Online Workshop: Developing Photobook Dummies, evenings 21st – 24th July 2020


An intensive four part workshop on making photobooks.

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What is it?
It can be challenging to translate a photographic project into an engaging concept and design for a photobook. This workshop explores strategies and techniques for developing a dummy book. The goal is that by the end of the workshop you have the fundamental knowledge you need to produce a PDF dummy book which can disseminated in that form to publishers and other interested people, or sent to a printer to make a physical book.

What does it cover?
This workshop will lead participants through a series of discussions, examples and exercises designed to explore the formulation of a concept for a photobook, and then ways of developing that concept into a book design which can form the basis of a digital or physical dummy photobook. It covers ways of developing a concept based on a pre-existing body of work, a discussion of fundamental graphic design principles useful for book design, and then moves on to looking at how to start laying out a design for a dummy book in Adobe Indesign. Please see below for a detailed outline of the schedule.

Who should do it?
Anyone interested in developing a photographic project into a photobook. Participants do not need prior experience of book development, graphic design or Adobe Indesign as the basics of all three will be covered during the workshop.

How is it delivered?
This workshop is broken into four elements, delivered over the course of four weekday evenings. At the end of each evening an assignment is set for participants to work on before the next session. The workshop is taught using a browser based video conferencing platform called Jitsi. You’ll be sent a link to join, there is no need to create an account or download anything. At the end will also have access to a recording of the workshop.

Who is leading it?
My name is Lewis Bush, I’m a photographer, researcher and writer. The vast majority of my projects have ended up as photobooks, some of them highly acclaimed. Many of these I developed and designed much of myself, as well as working in conjunction with professional graphic designers. I have extensive experience of online teaching and I am currently the acting course leader of the London College of Communications MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (online). You can read my full bio here.

What will I need?
Participants should have a photographic project (either in progress or completed) which they can use as source material for the Indesign stage of the workshop. A device with a copy of Adobe Indesign installed would also be useful so you can follow along the section on Indesign essentials and experiment further with it afterwards. A free 7 day Indesign trial can be downloaded and installed from here.


  • 21st July 2020 – 18.30 – 20.00 BST – Defining project aims, developing a book concept which can be used to inform design choices, the research and development proccess of creating a book project.
  • 22nd July 2020 – 18.30 – 20.00 BST – Graphic design fundmentals, including different book formats, working with grids, layouts, typography, colours, and different approaches to using texts and images.
  • 23rd July 2020 – 18.30 – 20.00 BST – An introduction to Adobe Indesign, covering the fundamental steps and tools needed from the basics of creating a document to work in through to the options for exporting a finished book design.
  • 24th July 2020 – 18.30 – 20.00 BST –  Bindings, paper types and printing methods. Working with publishers and finally a discussion and review of the day’s activities

Testimonials from past participants:

‘It was a really informative day.  The form doesn’t give me enough space to say how helpful the experience was. … On top of all the great teaching, the day was friendly and fun. The food was excellent, which is very important to me.  Your room works exceptionally well and it is easy to see how much thought you have given to the layout of the space, with clever hidden gems like the magnetic walls.’
– Nicola, Visual Storytelling participant

‘The switch and balance between the necessary technical details and the broader context of the photographic medium was really well executed and made for a genuinely useful and productive set of mini workshops … your style and approach made it both interesting and enjoyable! I don’t think I’ve ever been on a workshop or training course where every word and image was relevant! There was literally no ‘padding’ from where I was sitting!’
– Allan, Photobook Concepts (online) participant

‘There really wasn’t any weak point during the day. As a busy working photographer predominantly delivering picture stories to clients, I found exploring the ‘science’ (for lack of a better word) behind much of what I instinctively do was absolutely fascinating.’
– Marcus, Visual Storytelling participant

‘I found the visual storytelling techniques followed by practical exercises with pictures very useful. I also really appreciated the studio set up, your non-hierarchical relation with us and the down to earth environment of your house. ‘
– Visual Storytelling participant

The fine print:
I believe workshops should be small and intimate, and for that reason numbers are capped at 10 participants per workshop. However this small number also means I need at least 6 participants in order for them to run. In the unlikely event of a workshop having to be cancelled participants will have their full fee returned to them. Participants needing to cancel up to one week before the workshop will have their fee returned less a 20% charge. Cancellations made less than one week before the day of the workshop are non-refundable.

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