Looking for a summer project for your son or daughter? Look no further. Poignant and powerful, photo books make a memorable keepsake. And, they’re a lot of fun to create. To celebrate my daughter’s birthday a year ago, I treated her to a she-and-dog photo session and then we made a book from the images.
F-11 Photographic Supplies in Bozeman displays completed books. In fact, you’ll find a a copy of the dog-love book I mentioned, the one made with my daughter for her birthday last year. Before you start your own project, alone, or with a son or daughter, it can help to look at others. Notice how the books read, the layout, what you like and what you would do differently. Also note how design themes give a book a cohesive look by coordinating colors and page backgrounds. Look at how text choices, like font style, size and color add to the finished product. Ask the staff questions about what intrigues, concerns or confuses you.
Books express different moods, view points, themes and subjects. Each of those characteristics can help you sort and organize your images. You will need about 77 photos for a twenty page book or 140 for forty pages. Choose images that include a mixture of colors, of both wide shots and close ups. Look for interesting details in photos that are otherwise cluttered or busy. You can improve the image by cropping to highlight those details. Cropping an image allows part of the image to represent the complete idea, letting a detail stand in for the rest. Try it. It’s fun to experiment with cropping images and simple to do right as you create your book.
When you write the text to tell the story of your own book, keep it concise, and match it to the
images you want to use. Photo books express a visual story, so less is more with your written copy --
evoke rather than document. Choose fonts that reflect the age and feeling of the intended recipient of
the book, or your child. If you’re partnering up, let your child add quotes in their own words about
what they were thinking about when a particular picture was taken.
Before you create your book, plan the left and right pages together as a spread. Will they work together, will they “read?” Using a common theme or design element can tie these pages together and give your book a better flow. Or, just go for it and see what emerges! The joy of digital book building is it’s easy to make changes. If you consider your first run through as a “rough draft,” you allow yourself the freedom to go back and add more images, text or embellishments like clip art that will give your book a truly personalized feel.
You can come in to full-service photography store like F-11 Photo and design your book instore. The advantage to this is you can get help from their staff, complete your project, go share an icecream or hot chocolate, browse downtown shops, then return in a couple hours to pick up your finished project! Another option is to create your book online. In May, the F-11 Photo website will allow you to build everything that's available on the in-store kiosks from your home computer. Learn more at www.f11photo.photofinale.com.
Or, try a program like 4Ever Books, a free downloadable software also available from the F-11 Photo website. With this software you can more quickly and easily build a book, and customize it, than you can with many online services. You can add text and picture boxes or change things like frame size, whenever you want. Keep in mind that nearly 80% of the photo books that are started online are never completed. The downloadable software allows you to leave your book project readily available on your computer so you can work on it whenever you have a few spare moments.
When you hold your finished book in hand, it’s all worth it. My daughter still treasures the one we made a year ago. I treasure the memory of a shared project, especially one that brought us so much joy.
This article was written with the expert assistance of Aloha Williams.