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Once you have downloaded and installed Blurb's BookSmart, you are ready to begin your new book project. Before you begin though, I do want to point out that there are a plethora of resources out there. Here you can even see that there are some links to tips and tutorials, or you can watch a little step-by-step movie. All these resources are free, and they will help you dig deeper into this bookmaking process. Yet, for now, why don't we go ahead and start our new book project. We'll do so by clicking on Start a new book. We're going to give this one a book title, call it "Costa Rica," by, and then a name.
Next, we get to choose what format or size we want: a small square, standard portrait. You'll notice it updates those dimensions here. And there are a number of different options, but just to keep it simple for this one, I'm going to choose Small Square. You can always click to learn more, or you can click to get information about pricing here. We'll click Continue. Now, what type of layout do we want to do? Let's say, do we want something with a lot of text and little photos, or perhaps something where we have a lot of space dedicated to photos? I'm going to choose Photo book because that will work for this project, but you'll want to dig around and explore some of the different Layout options that they have, because some of those might work well for your own project.
Next, I'm going to go ahead and click Continue. Now, it says we need to select our photos from the computer. Fortunately, we've already exported those files to the Desktop. So I'm going to select the first image, and then I'll scroll down, hold down the Shift key, and select the last image, make sure all the images are selected, and then click Choose. It's showing me I've selected 18 photos. Great! We'll go ahead and click Continue. Now, this is kind of interesting. It says, "Do you want BookSmart to create a book filled with your photos, or do you want to do it yourself?" Now, typically what you want to do is you want to create a layout that really makes sense, and you want to have the story arc from start to finish, so you want to arrange or organize that yourself. Yet there are those situations say where you have photos, and you just want to give them to someone; you're not too concerned about the order, or maybe you've already done your ordering inside of Lightroom.
So in those situations, what you can do is just say, "Hey! Yeah, organize my photos, maybe oldest to newest or newest to oldest or alphabetical." However you've organized them inside of Lightroom, you could take advantage of that. Here, I'll just choose Oldest to newest and then click Continue. Now we get to choose a theme. In this case, I'll choose this Viewfinder theme. It's a nice simple one. And then I'll click Continue again. What's going to happen now is BookSmart is going to import these photos into this project, and it's going to start to help me build this book. Here what I'm going to do is just expand this a little bit, so that we have a bit more space dedicated to the BookSmart application, because I really want to focus in on the task at hand.
Now, sometimes it's fun to take a look at a page, and just see how it started to group your images together. So in this case, I can go ahead and click on this little layout here, and I can start to see this page. Yet, I'm seeing one page at a time. I really need to see this side by side. And I'll decrease the view here, so we can see two images side by side. You'll also notice that we have different picture layouts, and I can change the layouts on the fly by simply clicking on one of these icons. And you'll see that we have a number of different options as well.
In this case, let's say we want to choose something completely different, where we have space for header text. We could add some copy there. We could also add some copy below. So what you'll do is page-by-page make different selections, so you can start to see how you can have copy that goes on top of image, around images--the sky is the limit. All right! Well, let's go back to this big view of an image. Let's take a look at how we can start to customize this. One of the things that I might want to do is rearrange some of these pages, because it might be fun to say have one of these signs--like this sign here which is an arrow pointing somewhere--and it might be fun to have that point to something. Or perhaps this sign here could even be better, the Old Lava Flow sign.
Well, how could I rearrange these images? Well, what you do is you click on an image and then simply drag and drop it into a new position. You can scroll through all of your photos, and you could even add photos to this mix if you wanted to. And then here, I'll go ahead and add the photo of the volcano here. What you can see is you can start to drag and drop and really rearrange these things. You can also go to a view which sometimes can be helpful, which gives you a bit more of an overview of the project. For example, here it's showing me that I need some images for the cover and for the dust jacket and also introductory pages.
Well, I hadn't realized that, perhaps, and so I'll go ahead and go to one of these intro pages, and then I'll select a little image that I want to drag into that spot. So now I'll have that on that first opening page. Again, we can change our cover up, and we can make different selections here in regards to what images we want to use, simply by dragging and then dropping those into these different contexts. So, as you can see, you can do quite a bit in regards to aligning images, positioning them, working with copy, rearranging, making changes.
We can also continually modify what's happening here. If we want a different type of a cover, we could choose that at this point. Now, I don't want to get into all the details of BookSmart, but I do want to highlight that you have a lot of flexibility. The trick with creating a good book is first, I think, just to create one, to do it, just to kind of get it out of your system. And it won't cost that much money. Consider it a test print. Then once you've done that, what I recommend you do is really go back to a set of photographs.
When you go back to the set of photographs, really start to think about the arc, or the thread, that's connecting all of these images. Begin to think about what story you want to tell with these photographs, and really dig into that concept. In order to help you get more creative with your book building, I want to highlight a resource here, and this resource is something that was put together by a friend of mine, John Paul Caponigro. He is really just an amazing artist, creative person, thinker, and he has these different workshops, and also resources on building Blurb books.
It also would be a good idea to take a look at some of the books that he has created. Also, don't just look at his work; look at other people's work. And again, see what other people have done, and take a look at how they've brought their images together, what type of backgrounds and typography they've used. Again, the best book building comes from getting inspired, from digging into these resources and then eventually by going back to your own project, and starting to assimilate some of those ideas into your book, so that it stands out, so that it's unique, so that it's compelling, intriguing, and so that it really showcases your images in their strongest light. All right.
Well, once you've really designed your book, the next thing you want to do before you order it is click on Preview Book. This will give you the ability to really double-check things, and start to think about how you want this to look. And here, we can organize these layouts in some different ways, which will help us really get a feel for the overall flow of where we're at, and where these different images will sit next to each other, and how this will flow, and whatnot. Once you've done that, and once you've really gotten familiar with the layout, once you've decided, "You know what, yeah, I'm committed to this. I like this," so the last step here will be to click on the Order Book button, which will take you through the remaining steps needed in order to create and print your own photography book.
Now, here is what I recommend: If you haven't created a book ever, or if you haven't created one recently, perhaps today is the day. Go for it. There is something special about that printed artifact, about having your photographs bound together in this unique and distinct way. As you can see from these brief movies, it's actually quite simple to work with Lightroom and Blurb BookSmart in order to design and to create your very own photography book.
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