. "While all still offer traditional wedding albums, there are several new products available, from magazine-style books with multiple images on a page to 'storyteller wedding books,' which are printed on a press on paper and hand bound in soft leather."
One distinct design difference of these new-style books from traditional albums is that they allow for many more images to be creatively presented in smaller packages.
In addition, "many photographers are now presenting the images captured at the wedding as slide shows on a big screen with images set to music in a multimedia presentation," Coates says. "This is a very exciting way to review the photography from the wedding day."
He says he used some of his own wedding photographs for illustration in the book, although "none from the V.I."
Coates was a familiar figure in the food and beverage industry on St. Thomas, managing restaurants and tending bar in Frenchtown while getting his photography career off the ground in the early 1990s. After 20 years on St. Thomas, he and his wife, Holly, relocated four years ago to the desert country of Sedona, Arizona. But in a sense, he's still "on island," as he can been seen daily as a co-host of the "Island Showcase" visitor travelogue aired 'round the clock on Cable Channel 4.
"I really miss the island lifestyle and get back as often as I can," he says. The last time he was on island, "I did a one-day seminar for 10 photographers, and people came from all three islands."
In his own work, Coates says, he utilizes digital technology to blend the styles of photojournalism, candid, posed and traditional photography in his wedding books. And he notes that while the cost of creating storyteller wedding books may have been exorbitant years ago, technological advances have made them more affordable today — in both print and CD-rom formats.
"These wedding books are a relatively new concept, and when I started there wasn't much information available on how to create them," he says. "So, I decided to write a book showing photographers various ideas and techniques."
In Arizona, Coates has won a number of awards for his photography. Among them: the Professional Photographers of America Phoenix chapter's Illustrative Photographer of the Year (2002) and Commercial Photographer of the Year (2002); two Fuji Masterpiece Awards; and two GAMMA awards for Professional Photographer Magazine. Arizona's PPA has named him one of the Top 10 Photographers in the state for the last four years and Commercial Photographer of the year in 2002 and 2003.
Coates founded the Northern Arizona Professional Photographers Association and, before that, the Virgin Islands Professional Photographers Association. He chaired the committee that organized the St. Thomas-St. John Arts Council's first photographic arts exhibition, held at the Grand Hotel.
To learn more about Coates's photographic work, visit his Bob Coates Photography Web site.
"The Photographers Guide to Wedding Album Design and Sales" was published by Amherst Media. Amateur as well as professional photographers will find useful tips for creating wedding books. And the good news for V.I. residents is that it's available at Dockside Bookshop on St. Thomas.
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