How to choose the right image templates

5 tips to best showcase your images in the right templates

At MILK Books every design choice available to you has been carefully curated by our experienced creative team drawing on our award-winning publishing heritage and book making expertise. In our Design Studio you’ll find a large selection of image templates, designed to make creating beautiful books simple. To help you match your images with the best-suited template to ensure a great print result, we’ve compiled a list of key considerations to keep in mind.

1. Avoid cover images that have soft focus in the foreground

Two photo books with cover images  of a girl at a beach that have a soft focus in the foreground

As seen in the examples above, images with soft focus in the foreground are noticeably grainy in print.

Be mindful of using images on the cover that are soft in focus in the foreground, or that have a shallow depth of field. Significantly blurred areas are difficult to replicate in print, and will result in a grainier looking finish with noticeable print dots.

When selecting a cover image for a Small or Medium MILK format, we recommend using photos taken in a close-up, extreme close-up, or medium scale. At these scales, our print machinery can best replicate the finer details in the image and produce a cover with a sharp print result. Images should be clear when viewed at 200% zoom.

2. Place long shots in large image frames

Two images showing long shots in larger template frames

Left: Long shot in large image frame results in a clear printed image. Right: Long shot in small image frame produces a less detailed print result.

Long shots refer to photos of people taken from a distance, where the scale of the subjects is fairly small (i.e. group shots). Our print machinery will struggle to replicate fine details when they are scaled down in a small image frame, resulting in a noticeable print dot in print.

To get the best print result for long shots, choose from one of our templates with a larger image frame, and allow details to shine across a single or double-page spread. As a general guide, group shots containing five or more people should be placed in our larger image frames.

Note: If your group shots are poor quality, it may just be that you need to use a smaller image frame to resolve the low-resolution warning. But if you’re using high quality group shots, we recommend using larger frames.

3. Place black and white or digitized images in mid-sized image frames

Two photo books open to show the graininess of a large black and white image

Left: Black and white image in a mid-sized frame which minimizes the grain seen in print. Right: Image in a large frame which will have a visibly enlarged grain in print.

Images that are either black and white or digitized (scanned) from film may have a visible grain to them. Image grain can add a nostalgic, authentic feel to your photo book or album, however if you wish to minimize the look of grain in your images, take care when selecting your image frames.

Adding a grainy image to one of our larger templates will enlarge all details including grain, meaning that it will become more visible. Conversely, adding a grainy image to a smaller template will compound the existing image grain, and it will also appear exaggerated in print.

4. Use smaller image frames for low-resolution images

Two images of New York City showing high quality and low res images being used

Left: Low resolution image in a smaller frame shows more detail in print. Right: Low resolution image in a large frame shows less detail in print.

As personal photos usually have sentimental value, we understand that a bit of pixilation may not bother you - sometimes the emotion the photo conveys takes precedence. If the majority of your images are of a similar quality, they should blend in without any standing out for the wrong reasons. But if you're considering using only a few low resolution or poor quality images in a book full of high quality 300dpi images, more careful placement and treatment should be taken to avoid them deterring from the overall look of your photo book or photo album.

We recommend placing these low resolution images in templates with smaller frames. As resolution is relative to size, a smaller image frame will consolidate the pixels, producing a more detailed print result. Similarly, placing low quality or blurry images in a smaller image frame will boost the resolution as compared to a larger image frame which will decrease the resolution.

5. Use larger image frames for your hero shots

Lifestyle image of book on couch with full double page spread image

In every collection of images there are always some that stand out above the rest. Whether they're sweeping vistas or heartfelt moments, these images captured in stunning definition and clarity are commonly referred to as hero shots.

Let these remarkable photos shine in your photo book or album on single or double-page spreads. For variety, add other notable images to single or double-page templates that have white borders. This allows them to “breathe” and naturally draws the eye to focus on the image. Tip: For a nice touch, add a caption to the image.

For more information on ensuring the best print result, visit this blog.

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