I have done a number of photo book layout posts before, but this one gets into the specifics of why I chose to place a certain photo in a particular box on the page. Kind of obsessive, huh? Well, for those of you who have been following me for a while, you’re not surprised. No worries, there’s no mathematical equations to worry about, most of it is what feels right. You’ll soon get the hang of it!
To make this fun, I thought I would borrow from a feature I remember seeing as a kid when my father would watch football. Do you remember during the commercial breaks, something called – “YOU MAKE THE CALL”? They would show a pivotal play from some past game where the referee had to make a close call, and the viewers had to guess the “right” call. Then they showed what actually occurred.
So, play along, pick your favorites and then scroll down to see what I ended up picking as the winning design.
Let’s have some fun!
So, did you choose your favorites? Let’s see if they were the same as my picks! By the way, these photos were taken by my brother, so I can’t take credit for these since I didn’t get to go! (sob story…) By now, you may have become familiar with my own particular style of creating photo book layouts. By no means is my style “the style” – you should inject your own personal taste and creativity into your photo book projects, but if you find it helpful, I’m happy to share the thought process that I go through in creating my layouts.
The reason why this layout wins over the other, illustrates the photographic concept of “leading room” – allowing your main subject in the photo some space in front to breathe. Although in this case the car could be considered a secondary subject (the ancient ruin the back could be considered the main subject), the car in the foreground stands out much more to me. So even though the photo itself doesn’t allow a lot of leading room ahead of the car, I can give the car the space it needs by putting the photo on the left side of spread. If I went with the other layout, the car looks like it’s about to run into the road marker and the composition looks too heavy in the center.
Plus, with most photo books (the non lay-flat kind) you tend to lose some of the spread to the binding of the book. So, if you were to go with layout #2A (at left), the key parts of the photo, especially the road marker one, may fall into the gutter (center) of the book.
I also felt these photos looked better in black and white. In most photo book software, you can easily click on a single button to convert the photo from color to black and white and back. Here’s the original in color. The color version is nice too, but black and white won out here.
PHOTOBOOKGIRL TIP: Even though your camera may have settings to allow you to shoot in black and white or sepia, always shoot in color. You can always easily convert it later in most if not all free photo book software. If you shoot it in black and white, there’s no going the other way!
This shows just a slight difference, but again, I’m trying to mind the gutter. The photo of my parents if I were to put it on the inside, may get swallowed by the binding. Also, I like the idea of mirroring the spread on the left – I think it flows slightly better than #2A.
This layout won out for me as there is a good balance among the photos with people and those without. I try to intersperse landscape photos with photos of people to break up the monotony.
The one on the left is top heavy and the bottom images sort of run together. The one on the right looks heavy on the right. Also, the leading room on the photo of my mom looks best in the winning layout.
Here’s another layout where the left and right spreads are mirrored. I actually used the zoom tool to make the two horizontal images smaller so that less of the image would get cropped out. You may notice that with fixed layouts (like those in Snapfish, Shutterfly, MyPublisher-Mac version), the program may crop some of your photo to make it fit into the box. Here I did not want to lose any of the image so zoomed out to make the image smaller so the full image would appear. The shape of the book (square, portrait or landscape) can also affect the amount of cropping that occurs. I also like how the bold red colors of the vertical photos frame the page and gives it balance. So, it’s a balance of color as well as layout.
ANSWER: LAYOUT #5B
There’s only a slight difference between the two layouts, but I like this one better. The panoramic cropping of the photos shows you more of the images at left and right that were originally cut out when they took up the entire page as a full page bleed. Since the subjects are all in motion, the lengthening of the images adds to the sense of movement from left to right.
So how did you do? Did you agree or not agree with my choices? Comment below and let me know what you think!