Photobooks for Special People

Photobooks for Special People

What kind of a gift do you get for someone who has lived a long and meaningful life, has everything they need, and most of what they want?

They probably have plenty of clothes, plenty of jewelry. But mostly, they have plenty of memories. Memories of parents, grandparents and sometimes even great-grandparents.  Memories of being a child, having children, grandchildren, and if they’re lucky, great-grandchildren. Memories of friends, vacations, holidays, and special events.

The most appreciated gifts I’ve created for my family’s and for my clients’ nonagenarians are photobooks covering their lives:  from childhood, through parenthood, and on to grandparenthood.  I include work, friends, trips, hobbies, awards – whatever made their lives special and interesting.

Where do you start?

I like to work in chronological order – so I start with their parents and grandparents, if those pictures are available.  If they have pictures of older siblings, I include them.  Often times, these photographs are old, faded, black and white photos that need enhancement, and sometimes, restoration.

As I progress through the years in photography, I see them grow up into adults, having families, holding jobs, celebrating holidays, taking trips.  Through the years, the quality of the photographs changes, also. The black and white pictures become crisper, color pictures come into vogue.  Initially, the colors are very unstable and these photos need to be enhanced.

What are the steps to completing a photobook?

Creating a photobook as a gift for a parent or grandparent could become a time-consuming project.  

The first thing to be done is to find the photos.  Some people have the old photos organized in albums, others have them in boxes, others on their cell phones.  If you have both a cell phone copy of a picture and the original, it is much preferable to scan the original.

The second step is curating the photos.  Do you want to scan all of them?  Are some pictures of poor quality?  Do you recognize the people in the pictures?  Are there pictures of sceneries?  You have to force yourself to be decisive and ruthless:  If the picture is blurry or has someone’s head cut off – discard it.  Pictures of scenery are not typically good material for this type of project, unless the picture has meaning to the recipient.

The third step is to scan the pictures.  This should be done on a photo-scanner at 600 dpi, to get the best results in the completed photobook.  Color enhancement and any necessary restorations fall into this step.  The result of this step is a nice, clear digital image.

The fourth and final step is to select the specific photographs which are to be included in the photobook, and designing the photobook.  Many of the photobook publishers have templates you could use. Most of the publishers allow you to set up the pages as you like.

Allow yourself one to three months for the entire project, and you should end up with a beautiful, meaningful, unique gift!  If you need guidance, or would like to offload all or part of the project to someone else, please contact me at my website

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