Personal photography books have been very popular in the last few years. Anyone can print a book of their own work with excellent results.
That said, I recently completed a book project with Jane Ebaugh called "Path to Healing." Meant more as a memento than a commercial project, this book captures a specific project we worked on. Go to my gallery called CTI (Care through Touch) to read the story behind the project.
This is not just a book with photographs, but there are stories that accompany the images. While this was an exciting project, it was also a lot of work - choosing the right photographs, writing the stories, editing, proofing, etc. With each 'test print' of the book, there were always corrections, edits, and changes that needed to be made. Like photography, everything may look OK on the screen, but once it is printed there are often details that need to be corrected or improved.
We used Apple Books. While I like to support Apple, I do not feel their photo books are of a professional quality. Additionally, their templates are very limited and their support leaves much to be desired.
There are many other companies that specialize in printing personal book. I would be inclined to look elsewhere for my next project. However, I would encourage anyone thinking of creating an art book to give it a try - it's a real learning experience!
When I grow up, should I be a General Practitioner or an Open Heart Surgeon? Actually, I never had dreams of being a either, but the question is the same - is it better to be a generalist or a specialist? The consensus often leans in the direction of being a specialist. You make more money!
The same holds true in photography. There are photogs that specialize in portraiture, architecture, fashion, editorial, weddings, etc. And then there people like the Hudson Valley photographer extraordinaire, Rick Sammon. Rick states, "My specialty is not to specialize." I like that.
If I had to choose, I'd fall into his camp. Everywhere you look, there is a photograph waiting to be taken. A story to be told, a feeling to be conveyed. And there are so many ways to do it. We have panoramas, image blending, high dynamic range, Focus Stacking, infrared, macro, light painting, etc. It's like being a kid in a candy store. Additionally, I believe that photographing different genres will make you a better photographer.
There is a wonderful saying in the East - the beginner has infinite possibilities, the master has few. I'm not sure which is best, but there is room for all of us.
As I write this from the beautiful Hudson Valley, we are in the middle of the 2016 holiday season. And unlike last year, we are having a bona fide snow blizzard. Sometimes it's nice to be snowed in (if you don't have to go anywhere)!
Photographically, it has been a wonderful year. The highlight was winning First Place in the NECCC Sigma showcase photo contest. Also, very exciting was having my work included in the multimedia performance of the "Grand Canyon Suite" by The Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra. Throughout the auditorium were large screens displaying images of the Grand Canyon as the symphony played. It was an excellent performance. And, of course, the photos were great. Additionally I was in several other wonderful Juried and Open exhibitions this past year.
Travel wise, we went to the Grand Tetons for a week of photography and hiking. This part of the country is incredibly beautiful. It's next to impossible not to get great photographs there. We have also been busy with several commercial projects in addition to photographing large events, and also doing portraiture work.
Feel free to get in touch with us (through the Contact page) if you have a photo project you would like to discuss.
Anyway, hope this past year has been rewarding for you, and wishing you all the best for a great New Year.
John A. Verner