Photobook Printing

Learn how to create then print a perfect Photobook at Ex Why Zed.

2021 is the year to self-publish your photobook with Ex Why Zed.

Thanks for stopping by and welcome to Ex Why Zed.  Congratulations on getting your publication ready for print, we are printers of ultra-stylish, contemporary photography books. Every week we print beautifully designed photobooks that receive rave reviews from peers and they just keep selling out before we have time to buy a copy!

We appreciate you may never have printed before and that the terminology, jargon and amount of choices can be baffling. We have extensive experience of printing photobooks since 2006 so sit back and relax, we’re here to guide you through the process.

It won't be long now before you experience that super exciting moment when a glorious stack of boxes arrives and you unpack the first book. YOUR BOOK. Your book that you created and self-published. Enjoy the feel and the smell of them…you worked hard for this moment.

Enjoy our hour long video guide

We have compiled a feature-length, definitive video to methodically guide you through the entire process. It is titled as a zine printing guide but all of the decisions, processes and production solutions apply to photography book printing too. In this super informative video, we detail the options available for size, paper and binding. We showcase photography books and dissect a series of winning combinations.


Printing winning Photobooks

We have been doing this a while now and have seen a lot of impressive publications come off our presses.  To give you a head start with your Photobook printing, here are three print specifications which work well (and photos of them, see right).  Each has its own characteristics which have proven to be winning combinations from a production perspective, cost per unit and most importantly, have reader appeal.

If any of our showcase options would work for your project, take a note of the spec and jump on our quote form to receive your bespoke quotation. Or ping us an email on if that is easier.

Showcase 1 - a professional looking option at a good unit price and ideal for a self-promo portfolio:
A5 Perfect Bound Books
4pp Cover onto 300gsm Uncoated
Matt Lamination to outer
60pp Text onto 115gsm Uncoated
Four colour print throughout
As a guide, you could print 100 copies of this spec for £3.10 a copy or if you print 500 it will only be £2.10 per photobook.

Showcase 2 - an impressive square format for your annual or anthology, ideal for a mix of portrait and landscape images:
210x210mm Perfect Bound Books
4pp Cover onto 300gsm Uncoated
Matt Lamination to outer
76pp Text onto 170gsm Silk
Four colour print throughout.

Showcase 3 - a stapled photobook handy for a smaller photo set and easy for the reader to open the double-page spreads completely flat:
290x190mm Wire Stitched Booklet
4pp Cover onto 300gsm Silk
Matt Lamination to outer
40pp Text onto 130gsm Silk
Four colour print throughout
As a guide, you could print 100 copies of this for £3.60 for each copy.

Tweaks you could consider to the print specs:
• Switch the finish from uncoated to silk to make the images sharper and brighter.
• Reducing the cover to 250gsm or 200gsm makes it easier to open.
• Increasing the cover to 350gsm makes it more substantial and harder wearing.
• Switching to gloss lamination for a shiny aesthetic.
• Increase the size to A4 for more surface area for your images.
• Decrease the size to A5 or A6 making it pocket size and also be cheaper to print.
• Increase the weight of the inside pages to 170gsm making it more substantial and prestigious for the reader.
• Pick out some content on the cover to Spot UV varnish, foil or emboss (this is an additional £280).


What options can I choose?

There are almost infinite possibilities on size, finishing and papers so we offer expert knowledge and advice before your job goes to press, a competitive photobook print quote to make the most of your budget and a high quality standard of printing delivered nationally throughout the UK  and worldwide too.

Optimise your print to suit your design or budget requirements

Size, number of pages and quantity are the factors that have the biggest impact on your price.  Increasing or reducing these can stretch your budget.

We want to get you into print and have no minimum order or restrictions on custom sizes

You can print one copy if that is all you need, or up to a few thousand copies. Choose from A6 to A3 in portrait orientation and all bespoke sizes in between or A5 to A4 in landscape orientation. Maybe even challenge convention and print your booklet at a custom size that suits the photography in your project.


