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Printing Photo Books Yourself

You can get books printed, but you can also produce them as one-offs using your inkjet printer. This article looks at this method of production.

Printing a photo book yourself produces an art edition, so photographs of higher quality, on higher quality paper, but at a greater cost than the publishing route.

You buy a blank photo book made with hardback or leather quality cover, quality double sided inkjet paper, that you can use to print on your own inkjet printer, interleaved with tissue sheets. So you can do the whole job from start to finish. This is probably an ideal way of getting to understand how to put a photo book together, but also allow you to produce a quality piece of work, that can sit on your coffee table and show off your images to friends and relations who visit. It is also a good way of creating an album of your photos that adds to that special occasion or holiday.

Currently there are three companies producing these books, Hahnemuhle, Innova and Lyson/Marrutt.

Hahnemuhle Luxury Digital Fine Albums

They have both A4 and A3 boxed versions and come with 20 N/Art Duo sheets inside and 22 interleaved sheets. The sheets are held in place with a screw type mechanism, which is released to remove/reinstall paper. They come in silver and black colours. They also have a boxed Leather bound version only available in Black and in A4 size, this has heavyweight 276gsm Photo Rag Duo paper.

The sheets can be printed on both sides so you can get 40 single page pictures in an album. They also have a 40 sheet refill set with 44 interleaf sheets, and they come with an extension mechanism to allow the extra sheets to go between the current binding. Prices around, A4 24.89 and A3 at 41.49 for albums. Refill Pack A4 at 32 and A3 at 497. Leather bound A4 42 and heavyweight refill pack 53.

Innova Opus Album

This album range is available in A4 and A3 sizes, comes with 20 sheets of archival, acid and lignin free, ph neutral paper which can be printed on both sides. They have metal corners on the cover binding and the pages come pre-hinged and punched. The outer cover is made from archival museum mount board and a protective hard sleeve. Two types of paper is used, Soft Textured 200gsm, or Soft Cotton High White 225gsm paper. Refill packs come as 10 sheet packs. There is also an A4 Album with 15 glossy A4 sheets (no refill pack for this one). See www.innovaart.com for further details and instructions/templates to help in the design/layout of the album.

Marrutt Professional Inkjet Photo Books

Marrut have two styles of book the MyBook Photobook which is A4 and comes with 20 double sided 176gsm Tetenal Duoprint paper. With this system you merely print on the 20 double sided pages, interleave with the transparent sleeves and staple them together, place the stapled pack in the hardback cover and then remove the self adhesive strips from the front and back, close the covers and press lightly - all done. These cost 14.95 each and come in a choice of 2 cover colours. You will also need a stapler that can punch 20 sheets at the same time.

They also have a Leather look book which comes in both A4 and A3 sizes with 20 double sided sheets of 176gsm Tetenal Duoprint Matt paper. This system comes with a hard cover which needs to be heat bound onto the pages, so you do need a heat binding system to use this, although on their website they say a medium iron will do the same job. The 20 page photobooks cost 10.67 for A4 and 12.89 for A3 plus VAT. For more on the Marrutt system see this link see this link.

Having used heat bound systems before my own opinion of the Marrutt system is that both their methods probably don't have the same longevity as the other two mentioned here. This will depend on how much they are used and handled, but they are cheaper than the Hahnemule and Innova systems.

Both the Marrutt systems come with free Photobook software which allows you to plan A5 and A4 landscape books as well as A4 and 30cm x 30cm portrait books using a drag and drop principal in as many pages as you wish. But it also has an automatic mode which will put 120 jpgs into a 20 page book in around 5 seconds, which you can then clean up the layouts to what you want to achieve and it prints out all the odd pages first followed by the even pages.

How do we design our photo book

Decide the theme of the book.

Decide on the number of images you want to include. With these books you can print just one picture per page and have 20 or 40 in them or you can add more smaller images on a page, but you will need some software to allow this to occur. Your choice of theme or purpose of the book will probably determine what number you choose. With the Hahnemule and Innova systems you can always put something together and then modify/add to it later as their systems are expandable.

Select those images from the many that you have, that you want to include. This may involve using a star rating system initially to indicate those that you want. Your first selection pass will probably end up being more than you need, so using the star rating will allow you go back through again and slim it down to the number required.

Next you need to edit the selected images on your profiled monitor. The edited pictures should be created for output at 300dpi.

Once all the images you want to use are edited then you need to place them within the page layout. Don't be in a hurry with this task, take your time, if necessary move things about and try different layouts. Make sure you spell check any text elements.

You are now happy with what you have produced and now it is ready for printing.

You will need to produce a profile for the paper, if its the first time you've used it. Using a page from a refill pack is the easiest way, or you could buy either the paper or possibly get samples from your supplier. Don't forget  Printer Profiling is essential to get the highest quality image.

Take the photo book apart so that the blank pages can be put through your inkjet printer.

The printed pages on most inkjets will be touch dry within an hour.

As you want to print on the second side, you need to allow sufficient time for the first side to be dry first.

We usually suggest that you let them settle for at least 24 hours before putting the books back together using the tissue interleaves to separate each of the images. Each of the systems have instruction sheets showing how this is done.


Also see

Making your own Photography Book


ISBN numbers - the numbers and barcodes you see on books for sale.

Copyright Libraries - an obligation to give 6 copies to various libraries if you are offering books to the public.

Suppliers of print your own Photography books,


By: Tracey Park Section: Photography Section Key:
Page Ref: printing_books_yourself Topic: Editing, Printing and Publishing    Last Updated: 10/2011

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