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Photo Books—Do It Yourself

Binders that hold sheet protectors and have slip cases for additional protection are great for both storage and display. Courtesy of Light Impressions at www.light impressionsdirect. com.
Pina Zangaro makes beautiful ring binders and sheet protectors.
A screw post binding uses punched pages, screw posts, and a cover set. Courtesy of Red River Paper.
Chicago screws have two parts-a screw and a post and come in a variety of lengths.

When you want a printed and bound album of your photos you can use a doit-yourself approach, or as you'll see in the next section, work with an outside photo book printer.

When preparing your album pages, you can use a desktop publishing program such a Microsoft Publisher to create more elaborate layouts and add text. You can even make a book look like a journal, a coffee table picture book, or a scrapbook. One thing to think about is the first page you see when you open the album. In most books, the first page, called a half-title page, repeats the book's title and author and sometimes has a description. You might want such a page in your album to set the tone and also give it a more professional look.

Printing and binding a photo album at home doesn't take that long. One big advantage of doing it yourself is that you can usually add or change pages at any point because the binding system is flexible.

Albums and Sheet Protectors

One of the easiest ways to create a photo album is to just slip your prints into plastic sheet protectors and put them into a loose-leaf binder. You can even slip two prints back-to-back into each sheet protector so as you turn pages they form a two-page spread. The binders used with sheet protectors are wider than most binders because they have to accommodate the additional width of the strip on each sheet protector that contain the binding holes. Sheet protectors are available in a number of layouts including those that hold 8.5 x 11 prints and those with multiple pockets for smaller prints. There are binders that use three rings and some that use more. More rings may look more attractive, but because they are not widely available you may be locked into a single source of supply. Binders come with D-rings or O-rings (D-rings hold 20% more pages than O-rings) and also screw posts. One good thing about using sheet protectors in screw post bindings is that they turn and fold fairly flat because there is a crease between the image and the strip on the sheet protector with the punched holes.

Attractive cover sets such as this one from Kolo holds sheet protectors. Photo Credit: Kolo, LLC

Album Kits

A much more attractive way to create an album is to use an album kit. You print your images directly onto the album pages, often on both sides if you want, and then bind them in a professional looking cover—some of which have a place for a small photo or label identifying the subject or theme or an opening so the image on the first page shows through. Some album pages have attached mounting strips that are punched and scored for easy turning. Other kits use strips that you attach after making your prints. Some kits also include translucent interleaves and metal edge preservation boxes.

Most of these systems use a post binding (also called "Chicago-screw bindings"). The covers each have a narrow flap punched with holes and creased so they are folded under when the covers are closed. A post and screw is inserted through each hole in both covers and matching holes punched in the album pages. When the screws are tightened and the covers are closed, the post heads are concealed. Pages can be added or removed from albums bound in this manner. The number of pages that can be included depends on the length of the available screw posts.

This Kolo set contains a cover set with post binding and inkjet pages that are printable on both sides. Photo Credits: Kolo, LLC

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