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Creating Photo Books with Blurb presents three separate workflows for creating and publishing books that showcase photographs using the Blurb self-publishing service. The course starts with an exploration of photo bookmaking in BookSmart, Blurb's free desktop software, then shows how to make a simple photo book in Bookify, Blurb's online bookmaking service. The course also covers Blurb's PDF to Book plug-in for use with custom books created in Adobe InDesign, as well as information on ordering copies of photo books and selling them in the Blurb online bookstore.
You probably want to jump right in and start making your first Blurb book, but believe me, you will end up with a better book, one that really tells your story through photos, if you first do some planning. I think most the important thing to nail down in advance is the theme or subject of the book. If you don't have a clear picture in your own mind of what your book is about, you can't really expect your book to convey your creative ideas to your audience. Settling on a theme or subject up front will impact not only the content of your book but also many of the design decisions that you make as you build the book.
There are many possible subjects for a photo book, both professional and personal. A photography portfolio that shows off your best work is a popular genre. If you are a commercial photographer, you can use a bound book to show to potential clients. If you're an amateur, it's a great way to show off your photos to family and friends. To make your photography portfolio cohesive, consider focusing on a particular subject area that you like to shoot or a unique photographic style that's yours, rather than including a smattering of unrelated shots.
Documentary projects make some of the strongest photo books. If you've ever seen an old Life magazine, you know the power of photographs to tell a story. You can shoot a story all yourself or you might get together with a group of photographers and publish a collection of photos by all of you, as long as you have the right permissions. Another popular idea is to make a photo book to be used as a fundraiser. For example, you might publish a collection of dog photos to raise money for an animal shelter, or if you photographed an unfortunate event in your community, you might raise money for disaster relief by publishing a book of photos about the event or its aftermath.
There are lots of subjects for personal photo books too. You might make a family history book with vintage photos that you scan, or a book that celebrates your community culture, or a memory book of a family event like a reunion, a wedding, or a special birthday. To get more ideas and inspiration for subjects for photo books, spend some time looking through other people's books in the Blurb online bookstore at wwww.blurb.com/bookstore. You can page through many of the books in that bookstore to get a better sense of their themes and content by clicking on a book icon and then clicking preview and then clicking the arrow to page through the book.
So, at the planning stage you want to ask yourself: What is the purpose of my book? Who is it for? And most importantly, what is it about? And let the answers to those questions guide you as you create your Blurb book.
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