Creating a Photobook – Top Tips

At the start of a new year, or after a holiday, people often think about creating a photobook and when I share my yearbook in January, I often get asked about how to go about putting one together, so here are my top tips.

Decide on a theme
Do you need a yearbook, a book of your holiday photos, or a book to give as a present? This will determine what photos you need to start collating.

How much time do you have?
The main comment I hear from people is that they just don’t get around to creating a photobook. So if it is just down to being busy, there are ways around this.

Firstly, do check out this brilliant piece of marketing from ChatBooks

If this is you, then be realistic about if you will get around to creating a gorgeously designed book with quotes and scanned artwork, or if a simple, non-designed book is better than nothing at all.

Get Organised
If you would prefer to design your own book and you get to the end of the year and still haven’t had the time, then the thought of creating a whole year’s worth of pages of photos sends even me, as a ‘photo-album loving photographer’ in to sweats, so I can imagine the panic and why you put it off for another year!

Top tip for this – start now – this month!

Create a monthly folder on your computer and at the end of the month copy your favourite images in to it. Takes 10 minutes and then you have your favourites all sorted and ready to go. Then at the end of the year, you have your images in folders, organised and ready to upload in order to make creating the book a simpler job.

Set a Deadline
This works well for those holiday and gift books you might want to create. If you are creating a gift, then often a birthday, or Christmas is your deadline to get on with collating all the images of the kids, so you can make that book for grandma. So set a similar deadline with a holiday photobook. If you just let the deadline slide, a good way is to use a photobook offer. Often companies will give you a really good discount deal, but you only have 3 days maybe to create the book. Nothing like a 60% saving to make you create that book hey.

Which Company?
I get asked a lot who I use. My best advice is to set your budget as this may determine who you use. As a photographer I have a pro lab who make my wedding and portrait albums for me, but this is not cost effective for my everyday yearbooks. They are more for those special occasions. I am however used to the perfect quality I get from my pro lab albums, so an online photobook company has to be good quality for me, as I notice the difference. My partner however cannot tell the difference between the online companies and this shows me that there is a photobook out there to suit different people depending on what they value most.

I have used both Blurb Books and Photobox for my yearbooks and holiday photobooks. Blurb does cost more, but I love the quality. Photobox often does amazing cost saving deals and really are worth a look. If you search online for Photobooks, so many companies pop up and many friends have used lots of different companies so take a look to see what may suit you.

Design Software
Many companies have an auto fill option when you upload your photos. I don’t find these useful as images end up in a random order sometimes and by the time I have moved them around, I may as well have designed it from scratch. Most companies have simple drag and drop design software now, so don’t be afraid to have a play. An auto fill option could be a great help though if you are trying to design a photobook from your phone as you don’t have a desktop computer.

When will you create them?
This could determine which company you use.

So for my holiday albums, I use Photobox. On my return from my holiday when the excitement is still there, I copy my favourite images in to a folder. Then I wait for Photobox to run a big offer. Often they run up to 70% off offers where you can buy a credit for a book and have from a month to three months to create your book. As my images are already in a folder, I can purchase the credit the minute I see the special offer and then get on with creating the album to get that big saving.

For our yearbooks, I find it easier to be designing this throughout the year. By going in to a photobook software and designing a few pages every few months, it means by the end of the year, it is nearly completed and therefore not a daunting task. With Blurb, their free design software sits on your computer so you can do this and then upload the whole design at the end of the year and purchase the album then. (Even with my current slow internet, I was able to upload a whole yearbook in one go.)

If you use Photobox, you have to pay for the album first and then pay if you add more pages in. You then really have to design and order the album sooner rather than later, otherwise they keep sending you emails to say your book has not been completed. This is great if you need the nagging of a deadline, but does not work for me when I start a yearbook in perhaps February and obviously won’t be finishing the design until after Christmas and New Year.

My final tip is don’t be overwhelmed. There are so many great, easy options now to get your memories in to print. Give it a go.

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