Creating Photography Books

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by GotMyOrangeCrus, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular

    I am looking to make a book for my family for christmas of next year and was wondering if anyone in here has any experience with some of the book making companies that are out there. I am looking to make a single book and plan on getting like 15 copies printed but would like the ability to print more down the road. Quality is extremely important yet at the same time I am hoping to keep the price within a reasonable range.

    One of the sites that looks promising is Embassy Pro Books yet its hard to tell the quality of a book over the web. Does anyone know anything about this company and the quality of its books?


    If anyone has any info on this subject I would be greatly appreciative.
  2. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I made a photo book though iPhoto for a christmas gift last year. It came out very well.
  3. GotMyOrangeCrus thread starter macrumors regular

    Yeah I have seen those and they are cool however I am looking for something a little higher up quality wise. While this is a gift for my family, I also plan on using it as part of my promotional material for my business. I actually took book making back in college and have gotten really good at it over the years however the time and effort it would take to make the number of books I want made is astronomical. Its simply not an option.
  4. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    I haven't ever seen an iPhoto book, but I have ordered a small batch of books (around 25?) through Aperture. My understanding from what iPhoto users have said is that the Aperture books are a little nicer, though I suspect they're from the same factory.

    They did turn out quite nicely. Not as nice as the coffee table book that I have from Steve McCurry, and that's partially because McCurry's book is beautifully large, but I can easily put the book that I produced next to it and not feel too bad.

    The photos were printed at 300dpi on a beautiful black, semi-glossy paper. They stand out beautifully because of the background that provides.

    I can't say that Aperture books are better than anyone else's (or even iPhoto's), but I can say that I'm pleased with them and I will continue to order.

    Of course, another issue is that you have to have Aperture ($200) to design and order an Aperture book... I would suggest just running the 30-day trial, but then if you want to order this book again, later, you could run into problems. So, take from the above what you want, if there's anything worthwhile considering the software requirements.
  5. GotMyOrangeCrus thread starter macrumors regular

    Ill definitely give it a look however I suspect that its similar in quality to the original iPhoto books. I think your right in that they make those in the same factory. I appreciate the post and will definitely give it a look. I wish they had samples you could order. That would make this whole thing so much easier.
  6. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    Well, something that I didn't mention:

    I've ordered two sets of Aperture photo books. I've gone on a summer trip to Costa Rica for two years now, once in the summer of '07, and again in the summer of '08.

    I designed a photo book for both trips. The photo book from '07 was good, but the one from '08 is much, much better. The dust cover is nice, the paper improved somewhat, and the pictures have a lot more "pop." To give you an idea, I ordered 3 2007 photo books. Over the course of two orders, I ordered 25 2008 photo books.

    So if you're thinking of iPhoto books you saw three years ago... it may be worthwhile finding someone who has a more recent book.
  7. GotMyOrangeCrus thread starter macrumors regular

    Ah definitely something to look into.

    A fellow Costa Rica explorer. I have been there 4 times and it is hands down my single favorite place on earth. I am actually looking into buying a house down there and at the very least will end up retiring there. My favorite is hiking up Arenal Volcano. The last time I hiked to the top was in 2006 and while we were at the top, it rumbled so strong that it actually knocked me over and I cracked my Canon 50mm 1.2L Lens.

    I am also 100% addicted to Gallo Pinto. The National Dish with fried rice and black beans. I swear I eat that stuff by the pound when I am down there and miss it every day I am not down there. The first time I went down there was for part of my senior thesis in photography. I shot for 3 weeks and then with only 2 days left I ran into a McDonalds for a coke and when I came out someone had broken into my rental car and stolen the bag with all of my exposed film in it. It absolutely destroyed me and I still think about it to this day. Never ever leave your equipment or film in an unsafe place. There police told me that there are people that will follow you for weeks just waiting for that one moment to snatch your gear. So be careful!!!

    Damn even talking about it makes me want to go down there. Its heaven on earth!!
  8. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    I just did a year book for the family through iPhoto08, and while I really like the ease and speed (and price was good), I agree that something nicer would be great.

    Looking at the embassy pro site, they are certainly making claims that Apple does not -- like library quality bindings. Also, their lead time is 2 1/2 weeks, so it's likely a higher quality product.

    There is a "contact" us sheet. Did you ask if you can have/borrow a sample, or for customers of theirs in your area? Also, did you happen to see any pricing? Getting pricing requires registration, which I wasn't interested (yet) in doing. I'd be curious what a 50 or 100 page book would cost (that's about what I print).
  9. GotMyOrangeCrus thread starter macrumors regular

    Yes i have already sent them an email asking all of those questions, I just haven't heard back yet. Your assessment is right on par with what I was thinking. Binding and cover quality is one of the things that separates the quality books from a lot of the cheaper offerings and I am definitely looking for the higher quality books. With all of the advancements we have seen within this industry there is no doubt in my mind that there are companies out there offering what I am looking for. Its just a matter of finding them.
  10. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    iPhoto and Aperture books (which are printed by the same company) have improved in quality, especially thanks to the new dust jacket, the books are virtually indistinguishable from `real' books you've bought in a shop. Of course, high-end art books will be of higher quality, but a high-quality art book is probably not what you have in mind (~$50-100).
  11. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Make an iPhoto book, and check the quality for yourself. I'm a photographer, and we made the smallest cheapest one for our Christmas family trip. I was very impressed. Its cheap and fast to do, and really - the best test is to it yourself.
  12. GotMyOrangeCrus thread starter macrumors regular

    I am definitely going to look into the aperture books. I still have my doubts but I will still give it its fair look. Again while this is going to be a family gift, its also going to be used for my business as well. If they turn out really nice I plan on sending them to my long term clients as well as to potential clients.

