Making a Photo Book

March 5, 2019  •  , ,

My mom has been asking for years that I make her a book of some of the photos I’ve taken. And I finally got around to doing it! It’s her 55th birthday this year, so it was the perfect time to finally put one of these together and I’m very pleased with the result.

Photos of Salisbury Cathedral in a book

Obviously, since it’s a gift, I had to wait until she had received it to post this. And, since she lives in Canada and I live in the UK, the photos I took of it had to be taken before she got it. As a result, I also only took a few photos of the finished result because I didn’t want to hurt the spine of the book by opening it too much!

Photos of cherry blossoms and waffles
Close up photos of flowers and books

To find a supplier that could print my book, I simply searched on Google and then compared a bunch of sites. I mostly looked at ones that I had heard of before. I ended up settling on Papier. I was familiar with their brand from following them on my design Instagram account. I liked the look of the product. And they had the added bonus of 40% off all photo books. This made it extremely affordable by comparison to other sites. Especially since I knew I’d likely want to add extra pages on top of the base price.

I went for one of the “minimalist” styles in the landscape format. I knew my mom wanted to use the book as sort of a coffee table book, so I wanted something that would be a decent size and the landscape format just seemed to lend itself to the sort of book you might flip through with someone else while sat together on the sofa.

Assembling the book itself wasn’t too difficult either. I went through old hard drives and picked out various photos, making sure to find originals so I could get the highest resolution possible. Then I edited them in Lightroom to try and make sure that all my edits were consistent.

The web-based builder for the book was OK. It wasn’t the easiest to use, but I’ve definitely had worse. I had to do it twice because I accidentally exported my photos a bit too small the first time. I also was annoyed a few times by it telling me my photos weren’t high enough quality, even though I’d exported them at massive sizes. For the cover photo in particular, I tried to export it at a very high quality, but then the building tool told me the file size was too large. So I’d make it smaller, and then it would say the photo was not high enough quality. It was infuriating!

The cover of a book of photos

It’s also worth mentioning that the paper used is matte paper. Now I really like the look of matte paper from an aesthetic point of view, actually! I like that it doesn’t get fingerprinted and I like the more vintage feeling. But the truth is that gloss paper makes the colours pop a lot brighter, which might be the favoured approach when printing photos. And, as Katy pointed out, while it doesn’t get fingerprinted, it makes it easier for stuff to get on the page and not be able to be wiped away.

I think if I could add another feature it would be the options for captions. While I think most of the collections I made on particular pages are self-explanatory, I think a little note with the location and year would be beneficial. I think they mostly market to events like weddings, which are obviously mostly on one date and in one place, so I can see why they may not have that feature.

But overall, I would recommend Papier for printing photo books and, in all likeliness, I will use them again at some point.

Photos of Salisbury Cathedral in a book

Thank you for reading!

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