Skip to main content

How to Make Photography Books and Magazines

Lesson 1 of 4

Introduction to How to Make Photography Books and Magazines


How to Make Photography Books and Magazines

Lesson 1 of 4

Introduction to How to Make Photography Books and Magazines


Lesson Info

Introduction to How to Make Photography Books and Magazines

This class is all about making books and magazines, and we're gonna show you to how to do it in two different places. You can do it inside of InDesign, which is kind of the industry standard page layout program, or you can do it right inside of Lightroom, which is the industry standard photo organizational program, but it has a lot of other bells and whistles with it. So we're gonna look at both of those programs, and teach you how to do things. But before we teach you how, I thought we would discuss a little bit of why. The world today is very digital. People are delivering images on phones, they're delivering them on discs. In fact, discs is almost old school now, and now it's a Dropbox, or it's a thumb drive that's like the, is the most physical some people get with their photographs. And then everything else is digitally delivered in some app on the phone, or something like that. And we're losing something in that. I think we're really losing a very vital part of interacting with p...

hotographs, and that is in a physical thing. So there's the mentality of, you know, picking up a phone and swiping through it is a very different thing than actually touching something like a print, or a piece of paper, or a book, and leafing through something. Something I can write on, something I can set on the, something I can take on an airplane, and read when I can't pull out my laptop and look at photographs and things like that. There's just something, something about a physical thing that we can touch that's a different experience, and I think we're losing that when we don't give our images out to people in that way. And it doesn't matter whether you're a professional, or whether you're just providing images to your family and friends. There's something different about the experience of touching photographs than just seeing them on a screen. And that's not just like grandma talking. And I want you to think about this. So how important are books in your life? Things, magazines, books, physical things, in your life? And I want you to think about it. Kind of take a, do a mental palace, and go through your home, and walk through your home, and ask yourself, what do I see places? What's on my coffee tables? What's in my bookshelves? What's on the side end tables? All that kind of stuff, and in my home, this is a guest bedroom. And there's just books. It's a visual thing. It's actually decor for the house. I can, I look at right here, this is another example. Underneath a table, there's a whole bunch of art books. So it's not only just, it's not only something that we can look through, but it's also something that kind of is everywhere, physical things are everywhere, and they are part of our lives. And if you look at any client's home, go to your grandmother's house, go to your mother's house, go to your friend's house, and that's the case. Everywhere you go, there's something printed, there's physical things, and those physical things are somewhat, those are the heirlooms, those are the things that, if I was rushing out of my house because it was on fire, what would I grab? Besides my kids, I'll grab the heirloom. I'll grab the thing that's the most important, you know, I'm not gonna grab the iPad, because the iPad can be replaced. But there's a physical attachment to books or to prints. In our house, we have this little apothecary thing as you walk in the door, and there are little photos of ancestors inside there that are in the original frames that they were in, and they're 100 years old. Those are important, those are physical things that I would want. I don't care about the phone, because the phone can be replaced, and all the stuff's in the cloud. And that's great, digital is great. But I think that there's something that we lose if we don't also pay attention to books, and to magazines and things that we can touch and hold. So, that's why we're here to discuss this today, but the question is, how do you do that? Because if it's too complicated to make, then we'll just go to the easy thing, which is deliver it on a phone, swipe, look at things on, you know, a nonphysical space. So I'm gonna show you how to make this easy. But before we do that, we need to talk about what there is available for you to make. And so we're actually discussing everything that we can make from the Blurb system. So Blurb is a book printer. They print books and magazines, things of that nature. They're a bindery, printer service. And so we're gonna look at all of their products, and the things that we can make through them. And fortunately, they have plugins to Lightroom, to InDesign, and they even have their own software, which we won't cover today, but if you don't have Lightroom, or you don't have InDesign, or you don't even want to use those, they have a very simple book designer that you can use that you can download online for free, and use it, so that's an option as well, and you can make all the same books and magazines. It's just not quite as good a system as the systems we're gonna be talking about. But the first one, and this is the thing that's been around inside of Lightroom for a long time is the idea of actual books. So a photo book. This is a photo book here, this one right here. It's called a photo book. It's a hardbound book. It comes in a lot of different papers. This one's a very toothy, this is the ProLine Uncoated paper. So it's very tactile, you feel it. So as you leaf through the pages. That's my daughter, by the way. So this is my portfolio for children's photography. So if someone's sitting in the studio, and they're here to talk about children's portraits, or if they are coming to look at children's portraits that we've taken, they can leaf through this book. There's all sorts of quotes in here about children. And so it's a nice little thing for people to look through. I love it, it's beautiful, and people love to look at it. And it's easier to look through that than sitting someone down and saying, oh, would you take a look at this slideshow? A lot of people do that, which I can't understand. I remember when I first had a studio, I thought, oh, I'm gonna put a TV, and then I'm gonna have people come in, and I'll make them watch a slideshow, and then I'll leave and go do something, and come back, 'cause it's weird, it's uncomfortable to sit there while people are looking at your images, and you're like, trying to figure out if they like them or not. It's just a strange, so slideshows are not something that I wanna be around, and they're not something I wanna force people to watch. Because it's just a long period of time that's uncomfortable for everybody. So I would prefer to hand those off to them and let them watch them on their own time. That's, it's better for me to hand them a book, and say, hey, you can leaf through this book while you're waiting or whatever, and then they can do it at their leisure, or they'll pick it up and they'll look through it. And it's nonlinear too. Because a book, you can open up a page, you can look at it, and then you can skip three pages. You can kind of leaf through it till one grabs your attention. It's a much more interactive experience than a slideshow. So that's my preference is to have someone look at a book when they're in your physical space. So this book was around for quite some time, and it's called a photo book. It's the most expensive of their books. So it's really well printed, but it can run you anywhere from $ to $200, depending on how