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If your photos are good they should be in a BOOK!

Photo books
(Image credit: Mixbook)

Photo labs are always complaining that people don’t print their pictures any more and how they really ought to, but they do actually have a point.

It’s very easy to accumulate a lifetime of photographs that no-one ever sees, except for a couple of days on Facebook. So you probably don’t want to print every shot you take, but you can’t just let your best shots sink into digital oblivion – especially when there are so many ways  to turn them into physical objects that you can keep, treasure or share (or even sell, if you’re turning your photography into a business).

One of the most popular ways of doing this is with photo books, so we’ve just posted a brand new buying guide to the best photo book services both in the US and the UK.

Photo books are great because they let you bring together a themed set of images from an event or a vacation, or just to illustrate your personal or professional photography. Carefully designed photo books can look as glossy, upmarket and professional as regular books. You can leave them casually  on the coffee table to impress your friends when they come round (our favorite ploy), use them as birthdays gifts or use them to build your own portfolio.

In the meantime, here  are 5 things you need to think about when planning a photo book:

Photo books

(Image credit: Mixbook)

5 things to know about photo books

1. File format: there’s no need to convert RGB images to CMYK before uploading. Just stick with high-resolution JPEGs and you can’t go far wrong.  

2. Creation location: most companies offer online browser-based book creators for speed and simplicity, but downloadable software can offer more options and more exacting customization.  

3. On the edge: edge-to-edge printing maximises a photo’s impact, but the borderless look will also slightly crop your shot. It’s more apparent on a hardback cover, as the edges wrap around the board.   

4. Flat out: a lay-flat binding avoids the problem of images disappearing where pages meet the spine. It’s ideal when a photo spans across two pages, plus the binding ensures that your book will stay open by itself.    

5. Finishing touch: Glossy paper helps boost colour vibrancy and contrast, whereas a matte finish can be better at hiding fingerprints. Soft-sheen lustre pages strike a good compromise. 

Rod Lawton

Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio. Previously he has been Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. 

Rod's near-encyclopedic knowledge of cameras both old and new makes him an invaluable resource, whether we need to ask a question about transparencies or the latest X-Trans sensor. He owns all manner of cameras, from Nikon DSLRs through Olympus, Sony and Fujifilm bodies, and on any given day you'll see him using kit from just about every manufacturer.