A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was putting together our annual family photo book, and I was asked quite a few questions about what I do and how I do it. So here it goes…
I have been making photo books for a few years now. Each year I pull all the photos into the one book which I get printed. The kids love flicking through the albums from previous years and remembering all the things we got up to. Whilst I love beautiful photos that have all been edited, my photo books aren’t always that beautiful. Instead, I just try to fit in lots of pictures of us going about our lives. My year books aren’t meant to be a work of art. They are meant to be a record of our year.
In 2014 I ended up with about 1100 photos for the year book (though I took about 5000 – yep I need to learn minimalism when it comes to photography). In 2015, I’m trying to go for the less is more philosophy, and cull photos more severely. I’ll let you know how that works out next year!
I try to put all the photos for a year book into one folder, or if you use Lightroom, into a collection. This makes it easier to upload them all with out going backwards and forwards between different tabs.
The actual process will vary depending on which company you use to print. Some have programs you can down load and then put your book together before you upload your final book, others do all their design on line. Either way, you will have to choose the size of the book and design of the cover, and then assemble your photos before finally placing your order. The price will depend on the size of the book, the number of pages, and the type of cover you choose. There are sooooo many options.
As well as making a year book, both my sister and I have made books to show off particular collections of photos. My sister did the Fat Mum Slim photo a day challenge in 2013 and then the 52 project in 2014. At the end of each year, she put her pictures into a photo book to print out and keep.
I have also made little photo books of special events in our lives. Holidays, birthday parties, days in the city make great little photo books. Last year we had a family photo shoot with Country Boy’s family, and I made up some photo books with all the pictures to give as gifts to Country Boy’s grandparents.
Several years ago my sister made a book up for her daughter with pictures of all her family and friends and photos of all the places that they went. Like a story book, my niece loved to look at all the photos and name all the people in it. This is particularly great for kids who don’t see their family often.
We all take so many photos these days and share them on social media, but we rarely see them printed and in a book or on the wall. The photos slide down our social media stream and then get forgotten. I love that photo books get the photos off the computer and into an easy to use format. Photobooks also make dealing with all those photos a lot easier. No having to slip individual photos into photo albums takes less time! The books hold a lot more photos in a lot less space. If you’re a minimalist or on a decluttering spree, photo books are an answer.
There are so many different printers around, all offering a range of services. Here are some that my sister and I have used.
Snapfish – Snapfish have a large range of products such as calendars, cards, and even mugs. They have a large range of coloured and decorative backgrounds if you like that sort of thing. Snapfish wins for me when I’m making a year book because it is super easy to put together and there are lots of layouts and flexibility in the design. When I’m putting together a year book, I’m sticking in photos that aren’t necessarily amazing or artistic. I just need them all to fit on one page, even if they are small. Their print quality is quite good (though, in my opinion Blurb and Artisan State are both better). Snapfish is also very affordable – especially if you find a discount code (google it – there is always one somewhere). (edit: in 2015 I got our annual photobook printed with Snapfish, and it came back very dark. To me, it seemed as though their quality had dropped. Several other people made similar comments when I discussed it on facebook – they are certainly the cheapest option however).
Blurb – Blurb provides great service, and has a good range of products. Their print quality is very good. Blurb is great for putting together a book about a project or event. My sister has used these for her photo-a-day and 52 project books, and also uses them for some of her client books. I tried to use them to make my 2014 Year book this year because they also link straight in with Adobe Lightroom. I ended up abandoning them because there wasn’t enough flexibility in the layouts for large numbers of photos.
Artisan State – Artisan State do beautiful high quality printing. Their Little Black Books are perfect for brag books for the Grandparents. They have some clever products such as frames with interchangeable photos, and boxes for your photo books. Their prices are reasonable too. Artisan State is based in the US so prices are in US dollars, and their books will take a little longer to arrive. My sister ordered one on December 24 and got it on January 6.
Momento – After not being super impressed with our 2015 album, I decided to try Momento. You do need to download their software to create your project, but once this is done, Momento was a lot easier to use than I initially thought. I liked that the photobook could have as many pages as you like (unlike some others which have a 100-page limit – which is not always enough for a year book). Momento is not the cheapest option, but I googled for a coupon and got 25% off which saved us $50. I used Momento for our 2016 and 2017 albums and am very happy with the quality.
So there you have it. Everything I know about making your own photo books in one post.
Have you made any photo books? Got an opinion on the different types of printers? Tips for making the process easier? Share away!