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Photobooks

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Photobooks

13 Jan 2022 8:53PM   Views : 199 Unique : 121

Electronic storage is inexpensive with external hard drives and multiple cloud based solutions available so there's plenty of choice for different needs. Don't your best images deserve more, though?

Most people's images languish on some kind of storage device, be that a computer, external hard drive, phone or in the cloud and rarely see the light of day after a first viewing or two. That's despite the ease that images can be shared and viewed today. It's easy to forget what you have, too, if you shoot a lot. Then, what about your best work? If you're not ruthless with your editing, or don't have a 'best work' folder then those masterpieces will be lost in a sea of 'ok' stuff. What you need is some form of display for them.

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Make use of a title page or cover


Of course, there are numerous options including putting together short videos, especially on particular themes. Family members may appreciate a framed print, or something like a calendar. But there's nothing as tactile as a book, and an opened A4 book has a strong physical presence too.

There are many things to consider when producing your photobook so let's take a look at some.
Audience. Who are you producing the book for? Family, to showcase your photography (though that should be he case anyway) or promote a local group? Having a clear idea of what you wnt your book for will influence your decisions on the other aspects I'm going on to discuss.

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For home printing I leave a non-printed edge as this disappears when bound into the spine


Image selection. This can be entirely personal, so there's no right or wrong. You may need to involve others if you're covering a local charity's work for example. That said, you ned to choose images that will appeal to your audience and keep them engaged. You do want them to get to the end of the book, don't you? Strong images with plenty of interest, or mystery and mood if that's your style, are the ones that make the grade. Avoid having very similar shots as that will be boring for the viewer. Be ruthless and brutally honest with yourself. Don't force yourself to use 100 images (good though they may all be) if 70 will suffice. Quality rather than quantity wins the day. There should be a theme running through the book, rather than a random selection of images,though several mini themes of small groups of images would work too. Consistency is good too, lending cohesion to the book, so having a scattering of mono image amongst a majority of colour could spoil that.

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Software. If you're using online services then they will generally provide software for you to compile your book. They are generally quite straightforward and allow a preview of the finished product, with drag and drop type image placement. If you're printing at home, or want to supply your own ready made book to a printing service, then use what software you're comfortable with. Photo editing software will allow you to create layouts and produce a document in pdf format. Even something like Open Office Writer will allow you to do that, so it doesn't mean you need anything complex or expensive. For those wanting something extra and very versatile, desktop publishing software such as Affinity Publisher is a good option (this works well for my calendars).

Layout. Whether you use the print provider's software or not the same considerations apply, though with the former you have lots of ready made templates to get up and running quickly. Things to consider are number of images per page and how they relate, support and interact with each other. Are you going to include any text, either as a caption or larger description such as for a group of people? Do you want a black, white, coloured or textured background? White is clean, black shows off colours very well and something like dark brown may suit displays of older images mimicking old photo albums.

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When using your own templates, to add an image paste it on another Layer and change the Blend Mode to Screen and the image appears within the black rectangles; I've added drop shadows here


Number of pages. It's difficult to give suggestions as each project will vary. A minimum of 20 appears to be he going rate for online printing and the maximums appear to satisfy most needs I think. If printing your own don't try and squeeze too many into one book cover, though I guess that won't be an issue with careful and judicious image selection to start with. Costs can soon escalate with extra pages so do keep an eye on that. Perhaps 30 to 50 pages is reasonable, enough for a good viewing but not overwhelming.

Book size. A4 or similar is popular and there are square formats too for something that little bit different so you may like to consider shooting specifically for that. There are larger (and smaller) options if required so there's no need to feel restricted. Even for home printing A3 size is possible (Permajet and Fine Art Photo Pinchbook are a couple of suggestions and are reusable if you want to change the contents) and opened out the results can be extremely impressive.

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Printing. If you print at home there are a multitude of paper types to choose from but only a few that are double sided, and many people will expect double sided printing. There are limited choices online but I've found the biggest differences in the weight of the paper used. Thicker and heavier is more robust and exudes a more quality feel. Lay-flat options aren't available everywhere so you may need to look around and though it's a more costly option you may feel it's worth it. Many providers offer wraparound images or leather covers.

The above list isn't exhaustive but I think covers the essentials. There is no harm in asking for other people's opinions and input along the way on any of the above, or to look over the final version before it goes to print, especially if you've included text.

With the Christmas and New Year festivities over and still a couple of cold and dark months to go before spring now is a good time to get a photobook started. And finished.

Approach your photobook professionally and you'll have something to be proud of.


All text and images © Keith Rowley 2022

Tags: Print Photobook Presentation

Comments


Robert51 13 7 127 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2022 8:08AM
I think we think alike, great images need to be printed out. Not only for a record but for those moments where you want to find a image and spend the next few hours going over old photos. Being taken back and all those moments that had been pushed back over the year given a chance to re-surface.
Like you I love photobooks, they are a good price and makes you think a little more about the images your working with. I have used MyPicture for a few photobooks and have been very pleased with the result and their prices don't break the bank.
If you love it, print it...
Mike_Smith Plus
14 859 2 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2022 9:25PM
Great article Keith, what I tend to do at the end of every year. Is make a 100 page A4 Photobook, of my best pictures I have took throughout that year. I use Groupon and I can get a 100page A4 book with hardback delivered for slightly under £20. I have made about five now, and I am about to start doing another one. For £20 you canít go wrong, Groupon use about three different providers, I like Printerpix . I have had one from Colourland, but wasnít impressed the pictures were too dark. But I managed to get it reprinted at no cost to me.
Check them out on Groupon, you can download there App if you want.

Regards

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