Choose from three binding options:

Stapled. Also known as wire stitching and saddle stitching. An advantage of a stapled photobook is that all the pages can be pressed completely flat - you only lose a tiny bit of content in the centre of a double page spread.

Perfect Binding. Where the inside pages of your book are glued with a square spine. This solution creates a more substantial book aesthetic.

Case Binding. You will know this as a 'hardback book' and it produces a formidable coffee table companion.


The screen vs print debate

RGB vs CMYK factor. 

For the closest reproduction to screen, we recommend printing onto silk or gloss for a sharp, crisp finish rather than uncoated (which tends to soak up the ink and flattens contrast).  The most common issue we have with photobooks is that your images when printed, don’t look the same as they do on screen. We will be honest, from the outset...they never will and there has to be an understanding and appreciation of this fact before the job goes ahead.

We'll be honest, a specialist fine art printer could get a closer reproduction to the screen but they will be many multiples more expensive than our quote for Indigo digital or litho printing.

Printing black and white photography by Indigo digital or litho print methods.

Black and white images are always tricky.  It is important you understand that unfortunately in print b&w photography does not have that rich black tone and punch which you can see on screen.  We now only print b&w images if they have been saved as greyscale and in black ink only.  If they are saved in CMYK, while they look black on screen, when printed they will have a blue or green tinge.  That won't be your intention but it isn't a print error. It is how they should print from your colour artwork but understandably it is never well received.

Get your print quote

Spend a few minutes looking through our portfolio of previous Photobooks.

Ex Why Zed takes Vero's Monochrome Monday hashtag from screen to paper

We worked with 'social media channel for the cool people', Vero, to produce a photography book capturing the best examples of black and white photography from their #momo hashtag (Monochrome Monday).  The resulting publication oozes class with an embossed Colorplan front cover housing 104 inside pages packed with exceptional photography.

As GQ Magazine summarised, this is an "ultra-stylish bound book" and "your new coffee table essential".

The print spec is:
260x196mm Perfect Bound Books.
4pp Cover onto 270gsm GF Smith Colorplan Ebony Black plus embossed logo.
White ink printing to spine.
104pp Text onto 150gsm House Uncoated.

When printing photobooks with Ex Why Zed you get all of the following as standard
Your go-to print supplier
We want to become a reliable cog in your creative network. Send us your artwork, we’ll preflight it for no extra charge, then print it and deliver with no fuss allowing you to concentrate on being creative.
Free paper samples of New York photography
While we’ve done our best on our paper choices page to make one sheet of white paper look different to another sheet of white paper, there’s nothing better than seeing them in reality so you can stroke, sniff and examine them in close up. Jump on our form and we will send out a pack out asap. Go to:
Print a test copy
You know and love how your photography looks on screen but how will it reproduce on paper? If you leave enough time (two weeks is good) then for peace of mind we can run either flat sheet proofs or a bound copy from your files. We call this a ‘hard copy proof’. You can then check the layout, paper and print quality before you go ahead and order a few hundred or thousand copies. Of course, if you spot a mistake on the hard copy proof then do send new artwork before the final print run.
UK & Worldwide delivery
Delivery within the UK is free and the photobooks will arrive by courier the day after they leave us. We also deliver work globally too and just charge you the shipping at our cost price from the cheapest courier on the day.
Free Print Quote
Now you have spent a good chunk of time reading about what we can produce, jump over to our intuitive quote form and let us know what we can print for you. We'll work out a price and get a quote over asap.
Super Helpful Set Up Guides
We give you all the tools you need to quickly and easily prepare print ready artwork. When it is time to start artworking your final book take 5 minutes to read through our file set up guides. We have made them as user friendly as possible but if you’re stuck drop us a call or email for a quick answer.
Great Customer Service
When you get in touch with us, you will speak to someone who knows about your project and is super knowledgable about the print process.
Choose a bespoke size
'A' sizes are great and fit neatly into 'C' size envelopes but why not mix it up and rebel against convention by choosing a bespoke and custom size for your zine.

Confused by all the options?

Request a sample pack

Become an artworking legend!

