Conduct Your Own Symphony, Visually

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The following is an ongoing series from Create Your Own Great Photo Book. The first “Be a Ruthless Photo Editor” covers activities you can use to take control of your image library. The second, “Storyboarding, Not Just For Filmmakers,” presents concepts for creating a theme for your images. 

Conduct Your Symphony, Visually

Image: Barbara Weibel (2014),

Very frequently, I take a shortcut from the bus stop at Adams/Wabash through the Chicago Symphony Orchestra building to reach the Chicago Architecture Foundation, next door. If I’m lucky, I can hear the musicians in the practice rooms or the auditorium. Music, written and performed, is structured. Components that can help us structure and create our own great photo books.

By now, you’ve done your sequencing, injecting energy and emotion during the storyboard phase. As a designer, I use several techniques to establish a cognitive flow within a book’s theme:

  • Add pauses or rests,
  • Build to crescendo,
  • Emphasis on single images, and
  • Tell a story…visually
Below are a few techniques to help you “conduct your own symphony”~visually.

PAIRINGS: Make connections. Typically, still images are static on their own but ‘paired’ with others the group can make a moment. 

RHYTHM/FLOW: Curate a method of how you want the reader to advance through your book. How can you tell the story visually?

RESTS/PAUSES: A blank page is NOT always the answer; in fact, it can be confusing. Use negative (white) space to balance with your photos and/or text. 

MOTIFS: Be true to the core theme or concept of the book look for colors and patterns to add interest.

TEXT: Your text should SUPPORT the images in your photo book. Refrain from using text to fill empty space. 

PRO TIP: Storyboard your book and create a mock up. This helps you envision the finished book as a singular piece, versus assembling it page-by-page.

Interested in more? Download “Create Your Own Great Photo Book.”

Next: Front and back matter–important elements to create a professionally designed photo book.

Happy self publishing.