Photobook Tips

By Aneesah, 22 Jul 18

My photobook collection

If you are not aware of the delightful novelty that is printing your digital photos, oh boy are you missing out. Over the years, I’ve made a total of six photobooks through various online services. Most are actually landscape / travel photos, and then there’s my architecture portfolio, and two baby books of the kids. For our random family photos, I find that loose prints, kept in albums, are easier to manage.

These are my older landscape photography, they bring back memories! :)

I’ve gathered a couple of tips, in particular for making themed photobooks such as those for baby pictures. Hope these are useful (at least for myself, the next time I need to make one of these)!

1) Pick the right type of photobook

I’ll do you a favour and let you know right now what the right type is: layflat. These things are like board books for kids — with thick cardboard pages that are practically impossible to crease or destroy, and — like the name suggests — lay flat when opened. Yes, they can be more pricey than the other types, and no, you don’t really get as many pages within the book because they get so thick. But I love my layflat books!

See how the book lays open?

Personally I also prefer matte finishes on the cover and inside pages because I find that glossy can be too reflective for comfortable viewing.

2) Set a deadline and reminder

Most photobook vouchers come with an expiry date, after which you’re only allowed a grace period of one month before you need to pay again to renew its validity. So I recommend you save the deadline into your to-do item (eg. if you use Trello) and give yourself plenty of time to make this photobook.

3) Organise and edit on your computer

Here’s my photo management workflow:

  1. Upload photos from phone to a cloud service (I use MEGA). Do this on a regular basis so you can delete the photos from your phone.
  2. Organise into folders / categories. For a baby book, you might choose to have categories like:
    1. Birth
    2. Cry
    3. Eat
    4. Funny faces
    5. Friends
    6. Haircut
    7. Outing
    8. Raya
    9. Relatives
    10. Sleep
    11. With Big Bro
  3. Filter through and edit your collection, for instance:
    1. Rotate the photos
    2. Remove low-res / grainy / dark images
    3. Do simple editing for the good photos (I use Photoscape, it has a handy Batch Edit mode):
      1. Auto Level
      2. Backlight Correction
      3. Deepen / Brighten
      4. Sharpen or Reduce Noise

4) Take your time to layout the book

Themed pages like this are what makes photobooks fun!

This is the fun, yet time-consuming part of it all. For landscape photography it’s easy to just drop a photo across the pages and it looks perfect, but for themed books… you’d likely want it a bit more “designed”. I use the default program that comes with the photobook voucher, although you can always go beyond and layout in Photoscape/Photoshop, and/or download free scrapbooking resources online. My recommendations for the design phase are:

  1. Use lighter patterns and colours for backgrounds. You can adjust the opacity of the background patterns if they are too bold.
  2. If you want to add “stickers” and “badges”, add it to the text titles/captions.
  3. Have some pages that are full-size photos, ie. one photo for one whole page. This takes advantage of the size of your photobook and looks really good in print.
  4. Have some photos in black & white or sepia to help balance out the values across your spread.
  5. You don’t need to use all your photos! You might end up with too-small images and/or run out of pages. Pick the best photos and have them printed big. :D

Monochromatic pages can look just as good!

This formula of having one full image + one montage in a spread works well.

That’s it for now, enjoy! :dance:

One Comment

  1. Maya says:

    Nice sharing

What do you think?

I think...