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Photo books are a great way to display and preserve your memories, and services like iBooks and Blurb make it easy and affordable to create professional quality bound books. But your design choices are what make them special. Join designer Nigel French as he covers the basics of planning and building a photo book, reviews the qualities of good photo books, and examines the design principles at work in their creation—regardless of the software used. This course provides both inspiration and practical techniques for creating your photo book.
There are many online photo book printing services. Here is a list of some popular sites. This course is not a comparison of these services but rather hopes to help you make an informed decision based upon the requirements of your project. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating these services. Templates or creative control. When designing your pages are you required to use propriariaty templates or can you use the software your already familar with.
If you know anything about book design and have a working knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite you may find on-line templates limiting. If you want complete creative control, make sure your service allows you to use your own software and upload a PDF. To keep down costs, on-line photo book services offer a limited range of book sizes. These vary from one service to another. Make sure that your service offers a size that shows off your work in its best light.
What paper stocks are offered? Again, to keep down costs, the choice will be limited. Photo books are typically printed on 100 pound paper. Anything lighter than 100 pound and you might have show through, where you see the image coming through from the other side of the paper. Some companies also offer a proline of paper. Which undoubtedly gives better photographic reproduction. But of course, comes with a higher price tag. One might use generalities like glossy looks classier, matte is more durable, luster which is a happy medium between the two, doesn't show fingerprints as much as glossy. Ultimately it's a matter of personal preference.
Do you want a hard cover or a soft cover? Hard covers are more durable and better convey quality and gravitas. Obviously they also cost more. Only you can decide whether the additional cost is justified. Some services offer two types of hard cover. Image wrap, where the image is printed on the cover itself, and linen covers with a removable dust jacket. Some services also offer the option of a slip case. The type of binding and cover type are closely linked. For hardcover books, library binding is used, with the pages sewn in place and the spine reinforced.
Soft cover books are perfect bound, here the pages are glued like a paperback. Other binding options may include spiral binding, which aesthetically may compromise the look of your book, but has the advantage of allowing the pages to lay flat. Useful if your book is instructional like a cookbook. If you want your pages to lay flat but also want a more high end look you need a flush mount book. Flush mount books are constructed of unbendable mat board and have a very narrow gutter so you lose very little of the image in the center of the book.
This makes them effective when you have images that cross over both pages. As you might imagine they are also significantly more expensive. Other factors to consider when picking an online photo book service, are obviously their price and reputation. Research online, asks friends and colleagues for recommendations. How accessible and how responsive is their customer service if you have a question or a problem? And finally, does the service offer tools that make it easier for you to use your own software? Some photo book services offer free downloads of plugins that make it easier to use Adobe programs like InDesign and Lightroom in conjunction with their service.
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