Dive into our file set-up help guides
Here is what some of our previous customers have said
10. January, 2021.
Ex Why Zed is an efficient company with very friendly and helpful staff. I was extremely happy with the effort they made printing out my children’s book and I would highly recommend their services for anyone looking for top quality printing.
18. December, 2020.
Despite it being a busy time of year, exwhyzed always got back to my emails promptly, they were very helpful and the turn around of the finished books was amazingly fast, Mike is really friendly and I would highly recommend them!
Esther Kersley
Esther Kersley
15. December, 2020.
Brilliant service. Thank you for doing such an excellent job and for such great communication.
Joe Skillington
Joe Skillington
15. December, 2020.
I was working to a very tight deadline but Ex Why Zed went the extra mile and turned my Children's book around in a matter of days. Really happy with the quality and the price is the best I found. Really happy customer!
Dele and Louisa
Dele and Louisa
15. December, 2020.
As a first time author, working with Ex Why Zed made the entire process really smooth. They not only served our printing needs but also served as consultants by guiding us on how to format our books to ensure the best possible quality. Our books came out really beautiful, the price was great and production time was super quick. Thanks Ex why zed, can’t wait to come back for my next round of books.
11. December, 2020.
I had 2 postcards made by exwhyzed and the communication,quality and price were very good. Would 100% use again
Mat Rumbelow
Mat Rumbelow
11. December, 2020.
From the outset, ExWhyZed provided fantastic support and customer service. As a first time self-publishing author, printing was a bit of a mystery. Their long and detailed explanatory video was a hugely helpful start, which enabled me to understand the process. Mike then followed up with templates, suggestions and email help to make sure my book was printed to the highest standards. They also worked hard to fulfil my order before Christmas, which was extremely important! I can't rate their service highly enough. Everybody who has seen the finished product is hugely impressed by the quality
11. December, 2020.
Exwhyzed is the best digital printer I have found for photography books in colour. The print quality is excellent, the colours exceptional and their 170gsm silk house paper superb. What makes Exwhyzed even more special is the personal service. Mike who runs the company is always willing to help with solid advice and information. I ordered a proof copy first to make sure that both of us had got it right. I was so pleased that I ordered 120 books which were printed, bound and delivered to my door with a week. I couldn’t recommend them more.
3. December, 2020.
Working with Mike at ExWhyZed was a joy! I am based in the US and wasn't sure how getting a print job done in the UK would go, but I needn't have worried. The attention to detail, patience and willingness to help - all backed up by a fantastic website loaded with excellent information made the project easy, quick and painless! Thanks Mike!
View all our testimonials


A complete glossary to answer all your Photobook questions

We have done our best to give you a huge wealth of information on this page and in our guides but if here are some frequently asked questions to help you get your work into print.

If you haven't already seen it, do also watch our feature length Definitive Zine Printing Guide and our Hardback Book guide if that is the binding method you havea chosen or watch our FAQs video for smaller, more manageable pointers.

View all our FAQ's
How much does it cost?

Size, number of pages and quantity are the factors that have the biggest impact on your price.  Increasing or reducing these can stretch your budget.

We like to interact with our customers, find out about their projects and have a bit of dialogue rather than hide behind a massive, confusing spreadsheet on a website.
We provide a bespoke quote for each and every job because your project is bespoke and unique.

Don’t get us wrong, our process is quick and efficient but we like to add extra value by starting a conversation with you first. Remember conversations? Yep, they are what happened before your phone was glued to your head! 🙂

What size books can you print?

The largest portrait size we can print is an impressive A3 (420mm high x 297mm wide).  Our maximum square size is 297x297mm.  The maximum landscape size is 210mm high x 297mm wide.

For cost-effective sizes keep your catalogue within A4 portrait, A5 landscape or 210x210mm square - these are the cheapest sizes to print but do choose the size that best fits your publication.

Hard copy proof

There are a number of options for producing a one off test copy of your book.   The best solution depends on the print spec of your final print run. Assuming you are going for under 500 copies, in which case we will be digitally printing then final books, then we can print a proof that is close in repro and production values. If you are printing a longer print run of 500 copies or more then it is likely we will be litho printing your books to achieve the best possible quality. The digital proof will be a guide on the layout and paper but won't match the final books.

