We have a storybook in our home from the early '80s that our children love. It's about a boy called Peter, and you get to follow him and his adventures during a summer day.
The format is pretty simple: it consists of photographs of Peter when he goes fishing, inspecting butterflies and other insects on his way. The images, together with text, form a beautiful story. My children and I liked the idea and thought we could make something similar. So, inspired by the book "En sommardag med Peter," we decided to create our own photography storybook.
Summer 2021 in Sweden wasn't perfect weather-wise, but we chose a day when it wasn't raining. So the boys and I decided to follow a track meandering through our local forest. I'm pretty used to photographing children by now and know that there is no point in directing or asking them to do anything in particular. The goal was to have a nice day together, collecting memories and keeping any possible fuss out of the picture. So I bit my tongue and just followed patiently, photographing every step of their journey.
We had a lovely day together, and the boys thoroughly enjoyed their little excursion. They climbed trees, found mushrooms and berries, raced around, and ended up fishing. Unfortunately, they didn't have any fishing luck this day, but they were happy anyway.
It took me some time to create the book after photographing. I usually don't edit any images with presets. Still, to make the process more efficient, I chose a vintage preset in Lightroom to give all pictures a cohesive look. Many companies offer printed photo albums. I chose one that had standard bookbinding and satin semi-matte paper. This makes the book look and feels like a typical storybook. I had in total about 100 images and decided on the 40 best ones to make a book of 28 pages. After selecting the photos in chronological order, I wrote a little story that was true to what we had done this particular day. I'm not a children's book author, but I chose a way to write that I thought my children would enjoy.
I think our storybook turned out pretty well! It's become both a memory of their childhood and a little story. The children have enjoyed it when we've read the book together. They remember and keep filling out the details from our day together. It can also be a lovely gift to give to grandparents or cousins!
I have a few tips to make the book a roaring success:
- Don't work on a bright screen. The book is not backlit like your monitor. It's easy to underexpose your images when working on a bright screen, making your prints dark. You can read more about optimising your images for print in an earlier blogpost.
- Use the camera you have. The images won't be printed in large format, so anything from a smartphone to full-frame works. Just make sure your lens is clean!
- Do the work without pressure. Be a little fly in the background documenting your children rather than telling them what to do. Kids have an incredible imagination, and I promise you will get a few great quotes from them to add to your story.
- There are many fun fonts to choose from, but I would recommend uncomplicated fonts that are easy for you to read. Also, keep in mind that the text colour contrasts with the images if you place it as an overlay.
Good luck with your own storybook and don't forget to tag @getsnella if you post it on social media!