How I create my holiday photo books

Overview

When creating a holiday photo book or any other photo book for that matter it really pays to think and plan in advance (and I’m talking, even before you go on holiday). This blog gives some key principles (in no particular order) I apply to new projects. At the bottom of the blog I have attached a pdf and a hires version of a workflow I use when working through a piece of work. Hopefully you can apply a few of these ideas and principles into your own future projects. 

Tell a story about the trip

First impressions count, so jot down your immediate thoughts on arrival! Then, as each day passes, note down what you got up to. By the time you get back home unless you’ve written all of this down you’re going to have a tough time remembering what you got up to and in the order you did it! 

  • Describe your: location (countryside or city) /accommodation/atmosphere/people/local area (modern or old)/weather/restaurants/food/bars/costs/beaches etc.
  • What was the local food like, best restaurant, was it reasonable or expensive, how much were taxis/hire cars, a glass of wine/beer? 
  • Did you do any activities or travel to other locations? Did you travel by car/bus/train/plane/boat?

Workflow

This is the workflow I use after I come back from holiday.

  • Create a folder in Lightroom naming it with the location visited, the month and year.
  • Download all images from cameras into the folder above.
  • Import all files into Lightroom.
  • Start the picture culling process. Be brave, be bold, there’s no room on the HD for all those second rate images – Reject all that don’t make the cut. Delete all over/under exposures, blurry/out of focus shots. Get rid of all the rubbish and if using bracketed/continuous shooting modes, pick the best one out the bunch. I do this three to five times on average until I whittle it down to about 10%-30% of the original import.
    I delete the rejects and save the rest in readiness for the book.
  • I think about the format of the book I want to create and then make the decision as to portrait or landscape and the physical size (page count doesn’t matter at this stage as it’s really easy to add or subtract pages as you layout the book).
  • I start editing pictures and then flowing them into the page layout. 
  • Type-up my journal I kept on holiday and decide whether to keep it in one section of spread it throughout the book.
  • Creating the map and infographic is next.
  • Organise book into sections if needed.
  • Once everything has been flowed into the book and I am happy with the layout I will go through captioning all images that require a description.
  • First proof stage. I create a pdf version of the book and print a hard copy. I then use this to markup any issues needing correction such as typos, spelling, layout and and further image editing requirements.
  • Make all corrections as marked upon first proof, create pdf, print off a hard copy and markup any additional amends. On average this could take anything between two to five times but it’s an essential part of the proofing process.  
  • Once the above is complete I am happy to proceed to print. I will choose the quantity, paper stock, and cover type before uploading online a hires pdf to Blurb’s website for them to print. I can then relax and start getting excited about receiving my very own unique holiday photo book.

Book sizes and finishes

There’s a diverse array of sizes and finishes to choose from. Think about:

  • Size: do you want to create a pocket book or coffee table book.
  • Orientation: portrait or landscape.
  • Cover: hardcover image wrap, hardcover dust jacket or soft cover. 
  • Paper type: lustre, matte, uncoated or pearle (this will not only affect how the images will look on the paper but it will also have a big impact on how the book will actually feel. We’re talking tactile, Personally, for me I love the look and feel of an uncoated paper.

Create a holiday map

Create a holiday map showing your location in relation to the local area/town/city or country visiting. You might want to include:

  • Location of the hotel.
  • Places of interest/visited.
  • Use a recurring theme of the area to incorporate into the map such as colours/typography/textures/architecture/shapes and plants.

Applications used to create photo book’s

  • Adobe Lightroom: for storing, editing and creating the photo book.
  • PhotoShop: for finer editing control over images, creating montages and other images that can’t be created in Lightroom.
  • Illustrator: for creating graphics for the infographic and maps.
  • Blurb: for producing photo books.

Create a holiday infographic

Creating an infographic is a great way to visually show, at a glance, key important information about your holiday. So we’re talking about:

  • Accommodation details and places visited.
  • Flight details: carrier, airports, dep/arrival times.
  • Cost details: flights, accommodation, and spending money.
  • Exchange rates.
  • Length of stay.
  • Equipment. Technology is cracking along at a pace! It’s interesting to look back over time and see what equipment you took on a trip and how it has evolved over time so make sure to include cameras and lenses.
  • The total number of pictures taken (it’s an eye opener to see the comparison between the number of pictures captured, compared to the keepers! 

