Considering the fact that Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits was first photography book, I definitely went through a learning curve. Looking back on the process, there are things that I wouldn’t do and other things that I would do again. Creating a sample book was one of the best decisions I made. I feel with most things in life it’s a good idea to really know and understand what you want, but remain flexible and open to other people’s opinions. For my sample book, I used Mixbook because it’s fairly easy to use and they frequently have sales, which makes it more affordable. There are many websites that allow people to create photo books. I just happened to hear about Mixbook, and I felt pretty happy with their quality and customer service.
My book was pretty easy to organize because each spread was about one or two people. However, I wanted to make sure that my layout wasn’t too text heavy or stylistically repetitive. Initially, I wasn’t worried about the page order. If you try to make all the decisions at once, you’ll feel overwhelmed. I created the page spreads first. Afterwards, I took a few days away from the project so that I could look at it again with fresh eyes. Once I had designed all the pages, I went back through the book and figured out the page order.
Making a sample book saved me a lot of time. Before going to print, I worked with graphic designer Grace Bolyard to fine tune my book and put it into a format for the printers. Because I had already created a sample, she had a good understanding of my vision. I feel very grateful for her ideas that made my book stand out even more.
I will definitely continue using sample books in the future. There are so many components involved in making a photography book. It’s important for me to have as much of the book figured out before I reach out to other people. The more clarity I have for my vision the easier it is for others to help me.