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Tommy Williams

I don't know a good editor but I sure hope you write about the process here. I would love to know what it's like to put it together.

Mike C.


I've made quite a number of Blurb books now, and my advice would go like this:

1. Decide on your size, format, and maximum no. of pages first, and stick to it. Cost will be a factor here, but you will mainly benefit from the "creative squeeze" of sticking within the constraint of your original plan.

2. Set aside x pages for prelims and y for, um, postlims. Assuming -- to start with, anyway --the classic photobook layout (mainly "blank page facing photo page" pairs, interspersed with the odd "photo facing photo" pair to break it up a bit), it's straightforward to calculate the number of images you can actually use. Say, 40.

3. Although the Blurb software is good, I'd recommend buying a portrait or landscape presentation book with clear insert pages, and using it with disposable prints for playing with sequencing. What looks good illuminated and perfectly flat on a screen does not necessarily work when held as a book will be held.

4. Let the photos tell you the sequence they want to be in. Don't be afraid to jettison your favourite images in the interests of making a book that works. This is the hardest part.

5. Think about using different sizes of image, and occasional multiple images on a page. Books where all the images are precisely the same size bore the eye. Small variations in size can enliven the visual effect considerably.

6. Sounds obvious, but: experiment with colour for the book text, esp. headers and footers. It's easy to leave it all in black, but you're missing a trick if you do.

7. Keep it simple. The worst books I've made have been those where I've thought "I have free rein to do what I want, why not pull out all the creative stops?" A question that answers itself...

8. Avoid the 7" square books like the plague, unless their claims to have improved the print quality are true.

9. Don't expect to sell a single one!!

Of course, given my experience of (9), you may question the validity of (1) through (8)...

Good luck!


Mike C.

I should have added:

10. Don't worry too much about arriving at the "perfect" sequence. No-one but you will ever know or care... I have sometimes resorted to throwing small prints into the air, and seeing how they fall. I can't put my hand on it right now, but there's a brilliant quote from Frederick Sommer about the perfection of "chance" arrangements -- he would throw a handful of pebbles, and the arrangement would be perfect. No intervention he could make would improve on it. There's a lot of wisdom in that. I always catch myself trying too hard to tell a formal "story", when there's no story to tell.


Doug Plummer


These are great suggestions, thanks. As it turns out, I just booked a week of shooting at the end of the month, so my recession-coping strategy might have to go on the back burner for a while longer.

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