A Photo Book

I was reading a post on a blog1 over the summer about how digital photography has change the way people take photos. One of the primary benefits of digital photography is that every picture is essentially free. Take as many photos as you want and it really won’t cost you a thing.

Being able to take photos for free2 does great things for the learning curve. Had I paid for all 15000+ photos I’ve taken with my D70 since I bought it four years ago, I would have spent over $2000 on developing photos alone. The benefits of digital are clear.

However, there is a trade off with digital. Digital photography is, by its very nature, a form which has no physical product. It’s just a series of 0’s and 1’s that make up an image. There is no negative and there is no final print, at least in the traditional sense. For the last year, I’ve been shooting in RAW format, which is the digital equivalent to a negative – if there ever was one. However, I rarely make physical prints.

When I do make prints, it’s usually when A) someone asks me to; B) I’m giving them as gifts; or C) I’m framing them for an art show. Of all the 10000+ photos I currently have on Flickr (which represents my body of work), I’ve printed no more than 125 photos, and most of those where for a Christmas present I made my Mom a couple years ago.

The post I was reading indicated that the author wanted to print more of his photos out because he had an incomplete feeling of the photo process. He wanted to be able to touch and hold them. And while I don’t share exactly the same feeling of incompleteness – most of my “career” I have been shooting digital and have never had the chance to even use a darkroom (although I’ve been inside several) – I do like the idea of being able to touch, hold, and see the physical results.

In particular, I’ve had this urge to make a photo book. Moreover, I would like to share the opportunity to purchase this photo book when/if I produce it.

The Idea:
My current idea is a history of the college years as seen through my lens. It would probably contain about 40-100 photos. Each photo would contain a story surrounding the events of the photo, probably no more than 300 words per a photo. I would suspect that many stories would be edited forms of blog posts, however I also anticipate that I’ll have to write several new stories as well.

I’m currently looking at both soft and hard books. Hard covers are obviously more expensive, but are also much nicer and will last longer. Since I want to keep prices low, a hard cover version would probably contain less photos than a soft cover version. I want to keep the price below $50, ideally around $30, but I haven’t run all the numbers yet.

My question to you is, is anyone even interested? Leave your comments and/or a simple yay/nay. You are not committing to anything at this point. I’m simply trying to figure out if there’s an interest. *wink* It would make a good Christmas gift *wink*

If there is enough interest, I’m looking to partner with either QOOP or Costco to have them printed as-needed. While this may raise prices a bit, it prevents me from having to bulk order the books and then hope that enough people want to purchase them.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a couple of photos I took up on the “M” a couple weeks ago:

DSC_5873
Nikkor @ 50mm || 1/1000 || f/2 || ISO200 || tripod

DSC_5888
Nikkor @ 35mm || 1/250 || f/13 || ISO200 || tripod


  1. …although I can’t remember or, for the life of me, find which one it was. If I do find it, I’ll update this post. 

  2. i.e. essentially free 

7 Replies to “A Photo Book”

  1. For smaller numbers of books I would highly recommend Shutterfly. I’ve used to it make wedding picture albums. After you create your book others can view it and order it for themselves online. (I’m not sure how well their program would handle large amounts of text though.)

    And I absolutely love the two pictures! I didn’t realize the LED’s got installed so quickly and I really miss Golden and the view from the M. Would you mind if I printed these two to put up above my desk at work?

  2. @Audrey:

    QOOP is basically the same thing as Shutterfly. QOOP, however, is integrated with Flickr, which makes it suuuuper easy to print photos, books, etc, since I don’t have to upload all the photos manually. But I will definitely look at Shutterfly.

    As for pictures: YES! Just about all my photos are released under a Creative Commons license: http://andrewferguson.net/2008/05/27/copyrighting-your-work/
    Did you find the link to the high-resolution versions?

  3. If you always wanted a photobook, but never had the time, check out Snaphappi. Their designers can turn your photos into a beautiful coffee table book – all you do is send them your photos. If you haven’t picked out your favorites, they can also sort through and pick out your best shots. Get fast turnaround, online previews, and quality printing from MyPublisher.com. Nothing could be easier. Learn more at: http://snaphappi.com/from/photobooks_for_busy_people.

    1. @Fran:

      Thanks for the suggestion Fran. However, there is also quite a bit of text (including several short stories) and layout that is going into this project. Not to mention the all the details about each photo (camera settings, location, etc). I ended up using Blurb.com. My book is not done yet (several dozen more hours still), but Blurb has some pretty great software that’s helping me get it all assembled.

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