The Creation of a Street Photography Zine with WhiteWall

One of the myths around Street Photography is that it is an art-form you get into with no expectation of earning money or getting recognition. Though it may be easy to write it off as gospel, the truth is that recognition/generating sales in Street Photography is all about how you market yourself. In today’s uber-connected world there’s no shortage of places you can post your work – Instagram, Behance, or a personal website are all great places to start but if you want to get your work noticed by galleries then you’re going to need a printed portfolio of your work to really stand out.

And that’s where WhiteWall seems to truly excel!

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In recent years there’s been a resurgence of the zine – a limited-run, usually artist ran/created magazine that’s part manifesto and part proof of concept – and this resurgence has meant that as photographers we can now have another item in our marketing arsenal or simply a way to show off your work that goes beyond a portfolio or website. Even if you have no experience with layout and type design, there are services out there that make the process as simple as uploading your pictures and clicking through a few options. Enter WhiteWall.com and their latest product offering – photo books.

Getting Started

White Wall Screen 2 - Getting Started

Getting started with the WhiteWall photo book process is simple and in keeping up with the spirit of the zine, we opted for a standard sized, portrait-oriented photo book with a softcover. A quick look once over of their site promises a high quality layout in as little as 5 minutes; we not only took them at their word but took the time to go through the process in a bit more detail for our readers.

White Wall Screen 3 - Choose Layout

Once you’ve selected your project and noted that you will not be using a template or PDF file for your book you can select a Blank (manual layout) photo book or go with the Design Proposal (automatic layout). Assuming you’ve never worked with InDesign or have a PDF book already created we chose the Automatic Layout option to create a quick and dirty zine.

The Editor

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The first step in actually putting the book together is getting your photos into their web-based layout software. Select the folder containing your images or select the individual images as prompted and they will appear in the apps queue.From this prompt you will be able to select your photos and pick a cover photo. You’ll note that when choosing the automatic layout option, photos are presorted by the date they were created. So if you wanted grandma (from the image above) next to the queue you’ll have to do a little editing later on.

White Wall Screen 4 - Editor

The editor is a great place to fine tune the book to have the look and feel that you have in mind. Also it is a good place to review items that may need a second look; in our review some of the images we used didn’t have a high enough resolution for the size the auto layout had chosen and needed a little tweaking. Edits on the WhiteWall editor are simple enough – resize, rotate, zoom in/out, etc. should be familiar to anyone that’s worked with the most basic photo editing tools and WhiteWall’s implementation of their editor is very intuitive.

White Wall Screen 6 - Text

The editor allows you to create text overlays or if you wanted to post more than a description of an image, you could add as much text as needed by adding text boxes where needed. It’s quite a simple process and in truth, you really could put together a very basic zine in about 5 minutes.

Quality

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After waiting around 5 business days we finally received our review zine from WhiteWall. Considering that this zine took roughly a week to get from their printer in Germany to Brooklyn, NY, the one week turnaround is not in the least something to draw concern about. The packaging was very well put together and kept our zine snug and protected from being crushed, bent, or otherwise damaged in transit.

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The Zine itself instantly caught our attention; we chose a softcover with matte finish and matte pages and it truly looks like a work of art. The printing we received is truly gorgeous and really makes the images inside shine. The quality of the prints surprised us, especially with some of the lower resolution images used. The paper used is of exceptional quality and the printing process shows the attention and care of each photograph – they were clean, crisp, and had professional finish. Even the automatic layouts worked well within the context of the printed book; we were worried that using WhiteWall’s editor would leave us wanting more but the truth is they nailed it.

Conclusion

Every photographer should be printing more of their work, after all why limit your art to a screen? If you’re a professional looking to create a limited run printing of your latest personal project as a marketing tool or want personalized gifts to your friends, WhiteWall’s zines are sure to be crowd pleaser. With its exceptional quality, ease of creation, speedy turnaround time, and options available to photographers, WhiteWall delivers the goods with their Photo Book options; you’ll probably find yourself on a new personal project just to find an excuse to print a new book.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.