There are many reasons to create a photo book. They encourage you to showcase the best moments that you’ve captured, they take up less space than printing and organizing photos, and they make great gifts. As an added bonus, many companies will keep your book on file, so if a book gets damaged or you decide to send a copy to grandma, it’s simple to reorder.
Photo books are not difficult to make. You’ll have an endless selection of designs and templates to help you create a unique work of art. Here are a few tips for ending up with a book you’ll treasure.
Choosing a photo book vendorMany companies can create photo books that look great. Some are less expensive, some offer more design options, and some are known for their intuitive interface.
If you have access to InDesign or QuarkXPress, you can create your own custom layout, but if not don’t worry. Book printing companies offer more or less customization, its just a matter of what you feel comfortable with and how much time you want to spend.
|Image of a My-Books photo book courtesy of by My-Books|
This selection is by no means comprehensive, but here are a few companies that produce a high quality product with a good variety of choices:
My-Books is a New Zealand owned photo book publisher. Their custom software allows for an easy to use interface for building your photo book. They have both an online version and a desktop version of the software (recommended). With My books, they have a range of "premium" products, which include both higher quality soft cover photo books and hard cover photo books.
Blurb’s Bookify software can gather photos from your Flickr or Instagram stream, from iPhoto, and even from your photo blog if you have one. Choose from four classic book styles in five sizes. Blurb claims you can complete a book in less than two hours, and they offer a series of video “Book Camp” tutorials to help you get started. They’ll even help you sell your finished book on Amazon if you like.
Shutterfly and MyPublisher
Shutterfly is the most popular photo book company and offers more than 200 themes for infinite customization possibilities. Once you create your masterpiece, you’ll get a free digital version of your book that you can share with your Facebook friends.
MyPublisher is owned by Shutterfly and is aimed at users who are willing to sacrifice some ease of use for more control. The software has a bit of a learning curve, but you’ll be able to tweak and customize layouts, fonts, and photo quality to your heart’s content. Fans claim that MyPublisher books have the crispest photos.
Mixbook lets you choose from 20 different book themes and promises a super fast four-day turnaround. You can edit photos using Mixbook’s software or upload photos using their smartphone Mosaic app. With Mosaic you choose your 20 photos and can create a book in just a few minutes.
If you already use iPhoto to organize your libraries, this is a simple solution for creating a photo book. iPhoto offers 18 themes and lets you build a book of up to 100 pages. The interface is very intuitive, and you have the option to edit photos within the book layout.
Photo book design tipsPhoto book templates can give you a head start on making an attractive layout. But you’ll still have to make design choices and choose the photos that work best together to make a great book.
For a 100-page book, select about 300 of your best photos, though you probably won’t use them all. If you are working with the popular 8x8 square format, plan for around 6 to 8 photos per page.
Mix up the size and layouts of your photos. You may choose to highlight a few great shots by giving them an entire page, while other pages offer a mix of horizontal and vertical shots arranged for visual interest. Or you might create a two-page spread with one large photo and a few smaller related ones. The book layout software should make it easy to resize and rearrange until you find a look you’re happy with.
Finally, remember that less is always more. Your book will look more attractive if you value white space and don’t try to crowd too many photos into your layout. For a little extra money you can add pages if you need to so that things don’t feel cramped.
Making photo books is a fun process and you’ll enjoy the end result for years. Choose some photos, pick a template, and start creating your masterpiece.
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