Ever wonder who is the most prolific Blurb bookmaker ever? We’ll grant you that this history is a relatively short one; we launched Blurb in May 2006. But over the past three and a half years, we’ve seen folks embark on some truly amazing projects. Wil van Iersal made a book a week for 52 weeks in 2007, for example. Dan Milnor has integrated books deeply into his business, and creates client books at an impressive clip.
But Seattle-based photographer Sean Hoyt may very well take the title of Most Prolific Blurb Bookmaker Ever. A spread from Sean’s latest book, which he entered into the Best Blurb Books Contest, is seen above. We had a few questions for Sean that he’s answered here today.
How many books have you actually made? How did this begin?
Sean Hoyt Photo Documentary is a husband and wife photography team. We began ordering books from Blurb back in 2006, and since then we’ve uploaded and purchased 130 unique books. I don’t recall exactly how we originally came across Blurb, but once we found the platform, and the Blurb BookSmart® software, we were hooked. The customer support team has been excellent when we’ve needed their support, too.
Do you make the majority of your books for clients or for personal use?
Most of the 130 books we’ve created are for weddings we’ve photographed. Each wedding client receives two books: A hard-bound proof book, and a larger, hard-bound wedding album. The proof book is a visual and tangible index to a photo disc containing full-resolution images. This disc is secured on the inside back cover inside an adhesive pocket. (Editor’s note: Blurb does not offer this feature; Sean does this manually for each client.)
The larger 13×11 wedding album was originally designed using BookSmart, and now we export full-page spreads as JPGs and import them into BookSmart. Here’s an example.
What advice would you give to other working photographers looking to integrate Blurb into their businesses?
We’ve had great success with Blurb, and we recommend that serious photographers learn all about color management. Calibrating your monitor to Blurb’s printers will ensure consistent output. We’d also recommend taking advantage of Blurb’s Premium Paper offering. The books feel substantial as you turn the pages, and clients have responded very well to these books.
How would you describe your personal style, and what sets you apart as a photographer?
Being in the right place at the right time, and pointed in the right direction, is fundamental to every great documentary photographer. When it comes to weddings, we achieve this by sensing, discovering, and documenting moments as they develop naturally. Our photography is mainly this in-the-moment documentary style, but we do mix in a bit of traditional formal posing to round things out. I’m very fond of the panoramic photograph, and believe that it’s essential to retelling a story and bringing our clients back into the setting.
What’s your dream project?
I had an opportunity recently to photograph behind-the-scenes of a 10-minute independent film in Seattle called “Black Coffee” starring the bad kid from Karate Kid II. (Gallery here.)
That experience was so much fun that my dream project would be working on a larger, feature-length movie. A requirement in this area of photography is a device termed a “blimp,” which is a case that wraps around your camera and lens to block all shutter noise but likewise blocks access to my camera. However, my education in electrical engineering will prove useful as I begin building my own blimp to interface with my iPhone!