With the holiday season right around the corner, you’re likely starting to make your gift giving lists. There are many great ways to create gifts from your photos, including making beautiful photo books with them; yearbooks, cookbooks, daily planners, portfolio books, history books: there’s a book for every story that you want to share. Our friends at Blurb.com have shared their best tips for building books and we are delighted to feature them here.
Here at Blurb, we truly believe in the joy of books—reading them, making them, sharing them, and selling them.
But making a book—particularly a photography book—can be daunting. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things to think about when making a book of your photos. We think the best tool to use is our free program, BookSmart, but the tips below apply no matter what tool you use to make your book.
Before you start your book, there are four really important things to consider:
1) Start with a great body of content. There is no substitute for quality content, whether it’s photos, illustrations, text or whatever.
2) Editing is an art form. When it comes to editing, the old cliché holds true: “Less is more.”
3) Sequencing can decide whether your book sails or fails. Sequencing is simply determining the order of your content, start to finish, front to back. Start strong, end strong, and remember, your cover image can make it or break it.
4) Go look at books. If you want to create a great photography book you MUST look at great photography books. Think about fonts, sizes, colors—decide what feels right for you and for your project.
Part One: Be prepared
Get organized. Decide what images you are going to use in your book, name them so you can identify them easily, and do your editing before you make your book!
Color is important. Make no mistake: treat your images with respect, and prep them for print. Color management is important, and Blurb provides a wonderful tutorial section here.
If your book has text content—even if it’s just a collection of captions—create a single document with everything in it, sequenced in order of placement in your book.
Part Two: Make your book
The cover can wait. Design the rest of the book before completing the cover. When you’re ready, design three or four different covers and live with them for a bit before making a final decision.
Take a deep breath. Let the beginning of the book (or “front matter”) breathe. Title pages, half title pages, dedications, essays—all of these things can all help ease a reader into the project.
Consistency is your friend. Be consistent with your templates. Try not to use more than two different templates for an entire book. BookSmart has lots of templates to choose from and you can always make your own.
Take another deep breath. Let the end of the book (or “back matter”) breathe. Your book is a journey, so make sure you give the reader a chance to ease out of the project. Elements like an index, dedications, or a closing essay let you provide critical information and end the book definitively.
Justify your choices. When your book is “done,” preview the book page-by-page. Does every element belong? Does it add to the story or is it a distraction?
Part Three: Publish. Celebrate. Repeat.
Check your spelling. Run spell check. We’ll repeat that: Run spell check.
Order up. When the book is complete, edited, sequenced and ready to go, sign in to Blurb and upload your book.
Share it, sell it. After the book has finished uploading, you can add information such as tags, titles, and a brief description. Blurb gives you a Personal Storefront that you can share on your social networks. If you want to sell your book in the Blurb Bookstore, it’s easy to do so. And you get to keep 100% of the markup.
Have fun. Above all else, making a book should be an enjoyable experience. So enjoy it. And get started on another book soon. Like anything, you’ll get better with practice.
SmugMug account owners can build beautiful Blurb photo books from the Add to Cart menu in each gallery on their site. (more info)
Whether you’ve traveled the globe seeking fine art photos, survived the safari of a lifetime or just had a new addition to your family, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better photo gift this holiday season than a personalized photo book.
Building a book can be as basic as clicking a button, but our friends at Blurb suggest a few tried-and-true tips for creating the perfect project each and every time. So when you’re ready to turn your SmugMug photos into your next book, keep these five tips in mind.
And as an extra bonus, keep reading for an exclusive Blurb discount for Smuggers.
1) Use only your best photos.
There’s more to choosing photos than just grabbing a bunch of interesting images. “Less is more” when it comes to a well-designed photo book, so eliminate any photos that you don’t have an emotional reaction to or are technically distracting (i.e., too dark, blurry, contain busy backgrounds, etc). You’ll end up with a more focused, powerful image selection.
And once you have them, don’t be afraid to edit your photos. Being tough on your own work is a surefire way to ensure that your book shows your best examples.
2) Keep it really, really simple.
Unless you’re going for a scrapbook look, keep the basic design clean and simple. Don’t go crazy by using too many different fonts, font sizes and a complicated page layout. Pick a simple & legible font that will print well! It’s easier on the eyes, and lets the beauty of your images shine through.
