Mounting Photos the Traditional Way

Mounting Photos the Traditional Way

Posted by Viktor (Bookbinder) on Mar 6th 2017

Our article "Mounting Photos in our Albums" is one of the most read pages on our website; there is a lot of interest in learning how to go about creating a photo album.

Reasons and occasions abound: finally sorting through those wedding pictures, making that baby album so long on the to-do list, or making a special album with these old family pictures to give to Grandma's 90th birthday (as one of our clients is doing.) 

A traditional album may lack some of the modern features the digital photo books provide, but they have some important advantages, too. Photo books require digital pictures, so unless you can scan and process older printed pictures or negatives, you're limited to photos taken only in the last 15 years or so.  Photo Book services have their own software you need to learn and use to create your book - even though they are pretty good, there still is a learning curve to use that software, and it can take a long time and be frustrating. Perhaps the largest drawback is that the book needs to be final and finished, with all photos in place and all comments and text completely edited and ready for publishing. When you press the "Finish" this is it. You can't add pictures or remove any. Or change your mind. 

Each page of an old style photo album spreads a wide open canvass of paper giving you flexibility in where to mount, what to mount and how to mount your photos. And it does not need to be finished all at once - an album can grow over time as the pages are filled gradually. With some care, it is possible to revisit pages and make changes by replacing or repositioning pictures. New or old, color or sepia, bright or faded, all will work. I discuss the various mounting methods in our article here.

Sometimes people ask if our albums come with mounts, like plastic sleeves. They don't. There is no plastic at all in our albums. We only use paper, book-board, book cloth and archival PVA glue for our albums. Apart from not being very traditional, I look at plastic with some suspicion - it may not be archival and over a long period of time degrade and even damage the book and photos. (There has recently been an interesting report on NPR about the disastrous effect of using plastic lamination of valuable documents)

Still, mounting photos is not easy, and the work required to make a great album can seem daunting. But it's worth the effort and can be a fun and enjoyable task, and a lot less stressful thank learning a complicated application to create a digital photo book. 

We've been thinking about the idea of offering a workshop to help with this - if you live in the Seattle area, we would be willing to create a class and workshop to work with you for a half day to get you started on your project. Let us know if this something you'd be interested in.