Photographic projects: organizing digitally and/or in print - blogs, albums, books?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by BBW, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Summerki, also known as Kevin, recently started a thread asking about where we were in our photographic journeys based upon a personal photographic essay with words that he'd seen elsewhere.

    Several members here have photographic blogs, some with or without writing, so that is one way to go about pulling one's photos together and presenting them. Maybe that's the way to go for some of us, while I think others are thinking about print modes, too. Whether it's a blog, or a photographic book or collection in print, what are some of the best ways to go about this sort of thing - that's what I'm wondering.

    I'm hoping that this thread will become both a "how to" as well as a repository of ideas and suggestions about how to go about this kind of thing - and that people will feel comfortable adding their own questions and suggestions.

    A good friend of mine has used Apple's services to create some really great looking books for presents. He doesn't use iPhoto, he uses Photoshop and I haven't actually asked him the steps he took to put it all together. I'll have to do that.

    Individual books are one way to do it, but what about other ways?

    And before one even begins to put an essay or album or retrospective collection together - how do you gather your digital photos? Aperture uses a similar set up to iPhoto which was something I was very familiar with and liked, but now I'm a confirmed Lightroom user. Do I place them in "collections" or is there a better way?

    How do you do it, if you've done it - starting with the digital software you use and take if from there, perhaps?
     
  2. Karen Cole

    Karen Cole SC Regular

    92
    Sep 2, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    BBW
    Excellent idea for a thread! Here's my 2 cents. I create photo-books quite frequently and am also a confirmed user of Lightroom 3. I use Photo Books, Holiday Cards, Photo Cards, Birth Announcements, Photo Printing | Shutterfly for a very reasonable price and excellent reproduction, they put together..you design and layout a photobook.

    Using LR3 to edit and crop my pictures, I simply choose the ones I want to include in the Pic book and export them to a folder on my desktop. When exporting for print remember to increase your pixels and size/resolution of photo in LR before exporting to the folder. Shutterfly will help you get this right before you even start. Once the pics are in the folder, simply upload them to Shutterfly and begin arranging in your book. Once you're done..it takes but a few days and your book is printed and delivered. Great quality..hardcover book.

    From LR3, I also export/import my pic's into Photoshop 8 and keep my albums there in the gallery. Giving me the option of organizing by face, by event, by season, etc. Everything is neatly organized and pretty easy to find.

    I also keep my Flickr site updated and have both private and public pictures there. I also use Tumblr and have gotten quite a following in just the few weeks I've been active.
     
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  3. I have been a lightroom user since the first beta, I also am a big fan of using personal projects as motivation to get off my duff and shoot. I use several outlets

    1.)My Blog- life in black, grey, and white where I upload a new picture everyday. They are not always works of art but it keeps me shooting. I use wordpress which is free and very easy to use. It also allows for auto publishing so I will often load up a week or so worth of images and then auto publish them each day

    2.)8x10 prints- I make lots of 8x10 prints. I like Mpix.com - Home and AdoramaPix - Home. I used to print at home but by the time you factor in the cost of ink and paper and wear and tear on the paper it is cheaper to have it printed with Mpix or Adorama. If you register on both sites they will send out promo emails from time to time and put 8x10s on sale for cheap. I wait until there is a sale to order. Most of my stuff is B&W and I like the real B&W paper that both places use. It is made by Ilford and looks great with no color casts. Once I get the 8x10s made I like to put them in Itoya Profolio books ITOYA Art Profolio Looking at images on a screen is nice but there is something special about having real prints

    3.)Photo Books- I like and have used Make your own book. Make it great. Blurb books are great and they have free software that you can download which are full of templates which makes it very easy to make books. Then you just upload and order. I like the 8.5x11 size so that my 8x10 images fit nicely on the page

    In lightroom as I import and then edit my images I will add keywords to the photos I am going to print or put in a book. For example if is the beginning of the year and I have not done an order yet I will add the key words "2010 8x10 order 1" Then when I go to order I will just do a keyword search for that term and they are all there. At this point I will also create a collection to put them all in for future reference. I always crop my images to 8x10 size in lightroom so at that point I just export them to a folder as 8x10 300DPI JPEGS at max quality and then upload from that folder or use the Blurb Software to make a book.

    The big thing to remember with lightroom or similar programs is to add lots of keywords to your images. That makes finding them much easier later
     
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  4. summerkl

    summerkl SC Veteran

    374
    Oct 11, 2010
    Vancouver, Canada
    Real Name:
    Kevin
    Thanks these tips and recommended services are really helpful - should save me a lot of time except the organizing part - I think a bottle of wine and some jazz music will be in order when I start that.

    The only suggestion I can add is for a program I haven't even tried (yet). For Mac users, a new version of iLife was just released/announced this week. In the iPhoto module one of the improved features is photobook production - the video certainly makes it look very user friendly. Here is the link - Apple - iPhoto - New full-screen views, emailing photos, and more.

    Another piece of good news is that they will be selling iPhoto separately for $14.99 from their Mac App Store which is coming soon (within next 3 months) Apple - App Store - Buy, download, and install apps made for Mac.

