Photobook Design Masterclass:
From Concept to Design to Finished Mock-Up
with Teun van der Heijden and Sandra van der Doelen

13-14-15 May & 27-28-29 May 2016
Masterclass Fee: € 700 plus VAT

Application Deadline: 10 April 2016
Application Fee: free

NOTE: This masterclass is fully subscribed. Please check back for future masterclasses and workshops.

This in-depth, hands-on masterclass is conducted by two leading, award-winning Dutch photobook designers. The aim of the masterclass is to explore both creative and practical methods to developing your own photobook in a way that will make your work stand out from the crowd and allow you to connect in profound and memorable ways with your audience.

By the end of this 6-day collaborative workshop, each participant will work through creative design solutions for their individual books and produce one complete hand-assembled book dummy.

The course will attempt to cover all the practical aspects of book making as well as how to solve the challenge of the printed book medium — shifting from singular images to the book as an object in the current environment of photography. Subjects will include: editing and compiling processes; concept development; design issues like choice of size, paper, grid and typography; and guidance about various printing processes.

8 to 12 participants will be selected by the instructors. The application process is free. Accepted photographers must pay €850 for the 6-day workshop (meeting for two long weekends separated by two weeks of active work). To apply, please submit 20 photos from your project along with a written statement about your idea for your book.

Images from the workshop with Teun and Sandra in Italy earlier this year.

Today, photobooks have become one of the most intimate and completely satisfying forms that allow people to absorb, understand and deeply appreciate a photographer’s vision and ideas. Despite rapid changes in technology, distribution, presentation and consumption of photography, the popularity and success of photobooks has made the printed medium increasingly relevant, desirable and valued in today’s digital visual culture.

Teun van der Heijden, leader of the masterclass and a masterful photobook designer, says:

“Although we live in a digital age, there is more attention and appreciation of the paper photobook then ever before. The virtual world is visual and fast. It has many advantages: In our virtual realm we are easily connected to the rest of the world and knowledge is accessible with only one click.

“But we need and want stories that can be fully consumed at a slower pace, in detail — stories that we can absorb and contemplate. We use visual language more and more in our daily lives. Within this visual language the photo book represents contemplation, solidity, and something we can literally hold on to — a tangible object that has the aura of the original. The contemporary photo book can be like a visual novel. It is with this in mind that our graphic design agency Heijdens Karwei designs photography books.”

See this video interview with Teun from Vogue Italia. And see many, many examples of the photobooks designed by Teun and Sandra on their website.

12 Japanese photographers filled the workshop with Teun and Sandra in Tokyo in 2015.


During the workshop, Teun and Sandra will share their long experience of collaborating with photographers. They will discuss their insights and provide feedback about narrative flow, concept development, editing and sequencing — as well as the mechanics of book production. Together with the participants, they will go through the main stages of book production, from the concept to completion. The master class will challenge the participants to think outside preconceived ideas and to create a unique object that complements the photographer’s vision. The master class consists of lectures, practical classes and work on the students’ own book projects resulting in the production of a dummy book by each of the participants.

The master class is divided in two parts. During the first part (day one, day two and day three) students are encouraged to share ideas and spark creative genius discussing and thinking about concepts with and for each other.

In between the first and second part of the master class participants are encouraged to work on an idea conceived in the first part of the master class and create a dummy.

During the second part (day four, day five and day six) the leaders will evaluate the dummies the participants have created, analyzing them and give comments after which they will guide the participants towards a more final version of each book dummy helping them with finalizing concepts, title and cover ideas, binding and ideas about publishing.


In addition to the images, the participants are encouraged to bring any other materials that can be potentially incorporated into their publication, such as texts, graphic elements, etc. It is highly recommended that next to your “A” selection of photos, you bring along your “B” and “C” selections of pictures as well, including pictures you have doubts about or may find less interesting. A laptop with InDesign and PhotoShop is a must, as well as small prints of your project for editing on the first days: size of 10 x 15 cm or 4 x 6 inch are perfect.

If you don’t own InDesign, it is available as a trial version that lasts for 30 days. If you use a trial version, it is better to wait to make it active just before the master class starts.



• Introduction in the world of the photo book: Why is the photo book so popular today?
• How does contemporary publishing relate to “old” publishing?
• Working with official (photo) book publishers compared to self publishing?
• Hand made books compared to industrial produced books.


• Looking at the participants’ portfolios and discussing them
• Concept development
• The tutors will push the students to come up with book ideas for each presented portfolio and challenge them to think about the target group, a title and the combination of text and images
• Students are encouraged to share ideas and spark creative genius discussing and thinking about concepts for each other. The idea is to share thoughts and visions and to discover new paths in your individual portfolio. Ideally each student will have a few ideas to reflect on and to make a concept into a photo book dummy in the second stage of the master class..


• Continuation of concept development
• Basic edit of each students work
• The tutors will help the students with their edits and the sequencing of the work
• Students are encouraged to help each other with the edit of their work, since it often helps to see the edit of another professional who has distance from your work.


• Actively developing and making of the book dummies
• This is the ‘hands-on’ part of the master class, even though thinking is still encouraged
• Time to experiment with a variety of ideas and shape it into a tactile object.
• Students will work individually on their projects but teamwork and sharing knowledge is always welcomed.


• Evaluating the dummies
• Each maquette will be analyzed
• Students are encouraged to comment on each others work.


• The tutors will guide this process helping the students with the improvement of editing and sequencing
• Finalizing design ideas that includes: size and paper choices, design and lay-out choices, typography, binding and wrapping.


• Continuation and finalizing of the book dummies
• Talking about promotion, selling and distribution
• Making videos and photographs of the object
• Evaluating the master class

At the end of the masterclass, we expect every student to go home with their own photobook dummy —and more importantly new friends and fresh ideas.

Join us for this rare and valuable creative experience.