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Photo Book - Advanced Artworking

This is a page for those who wish to create custom layouts using professional artworking applications. Some degree of layout experience is required.

When we make our books to the standard offering we set one image per page and bleed it off the edge. If you deviate from our standard offering to do your own layouts you need to follow these instructions otherwise your images will be cropped automatically to our standard formats.

There are defined construction values that we need to meet to be able to physically make the book. That means you need to allow for all the practical mechanical and production factors we set out here on this page.


We are extremely careful and successful with colour and our experience tells us your book will look stunning. However me make no absolute guarantee that the colour or brightness will be 100% exact to what you see in your original images. This is due to many reasons like, monitor calibrations, paper weights, paper densities and the daylight you are reviewing in. Our terms and conditions mean that we do our best but do not guarantee absolute exactness.

Colour Space
RGB files are fine but if you are able to convert to CMYK please do so. We do not provide profiles. If you are using large areas of black it needs to be a 'rich' black comprised of 100% K and 20% each of the other CM & Y which you can choose in the colour picker in Photoshop. In Indesign it needs to be black - not registration black - that is in the swatch panel.

Anything between 240dpi and 300dpi at actual size is recommended. This is of course flexible, and we have printed at 100dpi before with acceptable results in the absence of better files. Text will only print well at 600dpi or as a vector file. Text at 240dpi will not look very good, even though images will. Please note as tempting as you may find it, it is unnecessary to try and supply the highest dpi you can muster, or the biggest file size you can create. Jpeg's are preferred to TIFF files. You will never need to go to DVD and handling charges for unwieldy file sizes will apply on all orders above 300mb (at 20p per megabyte).

On the A3 book, the cover is slightly larger than A3, and the contents slightly smaller. A5 and A4 books have a larger cover, and A4/5 contents. We must leave a gap on the inside margin of the pages to ensure perfect adhesion to the spine. Dimensions given are generally accurate but reference too A3, A4 and A5 are general size names for ease of reference and do not reflect absolute sizes.

Internal Page Data
Template cropped
(this is the size you will get).
with bleed
(this is the size you should submit)
A5 195mm wide x 145mm deep 201mm wide x 151mm deep
287mm wide x 204mm deep
293mm wide x 210mm deep
205mm wide x 270mm deep
211mm wide x 276mm deep
A3 395mm wide x 277mm deep 401mm wide x 283mm deep

Template cropped
(this is the size you will get).
with bleed
(this is the size you should submit)
A5 194mm x 150mm 201mm x 167mm
278mm x 214mm
290mm x 236mm
A4 portrait 211mm x 282mm 223mm x 301mm
A3 395mm x 287mm 407mm x 309mm

Internal page templates (PDF format)
A5    A4 landscape  A4 portrait    A3
This is just for reference so that you can envisage the above information. Note there is only 1 mm bleed on the inside of the spread (it doesn't have to be so much as the rest owing to the page going into the spine).

Cover templates
A5    A4 landscape  A4 portrait    A3
These are in photoshop format, and are the back, spine and front cover all together. We print it in one piece and then wrap it around the board to make the cover. The front of the book is the right hand side.

Bleed is an essential part of edge to edge printing. The idea is that the image is printed larger than you need and is guillotined to fit. Therefore be very careful not to put anything near the cropped edges. See diagram below of a right-hand page:
sample layout image
-Full image with bleed
You need to supply an image that sits inside the full print area 3. This is what we print. EG for an A5 photo book you will have supplied a picture of the dimensions 200mm wide x 151 deep. If you do not supply to these dimensions we will zoom and crop at our discretion.
-The crop zone
We then guillotine the page to fit the lighter section, area 2. The darker bit around the edge is cut off.
It is necessary to cut it smaller than we print because it means that the pages are always squared up and reach the edge of the page. Some movement and skew may occur during production, so this way even if the image moves when cutting you will still get a great result.
-The safe area
Area 1 is the safe area. When making montages, or inset pictures, or lines, or anything else, please keep it within area 1. Area 1 is approx 1cm inset from the final cropped area. Anything that goes too near the edge may look like a 'mistake' when the book is finally bound. Keep complex layout within area 1!
There is no need to make any areas light or darker like the above image. It is coloured in the example simply to illustrate the point. Likewise do not include images with cropmarks.

Remember that due to the bespoke nature of our product some movement and skew can occur, although obviously we try to keep this to a minimum.

File formats
We recommend that you supply images as TIF, JPG, EPS, PDF. We can though work with a lot of file formats, so if you want to send us something in a less universal format please give us a call.

We print to satin book cloth for the cover which is then hand bound. Some marginal shrinkage is to be expected although this is unnoticeable and we allow for this in the planning. Internal pages 160gsm white silk paper.

Common Sense
We use common sense with assembling these books, and anything that does not fit perfectly we will either crop or zoom in sensibly. If you foresee any problem areas please indicate them to us at time of order. We naturally do our best to achieve best results but we print what we are given.

Double page spreads are fine for scenic panoramas but are not advised where there are key features like text or faces that need to meet perfectly in the middle. Our books do not open completely flat and the hand bound process means we need to have some of the image deep in the central bind so no white edges show.

Text as an image
Because images are printed as halftones, text supplied as an image is inadvisable unless you have overlayed it in a proper page layout program and have exported it as PDF. We would recommend sending any images and text separately, the text being sent as a digital text format.

Tip: Remember not to leave important things close to the edge. Even with a perfect crop it always looks nice to have a little room around the edge of the page.

Tip: White covers look good but mark easily. You can clean off but it's not practical if you want people to look at it.

Photo display book ready in  2 - 4 days
A5 landscape
22x16 cm
up to 30 images
Add to Cart
A4 landscape
31x22 cm
Add to Cart
A4 Portrait
31x22 cm
Add to Cart
A3 Landscape
41x30 cm
Add to Cart

After all the work you have undertaken it make sense to have the personalised box too!

Reviews of Premium Photo Books

Rated 4.8/5 based on 56 customer reviews view all
  • Chose Bags of Love over cheaper options as have used them before and knew quality was very high. They did not disappoint. Recipient was blown away by the photo book - as were all his friends & family. So lovely to be able to speak to a real person with queries before and after ordering. Thank you to all the team for you communication, attention to detail and fine craftsmanship. Will use again and heartily recommend xxx
    Rated 5 / 5 stars - by
  • Thank you for a lovely book, quality is excellent and the help in getting the text converted for me was very much appreciated.
    Rated 5 / 5 stars - by
  • My Bags of Love photobook was a much larger project than I had thought. I have to say that the customer support and online help were exceptional. They helped me piece together the final package I now have. All 20 pages of it! Thank you for rushing it through for me. I had it back perfectly on time and it really looks fantastic. I won't be doing such s major project for some time but when I do, I will be getting on touch again.
    Rated 5 / 5 stars - by
  • It was a fantastic experience. I got lot of help from Gwen & Alex.
    Rated 5 / 5 stars - by
  • perfect
    Rated 5 / 5 stars - by