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The Big Build: How To Make A Photo Book That Documents Your Home Project

couple painting walls

It’s the big moment. You’ve got the hammer in one hand, the tape measure in the other. A stray fluid-level resides in the corner of the kitchen, waiting, as if to say: “I have no idea what you’ll need me for either, but I’m here for ya.” 

Whether you’re carrying out a renovation or completely converting a newly-bought house, those moments before the journey begins are both terrifying and hugely exciting. You imagine in your mind’s eye what the space you are standing in will look like in a few months time. You take out your phone and snap a pic with the caption: “the project begins!”

But stop right there. We can already tell what’s going to happen next. You’re going to set off, spending everyday – or every spare moment that you can muster – creating the home you have dreamed of. 

Throughout this process, however, you’re not bringing out your phone again. Why would you? The place looks a mess, there are things lying everywhere, and you’re busy fixing it up. In fact, the next time you’ll take a photograph is when the project is complete, all new and shiny-looking. But this is a mistake.

A whole lot of work is going to go into creating your beautiful new home, so you want a way to show it off, creating a timeline of sorts that documents the build from beginning to end. This can then be put on social media, be turned into an Instagram photo book or even a cute little square photo book to be displayed on your coffee table. 

So, like we said, take a few moments before the work begins. It’s time to think about what pictures you will need for your “big build book” and how you can give the project a home it is deserving of:

The Central Point 

First off, you need to find your central point – a term we have cleverly made up ourselves. This is the area of your home that is going to be the central hub of the renovation – where you know the most amount of work is going to be going on. Find the best place to frame this area for a photograph, get some black tape and stick it down to the floor. 

Then, throughout the build, make sure to keep going back to this spot and take the same photograph, in the same place. This is the best way to show the work that is being completed over different intervals, allowing you to properly witness the development when you take the photos to a photo book maker and they are all bound into one place.

The Architects 

Now sadly, you’re not in a world created by JK Rowling. That is to say, you can’t magic a wand and allow the project to get on with itself; there’s going to be workers. Whether that’s you, you and your partner, or contracted builders – or all of the above! For this reason, it’s essential that you not only take pictures of the work itself, but the architects who are making it happen. 

This is a great way to instil some personality into your photo book and show the people behind the scenes. This isn’t about posing for photos, either. Make them natural and ensure to take photos of crucial points in the build… such as the first time you attempt to hammer in a nail. Just don’t get too distracted!

The Plans In Motion

Another important factor of your build portfolio is the detail. There’s a lot of planning when it comes to a home project. This will likely include makeshift blueprints, notes, ideas, a step-by-step renovation guide, a book full of different colour pallets; all of these documents are lying around the house and they are just as big a part of the build as the actual work itself. 

Make sure to take a few pictures here and there – specifically with your notes, blueprints and colour palettes, all of which can then be juxtapositioned beside the final result. It’s a small detail, but it’s things like this that will make your photo book feel even more complete.

The Downtime Moments

Unless you’re crazy, it’s unlikely that you are going to be working on this thing 24/7. There will be downtime; breaks for coffee, errands, a quick exhausted lie down after painting an entire room. 

If you are learning how to make your first photo book, then you’ll soon find out how important people and stories are to make it work. And once again, little moments like this can show that personality. After all, the last thing you want is a book full of walls, bricks and tools. You need people in there to give your photo book the spark that it needs to come alive.

The Celebrations

Lastly, the celebrations! You don’t want to just finish the build, sit down on the couch and think: well, that was hard work. You need a big celebration to honour that hard work and – more importantly – round off your photo book! 

Try to reserve those last few pages for the finished project, with some poses in front of the results, glasses of champagne and even a few colourful balloons or banners.  You’ve put the work in, after all, it’s now time to celebrate the achievement and put the finishing touch on what is sure to be a beautiful new photo book.


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