Photographers Blog

September 2015 ..... towards a second proof

Positively Birmingham first proof

A full first proof of this 10 chapter book was a fantastic achievement in August considering the decision to produce the book was only made on 8th March. Back then the original plan had been for 12 chapters and a book of around 128 pages. The chapters tightened up as the theme of the book took shape. Chapter 2 and 5 were used to create the design and they came back from the designer at 26 and 20 pages respectively and the chapter count came down to 10.

The first proof went to Mike my 'critical reader' on 2nd August as Barbara and I headed away to Lech in Austria for a week walking in the Alps. This was the first time Mike had seen the photos - prior to that he had just seen the words. Just he and I have read and marked the proof and it will all go back to the designer at the same time - on 4th September. The first proof of a book of photography is a time to consider many things including:

  • Choice of photos and the ways they are edited in. The designer is given multiple options with the origination and allowed a lot of creative freedom. However at first proof we can still change lots of things. Once you get to second proof it really is just typos as far as possible.
  • Text and legends has been brought together but sometimes the designer may have had to make changes that need to be reviewed.
  • Photos that do not work or additional photos that need to be sourced.
  • Once the full first proof is assembled then a review across the book can look for consistency and also get a feel for the whole thing

As well as the 10 chapters I also worked on the front pages and the cover. My ideas for the final cover are for something that I can not photograph yet, as it does not exist. So we have worked on something that could work if we never get from concept to reality.

Final Photos...

I have a very busy week of assignments in a couple of weeks time to get the final photos for Chapter 1 and also the cover. The biggest risk now is the weather for the external shots I need to take of Grand Central.

Over the next few weeks the first proof corrections will be put in by the designer with a target to have a 2nd proof by 18 September. Then the full proof will go to proof readers, Mike and Raj, who have a week to work on the book. The two proofs then come back to me and I take them to Duras in France. The 2nd proof final changes will be considered in the quietness of the French countryside in a gite run by some ex-neighbours of ours in Birmingham. In parallel chapter 1 will have the real photos placed and I guess I will receive a PDF into the Dropbox to review in France.

Quotes and Printing

We have a rough idea of costs with a printer's estimate. However, while this gave a guide price we have now to decide on the final product - page numbers and finish and then get final quotes.  As well as the price, considerations include the quality of the printing and also the ability to produce a quite complex item of print to a tight deadline.

Quality of print is indeed crucial for this publication and it may be considered rash to use a printer that you have not already worked with before. With around six weeks to get the book printed, a UK based printer is really essential, but two of the printers I would have asked to quote have gone bust. Off-set litho printers and book finishers are not easy to find for this sort of work. Indeed the print company that produced editions 1-4 went about ten years ago and the 4th edition binding was done by an Edinburgh company already in receivership! Having said that we still have some great print companies in the UK - just adds to the risk analysis which one you choose!

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