    If you can't wait, you can buy the full iLife suite now for $49
     
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  5. deirdre

    deirdre SC Top Veteran

    652
    Sep 26, 2010
    There always was photobook production, but the new version looks even better.

    I've been making calendars in iPhoto for several years.

    Another thing I make occasionally is cards. Here's the New Year's card we did last year (photo taken in the NYC Apple store by my husband):

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. summerkl

    summerkl SC Veteran

    374
    Oct 11, 2010
    Vancouver, Canada
    Real Name:
    Kevin
    I forgot to ask - when you order Photobooks from online services is there an option to get it in PDF format also?

    I saw in the iPhoto video that they place the books into a "Library". I am hoping that means you can send digital books that you've completed out via email.
     
  7. deirdre

    deirdre SC Top Veteran

    652
    Sep 26, 2010
    You can print the book to PDF if you want (just like anything in MacOS). They are enormous files, though. Our calendar last year was around 40mb and that was with my old P&S. For that reason, I'd put it up on my web site rather than attach it via email as many email servers auto-reject messages with large attachments.
     
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  8. If you use Blurb and use the "Book Smart" software they give you it outputs a PDF so you can proof read you book before you have it printed
     
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  9. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    My process is as follows.

    1. Images are copies onto my hard disc: Pictures > Camera Type > Location > Date (yyyy-mm-dd)
    I open these in Picasa photo viewer and delete the obvious rubbish.

    2. I import the folder into Lightroom leaving the images where they are so that the Lightroom directories and folders replicate those on the hard drive. I try to keyword these as soon as possible.

    3. I upload full size unedited jpegs to Flickr organised into sets on the basis of the camera type and date.

    4. I use the Lightroom smart collections feature to organise images by theme based on keywords for posting to smugmug - eg Munich - Churches or Tbilisi - Shavteli Street

    5. Following any editing I export full size jpegs to a folder within the relevant Date folder entitled Smugmug for upload to my smugmug site. I export reduced sized jpegs to a folder called Blog. These are either exported to Blogger for my blog or to Flickr for forums like SC.

    6. I keyword images that I post to my blog or to smugmug as tdp or smugmug and use the colour filter to mark the smugmug images. Then I set up smart collections containing all images posted to either my blog or smugmug site.

    7. If I want to print good quality images my smugmug account allows me to do so at cost from some good quality printers.
     
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  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    BB
    Excellent information that's being amassed here. Thank you everyone so much!

    Olli, a special thank you for taking the time to write out your detailed and organized processing from start to finish.

    It's too early on a Sunday morning for me to think as clearly as I'd like but I wanted to be sure to post how much I appreciate everybody's taking the time to explain how they go about things. Lots to learn for me!
     
  11. mmacleodbrown

    mmacleodbrown SC Regular

    197
    Oct 10, 2010
    London
    As someone who is just thinking of taking his first baby steps along his photographic journey, this infomation is very useful. I have got alot to learn, I have never even opened photoshop and have only just found out about lightroom - Im going to download the trial and see what all the fuss is about...
     
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  12. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    For purely family stuff, I make one, giant year book via iPhoto (it's one of the reasons I keep using iPhoto, though all edits are done in LR). It also makes holiday gifts for certain relatives pretty easy. They've got a new, super large photo book option. It's very easy to use, and I also do a calendar in there. I keep meaning to start a foto per day blog, but have yet to get it going.
     
  13. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Hmmm, just pointed to this thread from another on printing. I've been seriously back into photography since about March of last year, so coming up on a year now. This is my first shot at digital photography beyond the family/vacation snapshot level. In that time, I've done 3 photo-books. Two of them were based around a month long trip my wife and I took in Europe last July. One was an Apple book (done directly from Aperture) that's large format, a mix of photos and text, and only about 25-30 pages. Its sort of a coffee table keepsake and memory of our trip (it was a 25th anniversary celebration, so lots of sentimental value). The other two are Blurb books and are much more photo-centric. The first is also just shots from that European trip, but less of a 'memory' and more of a photo book of what I considered my best photographs from the trip. This one was about 120 pages. The third is an end-of year Blurb that includes my favorite photos from the whole year. It includes a section on the European trip, but lots of shots from other topics/locations as well. Its probably the only one I'll look at much in the future - its a good record of my year of photographs. I gave a few to very close family and friends as holiday presents and everyone was polite enough to express great enthusiasm for it.

    Based on over-doing it a bit this first year, I think the future I'll likely just do an annual end-of-year book with an occasional event-specific book if we have other really epic trips like the one last summer. We don't do that a lot, so probably just a single book most years. I find the Blurb books very easy to work with and of good quality, quick production, and reasonably priced. And if anyone has commercial intentions, all Blurb books are available for sale to the general public as well, so if you want to promote yourself... I don't, but the site also allows you to set up a full preview of the book for people to peruse online and I generally share that URL. In that spirit, if anyone is interested, here's a link to browse my end-of-year book for 2010: Re-Entry 2010 | Book Preview

    -Ray
     
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  14. Fuddlestack

    Fuddlestack SC Regular

    138
    Dec 1, 2010
    Alsace, France
    WRT processing, I import into directory trees names by make of camera, month, model and file format, e.g. D:\Nikon\201005\D300s\NEF or D:\Canon\201101\G12\RAW. I import using Windows Explorer, and process using Photoshop.