big it is, and how many pages are in it, all that kinda stuff. They also have a, this is a newer type of book. And this one is a layflat. So it's still, the same kind of idea, it's a photo book. But instead of having a thick gutter where the pages go into it, so that you lose some of the information in the gutter, this one has a flat binding system that allows you to go all the way across the bleed. So you have a lot more design capabilities in a layflat book. And the reason we need to show you all these is because when we go in to design a book, you really have to think, what is my end goal? How do I want this to look? Before I choose how I'm gonna design it. They also have, what we call a magazine. And so this is actually a magazine that's by my friend Dan Milner. And they're just thin, small, magazine-style. Really beautifully printed. They have a gutter, but they're really great for simple, small projects that you don't wanna spend a lot of money on. They're kinda the opposite of the book. You got the book, the photo book, the layflat book, it's a really heavy, big thing. This is something that you can print really easily, hand it off to someone, you know, give them an idea of what you do as a photographer. And what I did is I actually made a really thick one, 'cause I tend to like big, thick things. And so I made a really thick magazine. So this is a 240-page magazine. But it's really great, because it's got the photos in it, it's got text in it. It's got page numbers down here. It's just a fantastic, beautiful printing. Great text printing, and it's basically my portfolio. And it doesn't cost all that much to print this, as opposed to something like this. So 240 pages in a magazine is like a $60 thing. Whereas 240 pages in a book is nearly $200. So it's a very big difference. And most people aren't gonna print a magazine that's that thick. They're gonna print something that's nice and thin. Now there's also something called a trade book. This is a trade book. Looks a lot like a magazine, but it's a book. And these trade books are super, super, super cheap to purchase. They're the same great quality of print, but they're really inexpensive to make. And so instead of spending a ton of money on a book, this opens up your world to a lot of different possibilities of things that you can do for clients and friends that will cost you 10, $15, instead of $60 or $200. And the idea is that if you open yourself up to a world of printing things, you change the dynamic between you and the viewer of your photographs. Whether that's client, or whether it's people that you want to impress with your photography to get into say, maybe let's say you're an art photographer, and you want to get a show at a gallery. There's a big difference between you showing up with an iPhone or with an iPad, and trying to get someone to look through your images, versus you showing up with a magazine that you've designed that's beautifully printed, and you handing it off to them, and say, hey, I wanted to talk to you about my work, I wanted to leave this behind. And then the next week, you could send them a little tiny trade book with a 20-page book about a project that you did. That's very easy to help someone see your vision when it's in a book. Plus, it helps them see, oh this is an actual finished thing rather than just photos that I'm swiping through that may not be associated with any major project. So there's a lot to the value of just that tangible thing that you can leave behind, that you can hand to someone. It just opens up your world. So some of the things that we can do with printed materials. So I've already shown you, this is a wedding album. Lot less expensive than say, a leatherbound, you know, big, thick book. So those can cost $800 to print one of those at a really nice bindery with nice leather and big, thick pages. Usually, they run around three to $400. But this is about 180. So there's a huge difference in the cost factor in making a nice book, but something that most people can afford for their wedding. So this is a nice wedding documentary book. This one is obviously a portfolio. So there, we can use it for those things. One of the things that I do, that I love for my clients, is a proof book. So this is a proof book, and in it, I have all of the pictures with their numbers in it, so I can see, so the client can actually be on an airplane, they can be at the cabin or wherever, and not have any kind of connection, or any kind of power, and they can still be looking at their images. Plus, the really fancy, great images are nice and big. So it's actually training my clients. So they're looking at four pictures per page, and then they're seeing the one I want them to see. So they're cuing into, oh, that's a really good one. But here's the other ones that I might want. So this is a great option for delivering images to clients right off the bat. So I give them a proof book, they get to look through it, they can go online and look through them there. The image numbers are the same. It's just a really great way for people to be able to see their images. So that's another thing that we can do with them. This is another portfolio idea. I just added text to it to make it more interesting, it's got some of my writing in it. There's some poetry in it, there's some prose in it. There's some old articles I've written, just whatever, it's just my portfolio of writing and photography. And then I started playing around with other ideas, because now I'm kinda freed up to do other things. And so this one is kind of a special project that I made for a client that I've been photographing her children for maybe seven years, I think, something like that. And so this is all of the photographs, all of my favorite photographs, over the course of those seven years, from the time that I first photographed this little girl, who's actually my daughter's age, and they're pretty good friends. And so she's right here on the back, and that's the first photo I took of her. And so I've got all of these photographs, and it's just a, it's a notebook. So it's got lots of white space on it for her to just take notes. It's kind of a like a little gratitude journal. Something you can write in, and write some of the things that you're thankful for, and happy about, and just kind of a positive journal. But it's got lots and lots of white space, and then it's got all these little photos of their kids so that she can write in it. And she hasn't seen this yet, so this, I just printed this, and then I'm gonna hand it to her. So it's just a cute little thank you note to a client that has been using me for years. And it doesn't cost very much to make, and it's very, very easy to make. Doesn't take, what, about five minutes to make this book. So it's something that doesn't take your time, doesn't take a lot of money, and it will take a big impression on the people that you leave it with. So that's that. And then I did the same thing for myself, 'cause I like notebooks, in fact, you can... So I always have these kinda notebooks around, and I have this notebook, I like to write in things. So I made myself a notebook that has my own photos in it. So there's lots of white space to write, but then there's a whole bunch of my favorite photos from traveling the world. So these are all travel photographs from all around the world with lots of white space, so I can take notes, right? So there's a lot of things that we can do with these books that can either be just portfolio-type stuff, things for people to enjoy, or they can be very useful products like a proof book, or a notebook, or something of that nature. Okay, so the real question then is, how do we do it? How do we make these things, and make them simply and easily enough that it doesn't frustrate us while we're doing it?