    My current portfolio consists of an 8x10 light impressions box filled with matted 4x5 transparencies. That box then goes into a Lightware case along with a super thin light box. That is what I ship out to clients when they want to see my portfolio. Its pretty damned heavy and pretty expensive to ship. Plus I only have 3 of them and most of the time they are not in my possession and I have to wait until they get sent back before I can ship them out again. Having a really high quality book of my work would be a great alternative to shipping my main portfolio, especially during those times when I need to ship one out yet all of my portfolios are already shipped out.

    So again while this is a X-mas gift to the family, I have to look at it quality wise as if its for a client and not just a family member. I hope the Aperture books are what I am looking for as that would just make things so easy. I just have my doubts. Again I will definitely give them a look and I appreciate all the posts about the aperture books as I wasn't even aware they had improved their quality.

    This is a long term project. I still have massive amounts of scanning to do and I am not expecting to go to press until Oct-Nov. That gives me plenty of time to look into all of the options available. So far I have Aperture Books and Embassy pro Books and I will definitely try and get samples for both. I am still looking into other options as well so if anyone knows of any other high quality options please post them up.
  13. zebbz macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2008
    i tried to order a book i made from iphoto
    and i was unabl to use my (only) card to pay (maestro) even though it was already linked with my account as ive purchased ipods and other things from the apple store

    you cant even buy apple gift cards in the UK or i would have bought them at the value of the book and redeemed them in inphoto

    so now im unable to order the book i made

    i contacted the relevant printing support who said i cant pay by maestro... thats it really..

    quite dissapointed, not sure what else to do lol
    dont really want to remake the book elsewhere as that would take quite long :(
  14. GotMyOrangeCrus thread starter macrumors regular

    Do they accept money orders or any other form of payment? I feel for ya. That would suck making a book and not being able to get it. I would contact customer service and see if something can be worked out. I would think there would have to be some way to get it.
  15. jaseone macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2004
    Houston, USA
    A lot of the folks over at NikonCafe are recommending

    Am going to give that one a go myself.
  16. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    They take VISA cards, for instance.
  17. zebbz macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2008
    unfortunately, as i already mentioned, i only have a maestro debit card :(
  18. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    I was replying to the OP.
  19. GotMyOrangeCrus thread starter macrumors regular

    Blurb, I actually went over there for the first time the other day yet it ended up getting lost in my usual plethora of tabs and I never really got a chance to check it out. I got the impression that it was a flickr type thing. If they do books then ill definitely check them out.

    1 - Aperture Books
    2 - Embassy Pro Books
    3 - Blurb Books

    Again thanks for the help guy and again if anyone comes across anything else please post it up. I still have a long time to go and I really do want to check out all available options.
  20. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    Anyone else try Blurb?

    I've used Snapfish many times and its very easy. The last few years I've made 50-70 page hard bound books using 200± images. The quality is pretty good -- think good Kinkos/Costco prints not pro photo lab. If you have an issue they'll reprint the book.

    I've actually been looking for other options just to see what it'd cost for a more "photographic" print. Blurb looks pretty interesting and they support Mac. I may give them a try once.

    ps. Just looked up pricing... Snapfish (which seems to be priced well compared to others) for a 80pg 8x10 hardcover book is ~$80 shipped. Blur for a 80pg book is only $42 shipped... unless I'm missing something, Blurb looks far better.
  21. APPLENEWBIE macrumors 6502a

    May 8, 2006
    The high desert, USA
    Very impressed with iPhoto book

    I just received a hard-bound iPhoto book from Apple. Arrived 5 days after I ordered it with standard (fed-ex I think) shipping.

    It is extremely nice. Binding is very well done. Dust cover looks great. Photo quality is almost indistinguishable from the preview in iPhoto. Paper quality is also very nice... fairly heavy coated stock. Cost is a little high, but probably worth it to do for special occasions. I wonder if other comparable services are less costly?

    Learned a little in the process: Be careful to use high resolution images as much as possible. As expected, some older, low res photos turned out a little jaggy, although I doubt any one else in the family will even notice. If you have a low res photo, insert it in the book as a small "picture."
  22. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    A little exclamation point (!) appears on your photos that will print jaggy, so just keep your eyes open for those marks, and change the pic size if you see one. It's quite a helpful little aid.
  23. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Nice links. Thanks for the post. I think I'll stick w/iPhoto books unless I go really up market. The down market opportunities don't sound any better, and actually a bit worse than my Apple experience.

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