Volume 2014, Issue 6


Obsessed with style: Making the perfect fashion book

Obsessed with style

There’s something to be said for obsession—particularly when it’s the obsession to get “it” just right. The right fit, the right look, the right mood. At Blurb, more than a few of us have that obsession when it comes to two things: Books and fashion. Maybe it’s being headquartered in San Francisco with an office in London⎯arguably two of the world’s most fashionable and literary-minded cities. Or maybe it’s a result of the bespoke books we produce—after all, “beautiful” is in our tag line.

Sometimes it seems we spend as much time talking about which shoes to wear with which trousers as we do about which cover linens go with which end sheets. Often, groups of us seem to be on the same fashion wavelength. One day three of us wore polka dots—without any night-before coordination. And then there was the now-infamous day that brings nods of recognition merely by uttering the words “red pants.” At some point we knew it was inevitable: We needed to combine our obsessions into a little book about fashion.

Obsessed with style - hats

Having made a book or two between us over the years, we had a pretty good idea of where to start—with the photography. With book-making, as in fashion, the details are important and the pictures are everything. Here are the key things to consider when making your own fashion book⎯whether it’s a look book for your particular group of fashionistas or a compendium of your personal sartorial splendor. Follow our pattern for fashion book perfection and the result will look sharp indeed.

Obsessed with style - Photo shoot tips
Obsessed with style - Jackets
  1. It’s all about lighting. To make your fashion really pop, choose natural light or some studio light with a soft box (you can even make one from a lamp and last season’s white t-shirt). If you’re using a flash, you’ll probably want to bounce it or stick a diffusion filter on it.
  2. Make a shot list. This is a critical step, and even more important if you are photographing models. Even if your model is just your best friend who owes you a favor, they’ll appreciate it if you know exactly what you want to shoot. Think about the poses you want to capture, the outfits you want them to wear, and the details that you want to highlight in every shot.
  3. White balance (WB). Accurate color and skin tones come from making sure the WB function on your camera is set to your lighting situation.
  4. Choose the right lens/zoom setting. If you’re using a wide angle, you’re going to lose your beautiful lines (and your model may never forgive you). If you have a camera with different zoom levels, zoom out to minimize lens barrel distortion.
  5. Keep it stylish. It’s a fashion shoot, after all. Play music, keep things moving, try new angles. Attitude, attitude, attitude.
  6. Dress it up. Make your book as fashionable as the clothing featured in it. Choose a simple design that doesn’t upstage the clothing, but still looks chic. Pick a size and paper type that showcases the work brilliantly.

If you’ve ever paid attention to what’s on the catwalk, you know that fashion means different things to different people. For one person it may be all about hats. For another, bow ties. Another can hear the siren call of a beautiful jacket from miles away. And then there’s the one who can’t leave the house in anything other than heels. Those are just a few of the few of the fashion-forward types we have here in the Blurb offices—and that’s only scratching the surface.

We encourage you to follow your own fashion obsessions and document them in a fashionable book. If you look good today in person, imagine looking great forever on the printed page.