The End of Year PhotoBook thread....????

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Ray Sachs, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. 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...
    OK, so if it turns out I'm the only person here who does this, I guess this'll be a really limited thread. But I hope I'm not.

    In the couple of years I've been back into photography, I've found an annual photo-book to be the best modern way of pulling out the best of what you've done and put it into an "album" of sorts. They're very easy to pull off of the shelf or table and leaf through, they're easy to make extra prints of for a few close (and supportive) friends and family members, just a good thing to have. Aside from a very few prints that I seem to make a couple times per year, this is the only time I ever view my photos on paper, rather than on electronic screens.

    Anyway, I put my 2011 book together this week (after culling through my photos at a leisurely pace over the past few weeks) and sent it off. The theme, not surprisingly is, street photography, because that's what I most tried to get better at this year - it takes up roughly 2/3 of the book. Last year I only started shooting again in April and my book was 200 pages. This year I got a whole year in so I went to 240. If this was primarily intended for a wider audience than myself and close friends and family, it would have been a LOT shorter. And if it had been intended ONLY for me, it might have been longer. But, it is, as they say, what it is. And it doesn't take that long to browse through and linger on the ones you like.

    Its now available on Blurb, which I find to be a very convenient publisher/printer, although I know there are others that are probably as good. If anyone is interested in browsing through it, you can hit the "preview" button and leaf through as much or as little as you'd like on your computer screen, although I have to warn you it can look pretty funky if your monitor is either too big or too small. It looks terrible on my 27", but I recall it looked OK on the 21" I had last year. If you have an ipad, you can buy an electronic version of it for $2, which is cheap enough and is, frankly, a much nicer viewing experience. Or, of course you could buy a copy, but I'm not trying to sell them - I don't make any money on them anyway (you can set it up to do that, for any of you pros out there) and the print copies aren't cheap, so I'm NOT trying to sell them. Just suggesting that $2 for the ipad ebook makes for a nicer experience than the preview, unless you have just the right size monitor. Anyway, if interested, here's the link:

    http://www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/2793707#store-price

    And please, please, please, if anyone else does something similar to this, please add them to this thread. I know not a LOT of people do this kind of self-publishing, but I can't imagine I'm the ONLY one. And I'd surely love to leaf through some other folks books if they make 'em.

    -Ray
     
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  2. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Real Name:
    Karen
    Hi Ray

    Thanks for posting this. I can't see your 2011 book though, just the two 2010 ones.
     
  3. 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...
    Sorry Karen, I just tried a different link (in the original post) - see if that works better???

    -Ray
     
  4. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    nope me neither Ray
     
  5. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Real Name:
    Karen
    Still just the two from 2010 Ray.
     
  6. 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...
    My goof! Try it now. I'd somehow neglected to make that book "public" so , of course, only I could see it. Should work now. I logged off and hit the link and it came up, so it should for anyone else also...

    -Ray
     
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  7. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Ray, you are an inspiration! I know I'm a broken record but I am going to do this - make a book of photos, I swear I am. (Kevin are you reading?). I'm not going to get it done by the end of the year, however, but I will begin working on one, finally. The old photo albums are a thing of the past, so this really is a wise way to go.

    I'm only on page 42 but I recognize quite a few of my favorites of yours. They look good on my MacBook Pro...I just zoom in the view a bit.:drinks:
     
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  8. 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...
    BB, its not difficult. The most time consuming part is figuring out which photos to choose for it. Then I just export them to a folder (or two or three folders, depending on how you want to organize your book). The Blurb software can be as easy or complicated to use as you want it to be. If you arrange all of your photos in the right order, it'll auto-flow them onto the pages for you. I like to drag each photo to the page manually so I can control the pairings and how they're going to work together across facing pages and whatnot. And add captions as I go. But the actual "construction" of the book is just a few hours work, once you have the photos together. Of course, if you want to do a REALLY professional job with a lot of text and different page layouts and whatnot, you can probably spend a TON of time on it. But the simple kind I do is literally just a few hours for a book with as many pages as I have this year, and that's doing it the slow and careful way. So there's no reason not to do it - its easy! And if you only buy one or two copies, its not a lot of money for what you get out of it.

    I think they must optimize their "preview" viewer for small screens like a laptop. They look terrible on my 27", with all sorts of fragmented lines and amazing amounts of "grain" where none exists. And I just went and looked at it on my wife's computer, my old 21", and its only slightly better. So something like a laptop screen should be just about right. Too bad they don't make the preview's more adaptable, but I guess THEY want people to buy the books, even if I, as the author, don't really care how many get sold once I've bought the few I'm going to.

    -Ray
     
  9. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    You're a good encourager Ray. I promise to report back. I'm going to have some down time coming up soon and I hope to surprise myself and get this done. You do make it sound awfully easy. I'm sure I'll have some questions when I get down to it.
     
  10. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I have been going to do this for a year now so.. though I am rushed for time now, since I have taken all my old photos off the www, I think I will. I have always had this concern regarding digital that if the power goes or things get messed up there is no backup where as film photos have been around for as long as cameras and short of disaster, last. This was the original reason I wanted to book my progress [which is really what it is] by making a yearly or ever other year book.
     
