Why making a photo book is always worth it.
Why making a photo book is always worth the effort. An interview with the team, from the beautiful MILK Books.
How did MILK Books start?
It all began back when MILK's founder, Geoff Blackwell, was planning a celebration for his dad's 70th birthday.
Geoff and his family wanted to create a really special celebration. His dad was the kind of guy who had dedicated his entire life to cheering everyone else up and never had a big party himself. So, Geoff and his family decided to throw a very special party and create a slideshow that explained exactly how much he was loved.
Geoff and his family broke into his parent's home when they were out and raided the family photo albums. Every person chose a favourite photo and wrote down a special memory or message of thanks. Those images and memories were put into a slide show and then printed into a book–the perfect keepsake.
His dad was overwhelmed. He knew he was loved, but the book offered such a special way to say that.
What was the idea behind MILK Books?
When Geoff saw his dad's reaction to the photo book, he knew he wanted to give other families that same opportunity to say, "you matter to me."
Because Geoff had worked in publishing for decades, he had all the contacts and expertise he needed to create a high-quality product that people could order from home.
MILK is actually an acronym and it sums up the aim of each book rather perfectly. It stands for: Moments of Inspiration, Love and Kinship.
Tell us a little about the publishing company who founded MILK?
Geoff Blackwell is the founder, and storytelling has always been an important part of his life. He's an award-winning publisher, author, photographer and film director. MILK Books is an extension of his love for storytelling and a way he can help other families share their own unique stories.
Outside of MILK Books, Geoff is part of the team behind the award-winning publishing house, Blackwell and Ruth (formerly PQ Blackwell). He was an originating publisher for Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, and has conceived and developed numerous best-selling books, exhibitions, and film projects principally focused on humanity, equality and the environment.
The team behind MILK Books are based in Auckland, New Zealand. We're a small team, which allows us to collaborate well with our customers and each other.
What makes MILK Books different?
One of the major points of difference is the history and origins. MILK Books has over 60 years of bookmaking and publishing experience behind it. We draw on this expertise to help customers all over the world create their own beautifully designed, high quality photo books and albums in a way that's fun and easy. Our history gives us credibility–we know how to create beautiful table books and we've proven it for decades.
MILK Books are all hand crafted and extremely high quality. Over the decades, we've tried all sorts of binding methods, paper types and cover fabrics. All of our photo books are bound using three binding processes known for their durability. We only use archival-quality paper, which means it won't discolour with age, we use industry-leading printing technology, so the finished photo looks as close to the original as possible.
The result is a product that's designed to provide a beautiful result now and years into the future.
What's your tip for making the best MILK book?
We created a Design Studio that you can use at home to create your photo book. It's made using the expertise of world-class designers (and everything we've learned from Geoff's time in publishing). If you let the Design Studio guide you, it's a very simple process.
All of the choices available in the Design Studio were curated with consideration to the book layout, typography and design best practices. We want the end results of each book to be as beautiful and professional as possible.
We also have the option to add text boxes. So often photos can go without that storytelling element, especially because we rarely print photos. You no longer get the same date stamps or snippets of information you used to find handwritten on the back of old photographs. Adding captions or text boxes to your project is a wonderful way to really bring the memories back to life. We definitely recommend using them.
Why is it always worth making a photo book?
With digital devices right at our fingertips, it's never been easier to take photos. But over the years, we've lost the practice of printing photos and sitting down to reflect on the memories of each image.
Going through a digital photo library is never going to draw the same emotion as physically holding something in your hand.
As a first-time parent this year, my phone's camera roll is filled with thousands of photos. But if we never have a reason to sit down and enjoy them, what use are they to anyone?
Dedicating some time to actually getting them into a photo book leaves me with a family heirloom. It sits beautifully on a shelf or coffee table, full of special memories from her first year of life. It's a book that my extended family have enjoyed, and my daughter will be able to show her family one day.
Photo books are a way to make the big and little moments of life memorable and special. It's worth treasuring those and sharing them with others. Creating a photo book is time very well spent!