Layout complete

Here is an article I co-authored with Santosh regarding the layout for the 2013 photo book from the photographers @ Microsoft.

Photographer Friends,

What a wild couple of weeks it’s been for our dear friend the photo book who is starting to take shape.

This story is in two parts. The first for the visually inclined (I suspect there are a lot of us in the community J). Secondly for the numbers inclined (lots of us at Microsoft, right?)J

Visual Matching

Photos… beautiful photos. Seriously if you join the steering committee for this book for one reason and one reason alone it’s being involved in the layout. It is a lot  of fun. And yes you can join next year (if you are a photographer at Microsoft).

Without further ado let’s get some visual insight into what the process looks like, in a secret bunker deep within… OK so one of the buildings in Redmond.



So what’s going on in these pictures? Firstly the two photographers you see are just loving checking out a set of amazing photos from the community. More importantly what is going on in this photo is the act of pairing.

“Pairing, what’s that?” You say. And probably quickly get it J Pairing is all about how we take hundreds of individual works of art and put them together in a way that will work well and pop in the visual experience of the book. In some cases this might actually tell a story. In others it might “just” mean the photos go really well next to each other.

Number of Pages

What are the relative merits of 1, 2 and 3-per-page layout options and how do they impact the mission of the book? We enter each year with an open mind. Learning from the past and taking as much community input as possible. Always trying to make a product that you (and the love ones you gift it to) will love. The book used to be one per page. Last year we worked to get more of the community in the book by changing the layout. We got more of your fantastic photos in the book and also heard feedback that some photos were a little on the small side. That resulted in a swift decision this year not to go to 3 per page this year. So how could we make the photos bigger based on the number of photos we have? Increasing page count allows us to have more per page and still increase people in the book. Enough to make the smallest photo equivalent to a 4×6. This would result in 60% more full page photos compared to 2012 design based on this year’s photos. Something we hope everyone is excited about.

“Time to crack out Excel!” Ah yes, more pages brings with it a key challenge. Increased cost. And seeing as a big part of this is about raising more money for charity what does that mean to the project? The page number plan is moving from 324 to 384 pages. So the good news is we now know that increase is nominal and means selling 70 more books will cover our increased break even.

That’s it for today!

Hope you enjoyed reading – please use the voting buttons to ‘like’ this post – and as always we love to hear your detailed feedback, thoughts and questions.

All the best,

Santhosh Rajangam

A participant in the Microsoft photography community & a member of the 2013 photo book steering committee


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