What I learned printing my own photos and putting them into a book

I have created several photo books using Blurb and Shutterfly, but these are press printed versions of my photos. I have long wanted to create a book using photos I print myself. Several weeks ago I created a thread asking about ways to bind my own photos into a book. I gave up on the idea of binding into a book…too completed and/or expensive. Instead I opted to use a custom made portfolio book with screw posts holding things together. The options for portfolio books range from hideously ugly and cheap to quite beautiful and expensive. I chose to spend over $200 for a 12x12 inch cloth bound cover (over 20 choices of colors) with two lines of inscription see photo below). The next problem is how to get holes in the paper and a crease that allows the pages to bend and turn easily. Hahnemuehle makes 12x12 sheets pre punched and creased, at about $160 for 20 sheets and interleave protectors. They only offer three surfaces and they all are matte surfaces. I wanted a luster surface, both for the ease in soft proofing and printing compared to a matte surface and for its durability re smudging, scratching, etc. I ended up buying 12 inch hole punched adhesive strips: you attach to the edge of the print. I was concerned that they would looked tacky, but they actually look just fine when assembled into the portfolio (see below). Several companies make 12x12 paper, I went with Red River Premium Luster, about $60 for 50 sheets. The process of printing was wonderful and fun. My printer is an Epson p900. I learned a lot. I got much better at soft proofing and by the end could get a keeper print on the first go around over 80% of the time. I did make a dry run on letter sized paper (much cheaper) for each print. Most of the time when I didn’t like the dry run print, I only had to make one or two additional prints to be satisfied. However there were three prints that took over eight attempts before getting the one I wanted. My biggest problem was staying organized. I use Lightroom for organization and for printing , Keeping the different versions of a print of one photo organized was a nightmare for me. But by the end, I had it figured out well enough. I am now the proud owner of a beautiful “book” of my own photos: 39 photos of Zion National Park taken between 2007 and 2024. It was a very satisfying experience and I recommend it highly. If you are interested, you can see the photos here:


Wow Tony. The finished product, and your photo gallery look great. Nice work. What a project. Thanks for sharing your process and your progress.

Thank you for sharing your process in creating a priceless collection of pictures captured in Zion National Park. This is truly magnificent.

Thanks for the ideas, Tony. Wonderful images and a beautiful book.

Thanks for sharing your findings Tony! The book looks very nice and so do the images. I’m temepted to try this myself now.

I spent hours searching for attractive portfolios. Its kind of a sh*t show because square portfolios come in 11x11 and 12x12, and if you go with a screw post portfolio some have three screws and some four. So finding the right adhesive backed hole punched strips is difficult. Hannemuehle only offers a black portfolio. On Etsy of all places you can find a fairly decent 12x12 portfolio for $80. My portfolio is from Kristen Dunn, at $133 for no inscription. The inscription brings it close to $200. You can purchase the 12x12 adhesive strips directly from her at $20 for ten strips. Regarding pre cut square paper, Red River offers several different paper types at a resonable price. Also, if you don’t have your own paper cutter they will cut a batch of paper for you for $20 plus 3 cents a sheet.


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Thanks for the comments and feedback!