Photo Contest Insider Blog


How to Self-Publish a Book of Your Own Photography

October 4, 2016

I’m sure many photographers might find this scenario familiar: you’ve just captured a stunning series of images that you’re so proud of and would love to see them in print form. Sometimes, nothing beats the feeling of pride you get when gently turning page after page of your own photographic work.

You may also be wondering though, exactly how can I get my photographs in book form? Do I have to secure a publishing deal? What if I’m only an emerging photographer?

The good news is that you can actually self-publish a book of your own photographs and this needn’t be a difficult or expensive task! Today, I’m going to walk you through some of the most important things you need to know about this process.

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Self-publishing vs traditional publishing:

Firstly, it’s probably important to point out the differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing! According to Scribendi, traditional publishing involves a process like this: “If the publishing house decides to publish the book, the house buys the rights from the writer and pays him or her an advance on future royalties. The house puts up the money to design and package the book, prints as many copies of the book as it thinks will sell, markets the book, and finally distributes the finished book to the public.”

On the other hand, Scribendi explain: “With self-publishing, the author has much greater control over the contents, design, and appearance, as well as where the book is marketed and distributed.”

Popular platforms for self-publishing photography books:

The other good news is that there are multiple self-publishing platforms which walk you through the process of creating, printing, and ordering your own photography book. Whether you want just one book for yourself, a few to give to loved ones, or even as many copies that are printed to order – these platforms will let you do all of this and more.

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Blurb:

Blurb lets you “turn your ideas into professional print books, magazines, or ebooks for iPad and Kindle.” Photo books are one of their most popular products and their BookWright software contains easy-to-use features which make it easy for you to create and customize your book. BookWright allows you to easily drag and drop your images into layouts, plus you can choose from a range of pre-designed templates or customize your own layouts. Other creation options include ‘Make your book online’ which allows you to make a book quickly and easily without downloading anything. You can also use the free Adobe InDesign Plug-In or upload a ready-made PDF to turn it into a Blurb-friendly book size.

Momento Pro:

Momento Pro is the first and finest on-demand hardcover book producer dedicated to professional, student and emerging photographers and creatives living in Australia and New Zealand. If you’re based in these countries and don’t fancy paying the expensive shipping costs that often come with choosing overseas publishers, then this might be a great option for you! The Momento Pro software also has an automatic fill function that allows you to import designs created in Photoshop or InDesign to create a print-ready file before uploading and ordering.

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Lulu:

Lulu allows photographers to showcase their work with archive-quality, full color, hardcover & paperback options. The creation and publishing process can be completed in just 6 steps, including:

1. Write, edit and format your book.
2. Choose your book size, paper, and binding.
3. Enter your title and author name.
4. Upload your formatted book file.
5. Create your book cover.
6. Publish.

BookBaby:

Rather than sum-up the awesomeness that is BookBaby, I’ll let them do the talking: “BookBaby offers you the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe. It’s now possible for you to reach a worldwide audience, keep 100% of your book’s net earnings, retain the rights to your work, and maintain total creative control. BookBaby provides everything you need to professionally publish and distribute your book, without ever having to sell-out to ‘big publishing.’”

Snapfish

Snapfish:

Snapfish is another popular and affordable option for photographers to print their own photo books. You can choose from a variety of sizes and styles, including softcover, hardcover, linen and leather options. Snapfish states: “Creating your very own book doesn’t have to be hard work. The ability to import photos from Facebook or your mobile, coupled with ready-made designer layouts and photo auto-fill features means getting from idea to print-ready book takes a matter of minutes.”

What to consider when printing your own photo book:

Firstly, decide upon a service for printing your own photo book. You might be interested in one of the platforms mentioned above, or alternatively, you’re also welcome to do some research and find your own.

You’ll want to take things into consideration such as the ease at creating your photo book through the platform, how much shipping costs, what size book you would like, and even what type of paper or materials you would like it to include.

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The editing process of creating your own photo book can also be quite a difficult task. It’s important to only put your best work in there and the photographs which really convey the overall theme (if applicable) that you want to showcase. Experiment with different layouts before finalizing your creation, for example, which images look best when grouped together? If there seems to be a single or set of images which look out of place in your larger body of work (your photo book), then perhaps it’s best to leave them out.

The complete, step-by-step process of creating your own photo book will largely depend on what platform you decide to make it on, so it’s best to do your research beforehand. The best thing about choosing to self-publish through a photo book platform is that they will guide you through the process and often offer shortcuts or easy-to-use services which help you to quickly and successfully create exactly what you had in mind.

Best of luck!