3) Keep headers and footers consistent.
One of the most easily-missed issues is the stuff on the edges: making sure all your headers and footers stay consistent throughout your book. In fact, you may want to do this part at the very end, after all other parts of your book are finished, since adding or reorganizing pages can override your header/footer settings. Be sure that whatever text you choose reads the same across left and right pages, and that you use a consistent font.
4) Don’t fall off the edge!
Just like with photo prints, you should keep an eye on the edges of your book and make sure you don’t put important parts of your images too close to the margins where there’s a bleed/trim area. This is especially important on covers, which usually contain graphics or words.
How close is too close? It depends on the cover option you choose but a good rule of thumb is to not put any critical content within an inch of your book’s edges.
5) Inspire with your cover design.
While we’re on the topic of covers: A great-looking cover is really important in getting people inspired and interested enough to open up your book and look more closely at your work. Our top tip is to keep it simple – don’t have too many fonts or photographs on the front and don’t always go for the obvious shot! It’s fun to be a little mysterious.
Blurb’s Very Smug Holiday Discount
If you’ve never made a photo book before through Blurb, now’s your chance to find out how easy it is! And if you have, then it’s the perfect opportunity to make another. They’ve got a huge variety of sizes, covers and papers so you can build the book that you want, at the price that you want.
Try any of their easy bookmaking tools to create your next masterpiece, and use the code SMUGCHEER to get 25 % off at checkout.*
And of course, don’t forget to take a look at their holiday shipping deadlines, to be sure that you’ve got something to give on the big day.
Happy page-turning holidays!
* Offer good for 25% off your print product total on books created by you up to a maximum discount of $200 USD, CAD & AUD, 120 Euros. Offer expires on Dec 10th at 11.59pm and can only be used by each person once. This offer may not be used towards gift cards, volume discounts or retroactively applied towards a previous order.
We’ve heard that making custom photo albums is a scary deal. Finding a quality company with good designs, managing the clients’ approval and then exporting your album to print makes most photographers hide under the couch. It’s complicated, clunky and just plain no fun.
Ridiculously Simple Custom Photo Albums
KISS has come up with their own integrated solution with their SWAT system. Their automated design process is easy, slurping photos right from your SmugMug galleries. It auto-posts gorgeous slideshows to your Facebook page, your SmugMug gallery, or you can email it or embed it into any website. This way your clients can see and approve the design via the built-in comment system.
Here’s an example of the slideshow. It’s like flipping through the real album, but without the weight:
Once you’ve picked the options and leathers, order the finished album with one click. No exporting or uploading required.
And don’t be shy! Try one of their cheek-rubbingly beautiful albums and start giving your customers what they’ve always wanted: Custom albums delivered fast at a great price.
Create your free account at KISS and get started here.
Today we’re having our good friends at Blurb share a few of their hottest gift ideas for the coming holiday season. You know Blurb as those peeps who bring you easy, affordable, beautiful photo books. If you haven’t, check them out now! They make your SmugMug images totally shelfworthy.
Keep the Pages Turning With Useful Gifts
Smart photographers know how to get their photos in peoples’ hands. As the gift-giving season approaches and you’re looking for that special present, know that there are lots of great, useful alternatives to the traditional photo book out there… and you can easily make them using your SmugMug photos and Blurb:
Use Blurb BookSmart® to design a custom Notebook filled with your photos and blank, gridded, or lined paper. In addition to paper choices, you can order them in Hardcover, Softcover, or Hardcover ImageWrap to complete the look. They’re as little as $6.95 for a 20-page softcover.
Use Blurb BookSmart® and make a weekly planner using our custom planner templates for 2012. Each month gets an image, plus you can customize the front and back cover. You can even add extra pages in the back for notes or more photos. At 131 pages, they start at $23.95 for a softcover.
Small gift books
Our Small Square (7×7-inch) size is a perfectly portable size for a photo book. Compact, but still big enough to showcase your work. These start at $10.95 for a 20-page softcover.
The ultimate personalized gift. Since you can order just a single copy of a book with Blurb, you can add dedications and make books with specific photos for just one person. Using our online Blurb Bookify™ tool, you can easily pull in your SmugMug photos and make as many dedications as you wish.
