07 Sep 2016
How to Make a Great Photo Book
Many people who dedicate their time to making photographs also dedicate time for printing those photographs. The book has always been considered the ultimate final statement when it comes to printing ones images. But how do we make great books? What are the main ingredients? What about tips or secrets? For me, it all begins with fun. Making books is one of the most entertaining things I do, but sometimes the idea of a book can seem daunting and the fun level can suffer, but just remember to focus on the spirit of print, even if you aren’t entirely sure about every single detail.
What Do You Want to make?
Travel book, portfolio, catalog, cookbook, etc. Defining your project is a quick way to establish the basic needs in terms of size, page count, design, etc. Next up is the edit. Editing is truly an art form and something that can make a good book great. Think of editing as the giant puzzle of photography, so start with the edge pieces first, those images that contain critical moments or information and allow the reader to fully understand what it is you wish them to experience.
Once the images have been chosen it’s now time to put them in order or sequence. Just because you have a favorite image doesn’t mean that image will live on the cover. What if your favorite photograph carries more weight at the end of the book? Sequencing photographs for a book is the secret step that many beginner bookmakers overlook, but sequencing is the roller coaster ride you are asking your readers to undertake. Next up is the cover. But don’t feel you need to create the cover first. Sometimes the book needs to play out a bit before what makes sense on the cover becomes apparent.
Borders, number of images per page, image size, etc. Staying consistent allows the reader to engage with the flow of the book. You can throw in a surprise now and then, but overall consistency leads to readability. And when your masterpiece is complete get a second opinion. Another set of eyes can save us from ourselves. That image you love in your heart might not resonate with anyone else, and a trusted friend or editor can add insight and offer suggestions without damaging anyone’s feelings.
Don’t be afraid. The beauty of Blurb is that you can order ONE copy at a time, and that copy can remain private until you are ready to unleash it on the world. I’ve made hundreds of books, but there is still nothing more exciting than receiving a new book on the doorstep. Good luck, and have fun!