Hit the Books with Dan Milnor: Storytelling Through Images – Webinar Recap

Hit the Books with Dan Milnor is a monthly webinar about all things book-making and self-publishing. This month, we’re focusing on Photo Books and talking about telling a story through images. If you missed our latest live webinar, don’t worry! We’ve got the entire thing recorded below.

March: Storytelling Through Images

  • Ways to tell a story – the narrative arc (setup, development, high point, resolution), narrative arcs unique to photography
  • The difference between a verbal and a visual story
  • Classifying images by function and how different types work to tell a story
  • Image editing/processing checklist
  • Choosing a cover photo

Watch the Webinar

Top 10 Questions from the Audience

1) My Blurb books come out dark because I underexpose my photos. How best can I make them look good in my book?
The short answer is you’re going to need to ‘open them up’. However I do need to say that calibrating your monitor is a must. Then keep in mind your monitor brightness, which will also be adjusted when you calibrate. If you do these two things, then you’re well on your way to printing good color.

2) How do you prevent text from competing too much with the image on the page?
There are three things to think about. Firstly, type size. Keep it small. Secondly, typeface. Make sure you are using a subtle font and not a crazy, loopy, distracting font style. And finally, type placement. Putting any text on a page with an image means it’s competing with the image. So, make sure you need that text and that it’s giving the viewer something they can’t deduce on their own.

3) What tips do you have about using related or non-related images on spreads?
Firstly, I would determine  your ‘portfolio’ level images and then give those specific images room to breathe. Leave them alone to do their own talking.  Secondly, when using multiple images on a spread, you must make sure they relate to one another, either visually or in the information they deliver. If you’re placing unrelated images created in different styles together on one page, it can be difficult for a reader to follow the narrative.

4) What is the best resolution for images for printing in photo books?
Let’s keep this really simple and say 300 dpi. I would also make my images at least the size of the dimensions of the book I’m creating.

5) How will written word visual communications like emojis impact visual storytelling?
This is a REALLY interesting question. Personally, I’ve never once sent an emoji or even considered doing so. In fact, I’m not sure why anyone would send an emoji, but to each their own. For me these items are nothing more than distractions unless you are purposely incorporating them for a specific reason. Then, by all means. Keep in mind, visuals are ingested 60,000 times faster than the written word.

6) Which programs do you use for your photography?
I’m very simple in my approach so I just use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Although I actually don’t know much about either, just enough to do what I need to do. Software, for me, is about efficiency and little else.

7) When using Layflat do you incorporate more double page spreads in your photo books?
Yes, yes, and yes. The main idea behind Layflat is to be able to safely put critical elements of your images in the gutter. So, take advantage of this!

8) What type of calibration tool do you use?
I use something called ColorMunki from X-Rite.

9) How do you decide what stories to photograph?
Great question. I simply choose to work on projects I love. In the past, when I was a journalist, I would often choose stories based on timeliness, newsworthiness, etc. But now, it’s just what I love.

10) How would I layout an architecture book with photography that has varying levels of post processing? Would I break them up into chapters or run them together?
Complicated question. If the selling point of the images is their post processing, then I would potentially break them up into chapters. That way you could have a cohesiveness to the book, but could also break down in the copy what is so important about the process. As a result, the book might take on a more technical feel as opposed to a book of straight photography.

Stay tuned for our next webinar on April 24.

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