Building a Portfolio Book

I recently finished putting together my portfolio book, and I'd like to share a little walkthrough of it. The process of putting this together was longer than I had originally planned. It all started by going through images from the last few years and figuring out what worked. A lot of this process was with Natalie Ogura, who has a very strong background as a producer as well as a set stylist. I've brought her on for commercial shoots before and was excited to to work together again. We culled images for the website, and then I used those images as a starting point for the book.

When it comes to book printing you have a ton of options. While it would have been easy to go to the companies I've used before for weddings, the problem with those books is that they are permanent: no changing out pages without sending the books in (and paying a nice change fee.) Ultimately I decided to go with Lost Luggage. While they do high-end custom work for clients, they also produce a series of standard portfolio books that allow you to trade out pages easily. They had just the look I wanted.

I also had to make some decisions when it came to printing. Lost Luggage sells matte paper that is pre-drilled and works perfectly with their books. I did a test run with their paper, but in the end wasn't happy. I felt that paper with a slight gloss would work better since my images had a more contemporary, commercial look to them. Lost Luggage didn't sell any paper like that, so I went on a paper hunt.

I was immediately drawn to Hahnemuhle. I just loved how the prints looked with their paper! It had enough of a sheen but wasn't glossy. My first round with that paper was Photo Rag Pearl. The paper was rated as 320 gsm (which is a measure of its thickness). That paper was incredible, but once I printed the book, I noticed that the paper was too thick. The book couldn't lay flat, and became unwieldy. Fortunately, Hahnemuhle makes a version of the same paper at 285 gsm, and it was much better.

Here's a video walkthrough of the book:

Regarding the video, creating it was pretty straight-forward. I put a 5d Mark 2 on a c-stand (held by a Manfrotto magic arm). The camera was running tethered to a laptop. On the laptop, I was using the Live View feature of Canon's EOS Utility. This allowed me to watch it while recording to make sure the book was straight and the pacing was good. For lighting, I used a single ring flash behind the desk. Here's a setup shot:

Overall, I am really happy with the book, and the response by those that have seen has been great!