COMPARISON of Photobooks


Author Peter Stone except where indicated otherwise.

To see the photobook on the Momento site, 
click on the image left.

This photobook has resulted from a family trip to Vietnam in December 2014-January 2015. We flew in to Hanoi then on to Sapa in the north-west mountain region for several nights before returning to Hanoi. Then by mini-bus on to Halong Bay for just the one night, and back to Hanoi for several days. An early morning flight to Hue gave us a good day and a half before driving south to Hoi An. A short drive north to Dang for a flight south to Ho Chi Minh City, and then a few relaxing days at the coastal city of Phan Thiet. By the time we left Halong Bay I was having serious problems with my Fuji; and the backup Canon refused to focus after Saigon. However I managed to salvage enough shots for a portfolio. In fact, it gave me an opportunity to 'play' with Photoshop and tweak a few photos into rather pleasant images. As usual, I tried to capture the essence of the country through its people, and the urban and rural landscape. In the end, I am quite happy with this photobook as it did stretch the post-production imagination at times. 
The Federal Cofefe Palace is a building which I am pleased to own, in downtown Yarram. Wife Wendy and I lived here for ten years before Sam came along and we moved out of town. But I still retain an office here. The FCP was built in 1901 and 1906 and needed much TLC when we bought it in 1990. Many of the rooms were completely renovated and the external received a much needed coat of paint. It has an interesting history as a boarding house and commercial premises.  In 1998, after a veterinary clinic vacated the building, a cafe - coffee shop was completely constructed and opened. This remains as a pleasant coffee shop to this day. The rest of the building is utilised as four self-contained units, one used curren;y as my office. The photobook covers the history of the building, its position in the community as a 'coffee palace' and as a stage-coach overnight in the very early days. The book shows the renovations and 'before-and-after' shots. Quite a valuable aid to local history. 
I have a mate, Jimmy. He is knocking 90 and is a WW2 veteran, serving in the Pacific theatre, specifically in New Britain. Jimmy's father was also a veteran, in the Navy on board HMAS Encounter which fired the first shots directly at the (German) enemy near Rabul in Papua New Guinea, September 1915. Jimmy wanted to attend the anniversary commemorative services but needed a companion to assist in his travels. I had some connection with Rabaul, having dived there on the many shipwrecks in the eighties. Being my mate, I took him. Jim gave the Ode of Rememberance at the dusk ceremony on the shores of Simpson Harbour, Rabaul; I gave the historic reading at the dawn ceremony. It was an excellent trip, just five nights, but most enjoyable. I prepared the photobook for Jim as a lasting memory for he and his family. 
In 1988 I joined the brigantine Eye of the Wind for a diving journey from Honiara in the Solomon Islands, north-west to Rabaul in Papua New Guinea. It was a superb trip, visiting islands and dive locations rarely visited. Over a quarter of a century later, it was time to out together a memorable album of the hundreds of terestrial and underwater slides that I had. This meant many hours of scanning prior to the creation of the book. I was encouraged to do this by my good friends Dick and Christa Whitaker who live not far from me in South Gippsland and who were on the same trip. Thwe photobook contains many underwater photographs, and a dive log write-up on each dive. I'm sure it will give me, and Dick and Christa, many fond memories as we reside in the old folks home swopping daring tales of sharks and shipwrecks! 
The first photobook prepared after our family trip to Laos in January 2014 was the Portfolio (below) - and the one on the Children - but I also like to do a photobook journal as a family record of the trip. This took two books - two hundred pages - and is a great record of an exciting time in an intriguing country. 
As a photojournalist in a past life I have always taken photographs of people, especially kids. They make excellent photographic subjects because of their innocence and are rarely shy of the camera. My family trip to Lao PDR in January 2014 presented me with an opportunity to shoot some of most interesting children I have met in my many decades of travel. Nowhere did I find a child hiding behind mum's skirt, or running for cover when a stranger was sighted. 
As usual, I started to prepare a travel photobook of Laos and soon realised that most of the book would have been taken up with photographs of kids, and their parents. I decided to make a separate photobook just of Laos (and northern Thailand) kids. This is the result. As I like to use up the full 200 page quota on a photobook, I had a few pages left over so filled these with adult shots, ands a separate section at the end for insects and the like. 
Landscape format, laminated board cover, 200 pages, 170gsm paper. 

Landscape format, laminated board cover, 200 pages, 
170gsm paper. 
In January 2014 I travelled to Laos for an 18-day trip from Huang Xai in the north, to Pakse in the south, with my wife and then 14 yo son. We flew in to Chang Rai in northern Thailand and after two days there joined a group of ten others for a wonderful trip that included transport by a slowboat down the Mekong, coach, tuk-tuk, bicycle, a flight - and an elephant ride (of course). This was my first group tour since I ran many tours during another era of being a travel agent, and I was delighted both with my travelling companions and with the tour leader and agent, TraveIndochina. Travelling with a group on a strict itinerary gives you an opportunity to 'see much in little time', but shooting on the run as I call it is not conducive to the best photography. There is little time to 'wait for the opportune moment'. You shoot what's in front of you and that's it. Thank Heaven for digital! On return home I once again prepared a travel photobook of Laos, soon realised that I needed to create several books if I were to cover the trip thoroughly, and decided that two would be enough - plus two 'specials' - the Children of Laos book (above) and this one - A Portfolio - basically all my favourite shots, usually displayed as full page landscape. This freeded up space in my travel book for more personal family shots that no-one else would have the slightest interest. 
This is a very personal book of my very best friend Phil Cherici who passed away in 2011. My friendship with Phil over two decades included many travels together as he joined me in my adventure travel company as a travel agent in the mid eighties. Phil was one of the nicest people you could ever meet and a wonderful friend and travelling companion. Fortunately as he developed a new life with Lorraine, and I with Wendy, our partners also become close friends, and as we now each have one son the two boys are like brothers. Phil's passing through illness was a great loss not only to his family and friends but to all who knew him. Because I had travelled so much with Phil, and because we had many family gatherings, I have a swag of photographs, in the old slide format and prints, and over time gathered these into a photobook which I presented to Lorraine in 2013. I kept one for our family so that we can now at least look back and remember what a cheriched time we had with such a wonderful person.
Landscape format, laminated board cover, 150 pages, 170gsm paper. 

