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How-to's Software Reviews

Lightroom Book - How To (Part 2)

Connie Cassinetto (Via the Lens)


Keywords: adobe, lightroom, book

Part 1 of this article covered the basics of getting started with the LrC Book Module. Part 2 presents additional information on using the module.

One of the things that makes it easy and convenient to create a book using LrC is that there is no need to convert images to the JPEG format and then export them.  The LrC software does that as it sends the images to Blurb.  Additionally, if you don’t want to use Blurb for printing your book, you can use the Export to JPG command and then use the resultant JPG digital file to print the book elsewhere.  One of the benefits to building a book in LrC is that you can easily continue to add images as needed once you begin to build the book.  

The book used in this example was created using the filter bar to sort the images, which resided in several different folders, then using the Create Saved Book button at the top right of the viewing window once the book was completed. Even after saving the book I could add images as needed to the book if I wanted to change something.  If I had created a temporary collection, then used the Save button to create a saved book, I would have deleted the temporary collection and used the Saved book to make any changes I wanted.   

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When I create a book I do not use Auto Layout, but that is an option and, depending on what type of book you are creating, it could work to at least provide a start to the book.  Leaving the Show Guides box checked is a good practice, although I turn it off and on as needed.  You also get to decide if you want the image to snap to the cells, the computer grid, or be turned off.  I generally use the choice of “cells.” Additionally, as you work, you may want to zoom in on a page by using the single page icon at the bottom left of the viewing screen. You can also choose to view all pages or only two attached pages.  It’s a good practice to view each page at a large size, scanning for any errors.

Almost everything in the Book Module can be altered to some degree.  If you’ve chosen a page, popped in an image, and want to make it smaller you can do that with Cell Padding.  In that same panel you can add a border, in your choice of colors, to an image.  To use a color from an image to create a border, click on the image itself, then check the Photo Border Color box, click on the color box icon and then click again on the actual color picker box that pops up, then still holding down the color picker move to the image and click on the color in the image you want to use to make your border. 

If you want to add photo text click on the photo text box for the image.  I have my software set to put in placeholder text, this is done in the Book Preferences section of the toolbar.  I always need to make sure that I click on the text to type over it.  I can then type in whatever I want, using any of the options in the Text panel.  I can also pick up the text template and move it up and down as needed, just be sure the hand tool appears before you try to move the text bar.

Once I’ve chosen the text bar the Type options panel will allow me to choose various type fonts, colors, size, and opacity, among others. The text must be highlighted or chosen before you can make these changes.  Tracking allows you to space out the text letters across a space, while leading allows you to create more space between lines of text, which works well with large headline text.  Baseline will move text up or down in a defined text area.

Using text effectively takes some practice and acquired skill and experimentation will allow you to understand the differences.  Also, you may not be aware of this but the Adobe Photography package includes access to many different fonts through the Adobe dashboard.  This allows you to find and download a variety of font types.  

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The Background panel allows you to use the Apply Background Globally or to use a background color on one or more pages individually.  I like to use a background color on my cover pages, using a color chosen from one of the cover images.  For the example book I used a yellow color chosen from the sunflower on the front cover, using the technique described above.  If you choose a color for the cover it extends to both pages, front and back and provides a color spine that you can type on.  

If you put text on the spine be sure to magnify the spine so that you can see how the text looks and correct any spelling errors. Use the 4:1 ratio in Preview box to enlarge the page. I have used color backgrounds for other books for all pages as well as a global background for all pages. If you use a color or global background be careful that it does not overpower your images, it’s best to take down the opacity for either a color background or a global background for the best end result.  

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Some of my books have a lot of text while others have virtually no text, other than the front and back cover titles and my website.  But the software does allow you to create a book with a lot to a little bit of text and there are several book templates for using text.  When I went to Katmai National Park to photograph bears I wanted to have text so that I could read the book and recall the journey. The template I chose allowed me to put text and images together in multiple ways.  

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The cover pages of your book are what invite someone to pick up the book and peruse the images inside.  Pick an image that really pops out for your front cover, bold color will often invite someone to look inside.  This is also where your text choices either will stand out and get attention or just state a title.  You can pick a second text font for the cover, it might be something that you would not use for interior text but it could add some snap to the front cover. 

I like my cover, both front and back, to stand out so I try to put an image with a lot of color or an image that is particularly appealing (at least I hope it is!).  I find that white text stands out against a color image so I often use white as a text color.  The text font for the sample book, Artwork From Photos, is RofiTaste (Regular) but I used Tracking to space the letters.  I used the same font for my name and again on the back of the book, changing the size as needed.  

Generally, limiting your font choices to three or less is best, as too many font changes can cause confusion in the layout and draw the reader’s attention to the fonts, not to your images.  

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As you lay out the book watch for images that do not have enough resolution for the size you have indicated, this will show up as an exclamation mark at the top right.  If this happens you will need to decrease the specified image size for the image to print effectively.  Other things to watch for are text outside acceptable limits, the Show Guides box being checked should help with this, and image subjects that are flying off the page, such as a bird heading off the page.  

You can flip images in LrC to have them head the way you want as long as there is no text in the image.  To flip an image, click on the Develop Module, click on Photo>Flip Horizontal and then return to the Book Module and place the image. Also look for images that simply don’t work well together or have colors that might clash or subject matter that may seem odd together.  Practice a bit before you begin your first book for print and then go ahead and lay it out in anticipation of sending it to print during that next Blurb sale.  

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Start out small if you have never created a book in LrC before and consider it a trial run, that way you may avoid some of the frustration that is always a part of learning new software.  Don’t expect your first book to be perfect or that you will even print it.  Consider it a learning experience.  Do use the Export Book to PDF button at the bottom left of the left panel for reviewing the book.  Using this will allow you to see the book in digital “printed” format and is a good way to look for possible mistakes.  Set your PDF viewer to view the digital file in book format.  I often print the PDF to look it over.  You can also view your book in Blurb in book format prior to purchasing it.

Creating books in LrC is easy once you learn the software and the books can be great gifts for friends and neighbors. Laying out your book now will allow you to take advantage of the next sale announced by Blurb.  If you aren’t already a Blurb user go to their website and sign up to get their emails and you can take advantage of the next Blurb sale. You can also use Blurb to create books using Lightroom CC, although I’ve never done that. You use their software and. your LrC images and you would be working outside of the LrC Book Module.  Their website explains this process.   

Once you create and buy a book through Blurb you can also list that book for sale on their website, which allows your family and friends to buy the book directly from Blurb.  There are so many possibilities in today’s world of publishing and it’s time to get started on publishing your new book through LrC and Blurb.  To get a discount on your book leave the Blurb logo on, it shows up on the last page. Let me know if you have any questions. 

(5 Votes )

Originally written on August 24, 2020

Last updated on December 17, 2020

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