Book Evaluation

I had fun doing this assignment. Once I had spent several weeks ‘thinking about’ what to include in my portfolio book I decided to focus on my humanitarian images, an area of my photography that I hadn’t really done much with during the course so far.

I am quite familiar with InDesign but had never used it to create a book. I chose to create a book that is to be printed by G F Smith and used their basic MakeBook Template as a guide. It was quite straight forward to use and all I had to do was decide on a layout for each page and place my photographs and text.

I sent my finished book in pdf format to G F Smith and asked for their advice on improvements that I could make to it.

This was the response I received from Nick Barnes: “I had a good look at your design and all looks good to me, I cannot see any issues at all. 

The only thing I would recommend is that if and when you wanted us to print that you send the full packaged files, including Links/Documents folders. Printing from a pdf isn’t a problem as we would make print ready but I feel the end result is better from the high resolution jpg’s.”

So I need to remember that to get the best quality print for my book I will need to send the InDesign file and all the linked documents. This is easily done using File/Package.

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Although I can’t afford the £130 it would normally cost to have this book printed G F Smith has offered to give me a discount and I hope to be able to print it in the new year. If I am happy with it and think that it is suitable to show future employers/clients I will consider printing other books that show other areas of my work, including a wedding book.

G F Smith has also agreed to print one of my photographs on four different types of paper so that I can see the differences for myself and adjust the colour if I need to.

The most challenging part of this assignment was trying to contact a professional photographer. I wanted to contact someone who does some sort of humanitarian type photography so a tutor recommended someone from Hull who runs a photography project in Asia. I contacted her straight away and received a prompt reply saying that she would be pleased to meet me but was just going off to Thailand for a few weeks and would I contact her when she gets back. I followed her adventures on Facebook and contacted her again when she got back but by then she was very busy and said she no longer had time to answer my questions. This was a real shame but the tutor that recommended her to me has offered to invite her into class one day so that we can talk to her then.

By now I was running out of time so a couple of tutors recommended another couple of photographers and I had another couple that I had researched and I contacted them all. One photographer responded almost immediately, Christopher Mason. He is a photographer and lecturer who specialises in photobooks. I found his response to be very useful and a bit challenging. I will certainly be considering his words when I make my next book!

I have also shown my book to my classmates. Virtually all of the feedback was positive and included comments like “The images look great”, “Well laid out” and “Looks really clear.” Only one person suggested a change when they said that they thought four photos on a page looked cluttered and while I have considered this, I disagreed and have left the layout as originally designed.


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