These days, we spend so much time viewing our photos on screens that we’re liable to forget how powerful the printed image can be. And indeed, printing a photo – or two dozen, or a hundred – is a wonderful experience for nearly every photographer who tries it; it comes with all sorts of benefits, including a newfound appreciation for the photographic medium, not to mention a deep and lasting sense of satisfaction.
But when photographers do get around to printing, they tend to gravitate toward wall art and small paper prints, overlooking one of the most elegant methods of image display: the photo book. I think that’s a huge mistake. I’ve printed hundreds of images for art shows, yet my favorite print product of all time is, without a doubt, a photo book I designed and purchased from Saal Digital. (No, I’m not exaggerating; I keep it front and center on my coffee table at home.)
In this article, I explain why photo books are so incredible, and I offer five practical reasons you should definitely order a book of your own. Whether you’re struggling to determine the best way to turn those digital files into physical works of art or you’re simply on the fence about printing your images, it’s time to explore some photo book magic!
1. A photo book keeps your important images safe
It pains me to admit it, but the digital world is unstable. Your images might seem safe on your desktop or saved to the cloud, but so much can happen: hard drives can fail or get lost, servers can crash, or you can unwittingly delete years of photos with a couple of poorly chosen clicks.
On the other hand, high-quality photo books are made to last. My Saal Digital Professional Line Photo Book, for instance, features an acrylic cover that protects it from spills, dirt, and other domestic hazards, as well as archival-quality matte paper that won’t fade for over 100 years. (In fact, a photo book is even more fade-resistant than a wall-mounted print because the images are lit only when being viewed.)
Plus, a photo book is very difficult to lose. It’s not like a flash drive, which can fall behind your desk, or even little 4×6 prints, which often get filed away in a dark corner of the basement, never to be seen again. Simply set your photo book on your coffee table or bookshelf, and you’ll always know precisely where to find it.
And because you can include dozens or hundreds of images in a single book, you don’t have to worry about prioritizing a few photos over the rest. You have plenty of room to include your most essential shots – of landscapes, of your travels, or of your loved ones. So if you’re serious about preserving your treasured images, a photo book is an excellent option.
2. A photo book looks great on your coffee table
People love coffee-table books for two reasons: They look amazing, and they’re functional. Enter the photo book, a beautiful, one-of-a-kind coffee-table book made just for you.
The best photo books are breathtakingly elegant, and you can even design them using colors that complement your furniture and walls. Saal Digital’s Professional Line Photo Books, for example, come in a variety of cover finishes, including slate wood-look, leatherette white, and leatherette black. Photographers seeking the highest-quality prints won’t be disappointed, either; not only does Saal Digital do a beautiful job of rendering each and every image, but the company offers ICC profiles to ensure you get the results you envision.
Additionally, a photo book, unlike a retail coffee-table book, is meaningful. You can use it to display your best landscape images, or you can fill it with photos of your parents and siblings, children and friends. You can spend time perusing it with family, and you can show it to guests when they come by. It’ll be the rare coffee-table book everyone wants to see!
3. A photo book is an amazing gift
We’re all familiar with the struggle of gift-giving: On the one hand, you want to give something amazing, and on the other hand, you have no idea what to get.
Fortunately for photographers, the photo book is a fantastic solution to this problem.
It doesn’t even matter what kind of subjects you shoot; your family and friends would love to receive your images in book form, even if you don’t realize it. Do you like to photograph landscapes? Then give a photo book full of your top landscape shots. Do you like to photograph travel scenes? A premium book featuring pages upon pages of far-flung destinations will look amazing.
And if you prefer to photograph closer to home, even better. Imagine your parents’ reactions when you present them with a hand-designed book that shows their grandchildren’s birthday celebrations, concerts, and Halloween costumes in high-resolution detail!
4. A photo book is a great way to showcase your portfolio
Are you a photographer seeking new clients? Then it’s essential that you put your best foot forward when displaying your work. Since most photographers rely on portfolio websites, a photo book could be your ticket to standing out.
I’m not claiming that you should neglect your online presence – only that you might use a physical book to supplement your marketing. If you have a meeting with potential commercial clients, for instance, you could take along a photo book to show them just how great your images look when printed. And if you’re an event photographer trying to sell your services to a wedding couple, you could use the photo book to share samples of your best work.
You’ll need to design the book carefully to give off professional vibes, and that’s where custom design options come in handy. The best photo book printers let you pick out your preferred colors and materials, and some even let you adjust the page design. I also recommend ordering from a company that doesn’t add its logo to any of the pages; that way, the final product has a truly authentic feel. Again, Saal Digital’s Professional Line Photo Books are a favorite here; they meet all of the above requirements and more!
By the way, while photo books are certainly a great way to share images with clients, you don’t need to be an active professional to appreciate a nice physical portfolio. As an enthusiast, you likely encounter other photographers – perhaps at meetups and photo walks – and bringing out your custom photo book is a great way to start a discussion or even get feedback on your work.
5. You can carry a photo book everywhere
Wall-mounted prints are great for displaying images in a fixed location, but when it comes to portability, photo books have them beat.
Photo books are small, they’re (relatively) thin, and you can slip one in a backpack, a glove compartment, a laptop case, and maybe even a purse (depending on the size).
That means you can show your photo book to literally anyone you meet. You can take it with you when you visit friends, and you can carry it with you when you travel to see relatives. Of course, the more you take your book around, the more you’ll subject it to wear and tear, but that can be a worthwhile tradeoff.
Plus, you can expect a durable product to hold up pretty well. My Saal Digital photo book has been around the block and is now several years old, but it still looks outstanding!
Bonus: Creating a photo book is a fun project
Are you the kind of person who enjoys scrapbooking and other crafts? Then you’re going to love making a photo book.
While not every printing company allows you to customize your product, Saal Digital goes above and beyond. I’ve already mentioned that the Professional Line Photo Books provide you with a variety of options, but it’s important to emphasize that you can take advantage of the company’s intuitive design software, which lets you adjust the layout of every page to suit your preferences. And you can do it anywhere you please: in the browser, on your desktop, or even on your smartphone via the Saal Digital mobile app (available for iOS and Android).
In other words, you can have tons of fun selecting photos, choosing from various themes, arranging the image spreads, and even adding text. You don’t have to be a graphic design expert, either; the software allows for various levels of independence, so you can work with the perfect amount of support. (On the other hand, if you are a graphic design expert, you do have the option to upload a PDF directly to the company website!)
A photo book might not be a conventional craft project, but for the right person, it can be an absolute blast!
Reasons why a photo book is right for you: final words
Now that you’ve finished this article, you know all about the value of printing your images, and you’re familiar with the many benefits offered by photo books.
To reiterate, if you’ve never printed your favorite photos before, I highly recommend you give it a shot; seeing your images reproduced on paper is a fantastic experience, and trust me when I say that you’ll be glad you made the effort.
Of course, if you do decide to print, you can’t go wrong with a high-quality photo book. Not only will it last for decades, but you can put it to good use: as a gorgeous coffee-table book, as a portfolio showcase, or as a meaningful gift.
So head on over to the Saal Digital website and get started with your order. Enjoy the design process, and when it’s all over and you have your finished photo book in your hands, leave a comment below letting us know your thoughts!
Saal Digital is a paid partner of dPS.