How long does it take?

We will aim to deliver in 5 working days after receiving print-ready artwork. The amount of time depends on the prit spec you have chosen though. If you are unsure on whether the file has been set up correctly then do allow an extra day or two for fine-tuning the artwork.

What is Perfect Bound?

The perfect bound method of binding will give your publication a square spine and professional looking finish. For further advice follow our perfect binding set up guides.

The absolute minimum number of pages we can perfect bind is 32: a 4 page cover and 28 inside pages onto 170gsm. This will give you a skinny 3mm spine.

What is Wire stitched or Wire Stitching?

Wire stitching is a little bit of print jargon for ‘stapling’. As an example, if you have an A5 booklet then we print it onto A4 sheets, fold them in and put staples along the left-hand edge to bind the sheet together. In some quarters, this is also known as ‘saddle stitching’. Let’s stick with stapling though if that’s easier 🙂

Can you print hardback photobooks?

Yes, hardback photobooks are a superbly impressive addition to any coffee table.  They do cost more for us to produce but then in turn, you can sell them for a higher cover price.

Check out our video guide on hardback books

Do also look through our portfolio for examples of previous publications we have printed:

Which colour profile should I save my images as?

FOGRA39 is our prefered colour profile.

How much space is lost in images that cross a double-page spread?

You tend to lose 2-3mm on the spine side of each page so moving any important information a good 6-8mm away from the page edge will make it actually readable without people having to force the pages flat.

Additionally, 8mm of the first and last text pages are glued to the front cover to make a hinge so best to allow 10-12mm of space on the spine side to avoid anything being completely hidden by the cover hinge.

With images that cross the spread you can cheat a little by splitting the image in two then moving the left hand half left by 2-3mm and the right hand half right by the same amount.

There are some visual examples on our binding options page.

What are the paper choices?

The three basic finishes are silk, gloss or uncoated.  Each have their own pros and cons.  For sharp, crips images choose silk or gloss. For a more tactile, firbrous finish but more muted images choose uncoated.

Our video guide on paper choices is a good place to start when choosing what you would like for your book

What are the best social media hashtags for photobook printing?

#photography #photooftheday #photo #graphicdesign #photographer #travel #picoftheday #photoshoot #japanphotography #streetphotography #travelphotography #landscape #lensculture #lensculturestreets #everybodystreet #wearethestreets #streetizm #streetphotographer #eyephotomagazine #streetziers #myfeatureshoot #streetphotographers #streetphotographerscommunity #printing #colorplan #gfsmith #creativeprintcompany #selfpublishing #photobook #exwhyzedprint

Why do you call it 'text' pages? Can I have images?

Yes, ‘text’ pages is our common term for the inside pages of your publication. They can be filled with illustrations, photography, full colour artwork…or just text if it’s a poetry book.

What is a 'page'?

For the purposes of our quoting, we call a page one side of content.  So, a sheet of paper has two pages - a front and a back.  If you ask for a quote for 40 inside pages, that will be 40 pages of content, 40 pages in your artwork file / pdf and in the book 20 leaves printed on both sides.

Why aren’t your prices online?

We like to interact with our customers, find out about their projects and have a bit of dialogue rather than hide behind a massive, confusing spreadsheet on a website.
We provide a bespoke quote for each and every job because your project is bespoke and unique.

Don’t get us wrong, our process is quick and efficient but we like to add extra value by starting a conversation with you first. Remember conversations? Yep, they are what happened before your phone was glued to your head! 🙂

For this reason we don’t list all our prices online but get in touch either in email or through our quote form and we will give you a bespoke quote.

Will my images look like they do on screen?

No. Unfortunately what is seen on an RGB, backlit screen is never going to be the same as it appears on paper in CMYK.  It's just impossible to achieve that and no printer could.  You will have to allow for some difference in the colours between the two mediums but having something tangible in your hands and seeing the images on paper gives the publication a charm that just sending out a pdf wont do.

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