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Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Book 'Em, Dano!

Books offer the ultimate showcase for your photography—here's how to get your own

As a rule, when laying out your book, remember the less-is-more rule, and resist the temptation to sprinkle page after page with multiple picture spreads. Some layout templates encourage the shotgun approach, but they're usually designated as "scrapbook" or "yearbook" templates and will make your efforts look less professional.

Fewer pictures displayed larger, such as what you see in OP, will always have more impact than a lot of small pictures on a page. If you find yourself tempted to put dozens of pictures on a two-page spread, you may be wise to pick one of the templates that won't let you!

As far as I've been able to determine, only Apple's Aperture will allow the printing of one picture across two pages (called a "double truck" in the business). Double trucks have great impact, and I miss them in these book layouts (possibly enough to spring for an entire software program just so I can do books with two-page spreads).

There are some limitations to these books, and you should be aware of them. First and foremost, there's no "proofing" process. You can "soft-proof" the templates on your own printer, but be aware that there can be some deviation and difference in the color reproduction. I work in a color-managed environment and so do most of the printers, but the holy grail of absolute color fidelity from one system to another just isn't a reality today.

Also, the printing can be inconsistent. I sent one book off, and when it came back, I was so pleased with the results that I ordered a second one, but the printing on that one wasn't as crisp and colorful as the first one. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't the same as the first book. You'll also need to do a couple of books with a supplier to get an idea of how much to sharpen and saturate the pictures for best reproduction. It varies from company to company.

But these are minor annoyances compared to the satisfaction of holding a collection of your best photos beautifully bound between hard covers. Just be careful—creating these little masterpieces doesn't require a lottery win, but it can be habit forming.

On-Demand Photo Book Resources
www.apple.com—Both iPhoto and Aperture offer custom book-printing options, with Aperture offering the most flexibility. Only the final pages in PDF form are uploaded. Mac only.
www.sharedink.com—One of the only services with a money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied. Dual-platform.
www.photoworks.com—Offers dual-platform support.
www.shutterfly.com—Offersdual-platform support.
www.picaboo.com—Windows only.
www.snapfish.com—Windows only.
—Will print iBook layouts with a Mac plug-in, but the oversized 15x11.5-inch template is Windows only.

For a schedule of Bob Krist's workshops and seminars, check his website, www.bobkrist.com, under the "Teach and Talk" heading.


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