I follow photo book blogs, scan sites for news on photo book design and study photography techniques to stay informed of what’s new in the business.
One of the blogs I follow (bookthisproject.com) focuses primarily on kids and food with a few family trips thrown in. Even though the majority of my projects are adventure travel and feature cycling, Stacey reminded me of an important technique we both use.
It’s critical for every photo book designer to employ what I like to call rapid discrimination. Skillful discrimination streamlines the entire photo book design process and is basically fast, quick elimination of photos that won’t work well in the vision of your book. It is also a skill everyone can continually improve.
When discarding photos, I look for the following:
- Poor exposure
- Fuzzy photos
- Unattractive faces
- Duplicate images
- Power lines, telephone wires and so on
- Photos that add nothing to the story of the book
When I’m unsure about an individual photo, I keep it and move on. This process is not detailed consideration. Instead, this is quick, decisive action on photos that obviously need to be disqualified from the project or photo collection. (Instead of deleting an image I generally “red flag” clients photos in Adobe Lightroom. Just in case.)
During the process it is not unusual to encounter a photo that may tell me what the project is all about. When that is the case, I’ll also quickly assign those images 5 stars. Using rapid discrimination I’m able to narrow 800 or more images to 200 or so in just a short period of time and target a few special photos to highlight.
Photo book design time is reduced because there are fewer images to process and I’m able to focus on one task at a time. Selection first is followed by photo processing. My entire process is streamlined having reviewed every image twice by the time I’m ready to being image layouts.