Personal Publishing – The Photo Book

I know this is not the time to begin a family history project. Or is it?

Photo books require photos and now’s the season for capturing some memorable family pictures. And, if you have an idea now about what kind of photo book result you’d like to have, you can make sure you grab the pictures necessary to create it. At my house, the silver and crystal are coming out of storage. The preparations – cleaning, cooking and decorating – often follow family traditions and are just as much a part of the holidays as the events themselves. Now’s the time to sketch out the story you want your photo book to tell so you can be sure to get those pictures taken.

Not every photo needs to have people in it. Treasured ornaments, special dishes and other traditions all have their own stories which will add color to your project.

Don’t forget to recruit others to help. Got youngsters with iPod Touches or other camera devices? Hire them as your cub reporters and give them some photo-taking assignments. The results could be delightful!

Once the holidays are over and you’ve amassed a collection of great pics, you’re ready to get to work. Where do you start? I start by looking for inspiration. One of my favorite formats is the Postcard Series of books published by Arcadia Publishing. They usually have a few pages of historical introduction and then use the postcards and photos – along with their captions – to tell most of the story. One good example is Beth Rogero Bowen’s St. Augustine in the Gilded Age which documents the beginnings of St. Augustine’s era as a tourist destination for the rich and famous. The book is designed in such a way that you are taken on a photographic tour of this period in St. Augustine history.

Another great resource for inspiration is the huge collection of photo books you’ll find at Blurb. Take some time to wander through the online previews of photo books covering a broad range of topics and styles. The problem here isn’t finding inspiration . . . it’s trying to settle for just one.

Blurb also offers lots of tool options for building your book. You can download their free Booksmart app or use the online book-builder. There are modules and plugins for tools you may already use – like Adobe’s InDesign or Lightroom. And, you’ll find a large selection of design and style templates to choose from . . . Yes, there’s plenty of online help to show you how to get the best from your photos.

Blurb isn’t your only option. Apple also does photo books – and you can create them on your desktop or on your iPad using iPhoto. The size and design options are more limited, but you sure can’t beat iPhoto for making it easy. And, just about every photo-sharing platform offers some kind of photo book capability. Just make sure you have the opportunity to include captions and text with your photos.

A little project planning now will help insure that you and your family will have a wonderful holiday season – as well as a record of those special moments to enjoy any time.