Preserving and reliving memories through photo books…

Screenshot 2014-05-22 12.16.56Screenshot 2014-05-22 12.17.03

For me, there are few better ways to preserve and relive memories from a great trip than to make a photo book. (One of my most popular posts last year was about making a photo book so I know others are also interested in the process.)

I’ve been holding on to a discount for a photo book from Photobook Canada that expires in a few weeks (they’re always having sales), so I decided I better get going on making a photo book of the Bahamas sailing trip we just returned from.

(I’ve used Photobook Canada before to make a large hard cover book of memories for my mother’s 85th birthday and was very pleased with the result and the awesome price. There’s also a Photobook America and they sell to many other countries as well.)

Screenshot 2014-05-22 12.17.29

I adore the process of printing my images in books for so many reasons. It allows me to go through all my photographs and pick out the ones I like the best and will enjoy returning to over and over.

These are usually the ones that give me a little quiver of excitement when I look at them and bring me right back to the place and time when I captured them. They let me enjoy the adventure again and again.

Of course, I love posting images on this blog, but I find the books to be more present and tactile and you experience and see the images in them in a completely different way. There is a longevity and a permanency to the photo book that I really appreciate.

I’ve made many numerous books in the past and there are many great companies out there. I’ve been very pleased with Artisan State and Milk Books/Moleskine. For more casual softcover books, Shutterfly works well.

Generally, you have many page layouts to choose from and it’s great fun to find the ones that best enhance your images and allow you to tell a story. I have included some screenshots here to show the user interface I’ve been using and some shots of my project in process.

Screenshot 2014-05-22 12.16.10

The strip down the left hand side contains images I want to include somewhere in the book. The horizontal strip at the top contains finished and unfinished page layouts in order. The horizontal strip at the bottom contains possible page layouts. You can’t see all the potential choices here but there are zillions.

Then it’s just a matter of sliding your image into your selected layout and applying a background. It’s all placed and automatically resized for you. Then it is easy to tweak to perfection using the right hand panels. You can make each page different if you want, you can add borders and scrapbooky type things, but I prefer to keep this one simple with consistent black backgrounds.

If you change your mind about the placement of an image or a layout — which I do all the time — and want to remove a photo or try another layout or background, it’s easy peasy. It’s simple and fast to reorder the pages too. I haven’t added much text yet, but you can add a lot or a little and the font choice is enormous.

Screenshot 2014-05-22 12.14.59

I’m approaching this book chronologically, but I’m also trying to keep the images on the same two-page spread in the same tonal range and on the same theme, for coherence. I generally make a rough list of all the places/people/subjects I hope to include, but I basically approach the initial selection of images according to my gut and intuition. Once I upload a bunch of photos I love, I check against the list to see what I might be missing and then go in search of those.

I generally prefer to have fewer bigger images on a page spread for greater impact, but this time I have so many images that are vying for a spot that I’m creating some spreads for a larger number of smaller images. Naturally, Charles gets a two-page spread to himself!

Making a photo book is really a continuation of the creativity that was at play when you were making the images originally.

Well, I guess I better get back to it and finish playing!

I know many of you reading this also make photo books. What do you enjoy most about the product and the experience?




Faraway in time, not space…

I love this old polaroid of me sitting under our crabapple tree (planted in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s Centennial) with my little sister on the left and a friend from down the street on the right. My Dad took it, I’m sure, maybe he was trying out his Polaroid camera.

These were the summers of playing outside all day, every day, making forts in the fields, leaving notes for each other in “the old gutter” and only coming in when we had to for supper. TV watching was rare and of course there were no personal computers. We were always living in the moment.

We left the moment — as you need to sometimes — to dream and imagine different worlds by reading books at night, sometimes getting so involved we didn’t want to stop so we read under the covers with flashlights.

Everything seemed possible, then…but everything we did and dreamed then is still with me now…

The August Break 2013