Designing a Photo Book
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Designing a Photo Book

with Nigel French

Video: Understanding the elements of a page

When designing your photo book think not in terms of pages but rather in terms of spreads. Every left page or verso has its facing right page or recto. We are designing the hull not the individual page. Traditionally in photo books, the image is placed on the right hand page leaving the left hand page blank or perhaps with a small caption. When you open a book or a magazine or a newspaper, it is the right hand page to which your eye is drawn first. The right hand page and especially the top portion of the right hand page is the most important part of the spread.

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Watch the Online Video Course Designing a Photo Book
46m 22s Appropriate for all May 29, 2013

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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.

Topics include:
  • Making a flat plan and determining a schedule
  • Choosing and sequencing your images
  • Cropping images for maximum impacts
  • Adjusting tone and color
  • Printing duotones
  • Adding text
  • Designing the cover
  • Comparing types of books
Subjects:
Design Photography
Author:
Nigel French

Understanding the elements of a page

When designing your photo book think not in terms of pages but rather in terms of spreads. Every left page or verso has its facing right page or recto. We are designing the hull not the individual page. Traditionally in photo books, the image is placed on the right hand page leaving the left hand page blank or perhaps with a small caption. When you open a book or a magazine or a newspaper, it is the right hand page to which your eye is drawn first. The right hand page and especially the top portion of the right hand page is the most important part of the spread.

That said, you by no means need to adhere to leaving the left page blank. Whether or not you put images on your left-hand pages, you will be paying for them, so you may well decide to have images on every page. After all, the credo of less is more has its limits when you're on a budget. Unless your photographs are all full page bleeds the margins serve the important function of framing your images. The margins should be at least a quarter inch with the inner margin at least 5 8th of an inch.

This defines the safe image area. If you are designing your own pages, you can have the margins define the image area of the page. The page numbers, if you choose to have them, can be placed outside this image area. So long as they remain within the safe area. So too can the captions if they are short. By adjusting the size of your margins you can define an image area that is the same aspect ratio as your pictures. In this way the margins combined with the boarded created by the caption create uniformly sized frames around your images.

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