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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.
Before you start creating a book, take the time to organize your assets. This includes what is arguably the hardest part of creating a book, editing down and sequencing your photos. Some people like to do that with work prints on a real table. You can also do it in your computer using a photo organizing program like Adobe Bridge, which you see here, or Lightroom or iPhoto or Elements. I like to use Bridge because it's the easiest program I know for moving images around. Here in Bridge, you can see some photographs that I took in Venice that I'm considering for inclusion in a small photo book.
As I choose my images and decide on their sequence, I always keep in mind the theme of the book. In this case, the theme of my book is going to be how dominant the spirit and flavor of Old Venice still is. I want all my images to fit that theme. I've already done some photo editing and then I put the edited photos into a single folder that's easy to access from over here in the Folders panel in Bridge. When I click on that folder, I see thumbnails of all of the photos in that folder. I'm going to collapse this panel over here on the left so we have more room to see the photo thumbnails.
I'll double-click this border. I've already done some work paring down my images and marking those I'm going to keep with red labels and those that I don't want to keep in the book with these Reject labels. I'm going to scroll up to the top and here I see an image that I do want to keep in the book, so I'll select it, I'll go up to the Label menu, and I'll choose Selected. And here's an image that I don't want to keep, because it's redundant of the one next to it. So I'll select this, I'll go up to the Label menu, and I'll choose Reject, and that adds this label.
There are other reasons to reject photos. Of course you'll want to discard photos that have technical problems. It's also important not to use photos that don't fit with your theme. Here, for example, are a couple of photos of patterns of ties in a shop display. I like the abstract textures in these photos, but they really don't go with the theme of the book of old Venice, so I've marked them as Rejects. And I think this particular composition doesn't work with the rest of the photos, so I've marked that as a Reject too. All the other photos in the book were taken during the day, so this nighttime photo just doesn't have the same mood as the other photos, it's gotten marked as a Reject.
One of the things I like about the Reject label is that you can hide your Rejects rather than delete them outright. And that gives you the chance to bring them back in for inclusion in the book if you change your mind. So to hide the Rejects, I'll go up to up to the View menu and I'll toggle off Show Reject Files. And now it's easier to see just the photos that I want to keep. I'm going to scroll up to the top now and I'm going to start the process of sequencing these images. I'll start by choosing some really strong images to begin my book.
I'd like to start with some distant views of the city, so I'll go to this image and this image. I'm going to hold down the Command key, or the Ctrl key on a PC, as I click on this to select them both. And then I'm going to click and drag over to the left, and I release my mouse when this blue line is where I want the images to sit in the sequence. I think this image would work well graphically with the first two so I click on it and drag it over. Now I want to start a new little series of images taking the viewer into the city to see more detail.
So I'm going to go down and take this image, a vertical image, to kind of break that first series. And then I'll drag in some more detailed images. Next, I want to signal the viewer that we're going to start another series. We're going to go up and out of the detail part of the city to a more open space in St. Mark's Square. So I'm going to use this as my transition image, the nun walking up the stairs, and then I'll bring in these images of St. Mark's Square.
And I'm just clicking and dragging to get those in sequence. I might add this as the final image of St. Mark's Square, and then I'm going to start with my closing images. I want to have these three images of a gondolier taking his boat out of the city. And I want to end with some very dramatic images, this of the piers, and this one, my favorite, of the gondolier at the end of the day moving away from the pier. Now that I've done all this work sequencing the images, I want to lock down the sequence in Bridge and make it easy to replicate in the Blurb software.
I found the easiest way to do that is to rename all the photos with sequential numbers. I'm going to select all these photos by pressing Command+A on the Mac, Ctrl+A on the PC, and then I'll go up to the Tools menu and choose Batch Rename. Here, I'll choose to rename the images in the same folder, and I'm going to go down and set the first part of the New Filename to Sequence Number. And I can choose a Two Digit Sequence Number, because I don't have a lot of photos here.
Next, I want to keep the existing filename after the Sequence Number, so I'll go to the second menu and I'll choose Current Filename. I don't need a third part of the filename, so I'll click this Minus (-) symbol. And then down in the Preview area, I can see what the new filenames are going to look like. I'll click Rename, and in just a moment, each of these files has been renamed. 01, 02, 03, 04, and so on. If the files get out of order, say I drag this here and this here and this here, I can always get back to my chosen sequence by going up to the Sort menu and choosing to Sort By Filename.
And since each file now has a Sequential Number, that takes me back to the order in which I just put the files. Another advantage is that I'll be able to see the numerical sequence in the filenames in the Blurb bookmaking software. Sequencing photos like this in your photo organizing software is a good idea because it lets you plan the flow of your book in advance. But keep in mind that you aren't locked into this order. Later, when you're actually creating your book in Blurb bookmaking software, you can tweak this order and add photos to your book pages manually in any order that you want.
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