Photo Books: Tips for Creating a Lasting Souvenir
My husband doesn’t share my love for home improvement projects, but there is a creative streak in him. Photography, especially sports photography, is his hobby — and he’s pretty darn good at it too. At our oldest son’s games (our youngest isn’t quite ready for teams yet), Mark’s always there on the sidelines, capturing every throw, pass, pitch, and score (and, of course, cheering as well).
Mark’s photos came in handy last month when the parents of Jack’s soccer teammates were discussing what sort of memento to give the kids to celebrate a job well done (trophy, medal, t-shirt). It was a turning point as well — for the past two seasons the Rhinos had been a co-ed team, but next season, the team would be split up, no longer girls and boys playing together.
Since Mark had photos of all the kids, he offered to make a photo book for each child, with action shots of them and their teammates. The other parents loved the idea, and Mark estimated the cost for each would be about the same as a custom-printed t-shirt.
Mark designed the pages and cover of the 20-page soft-cover book using an online service. Inside the front cover he listed the names of the players and coaches and each child got a full- and half-page photo.
At the end of the book, there were two pages left for a few group shots and one of the Rhinos’ fearless leader, Coach John.
Photo books can be quite pricey, but Mark did his homework to get the best quality book for a low price (about $13 each). Mark says finding a vendor with templates, layouts, book sizes, and prices to meet his needs was the biggest challenge to the project.
He took a gamble and went with Mixbook (a site he had never used) — their rates were good, he was pleased with the layout options, and with expedited processing and shipping he could get the books in time for the last game of the season. Mark handled all the ordering and collected money from parents after the books arrived.
The gamble paid off; the books were a success. And who knows, maybe some of the kids will be famous sports stars one day and their former teammates will flip through their photo books remembering how it all started on the Rhinos soccer team in the Spring of 2012.
- Make sure you use high-resolution photos — the site you use will tell you if the resolution of your photos is too low.
- Make sure photos are cropped and sized to your liking before uploading.
- When designing your book, be mindful of the number of pages allowed for your price point. Additional pages may cost more money and may impact your layout.
- Don’t skimp on paper quality.
- If possible, order one copy of your book to preview before printing a large batch.
- There are lots sites for making photo books — many will let you try out their sites before making a financial commitment. Look for a service that lets you play around with layouts, can offer you a proof, and has competitive rates.
- If you want to apply a custom layout (as opposed to letting the site pick your layout), be prepared to spend some time. Mark says he spent about six hours finagling layouts and designs to get the look he wanted.
Have you made a photo book? What site did you use? Any tips you want to share?