Layout, theme, and flow

You can choose from template-driven layouts to get started or go all freestyle and created your own unique look. Incorporate the essence of your holiday in the form of colours and typography. Don’t forget how much of an impact the type of paper you print the book on will also have. Consider the following:

  • Fonts.
  • Colour.
  • Page numbers: Bottom or top centred/left or right, or middle of the page.
  • Page layout: Clean/creative/portfolio or travel inspired.
  • Use captions for pictures.
  • Write an overview of the holiday.
  • Create sections describing accommodation (inc bedroom, bathroom, living room, balcony, grounds) pool, local area, trips etc.

Equipment used

I used to travel with a DSLR, at least two lenses (a wide angle, 10-20mm and telephoto, 28-135mm), filters and all the usual accessories. I got so fed up of constantly changing lenses, equipment being too bulky, awkward and rather heavy to carry around with the other usual holiday essentials stash in my backpack. And finally I really didn’t want to take it out at night.

There’s no one camera or lens that does it all. The camera I chose to fulfill my particular travel photography needs was the Sony RX system. It’s so small, lightweight, the spec of the camera and quality of images are amazing. I also take a GoPro along for the same reason but with the added bonus of being waterproof and having an amazing wide angle lens!

  • Sony RX 100 IV.
  • GoPro Hero 6.
  • Gorilla Pod.
  • A6 notebook.

 

Below are six pictures showing some of my holiday photo book covers.

The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-29The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-38The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-22The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-6The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-16The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-5

 

The below three images show the different types of introductory text I have used to describe the overall holidays.

Below are examples of holiday maps and infographics from various holiday photo books.

The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-4The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-21The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-28The Shortbread Shed-photobooks-44

 

Below is a slideshow showing various spreads from different holiday books

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Below are pictures showing the different layouts of sections I have used for the various photo books. The sections range from Accommodation, location, tours, the pool to road trips.

 

Below are two hires images detailing my workflow process. You can also download a free pdf which describes and shows you the creative process I go through when creating a holiday photo book.

S121_How to create a holiday photo book

 

 

The beer with a bang is back for bonfire night.

The explosive big bang home-brew trilogy is back in time for bonfire night. 

Big Bang, Short Fuse, and Pocket Rocket, my home-brew beers have made a welcome return this October just in time for bonfire night. 

The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-1

The trilogy is back this October!

I haven’t made a home-brew for a while now and since we’re heading into deepest and darkest autumn I thought it was time to get the beer making kit out and start the brewing process in readiness for the long winter nights!

I have always loved watching fireworks but I also get just as excited by looking at the brilliant designs, typography, vivid colours, packaging, shapes and sizes of the actual firework themselves. The graphic design plays just as an important role to me as the explosive bang it produces.

Last year I wanted to pay homage to these British iconic symbols for my latest home-brew project underway at the time. For this autumn I wanted to create a just as suitably appropriate label. I thought to myself why not resurrect last years version instead of trying to reinvent the wheel!

And so I dusted off the printer, inserted ink cartridges and breathed a new lease of life into one of my favorite beer labels. CHEERS.

For full details on the fireworks beer label design process, click here Firecracker beer.

 

The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-3

A homage to the classic pocket rockets.

 

The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-5

Light the fuse and stay well back! A close up of the tissue paper used to cover the bottle top, designed to look like the classic tough papers on top of fireworks and rockets.

 

The Shortbread Shed- Firecracker beer label-4

A closeup of the beer labels showing the three distinct logos, typography and colours used to reflect the classic firework packaging

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The Firecracker party pack packaging above.

 

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Artwork for Pocket Rocket, Short Fuse and The Big Bang beer labels.

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Party pack packaging artwork.
firecracker beer flag
Artwork for the party pack stick flag.

For previous beer label creations click the links for FlipperooneyThe Wonky Woo Wa and Spring has Sprung

5 things that got me gingered up this October

Can you believe we’re almost halfway through October already, where does the time go? Tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to get to a balmy 23 degrees in London – in mid October! I know, crazy right? Anyway, apart from the weather grabbing my attention, below are five creative hot topics that have my curiosity all fired up.

I hope at least a couple of these links will ignite your inquisitiveness nature and you find them as thoughtful and as useful as I did. Until next time, enjoy the late seasonal sunny weather.

 

No.1 // Typography – Wieden + Kennedy London

A typographic treat for the new Honda Civic  created by Wieden + Kennedy London.

 

No.2 // Topography – The National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland has a brilliant site where you can view old maps overlaid on current views. You can flip back and fourth seeing in an instant what it used to be like over the years – fascinating.

