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How to Make Your Own Cool Photography Zine

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Making a photography zine is a cool photography project. A photo zine can be used to present a school project, pitch a business idea, or share your travel photos. You can make a zine about any subject you wish.

Having a collection of printed photos in a well-designed layout is an impacting way to display a series of photos.

Because we typically view photos on monitors a photography zine will catch and hold people’s attention for longer.

Creative Inspiration
Profit from Portraits
Profit from Portraits
Learn how to turn your passion for photography into a profitable business with this comprehensive guide.

What Is a Photography Zine?

A photo zine is a self-published, often handmade collection of photographs laid out in a magazine style. It can include written text and illustrations as well as photos. They are designed to display and share photo stories.

A photo zine can be a single, one-off publication. You might start by making one and then reproduce more copies to share.

You could even publish a photo zine regularly, just as printed magazines have weekly or monthly editions.

Reasons to Create Your Own Photo Zine

People make photography zines for their own personal pleasure. You could also make a zine for your photography club, youth group, business or organization.

Zines are a fun alternative for sharing information. Emails and social media posts are easily forgotten. If you give someone a hand made photo zine they are more likely to pay attention to it.

Cool photography can be arranged in imaginative ways. You can layout any number of images to tell a story or share a message.

A person holding a printed photo zine
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Options for Printing Your Zine

The simplest way to produce a photo zine is to print it yourself on an inkjet printer.

If you are wanting higher print quality you can have photo prints made and paste them by hand onto the pages.

This option gives you more flexibility with the size of your photos and pages as you are not limited to printer paper sizes.

Print on demand is another alternative. This will be more expensive, but give the highest quality and look more professional.

It also allows you to have as many copies printed as you like.

Powerful portrait of an elderly woman in traditional dress as part of a photography zine
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

How to Make a Zine Template

Putting a photo zine together it’s best if you first design a zine template. This will help you organize your photographs and have them appear in a logical manner.

If you wish to publish more than one edition of your photography zine a template will streamline the process for you.

First, decide how many photos you want to include in your zine. Then the number of pages. You might choose to have only one photo per page or multiple pictures on some pages.

Once you know the number of pages you’ll include, you can then go about setting up your template.

If you plan to print your zine on an inkjet printer you will be limited by paper size. Either Letter of A4 usually. You can have one sheet of paper for each page or your zine or divided in two and folded.

Photos can be included on both sides of the paper.

Using folded pages the layout design is a little more complicated. You must coordinate the pages so when you compile your photography zine it appears the way you want it to.

Here is a suggested page layout for a twelve-page photo zine.

You can only make your zine in multiples of four pages when designing with four pages, (two front and two back,) per sheet of paper.

Example layout template for a photo zine

If you are using a print on demand service to publish your zine they will have layout templates for you to use on a computer.

These make laying out your zine straight forward as you can add your photos digitally to the zine template.

If you prefer to work on your computer there are various ways to go about making a page layout template. Word processing and image manipulation software like Photoshop can be used. However, they are not specifically designed for layout so they can be frustrating.

In Design is an industry standard, but is an extra expense you may not be able to afford. Scribus is open source software that can be used to layout your photo zine on your computer.

A closeup of a hand holding berries - photography zine tips
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Designing and Laying Out Your Photo Zine

Once you have your zine template set up you can then begin to layout your photos.

If you are working with a hard copy, you’ll need to get all your photos printed out first. Having more images than you think you will use allows for flexibility. As you begin the layout process you might find you have gaps.

If you are telling a story with your pictures consider how they will appear when they are on the pages. Look to have a flow to the images so they follow your storyline.

Continuity is important for people to be able to follow through your photography zine.

Think about how you can create a beginning, middle, and end for your story. Start with a strong photo to grab people’s attention and draw them into your zine. Cool photography is important, especially at the beginning.

Most of the photos will make up the body of your photography zine. Display them in such a way they are interesting to look through. Consider the content of each photo and how they fit with each image on the pages before and after them.

Finalize you photo zine with one or two pictures that will round it off well. These can be impactful photos that illustrate a call to action or solidify the message you are expressing.

Powerful portrait of an elderly woman in traditional dress as part of a photography zine
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Including Text in Your Photography Zine

Writing captions and including other text in your photo zine will help give it more continuity.

Describe what each photo is about. Draw attention to why you have included it and what is relevant about it.

Don’t just describe what’s in each photo. Leave out the obvious. If the location of the photo is important, but not obvious, put it in the text. Also, include names of people who appear in the photos if they are relevant to your story.

Well written text helps tie images together. Depth of meaning can be added without drawing attention away from your photographs.

Powerful portrait of an elderly woman in traditional dress as part of a photography zine
© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Sharing Your Photography Zine

Whether you are using a print on demand service or hand making your photo zine, you will want to share it with people. Depending on your purpose this may be just with family and friends or on a larger scale.

Hand produced zines are a personal creative way to communicate. It may be a fancy multi-page birthday card for a friend with photos on handmade paper.

You might publish a very professional looking photography portfolio for pitching your work.

However you choose to share your photo zine I am sure it will have a positive impact. Hard copy photographs are becoming less common in this digital world.

Whenever people have hand made real printed material their attention will be drawn to it.

Creative Inspiration
Profit from Portraits
Profit from Portraits
Learn how to turn your passion for photography into a profitable business with this comprehensive guide.

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