“CUSTOM” can be a scary word especially if you’re the one doing the customizing! I am here to tell you that creating custom Photobooks doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task, but a fun creative process! Instead of making another cookie cutter book that hides on the shelf, you can create a personalized Photobook that becomes a hot conversation piece around the coffee table! The following 4 steps will make you a Photo Book Customizing PRO…or at least look like a PRO to your family and friends.
Step 1: Decide on a Theme or Story
Now I know what you’re thinking…this is a Photobook not a novel! Your right. I don’t mean you need to come up with long interesting narrative, in fact you don’t need words at all. Just take some time to reflect and look through your shots. As you do, lay them out on a table or desktop and put them in some order, whether it’s how events happened, color groups, or people. A great example of this is Weddings…you may organize your photos into groups of pre-wedding, then wedding ceremony, concluded by the reception shots.
Step 2: Customize & Personalize
Avoid all the default presets that are found in many Photo Book software programs. Take advantage of creative freedoms to select features, layouts, colors, and text that reflect YOUR STYLE and tell YOUR STORY. Choose 3-4 different page layouts that you can alternate for each page to keep the book’s viewers engaged.
1. Photo Finish Covers. Depending on the shots you have available you can create a Cover page that is both sophisticated and unique! At the end of the day it’s a Photo Book so don’t put fabric on it…just my opinion.
2. Matte Paper Finish, usually free. I love the soft textured look of matte paper. It gives a natural feel to the pictures and will not wear or potentially scratch like a gloss finish.
3. Lay Flat Paper. This is a bit of a splurge, since it won’t make or break your book, but it does add to the minimal clean lines of the Photo Book. Truth be told, standard is also great and is usually my first choice. Speaking of Minimal….
Step 3: Minimalism is your BFF
No one wants to be bombarded and dizzied by a bunch of different colors, textures, or fonts. By making definite design choices and sticking to them you will create clean, focused, and clear backgrounds for your Photo Book. It’s easy to get carried away with Backgrounds because companies offer lots cute decals and patterns, but these often distract from what you want people to see…your pictures! Select ONE Background color or texture. My favorite is a white background because it helps direct attention to the photos, and creates a clear and bright feel.
Words? “A picture is worth a 1000 words”. Allow your photos to do the talking. If someone has questions they will ask you, and this creates a great open conversation.
Step 4: Don’t Procrastinate!
It is hard enough to get started making your Photo Book, so once you start try not to interrupt the creative flow. Pick a day to begin working when you are home, comfortable, and relaxed. For me it’s the occasional lazy Sunday, when I grab a big cup of Tea, turn up my music, and sit in a sunlit room. Whatever that relaxed environment is for you, use it to begin and finish most (if not all) of your Photo Book. All artist will tell you, “if you stop in the middle of creating something, it’s even harder to rekindle the same enthusiasm and energy to complete it”.
I hope that reading this blog inspires you to turn those pictures on your hard drive into a Professional Photobook! Enjoy the process and after a while you will be looking for an excuse to make another one. To get you started I listed some links below to Photo Book companies I’ve used.