Saturday, February 11, 2012


Last month I made a couple of books. Not serious books but just testing the waters. Blurb has come out with a plug-in for Adobe Lightroom 3 and even better the Adobe Lightroom 4 Beta has a module that connects directly with Blurb. I won't go into all the details about how it all works but I'll just say it makes the bookmaking process even easier. Not cheaper but easier.

The first book is a notebook. I dropped in about 14 images along with about 100 lined pages to write on. I like to have a little notebook around that I can take to doctor's visits, to jot down some trivia that I don't want to lose....stuff like that. This book has black and white images and the images look better than I expected on the matte paper. However, I would definitely change the text on the cover.

The images for the second book, A January Walk Along Buffalo Bayou, was made with the iPhone one day when I went for a walk along Buffalo Bayou in Houston. They are pretty much just straight images. It is a tiny book, 7x7 inches, 14 pages, 28 images, softcover. I didn't do any of the things I know to do to color manage the printing and yet it is really, really close to what I see on my monitor....and the images were made with the iPhone 4s. The camera on that phone surprises me!

Blurb's business model, and maybe the business model of most other print-on-demand publishers is interesting. They don't actually print the book, they subcontract it out. If I order a book today it might come from a printer in Chicago and if I order another one next week it could come from a printer in Portland. If Blurb keeps all their subcontractors on a tight leash with color management, the photographer may never know the difference. Take a look behind the scenes at a Blurb book being printed.

It is pretty amazing that I can order just one copy of a book. And there is a level of vanity that kicks in when you hold a book in your hand for which you did the photographs, editing, sequencing, and design. Yes, I felt a little bit of vanity until I looked back at some other Blurb photography books. I'm still a novice bookmaker.

If you want to see these two books
2012 Notebook
A January Walk Along Buffalo Bayou


Marc Olson said...

Very nice. I am going to try it. It looks like a good way to group some favorite blog posts and photos around a theme and create something interesting. Thanks for the post.

Laurie Matherne said...

I have made photo books for myself for each year that I have lived in Honduras. I have 4 books. Photographs are easy to misplace. I like the site, Blurb, which I looked up after your recommendation. I may try this site for my fifth book. Books for personal use are of course partly published due to vanity, but I want to have a record of the best of my life in Honduras.

Billie said...

Marc, you are absolutely right. It would be a great way to do that.

Laurie, I chose the upgrade of the luster paper. I have some books with the standard paper and the upgrade is better and not a lot more money. Download booksmart if you don't use Lightroom and take a look at the templates. There are also a lot of instructional videos on Blurb that are very helpful and give you some good ideas.

I hope if either of you use Blurb you will send me an invitation to view your book.

pitchertaker said...

Since I teaching a digital course this semester with the end product (their final) is a produced book, I guess I should get off my bum and do one, also. I've been thinking of doing a small volume on my Farrah images.