WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO PRINT A PHOTOBOOK?
1. Offset-litho. This is the traditional way of printing a book (seen above). The presses are designed to print in bulk, offering economies of scale. A typical run is 500+ copies. Anything less and the unit book price can become prohibitively high. These days there are very few
UK offset-litho printers, so I print in Italy with EBS, who I consider one of the
very best photobook printers.
2. Digital-ink. The majority of photographers I work with want to make short-run, editioned books – typically between 10-150 copies. This number of books requires a short-run press. The one I favour is the industry-leading HP Indigo. I work very closely with a wonderful printer just outside London. Jamie is always happy to try out new papers from the myriad that are available and, unlike offset-litho, the Indigo gives similar looking results on coated and uncoated stock. Jamie's also really into the craft of book making. So he loves to discuss different ways of binding, to express an individual photographer's vision. And, unlike offset-litho printing, with Indigo it is cheap to print and handbind a prototype book, to truly experience how the final book will
look, feel and handle. With this type of short-run printing, most of the binding is done in
the Envisage Books studio.
3. Inkjet. This is for anyone with a desktop printer who wants a simple way to get into making photobooks. Although the print quality is excellent, the inks and papers typically aren't designed for being handled or folded into bound sections. The choice of double-sided papers is also fairly limited and at 200-230gsm they tend to be a little on the heavy side. But don't be put off!
I've made lovely inkjet books with clients and on book making workshops.
Which method suits you will depend on a variety of factors specific to your project. The best way forward is for you to talk through your ideas with me.
One of 50 boxed copies of the Remembering Elephants wildlife conservation book that
was published for the Born Free Foundation under the Envisage Books imprint.
The boxed copies came with an original print by the book's organiser
and photographer Margot Raggett.
Trevor and Faye Yerbury on press, checking their 'Yerbury Nudes' duotone book with specialist Italian printer Jonathan Bortolazzi of EBS.
Photo © Eddie Ephraums