Thursday, January 8, 2015

Photo LA and Making Books in Lightroom

Next week I will be participating in Photo LA and I've been working (like a dog!) getting ready. Funny thing is...I already thought I was fairly organized as an artist - I guess it's good to have a reality check.  As part of my presentation, I decided to make a few photo books, one for each body of work. 

There are an enormous range of possibilities in terms of self-publishing and I chose to use Blurb (as an experiment) because they're part of the Lightroom Book Module and MagCloud because it's super affordable. You can design a basic book in Word or Pages - or get more advanced with In Design or Photoshop. 

Lightroom is a terrific way to design a book quickly, and once you become familiar with its quirks, there is still a bit of customizing you can do. My big complaint is that the available sizes in Lightroom do not match up with the sizes in MagCloud (which is the best low-cost method for quick catalogs I've found). So, I came up with a work around method. 

I only like the "perfect binding" available in MagCloud - the three sizes that are available with perfect binding are Standard PortraitSmall Square and Digest. Here's the easiest way to use and adapt Lightroom for MagCloud's Standard Portrait - which is the format I used for Multiple Viewings.

This is how I created a standard 8.5x11 magazine style book with no full bleeds (where the image goes from edge to edge) in Lightroom 4 - it should work for the newer versions of LR as well.

Creating a MagCloud publication using Lightroom and Acrobat Pro

1. In the LR Library module, create a Collection of the images you want to make a book from. 

2. Move to the LR Book module and use these settings for "Book Settings." 
a. Book: PDF
b. Size: Standard Portrait
c. Cover: No Cover
d. JPEG Quality: 100%
e. Color Profile: use whatever profile you normally use - I use Adobe RGB or ProPhoto (yes I know which is bigger...that's a different discussion). 
f. File Resolution: 300
g. Sharpening: Standard
h. Media Type: Glossy

3. You are now in a format that is 8"x10" - and when we print in MagCloud it's going to be .5" larger side-to-side and 1" larger top-to-bottom. This means you can place type very close to the top or bottom of the page - but I'd watch the sides since that extra space can get lost in the fold and trim. 

4. Layout your publication - but our first "work around" involves knowing that your Page #1 will be removed from your final pdf, which means Page #2 is your real cover and you must end on an even number - that last page is your back cover.  

5. When you're happy with the design - "Export Book to PDF" is at the bottom of the right column. Then open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro. Click to show the thumbnails (icon on left) and to show the "Tools" column on the right. The image below illustrates that the first step will be to select and delete page one using the "Pages" tools. 

6. Next, select the "crop" tool from that same right side column tools and double-click in the page, which will bring up the window you see below. Towards the bottom where it says "Fixed Sizes" select "Letter" and also check "Center" and over on the right under Page Ranges, check "All." This will add the additional space to your pages. I've found that you can still do double-page spreads with this method. 

7. Important step that is often ignored - make a quick printout of this new PDF, image quality is not important. Then put it together like a book and "proof" it for flow, readability and layout. I cannot stress enough how important this step can be. If you need to make changes - you'll need to repeat from step #5. 

8. When you upload the pdf to Lightroom, you'll get a warning, just ignore it and "continue with this file." Then you just need to double-check that nothing falls in the trim area - also, don't forget to specify that you want "perfect binding" when you get to the pricing part and consider what color you want that side bind to be. 

Good luck!

p.s. if you'd like to have full bleeds (on the cover, for example), you'll need to make those full size in Photoshop, save them as Photoshop PDFs and then use Acrobat to insert them. 

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