It’s an experience that used to be reserved just for professional photographers, but now you can feel the pride of holding a book of your very own images laid out with the care and skill of a professional designer. And while slideshows are a great way to share your photos, books can be used as gifts, to promote your business or to build an entire library of your own photo books. They can even be used to present book ideas to a real publisher.
When putting a book together, keep in mind that content is king. You want to tell a story, but you want to tell it with your images. Use an assortment of close-up, wide and medium shots to give different perspectives. Captions should be informative, but keep them simple. You don’t want to distract from the most important part—your photos!
Keep your project organized by filing all of your images and other materials in a single folder on your computer. As you begin to design your photo book, remember that less is more. Fewer shots will allow you to use bigger pictures, and a concise book will make the process less overwhelming. If you need inspiration, look at the coffee-table books of your favorite photographers, or better yet, check out the portfolio layouts in past issues of Outdoor Photographer. And take the time to really look at what you’re designing. Try different combinations of pictures and sequences.
Don’t rush the process. The effort you put into it will be rewarded when you get the finished book.
For most of the companies offering this service, the process is as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Most offer pleasing templates for easy online upload and plug-in, or you can often elect to do your own layout design through software.
Mpix Press (www.mpix.com), for example, offers a free bookmaking software program that gives you the flexibility to design and create your own book, while also offering a variety of templates, backgrounds and page layouts. You can change opacity levels, add black-and-white effects or superimpose your photos on backgrounds made of other pictures.
Mpix has softcover books available in two sizes—7.75x10 inches and 8.5x8.5 inches—and their hardcover books come in vertical or horizontal orientation at 8.5x11 inches. The hardcovers come in blue or black suede with an optional customized foil stamp. Softcovers cost from $20 to $25, with additional pages at $0.50 per page, and hardcovers are $30 per book, with additional pages at $0.50 per page. The stock paper can be upgraded to linen or pearl at no extra cost.