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Silver Spring, MD
United States


Stories To Tell is a full service book publishing company for independent authors. We provide editing, design, publishing, and marketing of fiction and non-fiction. We specialize in sophisticated, unique illustrated book design.

Stories To Tell Books BLOG

How Many Pictures Are Too Many?

Biff Barnes

It’s hard to sort through all your wonderful pictures and limit your possibilities. You want to, and you should, put many pictures into your book. Making your memoir or family history a fully illustrated book will bring an additional dimension to your reader’s experience.

Courtesy Los Ojos De Muerte under Creative Commons

A lot of people have been led to believe there is a limit on the number of photos commercial printers will include. Big self publishing companies offer "packages" that limit the number of photographs the author may submit with the book's text. Xlibris’ Basic Package sets the limit at 25 images. The Author House Portfolio Package allows 50 images. Why? It’s easier and cheaper for them. When you choose to work with your own book designer (that's us!) to prepare your book you face no such limitation.

Does including more photos mean your book will cost more? Yes.

You can expect two costs associated with photos. First, we must prepare each photo in Adobe Photoshop by adjusting the color mode, setting the resolution at 300 dpi or more, correcting contrast, reducing noise increasing sharpness, and cropping the photo correctly. Next, your book designer places each photo into the book’s interior, creating custom page layouts. This takes time, but it is well worth the one-time cost.

Including photos does not increase the cost of printing the book. The biggest impact on printing costs is the decision to print in black and white or color. Printing your book in black and white, no matter how many photos, is relatively inexpensive. A full color interior will increase printing costs. Some printers charge one price for pages printed in black and white, and another price for pages printed in color. That’s a really good deal if you have mostly old photos with just a few in color.

How many photos should you include? More is better for the reader. It is best to try to distribute photos uniformly throughout the book. This will break up your text with interesting images and offer a better reading experience. Long after you’ve invested in good, illustrated book design, your readers will appreciate your extra effort.