My brother got his copy in the mail today so I can do the big reveal: I printed my first photobook! It depicts my recent vacation to Taiwan and Tokyo. I used the services of Blurb, which provides the software to design books of all types and also has great printers.
The book cost me about $60 including shipping for a 170 page 10″ X 8″ hardcover with dust jacket. Prices will vary depending on the number of pages and the dimensions of the book.
The free program that I downloaded from Blurb has simple cropping and image management tools and a bunch of templates with fixed layouts. The templates can be useful, but ultimately I found them to be pretty limiting and ended up designing most of my pages in Photoshop. I used custom made templates that are essentially blank canvases with correct page dimensions and handy rulers. This way I can re-arrange images to my heart’s content in Photoshop, then export to the Blurb software.
The book feels very professional, on the level of standard books found in any bookstore. Pages have a good weight to them and aren’t flimsy. Print quality is slightly better than what you’ll see in magazines. Here I’m comparing the thickness with the latest issue of EGM, which is pathetically thin.
I had pretty simple layouts for my pages. I wanted to display big photos, so there’s not too much variation you can have in terms of page design when the photos take up so much space.
A look at a variety of layouts. I didn’t put too much text in this book since it was intended for my family and they would understand the background behind the photos. The book was organized roughly chronologically with sections dedicated to individual cities or Tokyo wards.
The company recommends converting images to 300 dpi for best quality printing, which I dutifully followed. The problem is that I wanted to do a few 2-page spreads, but my photos weren’t at a high enough resolution for that. I faked the spread above by combining 2 photos, but next time I go on vacation, I’m definitely going to be taking photos at the maximum resolution.
More photos. Anyway, you get the idea. Overall I’m very pleased with how the book turned out and I’ll definitely make another one for my next vacation, whenever that’ll be. I recommend Blurb to anybody.