What should I do with all those images…………..?
This was the question I asked myself earlier this year. I’m always asking myself questions these days, but this one held most interest! Like many photographers, professional and amateur alike, I have 1000’s of digital images, just sitting around on hard disks. Some are on Alamy, some on Flickr, others on my personal website, but most are unloved and sitting there doing nothing – in fact most of us don’t print our images any more; cartridge costs maybe, but to be honest the favoured image medium these days is mobile phone, TV, or the internet.
So, having asked this question – what should I do about it?
Chatting a to a friend and fellow photographer, he suggested a book – in fact he did one every year, for all his images. Hmmm, I though I’ve seen these digital ‘books’ before, all the print companies did them, you know Bonusprint, Vistaprint, that kind of thing, I’m not sure I like the quality. “No”, he said, “have a look at blurb.co.uk”, so I did. What a brilliant website – what type of book to publish, how to publish, what genre to choose, tips, tricks, advice, self-publishing, etc., etc.
Brilliant, I thought, but there’s so much to take in. So, what do most blokes do when faced with a lot of technical literature [like shelf instructions], they ignore them and get stuck in! So I did – I downloaded the Blurb “Booksmart” application software to my Mac, installed it and set
off on what would be a very interesting and time-consuming journey. Interesting, as it made me re-visit all those “forgotten” images, and time-consuming, because it was – but what a great way to pass some time, over the long winter months, when it seemed the rain would never stop! I decided, boringly I suppose, to do a book of my images of 2013, with some short sections of narrative. I had thought of writing the next Harry Potter, or to write my life story, but ‘JK’ has done Harry to death and my life isn’t that interesting!
Ok, software downloaded, how to start – choose a book size. I thought, no one is going to buy it, it’s for me, so I chose the 13”x11” coffee table style. I also chose a hardback, with a dust cover – I like dust covers.
It’s very easy to use – you basically choose the layout, for each page you – you can’t easily change this afterwards, so choose carefully – then size your images to the sizes shown on the image containers in the layout [this is VERY important, as it can affect the sharpness of the images in the final print. I chose a layout, with some pages all images, some with text and images – breaks it up a bit. People have short attention spans, and like lots of images and not necessarily reading narrative.
Don’t be afraid to go for a full page spread – you want to show off your images! Remember to size images exactly to that required by the page container. When you have finished, add a contents page and a dedication page, and also front and back cover images.
Please remember to back up your work regularly!
Take advantage of the book preview options and also regularly produce a low-res PDF file, to constantly review how it looks. Ask a friend to look at it – that is a must, as you get tunnel vision after a while, and this can add a fresh idea, you’d not thought of.
Also, proof read, then proof read again, then proof read again!
My book cost about £76, for a hardback 13×11, an e-book and a high-res PDF. Not cheap, but to be honest, it was brilliant quality and looks really nice. A great addition to my coffee table! Try it, you’ll find it fun. For those who are interested, this is the final result – http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/4999908-travel-images-from-2013