photo books part one // introduction, format and frequency

This post is part one of a five part series. You can find the other posts here:

For some time, I have wanted to share with you a couple of the photo books that I have made since Ruby was born. As I started to write the blog post to share these with you, I found myself writing a very in depth post about how I go about selecting the photos that go into these books. It got me thinking about the different elements that come together to create the process of making photo books, and I have decided to write a series of posts, to share in a little more depth with you how I go about this process. It is my hope that perhaps this series might inspire you to be pro-active in doing something with all of those wonderful memories you have documented in photos, but that are currently hidden away on memory cards or phones.

This series will cover the following topics:
- Format and Frequency of making photo books
- Photo sharing on social media
- Very basic, user friendly photo editing tools
- How I decide which photos to include in a photo book
- Photo organisation

Format & Frequency of Making Photo Books
I take a lot of photos. This has been the case for many, many years, but even more so since digital photography and smart phones entered my life. I have developed a reasonably efficient system for organising the photos I take on my digital SLR, but when it comes to my phone, things are a little out of hand. I currently have 1,600 photos on my phone, and I have run out of storage space in the iCloud, so none of these photos are backed up. I preface this post with all of this Information, because I am sure a lot of you will be nodding in understanding that you too are in a similar situation.
At Christmas time last year, I came across the idea of making photo books from Instagram on a quarterly basis as a way of doing something more with iPhone photos. I would love to be able to tell you where I found this idea, but I am afraid everything I had within me was consumed with loving my newborn baby and learning how to keep her alive, so details like this have slipped right out of my memory. One of the stumbling blocks I have found in the past with making photo books has been the overwhelming feeling that comes when I'm sat at my computer with hundreds and hundreds of photos to choose from. It is very easy for the process of making a photobook to take many hours to do, and so having learned about being overwhelmed from past experience, I was keen to create order out of my photos before chaos descended and it all began to feel like an impossible task.

The idea of making a photo book every three months from photos that I had gradually curated and shared each week via Instagram felt totally achieveable, even with a newborn baby. With the two photo books that I have made so far, they have both included about 50 photos each, which is a very manageable number of photos to deal with at any one time, rather than hundreds, or even thousands, which is what I would be faced with if I left it a whole year before making a photo book that includes snapshots of our first year with Ruby.

In terms of the format of my photobooks, I knew that I wanted them to be hardbacks, as these will be far more durable once they are exposed to little hands. In the past, I have also printed softcover photobooks, and have loved these too, so if you're looking for a slightly cheaper option, I am sure that you will love the end product of the soft books too.

I chose to print my photobooks with Blurb, as I have used this company in the past and been very pleased with the quality of their books. I toyed with the idea of printing through Artifact Uprising, who make beautiful products, and are a small company, but as they're based in America, this bumps up the cost of shipping, and adds in a whole lot of air miles that I could avoid by printing through Blurb.

I plan on making all of my Instagram books in the smallest size available through Blurb, which is 7" x 7". The square format works perfectly with the square format of Instagram photos, and this is a lovely size that is manageable for small hands. The prospect of filling up a bookshelf with these photobooks over the years excites me no end, and I cannot wait to get started on my third book at the end of June. I see this excitement as a very good indicator that this plan for quarterly photobooks as just as achieveable as I had hoped it would be at the outset.

{back covers of my two Blurb Instagram books}

I would love to hear from you on this topic - do you print your digital photos, or make photobooks? If so, do you try and make them on a regular basis, or is it a more ad hoc thing for you? Please feel free to share your ideas, thoughts and questions in the comments!

{All photos included in this post are from my Instagram feed, taken with my iPhone 4s.}