This is part one of a two part series on how to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, aka "Lightroom " or "LrC" and its book module to create good looking photo books, for example coffee table books or photography books in smaller formats as give-aways of your best photographs. The link to part two of the series can be found at the end of this article. Enjoy!
I’m an Adobe user and have been for about 10 years now. Lightroom (LrC) is my primary software program and I mostly use it and Photoshop, although I often use other software, too. I find software fairly easy to use for the most part so I spend a lot of time “playing” with my images. I love to create a piece that looks more artistic in nature and Photoshop is great for this. Over time I’ve created many images that have a “watercolor” look or have a background texture added or have some other type of treatment.
Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of advertisements from Blurb for printing books, some for as much as 40% off. This appeals to me as I normally create books using Lightroom and Blurb that run around $80 to $100 per book, these are large “coffee table” type books. LrC makes organizing images to create a book very easy and the software is very flexible when it comes to organizing images or creating pages in the Book Module.
Given the on-going discounts I decided to create a book of my more artistic creations and then send it to Blurb when the next discount announcement arrived over email. If you have not used the Book Module it can be a bit daunting at first but after creating the first couple of books it becomes much easier.
Your first task will be to decide on the images you want to include in your book. You can choose images that are in a folder, in an existing or newly created collection, or you can use keywords and the filter bar. Any of these choices will work. Sometimes I use a folder, if the folder does not contain a lot of images that I know I will not use, and sometimes I create a-temporary collection or use the Keyword List and/or the filter bar. For the book on the artistic images I chose the keyword “Background Textures” from the Keyword List and then confined the selection choices with the filter bar to only images that were 5-star.
My general processing system is one where I take images and then process those that I like right away; as I process and finish I “5-star” the finished image. This makes it easy to quickly choose images for future projects. To create a temporary collection, if you want to drag images from multiple folders, use the collection panel in the Library Module (click on the plus sign and a box will pop up asking you for a name for your new collection).
I have a Collection Set called Books and my finished saved books go into that collection set just in case I want to do something with a book in the future. Sometimes it helps to organize your images ahead of time if you do have a specific sequence of events, but I’m normally creating a picture book so the sequence is not important for me.
Once you have selected your images click on the Book Module in the Module Picker at the top of the application. It might help you to read the Adobe online LrC User Guide before you start your project. You can access this quickly by going to the top of the application while in the Book Module, click on Help, then click on Book Module Help. One of the first choices you’ll need to make when beginning the book is what size book you want and then what type of paper you want to use.
The software provides you with an instant price so you can upgrade or downgrade as needed to fit your budget. Be sure that “Blurb Photo Book” is selected right at the very top where it says, “Book” in the Book Settings panel. I make Large Landscape books with a Hardcover Image Wrap (paper covers tend to tear over time) and Premium Lustre paper. The recent book I did for the artistic images book was 54 pages plus a cover and the cost was $88.39 (without the 40% discount figured in). I like to see my images printed large and generally one to a page and that affects my design choice.
At the bottom of the book, right above the Filmstrip, is a black strip called the Toolbar, this strip tells you how many images you have in the folder or collection you are working in. As you chose an image to drag and drop into the Book Module template a number in a black box will show up on the image in the toolbar; this number tells you that the image is included in a Book Module page. If you include the same image a second time, perhaps for a cover image, the number will increase.
In the Page Panel you can choose a template (and any template can be altered) by clicking on the down arrow in the little black box and a popup box will give you choices. You’ll need to experiment with the different choices. In this same panel you can add pages and page numbers or complete the book without page numbers included. It’s a good approach to keep the Show Guides box checked as this will help you to keep all text within the proper boundaries for printing.
To put your images into the book pages, select an image and drag and drop it on the page where you want it to be placed. You can move images from one page to another using this same approach. To begin with, simply place a photo on a page and don’t worry too much about it as you can easily go back and change whatever you need to.
Right click on a placed image and you will see there are many options available to make changes. When you click on a placed image you’ll see a large yellow border at the bottom, click on the small down arrow in the yellow border to choose a new layout for your image. A right click on an image itself gives you still more options.
A good way to begin to learn the software is to create a small temporary test collection and then play with those images, knowing that you will end up deleting the test collection. In Part 2, I’ll go more in-depth on artistic choices, including the front and back covers. Start now to determine what images you want to put in your book and then you can get ready to take advantage of any upcoming Blurb discounts.
To continue with the article and lesson on how to use the Lightroom book module, see Using the Adobe Lightroom Book Module, part 2
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