Home > Art, Gifts > How to make a beautiful photography book with Blurb

How to make a beautiful photography book with Blurb

With the holiday season right around the corner, you’re likely starting to make your gift giving lists. There are many great ways to create gifts from your photos, including making beautiful photo books with them; yearbooks, cookbooks, daily planners, portfolio books, history books: there’s a book for every story that you want to share.  Our friends at Blurb.com have shared their best tips for building books and we are delighted to feature them here. 

Here at Blurb, we truly believe in the joy of books—reading them, making them, sharing them, and selling them.

But making a book—particularly a photography book—can be daunting. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things to think about when making a book of your photos. We think the best tool to use is our free program, BookSmart, but the tips below apply no matter what tool you use to make your book.

Before you start your book, there are four really important things to consider:

1) Start with a great body of content. There is no substitute for quality content, whether it’s photos, illustrations, text or whatever.

2) Editing is an art form. When it comes to editing, the old cliché holds true: “Less is more.”

3) Sequencing can decide whether your book sails or fails. Sequencing is simply determining the order of your content, start to finish, front to back. Start strong, end strong, and remember, your cover image can make it or break it.

4) Go look at books. If you want to create a great photography book you MUST look at great photography books. Think about fonts, sizes, colors—decide what feels right for you and for your project.

Part One: Be prepared

Get organized. Decide what images you are going to use in your book, name them so you can identify them easily, and do your editing before you make your book!

Color is important. Make no mistake: treat your images with respect, and prep them for print. Color management is important, and Blurb provides a wonderful tutorial section here.

If your book has text content—even if it’s just a collection of captions—create a single document with everything in it, sequenced in order of placement in your book.

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Part Two: Make your book

The cover can wait. Design the rest of the book before completing the cover. When you’re ready, design three or four different covers and live with them for a bit before making a final decision.

Take a deep breath. Let the beginning of the book (or “front matter”) breathe. Title pages, half title pages, dedications, essays—all of these things can all help ease a reader into the project.

Consistency is your friend. Be consistent with your templates. Try not to use more than two different templates for an entire book. BookSmart has lots of templates to choose from and you can always make your own.

Take another deep breath. Let the end of the book (or “back matter”) breathe. Your book is a journey, so make sure you give the reader a chance to ease out of the project. Elements like an index, dedications, or a closing essay let you provide critical information and end the book definitively.

Justify your choices. When your book is “done,” preview the book page-by-page. Does every element belong? Does it add to the story or is it a distraction?

Part Three: Publish. Celebrate. Repeat.

Check your spelling. Run spell check. We’ll repeat that: Run spell check.

Order up. When the book is complete, edited, sequenced and ready to go, sign in to Blurb and upload your book.

Share it, sell it. After the book has finished uploading, you can add information such as tags, titles,  and a brief description. Blurb gives you a Personal Storefront that you can share on your social networks. If you want to sell your book in the Blurb Bookstore, it’s easy to do so. And you get to keep 100% of the markup.

Have fun. Above all else, making a book should be an enjoyable experience. So enjoy it. And get started on another book soon. Like anything, you’ll get better with practice.

SmugMug account owners can build beautiful Blurb photo books from the Add to Cart menu in each gallery on their site. (more info)

  1. Joe
    June 21, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Whoa! “Run spell check”? Really? Alright, I suppose it can’t hurt. But spell check misses a LOT of grammatical errors. Better advice would be to have a friend, coworker, or family member proofread the book–someone who you know is well-versed in the rules of grammar.

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