I want you to think of designing a photo book as a new ‘photo-finishing’ option. When you took photos using film it was never a second thought that you would have them developed. That same thought should apply to your best digital photos. I am not referring to printing photographs, which is part of the definition of photo-finishing, but instead to use photo book design software to print your photos within a story book fashion. The result is a hard-copy book with your favorite photos combined with your choice of text (no more writing on the back of photos) and a personal way to share your memories with your family and friends.
Here are 4 steps in preparation to designing your photo book:
- Identify a specific theme – a milestone birthday, a family reunion, a vacation, an annual yearbook capturing your favorite memories from a specific year. The list could go on and on, but the key thing to remember is to pick a theme that is memorable and personal to you.
- Identify your photos – once you choose your theme you will want to identify the photos to include in the book. A standard photo book allows you to have 20 pages for a set price (you can add more but the price will increase per page added). With this in mind I suggest identifying about 110 photos. This is an average of about five photos per page, but it also gives you some leeway if you decide not to use a certain photo or you have picked a couple that are more similar than you originally thought. It is much easier to over identify photos then to have to go back and find more after you have started designing your book.
- Edit your photos – I always recommend editing your photos in your software versus the book software. Most book software provide you the option to fix a photos brightness, contrast, saturation and opacity. However, their core competency lies in their software design and not in editing, so use your own design software to make needed adjustments to your photos. Some options are Picasa, Lightroom, and Adobe Elements.
- Select your photo book software – There are many companies who provide FREE photo book software. I have been using picaboo since 2007 and have always been very pleased with their book quality and customer service. You might also visit this site Photo Book Girl. She provides a good review of photo books along with their features and benefits. My vendors of choice can be found here – Rita’s Recommendations.
I design about four personal photo books a year. It is my favorite way of sharing my family memories. The best part however, is when I find the kids (sitting together) looking at the books from the past years. That is a memory that I have as a child (sitting together looking at photos) and I am happy that even with all the changes in technology I can give this same memory to my children.