Everybody knows that taking photos and showing them to others is a great thing to do. But with photography becoming more and more accessible, it’s more important than ever to present your photography talent and skills in a professional way. Granted, you can showcase your photos online, but the thing which will allow you to stand out even better when proposing your photography services with potential clients is a professionally printed photo book. Although many photographers consider online photo book builders to be inferior or less reliable than local printing companies, online photo book companies have become increasingly professional and have perfected their software to deliver consistent, top-notch quality. Their software doesn’t require you to be a photo printing specialist: it’s user-friendly, fast, and offers you plenty of customization options from layouts, backgrounds, themes to covers, sizes, paper types in order to create your books/albums for cost-friendly prices. Furthermore, you will be surprised to see that some online builders are capable of Photoshop-level photo adjustments with which you can apply the desired effects on your photos.
Professional Photo Book Software
Photo book builders currently exist in two major formats: online and downloadable. The online versions are usually capable of basic photo adjustments only, while some downloadable software can be deemed as professional editing tools. Not all companies provide their solutions for mobile platforms, but if they do, the builders are available either from a mobile browser or as native apps. However, there is one similarity between the two types: in contrast with photo editing software, the use of (online) photo book builders is free of charge.
Best Photo Books of 2020
When you have to select a photo book builder, think about what you want to do. If you just want to place some of your most remarkable photos into a decent looking book without further modifications, then any photo book builder will do. Sometimes you also have the option to send ready books in PDF to be printed, but this is quite rare. If you prefer adjusting your photos using the photo book software, look for solutions like Collage.com or RitzPix that have either a built-in or complementary tool for the necessary changes, or choose software that allows uploading from sites/apps like Instagram.
Photo Book Printing for Your Customers
If clients of yours want to put a photo book together themselves, then basically you just have to provide the photos so your client can auto-fill and/or customize the photo book in any way he/she wants using the photo book builder service. Plus, if necessary, they can make slight modifications on the photos for themselves. (They probably won’t, you have their complete trust.)
An even better solution is if you offer the option to create a photo book from the pictures you take for a little extra. You can explain your clients that most photo book companies allow limited or full contribution for “outsiders” too, meaning they can either check out the final result before printing or, as described earlier, they can make the necessary modifications themselves to create a truly personalized photo book but you have the option to watch over their photo book creation as a sort of guardian angel.
Furthermore, certain companies allow users to sell their creations via online shops, making it possible for you to create photo books that your clients or photography enthusiasts can purchase. The photo book company takes care of the whole order process, so you don’t need to worry about providing customer service, processing payments or anything else related to the online sale of your professional photo books. This way you could create a wedding photo book for the family members of the married couple to purchase online through an online store page, just like they would purchase anything else online.
Portfolio Photo Books
Sharing your photos on the internet is a good thing to make yourself known to the general public. But this is not charity time; you take photos for a living, so let’s sell them properly! And what’s the best way to do so if you don’t believe in or can’t afford fancy exhibitions? A portfolio book showcasing your work in a beautifully printed book is better than any business card or advertisement.
Whether the photo book builder you have chosen has a separate portfolio category or not, creating a portfolio book is extremely simple. The reason is that all photo book builders offer the things necessary for a portfolio book: photo-only layouts, the option to add explanatory captions, simple, single-color backgrounds, square and/or landscape shapes, and professional covers with a picture of your choice printed thereon.
Recommended Professional Photography Photo Books
Surprisingly Blurb is one of the few companies that let you sell your own books (even as eBooks) via an online store or Amazon. You have two options for photo book building: Bookify for regular users, and the downloadable software for pros, BookWright. The latter has all features of the online version like the auto-fill, the visible trim areas, PDF import etc., but you also have more, professional templates, real text boxes, extra layouts and a built-in spell-checker.
Blurb books, which can contain up to an insane amount of 440 pages, are available from $14.99 in 5 sizes and 3 shapes with 5 paper types and 3 covers. The books are printed within 4–5 days, while orders are delivered within a week for just $5.99. If you need more copies of the same book, Blurb happily gives you a bulk order discount up to 25%.
Not only you can access Shutterfly from a desktop/mobile browser and an iPad app, but you can also select the method you want your books to be created with (DIY or involvement of professional editors). Aside from providing over 200 styles (including 11 portfolio related ones), this photo book builder is a true Canaan of creativity: you can freely personalize your books regarding layouts, backgrounds, sizes, covers etc. You can also apply various effects on your pictures and add embellishments like stickers and doodles to your books.
Shutterfly books can be ordered in 2 shapes and 6 sizes with 2 paper types, a layflat upgrade option and 6 covers, including ivory crushed silk, genuine leather and even cloth. Base prices start from $15.99 with shipping from $4.99, and buying any books following the first one entitles you to a discounted shipping price.
This photo book builder (available as an iPad app too) offers three types of books: MILK Books (the default product with linen covers), Moleskine and Bespoke books. MILK Books can contain real videos thanks to the inclusion of a CD (especially handy for wedding videos), which is the reason why all books are created in a downloadable format as well. The photo book builder allows outsiders to collaborate on the book and even to leave notes as instructions, while you can share the first pages of the final product.
MILK Books come in 3 sizes and 2 shapes with 2 types of papers and 7 covers starting from $54 plus a minimum $14 for shipping. You can reduce prices by accepting the newcomers’ gift (a free book), referring others, and making use of a bulk order discount of up to 35%.