Class Description


  • Create custom print and digital photography books and magazines
  • Tell a compelling visual story with your photographs
  • Captivate your clients and friends


Join Jared Platt and learn how to design beautiful custom books and magazines in Lightroom and InDesign. But of course, there is more to creating a great book than the technical how-to. In this class, you will not only learn how to create a book and magazine with your images, but you will also learn the thought process behind creating a solid book design with lessons on storytelling and real-world, practical ideas for your next book or magazine. With your new ideas and technical skills, you will be ready to create digital and physical books and magazines that will captivate and impress your followers and clients, helping you stand out for the digital noise.

In a digital world, with BILLIONS of images flooding the internet and crowding your audience’s phones, the white noise is deafening and it is very hard to stand out. But with more and more digital shoot and burn based photographers, there is one way to really stand out. Beautifully printed images can make an impression, but even better than one photograph on the wall is a thoughtfully designed book full of imagery and text. Handing one of a kind book to your client will create a lasting impression and ensure your images have a place in their daily life, and not just in their private phones. Books and magazines can also be an incredibly effective marketing tool when building relationships with prospective clients, museums, art directors and the general public. And of course, there is no better way to enjoy your own personal work and share it with your friends, family, and fans than in a book or magazine form. Not only do tactile books stand out in a sterile digital world, but a book or a magazine (digital or physical), puts the photographer in control of the audiences’ experience, allowing the photographer to present a true narrative and lead the viewer through a tightly controlled story.


  • All levels of photographers
  • Photographers interested in creating print and digital books and magazines


Adobe Photoshop CC 2019, Adobe InDesign CC 2019


Jared Platt is a professional wedding and lifestyle photographer from Phoenix, Arizona. Jared holds a Masters of Fine Arts in the Photographic Studies and a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography from Arizona State University and has been a professional photographer and college educator for the past 12 years and has been a speaking, debating and lecturing for the past 17 years. His attention to detail and craft make him a demanding photography instructor. Jared has lectured at major trade shows and photo conferences as well as at universities around the world on the subject of photography as well as workflow. Currently, Jared is traveling the United States and Canada teaching and lecturing on photography and workflow. Join him online for monthly "Office Hours" at www.jaredplattworkshops.com.



I thought I had my book printing processes all figured out, but now I'm going to have to rethink the products I offer to clients and the ones I use to market myself. Aside from introducing me to a print company I didn't know about, Jared walked through areas of Lightroom that I've never even ventured into before. It is insane how easy and approachable he made it seem to design and print with Lightroom and InDesign. I definitely recommend this class!