0 items in your basket

Total: £0.00

Go to shopping basket
(0) items £0.00 Checkout

Fotospeed Photographers

Showcasing your prints: Lizzie Shepherd on how to make a handmade photo book

Posted: 06 Feb 2019

Lizzie Shepherd is a professional landscape photographer, speaker, teacher, and writer, based in North Yorkshire. Lizzie specialises in landscape, nature and travel, and commercial photography, and exhibits her work on a regular basis. To create her handmade photo books, Lizzie uses Fotospeed’s High White Smooth Duo Lite paper. You can find out more about Lizzie here.

Showcasing your prints

There’s nothing quite like seeing an image roll off the printer – it takes me back to my university days, when I used to spend hours in the darkroom, developing and printing black and white photographs. The technology may be different, but the principles behind what makes a compelling print remain, and the excitement is undiminished.

Whilst producing a single print is incredibly gratifying, creating a series of prints can be even more rewarding. Better still, is to find a way to curate and showcase these prints. An exhibition might be one route; but another, more accessible, option is to create a book. If you want ultimate control of this process, then a handmade photo book is your friend.


The first step into creating your handmade photo book 

There are plenty of resources available for those wanting to go down this route, but I would heartily recommend considering attending a workshop. I went to one in 2015 with John Blakemore, and another in 2018 with Joe Wright. Both of these events were no less than inspirational – I learned far more than just the practicalities of how to create a handmade book (both glue and stab bound). 

Arguably the most important thing is gaining an understanding of how you might go about selecting and sequencing the images you include in your photo book. This includes accepting that you might need to leave out some of your favourite images – if they don’t fall in line with the overall theme or are visually inconsistent, then they don’t go in. I had to remind myself of this when I eventually got around to creating my first, post-course, books. I decided to create two books with identical content, with the subject being a favourite little lochan on the Isle of Harris. I opted for a concertina, glue-bound book with a hard cover, and a Japanese stab bound book with a flexible card cover.



Selecting the right images for your photo book

With a good range of images to choose from, I knew I would have to be fairly brutal when it came to selection. I started by making a collection in Lightroom, including all potential candidates. Reviewing the images on screen, I started to remove those that either didn’t fit the mood I wanted to create, or ones that were visually inconsistent. This meant leaving out a few I was very fond of, such as the image below.



Next, I made small prints of all of the remaining images and laid these out on a desk. I shuffled them around, gradually getting a sense of what was going to work and how I could ensure a good flow of content. Another five images were removed and I was down to a manageable ten. Further shuffling ensued and, eventually, I had a sequence that worked for me. I then had to consider any text I wanted to include and allocate pages accordingly. I knew I wanted a few words of explanation and a beautiful quote by Elliott Erwitt which was very kindly sent to me by a workshop client.


Choosing the right paper 

I had acquired some Fotospeed High White Smooth Duo Lite paper for making both photo books. Only the stab bound book required any double-sided printing, but the weight of this paper is perfect and, even if you don’t need to print on both sides, it’s far nicer to have a uniform look and feel to every single page.



Ensuring the best flow and page spread

Most styles of stab bound books are, by nature, quite tight at their spine. For this reason, I went for a reasonably generous 27x20cm size for this book. I allowed a generous margin on each side, but particularly for the bound side of the book. It was possible to fit four images on a single sheet of A2 paper and I printed each with a thin border so I could easily cut to size on my Rotatrim.



I had to think carefully about any pages that were to be printed on both sides, as well as including the odd blank page to ensure the best flow and page spread as each page is turned. 



Planning is key

The concertina photo book required even more meticulous planning. I first made a tiny mock-up with a few scribbled pages, just to make sure it would work as I intended. As the book is spineless, I was able to opt for a tiny size of just under 15x14cm. This allowed me to use a run of four pages per long side width of A2 paper, with three rows fitting on each sheet. I had to think very hard about what I needed in the way of crop lines and markers for where I needed to fold each page, using the print module in Lightroom to set this up.



You also have to allow for small tabs on one end to join the pages together and a tab on both ends for the first set of pages so that you can glue them onto the cover. Then you have to make sure you crease each page in the correct direction so that it folds properly. There really is a lot to think about and it’s extremely easy to mess it up!



Choosing your cover

When it comes to materials to use for your cover, there are endless choices available. I used book board and covered it with a textured Canson pastel paper, then selected a handmade printed paper for lining the inside of the cover. I was reminded just what a lot of time is required to make this style of book – it really is a labour of love!



I do particularly enjoy this style of photo book, however, because it lets you reveal as much, or as little, of the content as you choose. You can, if you have the space, unfold the whole thing, or you can reveal a set of images that work as a theme.

This is where pre-planning is so essential – with the placement of any blank pages and text being crucial to the flow of content. The concertina book, in particular, is extremely tactile – perhaps due in part to the inclusion of slightly textured hard covers. However, I think the fact that the viewer can choose how they interact with the book also plays its part. In my opinion, it’s the harder of the two types of book to make, and it takes up a lot more time but, for now, it’s my favourite of the two!



Want more ideas on how to improve your photography and prints? Check out the rest of our blog, or get in touch to see how Fotospeed can help!


If you would like to stay on top of all the latest information from Fotospeed don't forget to sign up to our Newsletter


Recent Fotospeed Photographers Posts

View All Blog Posts

Follow Fotospeed

Get all the latest news and information on Fotospeed products, promotions and more…

Back to Top
Jay House LTD T/A Fotospeed
Unit 6B, Park Lane Industrial Estate, Corsham, SN13 9LG, UK.
T: +44 (0)1249 714 555 F: +44 (0)1249 714 999 E: info@fotospeed.com
Copyright © 2021 Fotospeed
Website Design by axisfirst. Powered by axis vMerchant.
Back to Top
This site uses cookies. By continuing to access this site you are accepting the use of cookies by this site.
Read more about cookies...

Cookies are small text files stored on your device when you access most websites on the internet.

This Website uses cookies in order to make the Website easier to use, to support the provision of information and functionality to you, as well as to provide us with information about how the Website is used so that we can make sure it is as up to date, relevant and error free as far as we can. Further information about the types of cookies that are used on this Website is set out in the box below.

By using this Website you agree to our use of cookies. You can choose to restrict or block cookies set on the Website through your browser settings at any time. For more information about how to do this, and about cookies in general, you can visit www.allaboutcookies.org. Please note that certain cookies may be set as soon as you visit the Website, but you can remove them using your browser settings.

However, please be aware that restricting or blocking cookies set on the Website may impact the functionality or performance of the Website, or prevent you from using certain services provided through the Website. It will also affect our ability to update the Website to cater for user preferences and improve performance.

We don’t sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to law enforcement agencies).

We may sometimes embed content from 3rd party websites such as YouTube. As a result, when you visit a page containing such content, you may be presented with cookies from these websites. We do not control the dissemination of these cookies and you should check the relevant third party's website for more information.

Cookies We Use

Cookie Description
CookieConfirm The presence of this cookie is used to remember the fact that you have confirmed that you are happy to accept cookies
ASPSESSIONIDxxxxxxxx This is a Session Cookie (session cookies are temporary and are erased when you close your browser). It identifies you from one page to the next and is used, for example, to keep track of your logged-in status.
UserID, account, password These cookies are used to remember your login credentials for when you next visit our website. They are only created if you choose the “Remember Me” option on the login page.
_utma, _utmb, _utmc, _utmz These are cookies created by Google Analytics and are used to provide us information on which web pages are the most popular, and the most popular search terms used by visitors arriving at our site.