Please give me some advice on self-publishing photography books.
March 6, 2009 12:51 AM   Subscribe

Please give me some advice on self-publishing photography books.

I'm a photographer and am looking into publishing my own photography book. Quantity is 150-200. A couple things to note:

1) I have a relative running his own advertising agency with a professional grade printer that I can use
2) I'm not looking into making a profit. I might even be ok with taking a $2-3k loss.
3) I've always been a digital photographer so any advice on paper will be greatly appreciated.
4) I've checked out services like Blurb but they're too expensive.

Approximately how much would it be for printing? Would it help cut cost to print all the pages first on my cousin's printer and export the pages out to a shop for binding (given such service exist)? I'm not too worried about distribution as that has been arranged already.

Thank you!
posted by willy_dilly to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm hardly an expert on this but I'm thinking it might be worthwhile to do some inquiries and find a graphic artist to help you format everything before you print and bind. I can't imagine that would cost too much, and having someone who's done similar projects before would probably help. Sorry I don't have anything more specific; this just rang a bell as the sort of thing my graphic artist dad has done as a freelance side-project before.
posted by Neofelis at 5:30 AM on March 6, 2009

Just because you have a professional grade printer doesn't necessarily mean that it will make good prints. There are so many necessary tweaks, like color calibration and general photoshop work, that you need someone who has a good feel for the printer and can make sure your images will look good coming out of it. You can't just hit control-P.

Check and see if you can spend a little time with someone at the agency to get a feel for the printer, or offer the person who uses it most a little cash to help you make the prints. That person would also be able to advise you on paper. When making books, this is the largest expense so you stand to save the most money. The agency may even have a relationship with a place that can put pages together - just try and work the connections as much as you can.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 8:10 AM on March 6, 2009

Speaking as someone who laid out, printed, and bound a dozen photo books to send out as promos I think you are in way over your head if you think you're going to do it yourself. The printing was a nightmare (and I have a professional grade printer, tons of experience printmaking, have calibrated everything, etc.). Hiring a designer to lay everything out is an EXCELLENT idea. Seconding work your connections and let the professionals handle as much of it as possible.
posted by bradbane at 10:17 AM on March 6, 2009

I've used (similar to blurb) and been pretty happy with the quality on both color and b/w projects. Yeah, it's not as cheap as I'd like, but to be honest, if you're talking about only doing 150 copies, you're probably not doing enough to make it worth running as a traditional print job.
posted by glider at 7:51 PM on March 6, 2009

advertising agency with a professional grade printer
all the advertising agencies I have ever worked at had uncalibrated fiery color laser printers and inkjet plotters that went up to A0 at the most. neither seem a great option to print a run of books on. can you elaborate?

I would suggest you make a pdf (with your images in cmyk) and run it past a couple of print shops. let them tell you how much this would cost you for various runs.
posted by krautland at 8:06 AM on March 7, 2009

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