ADVICE // Five Steps for Making a Photo Book so Your Photos Can Live Somewhere Other Than Facebook
It’s holiday time so of course we’re ready to talk about our number one most favorite holiday gift of all time: Photo Books!
A few years ago, we announced that every single one of our couples would be receiving a custom-made, heirloom photo book as part of our Signature Package. EVERY COUPLE. The reasons are simple and plentiful: a photo book will outlast whatever current technology we have; a photo book can’t get corrupted files (unless a child or clumsy adult spills on them); the experience of going through a photo book with someone you love is worlds better than scrolling through images on your laptop; your photos are art and art deserves to be printed and exist beyond the internet. I don’t think we need to go on (but we could).
So if we’ve convinced you that your photos need to live in a book, but you’re a little bit overwhelmed, DON’T WORRY! We’re here to help. Here are our favorite tips for turning your photos from files to heirlooms:
1. Select your favorite photos, and keep variety in mind.
Most wedding galleries we deliver contain more than 400 images, and you’re just not going to be able to fit all of them into a single photo book unless it’s HUGE (see below for size tips). To get started, go through and select your absolute favorite images. Keep in mind that you should select at least a couple that don’t include people (i.e. scene-setting photos of the venue or space where your wedding took place), and for photos of people, select a good mix of formal portraits (especially meaningful family formals) and candid shots.
2. Size matters.
Our standard photo album for 2019 is a 10”x10” album with ten spreads. Since a “spread” is two pages lying open, a ten spread album will have twenty pages. This size is large enough for approximately 50 images. A 30-page album would feature approximately 100 images, and a 40-page album would hold feature approximately 150 images, and so on. We have found that fifty images per 10 pages is a good guideline. Also, remember that square-format albums, when lying open flat, will be rectangles; horizontal rectangular albums, when lying open flat, will be super wide rectangles.
3. Tell the story.
We provide our clients with wedding galleries that are broken out into chapters, because that helps to tell the story of the day. For our albums, we like to ease our couples into the narrative by doing one spread (i.e. two pages lying open are considered one “spread”) of location-based wide shots and/or details. Then, introduce the important people from the wedding day; move through the day as it progressed and try not to skip around too much. Also keep in mind that it adds to the consistency of the story to keep color images together and black and white images together on their own spreads.
4. Explore different layouts and embrace open spaces.
There are countless ways to lay your photos out for the photo book, and this is where a lot of people get stuck. If you’re opting to DIY, you can design your own layouts when ordering through Artifact Uprising. Aim to keep the layouts varied yet balanced — and embrace empty space when needed. Too many solo images or similar collages on one side of the spreads, page after page, will feel repetitive. If you’d rather not DIY and want us to do this part, we can help you.
5. Invest in the highest quality photo book you can.
We know that there can be a lot of sticker shock when it comes to purchasing a photo book. In fact, when we were getting married we even rolled our eyes over how much photographers have to charge for quality pieces. However, an heirloom-quality photo book is an investment that should last generations. We order our books from a lab that works only with professional photographers, and the reasons we work with them are:
Handmade construction (yes, made by hand)
True layflat binding
Thick, sturdy pages
Lustre finish on the pages (prevents fingerprints), and
Accurate color tone.
Here are some examples, below! If you’d rather DYI, we recommend Artifact Uprising.
Is this whole process feeling like too much for you right now?
If you order a photo book from us, we handle everything from photo selection to sequencing to individual spread layouts. After you order, Fin creates a first draft which you review together and make tweaks as needed. Once you’re happy with the design, we send in the order and deliver your heirloom book to your door. EASY!