Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The Fine Art Of Bookmaking
Even in the digital age, there’s nothing like a high-quality printed photo book for showing off your best images
Labels: How To
Photo books are ideal repositories for meaningful memories, and they can be great gifts if done right. Even the most polished website doesn’t create the same impact as an expertly bound photo book. There are an almost limitless number of subject matters that can comfortably fit between the covers. Books also are fantastic tools for photographers to improve their storytelling abilities through editing, sequencing of images and adding text.
The key to the growth of the self-publishing industry (also known as printing-on-demand) is the ability to produce a single book for a low unit cost rather than the large quantities that were once necessary to reach a reasonable price point.
There are many services for producing a beautiful book: A&I, Blurb, MyPublisher and Shutterfly, to name a few. Apple also offers photo books with the ability to design and order them from within Aperture and iPhoto software. These services make it easy to create; it’s up to you, the photographer, to provide book-worthy photographs and text with a concise theme.
I recently went through the process of creating a book with photographer/illustrator Marc Smith, using A&I Books’ free Book Creator design software. Here are some basic tips to help get you started, no matter what software or service you choose.
1. ORGANIZE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS
Create a project folder where you’ll place all your photographs for your book project. This bit of organization will make it easy for the software to link to the location of these files. Make sure not to move the files after they’ve been brought into the book software because it will break the link and the program will no longer be able to find the image.
2. SIZE MATTERS
It’s recommended to work with JPEG files that are saved in the sRGB color space at 300 dpi (dots per inch) at print size. The 300 dpi setting is the industry standard. If your book is 8.5x11 inches, and you’re going to fill the page with an image, the photograph itself should be approximately 8.5x11 at 300 dpi. You don’t have to size the images to the exact size of the templates into which you’ll be dragging and dropping the image. The software will typically help you with this. However, it’s important to understand that taking a small file and making the resolution higher (“res-ing it up”) won’t produce the same results as starting with an original image of a larger size. The result will be an image that looks “soft” or pixilated, or a combination of the two. The A&I software has a low-quality icon that will indicate if your image dpi is below 250 dpi, but won’t be able to detect if you’ve overly “res’d up” a shot. If the images you have are too small for a certain-size book, choose a smaller book size to optimize the photo resolution you have.
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