Updated: May 1
Welcome to Step 2!
You have hopefully completed Step 1 of the '5 Step' programme.
But if not, please click here to see Step 1.
If you HAVE read it 😇, then you will have chosen your project theme. ✅🎊
So the next step is to decide which Photobook company to use and to create an album with that supplier where you put your images.
There are loads of UK companies out there to choose from, many of which i have listed at the bottom of this blog.
But here are some handy tips, for what to look for, when choosing your Photobook supplier:
Hardback, Softback, A4, Square, A5, A3, Spiralbound?
I personally like an A4 hardback book as they’re more hardwearing for my kids. You can label the spine, so they are easy to find on your bookshelf. And if you have young kids, then their mucky finger marks can be wiped from the front!
However, i did some soft-back spiral bound books for a special trip to London for each of my kids a few years ago. These were small (only 20 pages or so). But they look pretty worn now and haven't really stood the test of time! However, they weren't expensive (maybe £13 each?) so it was a good budget alternative.
There are even some books with a 'cut out' aperture at the front. This book below is actually pretty old, so i'm sure there are some nicer covers out there! But it just shows you some variety of styles.
There are some absolutely gorgeous styles on various websites, so have a look at the list at the bottom of this blog and do some research.
How many pages?
You can choose from between 25 and 160 pages! It’s up to you. It depends on your budget and the number of photos you have. If you are being kind to yourself ❤️ and if it’s your first book, then maybe stick to one photo per page.
Step 3 of my “Photobook process” involves choosing your photos, so right now, it may be hard to know exactly how many pages you need.
Do not panic.
You can easily add and remove pages as you create your book. More on this in Step 3.
What’s the page quality like?
The thickness of pages for most photobook companies starts at 170gsm, which is absolutely fine. I have always used this page thickness in my books. But you can often upgrade it, if you want a thicker page which feels higher quality. It will cost more, but not massively much more.
How much does it cost?
This depends on the overall size and the number of pages (25 - 160). Here is a mini guide:
Looking at Photobox.co.uk's standard prices, then:
A5 starts from £14.99
A4 starts from £36.99 (these are my favourite size).
A3 from £49.99
Smaller books (13cm x 13cm) from £9.99
Square books from £36.99.
These prices may seem rather a lot.
However...here is the good news! 🎊
There are many deals online, so have a snoop around.
Sign up to photobook company newsletters to hear about their different offers. I regularly receive emails with news of a discounted price, like 40% off, which is a massive saving.
I have never paid full price for a book.
Photobox also regularly offers a deal where you buy a "credit", which gives you 3 months to create your book for a reduced price. This is handy, as it gives you a deadline. And who doesn’t love a deadline?
(I often find a deadline such a big motivator. Why else would i be staying up til midnight on a Monday evening, desperately trying to finish off my photobook before my credit runs out?!)
The only time this DIDN'T work, was when i bought a 3 month credit on 24th September. This meant that my deadline was on 24th December...aka Christmas Eve! (I had enough on my 'to-do list' that night, so i had to finish it a week before!)
Can I add text?
Some people aren’t too bothered about adding text. They just want to put the photos in one place and get printing.
Others like to put some text in there, like funny comments or locations etc.
I’m one of the latter.
I LOVE this bit!
I pour myself a glass of wine and pretend that I’m Victoria Wood with my random funny remarks!
Most photobook companies let you add text.
A few companies don’t, but these are mainly the ones which you order straight from your phone.
So just double check this before you commit.
Who do i use?
I have tended to use Photobox for most of my books, so that all my photos are stored by one company. (As a professional photographer, I do have lots of other storage systems elsewhere, but most people won’t. So you may find that the photobook company you DO pick, will be the one that you’ll remain with.)
Am i on commission from Photobox?
No! I'm just sharing my advice! But i have tended to use them for years. They have a wide range of book styles, and lots of other photo products too. So once my photos are uploaded onto their site, i can not only create a photobook, but i can also create a diary, sponge bag gift or a mug, without having to upload my photos again.
I also find that if i stick to using one company, then i become used to their software, so my confidence grows each time.
So you have picked your supplier...now what?
So once you have looked at the list of photobook companies below, then you will be able to pick your chosen supplier. I would love to hear which company you have picked and how you get on. Once you have picked your supplier, then you will need to create an account with them (for free) and think of a password.
It's time to create your album:
Create an album on their website, so that you will be all organised and ready to add your photos to the album in a week or so. (That's in Step 4). It may look something like this:
You should call the album the same name as your photobook, like "Greece 2019", or "Jonny's 50th party" or "My Fab Life now that i'm divorced!"
Don't do anything yet with this album! Leave it empty for now.
Mini technical warning coming up...
In the past, if i am using my phone and there has been the option of either:
a) using the Photobox app on my phone...
b) using the photobox website www.photobox.co.uk on my phone (via Google/ safari)...
then I tend to use their website. Not the app.
I know this sounds a bit crazy, but sometimes Photobox's app doesn’t talk to its website! Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't.
But do feel free to use their app. And if it doesn't work, then use their website on your phone.
Or use their website on your phone. And if it doesn't work, use their app!
I hope this makes sense?!
So, here is the list of photobook companies that i know of in the UK.
https://popsa.com/ (this is app only, so only use this from your phone)
I'm sure there are many more too.
I don’t have experience of all of these companies. So I would be really interested to hear your thoughts. Have a look online and do some research. It is such a personal choice.
Techradar have written a review of some UK companies, which is worth a read:
One day i may try to do a blog review of them all, but i'm afraid i haven't done that yet!
So here’s your checklist to consider for your photobook:
What's your budget? ✅
What size? ✅
Page quality ✅
Can I add text? ✅
No of pages (this can be decided in Step 3) ✅
Choose your supplier ✅
Create an account with the supplier ✅
Create an album with that supplier, but leave it empty for now ✅
So this week...your homework is to do your research, choose your photobook supplier and create an (empty) album.
That's it! Nice jolly happy homework!
Enjoy! And when you're ready, click below for Step 3:
Photo credit: Jack Black as Dewey Finn @ Paramount