 

No.3 // Podcast – Hurry Slowly

Hurry Slowly is a podcast about how you can be more productive, creative, and resilient by simply slowing down.

Now in it’s second season and hosted by the curious mind of Jocelyn K. Glei. It’s a great podcast on ideas for finding more creativity and meaning in our daily lives. There’s some great interviews covering a diverse array of topics that have really made me think about the way I work and spend my time.

 

No.4 // Newsletter – Dense Discovery

Dense Discovery is a weekly subscription newsletter edited by Kai Brach who is also the publisher of the super duper Offscreen Magazine. Dense Discovery is a curated mix of practical and inspirational links to inspiring technology, design, philosophy, psychology and culture. Some other great links take you to useful apps, tools, and websites,  accessories for the office/home, inspiring art and design projects and some great content covering Thought-provoking things to read, listen and watch.

 

No.5 // Illustration/illustrator – David Tazzyman

If you have young children and you like collecting some fine art children picture books I can highly recommend the illustrator David Tazzyman. I have a couple of his picture books at home (You can’t take an elephant on a bus and Eleanor’s Eyebrows) and love his loose illustration pen style. His whimsical freestyle approach of the characters in the books are excellent and I love the graphical treatment to the backgrounds. Even if you don’t have kids I’m sure you will appreciate the magnificent illustrations David creates.

I don’t surf and I don’t ride custom-built motorbikes… but I do LOVE this brand.

Deus Ex Machina is the company and I’ve followed this Australian brand after discovering it on the internet and immediately fell in love.

The Shortbread Shed-Deux-05098I was fortunate enough to be on holiday in Bali this year and knew Deus has a flagship store on the island near Canggu, not too far from where I would be located. Intriguingly called the Temple of Enthusiasm, with a name like that who could resist the temptation to go and seek out the hallowed temple and check out first hand, why I have developed such a crush on them.

Deus ex Machina (god from the machine) was born in Australia back in 2005. It’s more a philosophy than a brand, it’s one incredibly creative company. Founder Dare Jennings and Co-Founder Carby Tuckwell wanted to build a company that represented the things they loved without exclusion. It started with their passion for motorcycles and a desire to build custom bikes and parts.

Still located within the original building from back in the day, the company has transformed from a small two hoist garage with a shop attached to the now global headquarters of this creatively diverse multidisciplinary house of fun, known as The House of Simple Pleasures!

The thing I really love about this brand is that creativity seems to flow through its veins like petrol through an engine. So not only do they do amazing custom built motorbikes they also produce surfboards, pedal bikes, clothing, artwork, Vinyl, apparel to movies, events, cafe’s and restaurants.

So, on a hot sunny sticky day, I set out in search of the Temple of Enthusiasm. The Temple can be found on JI. Batu Mejan No.4 Canggu, on one of the many tributary roads flowing down to the beach, some 15 minutes walk away. It’s not just a surf shop, it’s more of a compound, a hub for selling and exhibiting their creativity. You have the usual surf gear, apparel, clothing, flip-flops, wallets, t-shirts and surfboards but then you have an exhibition space, a restaurant, a cafe, a barbers, a custom surfboard workshop, a custom motorbike workshop, a photo studio, a bike show area, an outdoor eating/drinking/events area and an office, oh and don’t forget the skate park!

The Shortbread Shed-Deux-3The Shortbread Shed-Deux-5From an empty space the Temple rose and from two sides, rice fields frame the multidisciplinary complex layout. They even imported traditional Javanese Teak wooden houses to form part of the facility which is incredibly beautiful in and of themselves.

On entering, I immediately got that young boyish excited feeling like walking into a toy shop and being overwhelmed by choice and possibilities, it was a designers dream come true.

Deus have put their creative stamp on just about everything within the Temple. From beer coasters and sugar sachets (I managed to liberate a couple as a memento) to the large hand painted motorbike murals adorning the inside and outside walls.

Art is an intrinsic part of the brand. Yes, they make amazing custom built motorbikes and surfboards and thousands of other cool stuff, but it’s everything in-between that makes this amazing creative brand who they are.

I absolutely loved the whole Deus brand experience and philosophy. Their message is spreading and temples are beginning to appear around the globe from Sydney Australia where it all began to Bali, France, Madrid, Milan, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. “The stores are all different, a seed that grows into a different tree depending on the local soil it’s planted in, but they all ultimately share the same routes”.