Book bound

For some years now I’ve been printing my photos in book format. I’ve done it for my 365 projects in 2016 and 2017, as well as for various holidays. I just got through a couple more books printed, one for my holiday to The Lake District, and one for the toy safari I attended in Paris.

Why print?

I know a lot of people would ask the question ‘why print your photos?’ and ‘why print books?’ rather than just prints. For me, my fascination with printing photos (for myself, not for sale, which is another thing entirely) began with the boxes of photos that I grew up sorting through (thanks, Mum!). The photo albums that were always around to look at were also a big part of my childhood. I could look at old photos for hours, and I like the idea that someone after me will do this with my photos.

Digital photos just don’t have this option. Printed photos (prints or books) are so much more tangible, so much more human, than those photos stored on our phone, computers or shared to social media. Printing photos gives them an existence outside the digital that makes them, for me, more alive. More real.

I don’t print everything. I used to print and scrapbook a lot more of my day-to-day non-toy photos, but that was an amazing time sink to do that. Now I just print out specific photography projects or create photo books of holidays. Doing it in this format gives a finite end to a project or a trip. It allows me to create something that I can share with others in a real way. And it gives me memories to put on my shelf that will last longer (perhaps) than my hard drive.

It also allows me to print my toy photos in a way that I otherwise wouldn’t do. I mean, I probably wouldn’t print my toy photos in a pile like holiday snapshots to sit on a sofa and show someone. But included in a book with other photos, that feels okay. I can divide them out for non-toy photography holidays, or I can include them within the main album for specific toy photography trips. A book is a really great way to make a keepsake of a toy safari, especially when so much of those trips might otherwise loose permanence because of the social media orientation of the event photos.

LEGO BrickHeadz with a book
Don’t forget to pick the right audience to look at your newly produced books.

My process of creating a book

My (simple) process is as follows:

Step one: Have an awesome holiday where you take lots of photos (toy ones, or otherwise).

Step two: Procrastinate over editing photos for a few weeks/months until you finally sort through them.

Step three: Find a place (usually online: I like Snapfish or Blurb) to print your books.

Step four: Spend hours adding photos to your pages, playing around with designs and deciding whether or not you want any text added to your books. This bit is the hardest! Just how do you want your photos to look together? Do you want all your toy photos mixed in with your regular holiday photos, or do you want them separate? Do you want to add splash pages to separate out different days or not? So many decisions! to be made

Here are some of my pages from the last three books I ordered to give you some ideas of the choices!

Step five: Wait for a discount code to be available and order your book(s) and spend the next week or so waiting impatiently for them to arrive so you can check you didn’t mess it up. (I have high levels of anxiety over all things like this!)

Step six: Get your books and be over eager about showing everyone your photos!

Simple right? I don’t do anything crazily complicated, but I love the end result. I do wonder if I ought to add text to the albums, to make notes about the people and the photo locations, but something stops me from doing that. I might add a few post-it notes here and there throughout my new books to tell some stories from the trip. I’m undecided about that so far! Simple is sometimes better.


Do you print photos out as keepsakes or in books? I’d be interested in other people’s processes for doing something tangible with their toy photos (or general photos). Let me know in the comments whether you have a process for printing or whether everything stays digital for you!

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11 Comments

  1. Janan Lee

    I would love to do something like this. I don’t have big projects that would fill a book but perhaps an annual one to document my toy photography journey would be fun and memorable to flip through in years to come.

  2. I’ve only ever printed my photos a few times, and made two end-of-year books. I agree that it somehow makes them more “real,” and I wish I printed more often. This post inspires me to do so! I love your idea of making books for photo projects. What a fun way to bring a series of shots together.

    PS: Your books look fantastic!

  3. Yes! You have quite a collection! I am hoping to do this, too. Every once in a while I get a discount code for Shutterfly, and they make beautiful hard-cover books (a friend of mine made a book from a set of family vacation photos, and I was very impressed with the quality). Thanks for sharing this idea. I think it can also be a beautiful legacy to leave your children and grandchildren!

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