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Photo & Art Books

Photo & Art Books

A book can be a beautiful way to showcase art and photography and there are many advantages to choosing this method of presentation. As they are highly customisable, books can be a great option for showcasing work, whether for a professional portfolio or a personal family album.

Photo book banner image - Photo & Art Books

A book can be a beautiful way to showcase art and photography and there are many advantages to choosing this method of presentation. As they are highly customisable, books can be a great option for showcasing work, whether for a professional portfolio or a personal family album. 

Presenting work in a book is an economical way of producing many copies at a time, and as it’s easy to reprint at a later date, you have the option to leave copies with prospective clients or employers. Equally, they can be produced in shorter runs, to be sold as limited editions to fans or curators. Various options when it comes to binding also means you can invest in a durable hardbound family keepsake or a lightweight softbound portfolio that can be transported and distributed easily.

These types of books typically have very little text and lots of full bleed images, however there is no template you are limited to in terms of design and layout. White space and text, for example, are powerful when used effectively and should also be consideredHowever, if the photo book or art book is heavy with images, it’s worth prioritising this when selecting elements such as paper stock and finish, as these will have a big impact on how the images look and the message they communicate within the book.

Paper Type and Colour

This is probably the most important thing to consider when choosing the specification of your photo book or art book. The paper stock has a big impact on the vibrancy of the colour, as well as the texture of the image. Different types of artwork are suited to different types of paper.

gloss photo - Photo & Art Books

Gloss paper – gloss paper makes colours more vibrant so if bright colours are key to your style, go for gloss. Bear in mind that this is also associated with commercial work and think about how you want your work to be perceived. Gloss paper may be more suited to photography books than art books.

silk photo - Photo & Art Books

Silk and matt paper – these papers produce more muted colours so are suited to slightly more subdued photography or artwork, or portraits in which accurate reproduction of skin tone is important. They both have a slight sheen to them, silk more so than matt, so these papers still create a rich and high quality finish without the full-on shine of a gloss paper.

uncoated photo - Photo & Art Books

Uncoated paper – unlike gloss, silk and matt, uncoated paper has nothing added to the surface of the paper that creates a sheen. This means the original texture of the paper comes through and therefore adds texture to images. This can work very well for printing fine art images as it emphasises the textures of materials and techniques used.

Size and Binding Method

For photo books, a square format works well as this fits both portrait and landscape photographs without having to commit to a certain image format, or cropping images that don’t fit in the space. However, there is no particular size a photo book or art book should be, and just like a photographic print or original piece of artwork, the size depends on the style of work and your personal layout preference.

The choice of binding and size is also a practical one. Think again about how you intend your book to be used. Will it be handled frequently? A hardcover with a dust jacket will give it protection. Will it be transported regularly? A smaller size will make it less cumbersome to carry, and a softcover will be lighter. Is it a keepsake that is intended for longevity? A hardcover will last for many years even with frequent handling.

Case Studies

photo book case study 1 - Photo & Art Books

Architecture Photographer’s Portfolio

  • Full bleed images with little or no text
  • High gloss paper to make colours pop
  • Paper weight around 170gsm to give substance but be turned easily
  • Perfect binding to reduce cost – this is designed to be left with prospective clients
  • Approximately A4 in size for easy transportation
art book case study2 - Photo & Art Books

Kitsch Encyclopedia by Sara Cwynar

  • Full bleed design with images, text and graphics
  • Coloured pages to complement the creative design
  • Uncoated paper enhancing the texture of found images
  • Paper weight around 80-100gsm allowing for a higher page count
  • Casebound with fabric for a high quality finish – more of a collector’s item than a portfolio designed to be shared