Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Gadget Bag: Make Your Own Photo Book
Creating a hardcover photography book is easy, inexpensive and doable for anyone
Making a custom photo book has become fast, easy and inexpensive. As the realm of self-publishing opens up to virtually any photographer, you now have another way to share images and even sell your own books.
Blurb (www.blurb.com) has become synonymous with self-publishing, with a well-deserved reputation for producing top-quality books at an affordable price. Using Blurb's BookSmart software, you can choose to exercise extensive or minimal control over the layout process. Templates let you select from a variety of fonts and designs, so even a highly automated book won't look like everyone else's books. Choose a template, then import a folder of image files into the project. The software warns you if you need higher-res files, and it can interpolate them if necessary (or you can do it yourself). The project is automatically uploaded to the Blurb website to finalize binding and cover details and to complete payment. Once you order a copy of your book, Blurb keeps it on file in your account, and you can reorder more copies.
Bay Photo (www.bayphoto.com) is well known as a custom print lab, but less known as a custom book printer. Using its Bay Roes lab connection software, you can pick a cover, then put together the individual pages. You assemble the book page by page, add your photos and then add that page to your shopping cart. The order of the items in your cart determines the order of the pages in your book. You can select binding options, including hinged pages, which many photographers like because they tend to lay pretty flat. Bay can retouch and color correct the images you upload if you'd like, and there are also several paper coatings, page textures and even premium 6-color printing. Bay books are gorgeously constructed, with beautiful high-quality photographic images and attention to detail in the binding and overall construction.
The Mpix system (www.mpix.com) is visually organized with simplified layout tools. It's web-based so the first step is uploading image files to the Mpix server before assembling a layout. This can take a while, so give yourself some time. Once uploaded, you can choose from a simple, fully template-driven approach or a more complex option that let's you customize the layout. You drag and drop photos into your desired order, and the software keeps you informed about how many you have to go, which is a nice feature. You have to click Customize to really gain control over the design and resize or reposition photos and text. Auto-alignment and other guides make it easy to position page elements accurately.
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