Back in the early days of the Model T, Henry Ford famously said that his car is available in “any color as long as it’s black”. And if we think about it, most things go really well in black, turning a usually dull product into something truly stylish. This need of style also applies for photo books, so it is not surprising at all that more and more customers create their books with stylish and nostalgic-feeling black paper instead of the default white option.
Although black paper or a black style might seem a bit pointless considering the vast selection of colorful photo book themes, if it is used properly it can add a new meaning to the book.
Although photo albums were invented around the same time as photography was and even back then certain albums used regular white paper, the reason why photos were usually mounted on black paper is simpler than you think: the quality of photos. Take a look at 19th century photos and you’ll see that even those pictures taken in studios under ideal conditions were pretty noisy or overexposed. Additionally, all of them were black and white unless they had been colorized using special filters or via regular painting. Logically a black and white photo looks best if placed onto a black background, because it perfectly compensates the whiteness of the picture. Over the years photography went through many changes, but due to practicality and tradition the black pages remained, slowly becoming inseparable from photo albums.
Recreating the Photo Album Feeling
Even today when a smartphone and an application is more than enough to step into the shoes of the greatest photographers of the past 200 years, people are still looking for that vintage feeling that only a photo album can give. Online shops like Amazon are full of blank photo albums – often with the desirable black pages – waiting for your printed photos to be placed into them like older generations did decades ago. However, the same old school feeling can be easily reproduced with online photo book builders as well.
No matter whether it’s Mixbook, Shutterfly, Collage.com, AdoramaPix or Montage, not only are your digitized vintage photos in good hands but you will definitely find a theme that perfectly recreates the look of a classic photo album, whether it’s a plain black background or something a little more complicated. To make things better, a photo book – unlike store bought albums that have a fixed appearance – can be fully customized: there are plenty of covers, paper types and embellishments to choose from, not to mention text that can be added to any page in any color, even white. But the best thing of all is that many photo book companies offer the special layflat binding to its products that, combined with thick black pages, can completely blend the difference between albums and photo books.
When to Use Black Paper?
Although black pages could go well with virtually anything – especially if the picture has no colors – but the situation is not that simple. The most obvious use of black paper is if the person who the book is for is older, and therefore perhaps most of their pictures are from long ago and are black and white, belonging to something as stylish as a photo album. Another great use of black paper is for portfolio books, since the neutral background/paper color helps readers’ attention to be drawn straight to the start of the book, the photos. And last but not least let’s not forget about special occasions that demand the use of stylish black paper, like a wedding, graduation, the birth of a baby, and so on.
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