I have the very good fortune of having a wonderful brother and sister-in-law whom I and my wife have travelled with on two occasions - to Singapore in 1992, and to Vanuatu in 1996, the later on the occasion of my marriage to Wendy. Yes, they came along on our honeymoon! I presented them with this photobook in 2013, much to their delight. It once again brought back many great memories and a few hearty laughs. This is one of best reasons for creating a photobook. It tends to be always at hand, on a bookshelf nearby, so that it can be quickly browsed at a moments notice. No need to drag out the slide projector or slipin-photoalbum which usually retains even the crappy shots because, who likes to throw out anything. Be selective and you end up with a book of memories that will always be readily available. 
Landscape format, laminated board cover, 200 pages, 170gsm paper.

DIVING WITH THE PRESIDENT - A Tribute to Allan Power

Photobooks are a great way to express a permanent tribute to someone you love and/or respect. I have been a diver for many years and in the early eighties part-owned a dive travel company. We helped open up the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu for scuba diving tourism, which over the subsequent years has brought millions of dollars into the local economy. The attraction here was the wreck of the SS President Coolodge, and the dive leader for looking over the ship was Allan Power - Mr President. Allan promoted diving at Espiritu Santo for over three decades and I think our company contributed to this significantly in the early days. I wrote a book on the lost ship with the assistance of Allan and we have been friends for these many decades. As I, and so many others, respected him so much, I thought it was time to put together a tribute book using some of my many underwater and topside shots Espiritu Santo, the ship and Allan. I must say he was pretty chuffed when he saw the book and I hope everyone who dives with Allan has a read.
Landscape format, laminated board cover, 104 pages, 170gsm paper.

VANUATU  1982 - 1996
I have had the pleasure of many trips to Vanuatu over the fourteen-year period of this photobook; the first when I was promoting the scuba diving of the SS President Coolidge in Espiritu Santo, and finally in 1996, my marriage to Wendy. We vowed we would return every few years, but have not done so for a number of reasons. I love the place, especially for the diving and its diverse culture. I have thousands of slides and prints of Vanuatu - but I appreciate that I will probabl;y never see them again - unless I used them in some appropriate way. Many of these photographs and articles have been published in various magazines but at least I now have a photobook of memories in a neat concise and easily accessible format. 
Landscape format, laminated board cover, 200 pages, 170gsm paper.


A4 portrait format, laminated board covers (no dustjacket), 200 pages, 170 gsm paper. 
Momento cost: $ 270.32   (Not for sale - this is what it cost me)
This is more of a journal/diary, with predominant text, yet some 200 photographs of family interest. Because it is a journal, to be read rather than 'looked at', I chose the more familiar portrait format. I am not totally pleased with the result, but that is not Momento's fault - their quality is excellent as usual. My problem stems from the fact that this is a 200 page photobook that is predominantly text and is thus meant to be read rather than 'looked at'. The journal, indeed any book of this textural nature, does not need 170gsm paper; a lesser weight stock of 140 gsm would have been ideal - it would then have 'felt' better, and would be able to open-out in a comfortable readable manner. As it is, with the heavy stock, and glue binding, when you open it up it feels as thought it wants to snap shut on your fingers like a mousetrap! I mention more on binding and stock choices on the Bindings webpage. Basically, a photobook in landscape format has a better presentation if it is kept to below 100 pages of 170gsm stock - or better still, find a photobook supplier that offers a choice of lesser weight stock such as 140gsm. Otherwise, I am delighted with the result.
A4 landscape, dustjacket, laminated board covers, 200 pages, 170 gsm satin paper. Momento cost: $ 295.79  (Not for sale - this is what it cost me, no discounts)
My first effort. This is a true photobook with a moderate amount of text, and about 600 scenic photographs. My aim here was to create a visually pleasing layout, each double-spread being different and imaginative. I combined the use of Adobe Photoshop with the features of Momento to create a photobook that was more graphically appreciative than the individual photographs themselves, although some exceptional shots were featured on a full page, and in one instance, over two pages (which incidentally did not work as well as I hoped). I tried out as many creative ideas as I could using Momento and Adobe together; not all ideas worked fully but none were a disaster. In general, the reaction of friends and family is 'wow, how did you do that'. My overall reaction on receiving the Momento photobook was one of full satisfaction. I am unable to compare the quality of the photobook with that of other suppliers, but as I was impressed by Kim's work, I likewise was with what I received. Without comparing the photobook quality of other suppliers, I will certainly do another Momento photobook. 
Author: Kim Baggaley
A photographic journey through Northern India - Travelling on a Royal Enfield motorcycle with Ferris Wheels Motorcycle Safari's we traversed the Himalaya and fell in love with India and her people.

See Kim Baggaley's brilliant photobook  NAMASTE' INDIA.


Last update 17 July 2014.