It’s no secret that I love photo books. However, it’s been a long time since the last time I made one. The truth is that it takes a lot of time to put together even the simplest photo book, but the fact that you can enjoy these photos for a long time to come rather that forget them in a hard drive, makes it completely worth it. However, what usually happens with larger time-consuming project is that I end up getting bored and then move on to the next exciting thing. Here are a few tips I found useful that kept me going and finish that project.
Decide on a concept for the book.
Your book can be a yearbook and contain all your photos from a specific year. It can be a travel book and contain photos from one (or more) vacations you took. It can be an event book, like an engagement or a party. It can actually be about anything you can imagine, as long as the theme is cohesive.
Don’t start until you have all the photos.
Wait until you gather all your material before you start putting it together. Your plan might change when you get more photos and you’ll end up redoing some parts and make your project more time-consuming instead. I also like to finish with fixing my photos in Photoshop before I start making the book. So, have all your material ready to use.
Divide your photos in chapters. Or don’t. And organize!
I’ve done it both ways. In my Paris photo book, I couldn’t make up my mind about how to divide my photos, so the whole book was one big chapter. I kept my photos in a chronological order, so that it makes sense. In my latest Italy book, I had a different chapter for every city we visited, and kept a general chronological order among the chapters, but not among the photos included in each chapter. I arranged the photos in the most aesthetically pleasing way instead. In my New York book, I divided the photos by day and wrote a small description of where we were and what we did that day. Do what makes more sense with your material, but make up your mind before you start. If you’re using chapters, store the photos for each chapter in a separate folder.
Choose a company.
I use Blurb and haven’t experimented with any other book printing company. Basically, you download their software, that is really easy to use, make your book and then order it. You may want to check other companies and see what they have to offer, but I am quite happy with the quality of the books I’ve ordered already and for the shake of cohesiveness, I will continue with it. When you’ve done choosing a company, you’ll want to check all the book themes and book options they have to offer. Again, for the shake of cohesiveness, I use the same dimensions (standard portrait) and cover option (softcover) for every book. You might want to choose some dimensions that will work for possible future books, or make a stand-alone book. In any case, think carefully and choose wisely. In Blurb, you can’t change the book dimensions later on in the process, but you can always change your cover option.
Make a time plan.
Whether it is finishing a chapter a day or few pages a week, make a plan and stick to it. My time plan is working on the book while one of my favorite shows is on. By the time that the show is over, I save and close the program. That way it doesn’t feel like a chore even when you’re working on the last chapter.
Check it again.
When you’re finished with the book, take some time off, do something else and return to it another day. Then go through it and change what you don’t like, rearrange the pages and add small texts, if you feel like it. It’s a photo book, so you don’t need to write much. I usually note the address and the name of the fancy restaurant I visited or a memory I want to keep alive. When you’re done, check it again and again. Maybe one more time? You can’t correct it when it goes to print.
Wait for the coupon. (optional)
Now that you’re done with your book and you’re more than ready to hit print, just hold it for a little bit. These companies always have some ongoing coupons or sales. Subscribe to their newsletters and wait for a coupon to arrive. Or pay full price and be done with it!
Enjoy your book, gift a copy to your loved ones or place it on the coffee table for your visitors to look through. And most importantly, have fun making it!
ps. Photos from the last book I made about my road trip in Italy last Christmas.