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The Gambia photobook

I seem to remember promising to post something about the Gambia photobook once I’d received the finished product. Which I did a couple of weeks ago. And I finally got around to taking pictures of it in daylight last week. So. Here goes, prepare for rather a lot of images:

I should have spent more time designing a cover.

I should have spent more time designing a cover.

I sort of forgot that I needed a cover. So I ended up just pulling out four random images that I’d not had occasion to use inside the book and plopping them into the spots suggested by the default layout. With hindsight I should have spent a bit more time investigating the options, I’d probably have preferred another base colour than white, for example, but it works, and I guess that’s the important thing.

It's quite thick.

It's quite thick.

I ended up with close on 80 pages, and it’s printed on photo paper which makes it even thicker. However, it’s slimmer than I feared, I was a bit worried that it would be so thick as to be unmanageable, but it’s not. Far from it. It feels hefty and lovely, but is not so heavy that you need a reading table.

Continuous printing across two pages.

Continuous printing across two pages.

Another benefit of the photo paper version: The two facing pages are actually printed on one large sheet, and the sheets are glued back to back to create the book. This means that the book opens completely and no part of the page is lost “in the crease”.

Lies flat, without any support.

Lies flat, without any support.

It also lies flat on the table (or floor in this case). No need to hold it open.

Minimalist design. Me?

Minimalist design. Me?

I’m normally more of a maximalist than a minimalist, but just when it comes to photos I find I like as little noise as possible around them. I considered serveral design options for this album, and was planning, at the very least, to choose a colour scheme that I’d use for a few frames, titles and brush swirls. But once I started pulling together the pictures, I realised they worked so well on their own that embellishment would distract rather than add, so I discarded the idea.

The one digital scrapbboking supply I used was a set of templates called “Off to Press” by Paislee Press, available at Oscraps. The templates are for an 8×10 album, so I’ve gone through them and resized them to 12×12. I’ve also moved photo and text spots around a bit on quite a few of the pages, as well as resizing or even duplicating photo spots as needed. I really love this template set, as it helped me keep the look reasonably consistent and encouraging copious amounts of white space while being simple enough to be exceedingly flexible. 

Ssssssnakes.

Ssssssnakes.

I’m really glad that I went for the photo paper option and didn’t fall for the temptation to save a few kroner by choosing a less expensive format. The clarity is really outstanding, any blur in the images is my fault entirely.

An example of a spread where the coninuous printing works at its best.

An example of a spread where the coninuous printing works at its best.

The other supply I used was a couple of actions from Pioneer Woman’s free action sets. Every image has had either “Boost” or “Define and sharpen” run on it, though on some I’ve reduced the opacity of the action layer(s) to avoid an overly processed look. In a few cases I’ve also used “Slight lighten”. Actions are a great way to get quick results for us lazy people, and I don’t think I’d have been able to finish the album on time without them.

A page with a date.

A page with a date.

I normally date all my digital pages (with the date of the photos/subject, not date of creation), but since this is a cohesive album of one week’s trip, I only kept the date on the first page for each day.

All in all, I’m really thrilled with how this turned out. I had a serious attack of “Squee!” when I unwrapped this. The book, by the way, is printed at Japan Photo, who use a system called CEWE, which I suspect is available through other chains in Europe also, though I don’t know for certain.

Now all I have to do is get all my other photos into proper photo books. Yup. Well, one step at a time…

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