    On the Internet, I've been a member of PBase for years, and have a bunch of galleries, some of which are multi-level, e.g. Root gallery > Cycling > alla_bici. I'm in process of setting up a photo blog on my new server, but I think I'll continue with PBase too: it's cheap, and I like their policies and muted styling. I never much liked Flickr with its Yahoodlum styling and bouncing adverts - it's worth shelling out $25 a year to PBase for their discrete appearance.
     
  15. Fuddlestack

    Fuddlestack SC Regular

    138
    Dec 1, 2010
    Alsace, France
    That looks great - something I rather fancy having a go at myself. Thanks for the idea.
     
  16. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    BB
    Ray, how do think the Apple books compare to Blurb. I have seen the Apple ones and think their quality is quite good. I've read mixed reviews about Blurb's. Yours sure looks great online!:drinks:
     
  17. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    The Apple books integrate really well with Apple software and they tend to offer so many nice templates that the temptation is to do fairly heavily designed and formatted "theme" books, with multiple pics on a page, text boxes, fancy borders, etc. My one experience with it resulted in a coffee table book that's 10x13" and devotes a page or a two page spread to each of the main stops on our European stops, with multiple photos and text on every page. Its quite professional looking and attractive as a memory of the trip, but it does feels more like a vacation book than a photo book. Which was a very good thing for what I was trying to do with it. While I think its possible to do the same thing with Blurb books, I think every Blurb book I've ever seen are more photo-centric, with one or maybe two photos on each page, and maybe a very short descriptive caption/date or something, but more page after page of photographs. I don't know if that's inevitable or just the direction the software tends to take you, but that seems to be a common result. Also, the prices aren't too different for shorter, larger format books, but once you get into a lot of pages, the Blurb books seemed notably more reasonable to me. Also, the preview function that allows others to look through as much of your blurb book as you'd like (or only very specific pages if you're trying to lure folks into buying it, I guess) is a fairly critical feature to me. I printed a few for close family and friends, but I like opening it up for public viewing and its had quite a few views, probably from folks from forums like this one. The Apple book, OTOH, has only been seen by a few close friends and family.

    In terms of printed quality, both are very very good. Maybe an extremely discerning eye would have a preference, but I'm very pleased with both. The Blurb book looks a LOT better on paper than it does on the preview, btw. There are lots of photos that don't scale well for the preview and there are a lot of broken curves full of pixels and stuff - none of that happens in the printed copy. And its just a nice format to leaf through. And for books less than something like 120 or 160 pages, you can have them print it one premium paper which looks about the same, but has a really nice sturdy feel.

    Pop Photo did a pretty comprehensive comparison of a BUNCH of photo book publishing services a few months ago and discussed the pros and cons of each, if you can go back and find that. I don't remember exactly which month it was. I think Blurb and Apple both did pretty well, but Kodak and one or two others supposedly had even nicer printed output.

    -Ray
     
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  18. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    BB
    Thanks so much Ray! I really appreciate your going into so much helpful detail. All good to know when I finally do something! I'm so concerned that the prints won't look like my photos. I guess I should try one print via each, if that is even possible.

    John you wrote "I never much liked Flickr with its Yahoodlum styling and bouncing adverts" and I don't see anything like that on my Flickr account. Perhaps it's because I have a "pro account" and thus don't see anything else, but I didn't remember ever seeing anything else.

    Whatever works for us all is the important thing. Onwards and upwards!

    Thanks again, Ray!
     
  19. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    BB
    Well, I just got four photographs back from being printed via Mpix and I am extremely pleased to say that they look fantastic!!!!! All were taken with my LX5 and I am extremely impressed by the quality of the photographs visually. They look wonderful - four are 8 x 12 and the fifth is an 8 1/2 by 11. Couldn't be more pleased!:biggrin:

    Normally, I'm not into such large sizes but I wanted to see what the image quality would be like and I am not disappointed.:2thumbs:

    P.S. A big :drinks: and thank you to Don AKA Streetshooter for pushing me to have these prints made. Now I know where I'm going to be spending some money for sure.
     
  20. Janis

    Janis SC Regular

    145
    Nov 22, 2010
    Central Texas
    This is a very informative thread. Ray, thanks for the link to your Blurb book, which looks great. I really enjoyed looking at your work. I need to get motivated and do one myself one of these days. I also have seen Blurb photo books by a friend and hers look very good, too.
    I had MPix do a big print, 16x24, and they did a great job. It's super easy to deal with them straight from Zenfolio if you have a web gallery there. But I had it put on foamboard which meant it came in a big flat package that I had to pick up from the PO. I assume they otherwise come rolled up.
     
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