Recently through chats with people online I’ve come to realise that everyone has or wants to make a photobook.
The best part is that it’s bloody easy.
I’ve dabbled in homemade books since around 2001 when I started hating a job I didn’t enjoy but they were mainly sketchbooks. Drawing was the chosen medium at this time but it soon extended into photo-montage of other peoples photos and then my own.
Anyway, ‘real’ photobooks, that’s professionally printed/published and distributed books, are a delight to thumb through and they’re a great way to get across a narrative or theme without the leg work (in a gallery).
Some day my goal is to make a one off homemade book with original silver gelatine prints made by me glued to the pages, but that will have to wait until I can have my own dedicated darkroom in a shed.
Just before Christmas 2012 I made a photo book through SnapFish (HP) of photos of my daughter; something almost every parent will probably do at one time.
The book showcased photos of my daughter Anna from ‘fresh out of the oven’ (above, in my wife’s arms), to 3 years old (below).
It was made as a gift for my parents but I might get a reprint for us.
The book was hardback and had a fair number of pages that cost around £25 – £30 plus delivery. The quality was decent but had SnapFish/HP’s logos at the rear of the book plus a bar code.
Sculpting the book was pretty easy, though a tiny bit clumsy, via a web browser but please come away from this with the phrase ‘easy’ more than ‘clumsy’.
I’d heard conflicting stories about Blurb books so I chose to give it a go making a very basic photo book with literally zero design in mind; just here’s the photos, get on with it.
I downloaded the book building tool you get from Blurb called BookSmart and set about it. The app offered layout templates and styles that appeared to be fairly customisable.
I was looking to make it basic so I didn’t play too much with the tools and as Dr. Octagon once said: “keep it simple”.
The theme for the test book was street photography and the images I used were primarily from the GF1 because almost all my film scans were too shit to be used in the book bar one from the Mamiya Universal. I need to learn to scan better some day.
Within the book I opted to keep all the images on the right side of the book with only one full bleed across both pages near the centre.
What Did I Go With?
I decided to keep the book short so I went with a 34 page ‘standard landscape 8×10 book, soft cover. I chose ‘Premium Paper’ with a lustre finish and a custom logo upgrade so I could add that chocolate dog image instead of Blurb’s logo. This all came to £20.92 (£25.91 including delivery costs).
Looking at the quality of the paper and printing I thought £26 was a good deal for a wee book like this, so much so I’d like to make another smaller format book with more pages though I’m not yet sure what the concept will be.
I quickly made a first impressions video on YouTube and even went to the trouble of making a transcript for any non-Scottish viewers.
Books and prints is how 2013 starts so more on this soon!