Making Your First Professional PhotoBook | Part I | Print Research
Back in late 2010 I went back home to what's now considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world. With a 35mm Nikon FM2, and a whole lot of naïveté, I wanted to capture all the life, textures, pessimism and hope I had never paid attention to while I lived in Caracas, Venezuela as a child.
On PART II I'll talk about the process of curating the images, the concept of the book and prospects for short-run distribution. For now ...
TEST PRINTING OPTIONS:
So let's get to what you most probably came here for. How to make your first/own professional photo book. I'll give it to you straight:
It costs a crapload to produce a high quality photo book. Which is relative, of course, if you have that silver spoon then drop that cash. I'll elaborate ... briefly—I have a day job, can't be writing about every single option out there—Just the most practical and popular ones.
I produced my first test book, or "dummy" book, with blurb.com. This site is perfect for self-published authors (as the site makes it a breeze to publish your book on Amazon.com as a book on-demand option), and for amateur or seasoned photographers wanting to print a high quality (yet limited in options) rendition of their portfolio or wedding album.
I wanted to see how my B&W photos would look on their most expensive paper (Proline Pearl Photo 140#) and I was quite pleased. See photos above. The paper is thick and the intensity of both, darks and lights, was true to the digital copies I sent over. Give it a try if, like me, you want to see how your digital images look–and feel–and how they flow together. (See photos above).
COST: For an 80-page book, with a hard cover and high quality linen wrap one book cost me about $90 plus shipping. They don't have a minimum book order, so you can simply order one book if you wish.
But there are at least a dozen options for you to print your mock photo book (or wedding/family album). You can try mixbook or artifact uprising but they wont be better priced or more flexible than blurb, based on my research.
FINAL BOOK PRINTING OUTPUT CONSIDERED:
Making a 100% custom photo book is quite costly, especially if you decide to hire a book editor, a layout specialist, a designer and giving them freedom over what (perhaps too creative of) materials to use. But if you're being practical about your book while wanting to keep costs relatively low and still getting a customized super high quality book (one that could possibly get some snob at the ICP to notice you immediately) then definitely check out Edition One Books.
From Edition One Books you can ask a fully customizable book, for a price. They do have a minimum of five books per order and they can run you (based on a 80 page book) for about a $1000 total. That's if you don't ask for Foil Text print on the cover or any other fancy item. But you can ask for almost anything. This is a really good option for that book you want to take to an editor or critic.
However, I did take my Blurb printed mock-up book the the ICP. And they loved it. I'll talk about conceptualizing and curating photographs on a budget on Part II. Hope you guys find this helpful.
Carlos P. Beltran is an Emmy-nominated Video Producer, currently at NBC News in New York City
For free tutorials on Freelance Video Production and how to break into the industry, visit the TUTORIALS SECTION on my site.
And for a 30 minute practical approach to making successful online videos, please check out the eBook "The Age of Viral" on Amazon Kindle.
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