Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Photobox

Laos – houses and satellite dishes

Themes are a very good way of traveling with a camera. They give you something to look for and usually something to photograph. In Laos over Christmas I was taken by the number of houses, no matter how simple, that had satellite dishes attached so that became my theme although I did stretch the idea to include houses with solar panels and some houses without either. Here is the result of that series.

I try to collate my series of images in books; photo books are relatively cheap, about £1 a page, well cheap if you don’t have too many pages. You can see this book here

Blurb Books – The Photo book

I can’t believe you do not know about photobooks, they have been around for a few years now and the quality and range keeps improving. I have made books using different suppliers for a number of years. My first was an iphoto book, later I tried a Photobox book, then an Aperture book and recently YourPhotobooks. I have moved around with suppliers to get an idea of the quality they produce and the ease of book assembly. This week I completed a second book on my trip to Laos over Christmas and the new year and this time I went for Blurb Books. It is possible these are the market leaders although I am not sure how you could work that out. Their overall quality is excellent and their technical sophistication, explaining colour space, providing icc profiles etc far exceeds those of the other suppliers I have tried.

©Keith Barnes

Blurb Books a photography book by Keith Barnes about Laos

If you are interested to look inside my book click on the cover and it will take you to the Blurb site where you can preview it’s content.

I decided to go for the largest size available and as I had shot rather a lot of images whilst away it has a lot of pages. I tried using the templates for pages supplied but found this didn’t suit the layout I wanted. One of the very nice things about Blurb is that you can create your own page templates and save them so it is possible to define something unique to your purpose. Not only do you have choice of book sizes but also cover types, hard or soft back, wrap around or dust jacket, there are about 5 different paper types you can select also. This really is as close to a bespoke service as you could want.

The cost reflects the service, I always budget about £1 a page for an A4 photobook, this is pretty cheap if you think you can get several images per page. I probably have about 200 images in my Laos book and even at the cost of £70 for the 150 pages that is still only about 40p per image and many are full A4 in size. I decided not to try to make a profit on my book but Blurb allows you to set your own price and make profit on the difference when someone buys it. You can also put your books in their library for the world to peruse and choose to buy if they like your work.

Why am I telling you about this, well I have always thought of photography as something that has a point when it becomes physical. Viewing on screen on line is OK but if you want to collect your work into something that actually reflects your portfolio then prints or books are a must. You will be surprised at the reaction from family and friends when you show them a book(s) of your work and you will always have something to hand to show, no need to boot up the computer.


Choosing a photobook supplier

I always make books, since photobooks became possible I saw them as the perfect way to present my images. I use them for trips away, days in the country, friends and family get togethers, I work on a basis of £1 a page and as I can sometime have 4 or more pictures per page this is not expensive. There are many options of who to use, I have tried, the Mac options with both iphoto and Aperture and Blurb and Photobox.

This article on Presets Heaven has additional views

“For each long trip to another country, I make a photo book containing most of the photos I’ve taken. I’ve tried multiple services for this purpose. Some of them are better than the other.  A while back ago I used Snapfish to process my photo books. They were the best alternative for me at that point. I was working on a stationary PC and Snapfish had special client for PC-users to take advantage of. Today, more and more services are available and with even more options to chose from (paper quality, number of pages, hard vs. soft cover etc.).”.…more

Photo Books Competition

What do you do with your images, do they languish on your computer, only seen when you are looking for something else. Maybe you make the occasional prints or post them to your flickr site. I think all photographers should take the opportunity now offered by the ability to make photobooks to show their pictures in an organised and very professional way. If you have never considered this then why not? It is very easy, there are lots of sites where you can make books of your photos. I have used Blurb, Photobox, Aperture, iphoto but there are many more.

Now there is a competition for photobooks with very handsome prizes $25,000

Photography Book Now

PBN is an international juried competition celebrating the most creative, most innovative, and finest self-published photography books – and the people behind them.

There are lots of categories

Fine Art

Entries in this category should be books driven by the personal, artistic interests and concerns of the photographer. Successful submissions will add up to more than just the sum of their parts, whether the work is conceptual or stylistic, the aesthetic is deadpan or modernist, or the artistic practice is in the world of expressive arts or the world of performance.


Entries in this category are books rooted in the documentary tradition or based on a long-term narrative project. It may be a broader project that evolves out of an assignment, or a personal project arising from your own interests. Successful submissions will be artfully made and tell a compelling story, whether personal or journalistic in nature.


Entries in this category are books about journeys that observe the world at large. Books about exploring far-flung places – or truly seeing what’s in your own backyard with the fresh eyes of a traveler. Successful submissions will convey a sense of curiosity about recognizing, investigating, and honoring places where life in all its complexity happens.


This category is open to full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate college students. The work submitted may fit into any of the three professional categories: Fine Art, Documentary, or Travel. Student submissions are not restricted to a particular subject matter. Successful books in this category must have a clear thesis, be well-edited, and exhibit strong photographic talent and skills.

Full details are here

Even if you don’t want to enter a competition you should consider making your own books try Blurb or Photobox