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?
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:
- 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.
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 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.
Below is a slideshow showing various spreads from different holiday books
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