How was your holiday? Chances are, however splendid it was at the time, that relaxed feeling will fade all too quickly. Still, there are ways to hang on to the memories.
Photo books are the modern, classier photo album. And because they’re done professionally, by companies such as PhotoBox, there’s no painstaking work with glue and scissors. Better yet, they take up less space on the bookshelf than conventional albums. Here are our top tips for how to make a tip-top album that will keep the holiday memory alive.
1 Study your material
First, assemble all the photos you took on your holiday. The more stuff you have to work with, the better. So get every family member to chip in with their images, whether they were shot on smartphones or point-and-shoot compact cameras. If you took a disposable film camera (and honestly, where did you find one?) you’ll need to scan the prints first.
2 Plan your strategy
Once you’ve got all your images together, work out how to tell your story. It doesn’t have to be chronological, but you don’t want it to be confusing, either. If image 12 is waving goodbye to paradise on your way home, image 13 probably shouldn’t be your first morning on holiday, pasty and tired.
3 Check your photos carefully
What looks great on a smartphone or compact camera LCD screen may not bear closer scrutiny. Photo albums are high quality so will show every flaw. The biggest disappointment is when you zoom in on a photo only to find it’s out of focus – blurry almost never works and you’ll regret your choice later.
4 Be ruthless
Once they’re in the book, they’re there to stay so if there’s a photo you’re unsure about, junk it. Better to have fewer pages you’re really happy with than to go up to the next book size and find there are snaps that let you down. Less can be more – you’re out to make an impact.
5 Look closely
So the photo doesn’t work as it is, but what if you crop it cleverly to remove that tourist who wandered into shot? Or flipped it so the subjects are looking towards the edge of the book rather than the middle? Mind, though, that there’s no writing or other detail that gives away that this is a mirror image!
6 Think in pairs
You’ll be able to see up to 12 photos at a time when the book is open so think how they’re going to sit together. If people are looking to the right on a left-hand page, make sure what they seem to be looking at on the right-hand page doesn’t look comical. Unless that’s what you’re going for, of course.
7 Work the drama
If you have a picture of a spilt ice cream and a frowning child, pairing them will create a story. Or a look of rapture in one shot and a gleaming panorama would have a different narrative. Be creative – chronology can go out of the window if it means you can create a powerful juxtaposition.
8 Light fantastic
Make sure your photos are bright enough – nobody wants to squint at dark shadowy shots. Anyway, this is meant to bring back happy memories so unless you went potholing, the more light the better. Even the most basic photo editing software can brighten dark shots, though mind how you go, bleached out is too much. Sometimes in print a photo can darken when it’s not backlit on a computer, to err towards brighter.
9 Touching up photos
In general, there’s nothing wrong with fixing things in post-production, as they say in Hollywood. We’re not talking whole body reshaping – that just makes real life a disappointment – but red-eye removal is essential and it’s a good idea to straighten the horizon. The more you do now, the better the result will be. Services like PhotoBox come with photo editing software to help you do this like adding a variety of effects (filters). You can adjust the brightness, contrast, sharpness, saturation and also edit things like red eye and blemishes.
10 Experiment with effects
Ask yourself, will this photo look more dramatic in black and white, opposite a vividly coloured beach scene on the opposite page? Or try sepia, perhaps. You’re going to be looking at this book in five years’ time, or showing it to friends so make it look better than just a random series of smiles.
11 And next time
The great thing about working on an photo album now is it’ll plant ideas in your head for what you should shoot on your next holiday. If you noticed there was no shot of you arriving at your hotel, or just too many sunsets (though, actually, you can’t have too many sunsets), you can adjust accordingly on the following holiday. Next year’s photo album will be even better!