  11. 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...
    BB, the first time through with the software I had some frustrations until I got used to how it worked, as with any new software. But that took maybe an hour to get past and I found an easy enough way to deal with it and I was off and running.

    Kristen, the most tedious part is just sorting through all of your photos and figuring out which ones to include - THAT'S a bit daunting. Otherwise, once you have them picked out, its really pretty quick and easy. As I noted earlier, the actual process of constructing the book took me a few hours - that's all. And I did a BIG book with a LOT of photos (and did it the slowest possible way - fully manual photo placement, one at a time). Keep it down to 100 or so and you'll be through it in no time. This is assuming you want a fairly simple looking book. They have ALL SORTS of layout possibilities and you can change them on every page if you're so inclined. And then it could be tedious. But for a basic book, its very simple work.

    If I'm smart, I'll start sorting out my best few shots from each shoot as I go along and create their own "album" in Aperture. That way, at the end of the year, the process of culling and choosing should be a lot quicker and easier. I haven't had that much foresight yet - maybe that'll be one of my resolutions for 2012!

    -Ray
     
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  12. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Real Name:
    Karen
    Just published a 38 page book on Blurb to try it out, you can see it here (hopefully):

    the RELUCTANT muse | By Karen Rose | Category: Arts & Photography | Blurb

    I ordered a printed copy (for my mother-in-law) and an ebook copy for myself. I downloaded the iBook app on my ipad2, downloaded my ebook from blurb, I can see the book on the iBook library shelf but cannot open it. Anyone else had this problem?

    I'm curious about the print quality of the books, any I've seen in Jessops or similar shops the quality has been beyond pitiful. If you have had good experience with any other companies or Blurb then please let me know.
     
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  13. HeatherTheVet

    HeatherTheVet SC All-Pro

    Apr 23, 2011
    Scotland
    Real Name:
    Heather
    Question - if I buy one of your books, do you get any money or does it all go to Blurb?

    Hypothetical (I'm a bit skint...)
     
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  14. 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...
    Karen,

    Beautifully done! I like the way you played with the page layout, varying the page background, the number of shots on a page, etc. Much too ambitious for me, but very very nice visually. Did you do that by hand or pick a stock template and let it flow the photos into it? I haven't had any problem viewing my ebook on my ipad2 - not sure what the problem is there. You should make your ebook available for others to buy. I can't see buying printed copies of other folks stuff, but I'd definitely spend $2 for an ebook copy. I think you have to go into the "sell" tab to enable it, but once you've downloaded a copy yourself, you can put those up for sale as well.

    One odd thing. I can open your book up full size on my big 27" monitor and your photos look perfect, very smooth and clean, no jaggies. When I open mine I have jagged lines and edges all over the place and tons of grainy picture breakup. Very odd.

    The print quality is fine for me - its not up to the quality of a good large professional print, but for having however many you want in a book, its pretty good. But I'll be interested in your reaction when you see you mother-in-law's copy (assuming you live close and will get to see it).

    -Ray
     
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  15. 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 seller can set it up either way. The base price that Blurb gets to print it stays constant. If the seller wants to, he or she can add an additional amount to the sale price and the difference goes to the seller. Since I'm not trying to sell books or make money on this, I've never added anything to the price so it all goes to Blurb. If I was a pro and photography was a moneymaking endeavor for me, I obviously would crank up the price and get the profits. But generally, at the amateur level, the money generally all goes to Blurb.

    -Ray
     
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  16. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Real Name:
    Karen
    Thanks Ray,

    I chose the layouts, images and background colour for each page individually. I think there is a little control freak lurking in me. It didn't take too much time to do once I had selected the images I wanted to include.

    The photo book is getting delivered to my house so I will get to see it before I decide to gift it. No idea what the problem was with the ebook. I tried it this morning and iBooks opened it straight away, yet yesterday it just selected and deselected without opening. I'm quite happy with the ebook results so fingers crossed I'm equally happy with the hardback copy.

    I used full size/resolution pictures for my book if that helps? Not sure what other reason there might be to cause a difference in the image presentation on your screen.
     
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  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...
    Yeah, I do the same and they look fine when I display them full screen outside of the book. But in the book preview I'm looking at a much smaller version (two page spread) but it looks terrible. Oh well, they look fine in print.

    -Ray
     
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  18. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Real Name:
    Karen
    Ray, I have to say THANK YOU for inspiring me to try out Blurb. My photo book arrived this afternoon and, in my humble opinion, I think it's pretty fantastic. The printing and binding is perfect, when they say book quality, they mean it. Now a problem, how I do I persuade myself to give the book away to my mother-in-law. I just want to pick it up and admire it! :smile:
     
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  19. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Where have I been that I hadn't seen this thread with its updates!?

    Karen - beautiful and I'm only a few pages into it. I will look at each one.

    OK, you guys, I do solemnly swear I am going to do this. I will, of course, be asking some more technical questions down the line. After the holidays, this is going to be on the top of my to do list and shall get done.:hail:
     
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  20. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Real Name:
    Karen
    You won't regret it BB, I've just started my second book! It's a strangely therapeutic process.