A Holly Jolly Discount
As an added bonus, SmugMuggers can save 20% on their Blurb book orders through December 15th.* Just use the code MERRYSMUG when you check out.
You’ll find Blurb in the Buy button in any of your SmugMug galleries, under “Create a Book.” Try out these fabulous custom book ideas and keep them thinking of you (and your beautiful pics) all year long.
* Coupon valid once per person, for purchase of books you’ve made yourself. Expires December 15th, 2011 at 11:59 PM, local time. Max coupon value $100, $120 AUD/CAD, 80 EUR, 60 GBP.
We bet that you love digital photography just as much as we do here at SmugMug. The ability to upload unlimited photos to safe, archival galleries and share them with anyone in the world is truly an amazing milestone in technology.
But sometimes it’s a good idea to take a moment and get back to your roots. This is why we want to remind you today to stop, take a deep breath of that delicious summer air and consider making your own custom photo book.
If still not sure, here’s 5 fantastic reasons to take your photos to the press.
1. Your hands (and eyes) will love it.
Nothing beats print. Even as technology eats up more and more of our time, you’ll never regret putting the beautiful colors of your life on paper and binding them in a thick, sturdy book. Pick it up, feel the heft and know that you’re looking at a format that’s stood the test of time. It’ll be with you forever. (And they make great gifts, too.)
2. There’s tons of ways to customize to your theme.
Most bookmaking sites guide you through the book building process so it’s easy to drop your photos in, give it a title and send it to print. Our partners at Blurb and MyCanvas go way beyond that and offer not just dead-simple building tools but tons of backgrounds, templates, layouts and even cover and binding options for your finished product. No matter what your book is about or who’s in it, there’s something for you.
3. It’ll make you a better photographer.
As you go through the process of building your book, you’ll get up close and personal with your photos. Think about the images you’ve taken, how you shot it and how it fits into not just your life but within the context of your book, too. All of these things can help you grow as a photographer. Learn from your experiences and make your next book even better!
4. Photo books spark conversations.
Even if your power goes out, your trusty books will be there for you, ready to be shown off, talked about and cherished. Who can ignore the big, beautiful presence of a book that tells your personal story? Your photo book is a special archive of your personal memories, artfully presented to you and your family as you pass it on. They’re always a conversation starter… even from across the room.
5. It’s a luxury you can afford.
Blurb’s books start at only $2.95 and MyCanvas begins at $29.95 . Get started from the Buy button in any of your SmugMug galleries and choose Create a Book. It may take a little time to get your book perfectly organized, captioned and polished but once you have that final work of art in your hands you won’t regret it.
What have you published lately? From family reunions to exotic getaways, we’d love to hear what’s bookworthy to you.
From our fine friends at Blurb:
Hello, SmugMuggers! All of us at Blurb are thrilled to announce ProLine, our new ultra-premium book customization options that give you even more creative range.
With ProLine, you can choose from:
- Two gorgeous professional-grade Mohawk papers in uncoated and pearl finishes
- A curated selection of end sheets in sophisticated shades
- New cover linens that give your hardcover, dust jacket book a rich textural look and feel
We’d love for you to give ProLine a try with your SmugMug photos. Upgrade one of your existing books or make a new one, choose any or all of the ProLine options at checkout, and then type in the promo code SMUGPRO and save 15% on your product total.
Not in the US? We’ve still got discounts for you! Try these:
But don’t dally – this offer expires on June 30.* To get started, whether upgrading an existing book or making a new one, go here and then click on ProLine in the top navigation bar.
You can also toss your hat in the ring for a free book (made by you, of course) by giving Blurb a Like on Facebook
AND commenting on this blog post. You are also eligible if you comment on our FB post here. One winner will be randomly selected on Friday, May 13th. So, go ahead, this is your chance to check out ProLine and when you do, your SmugMug photos are going to look amazing.
Here’s to even more creative options,
*Offer valid through June 30, 2011 (11:59 p.m. local time). A 15% discount is applied toward your order. Maximum discount is USD $200.00, GBP £125.00, EUR €160,00, CAD $210.00, or AUD $230.00 off product totals. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders
The giveaway is now over and the randomly selected winner of a free Blurb book is Wayne Parham. Congrats Wayne!
Everyone’s got a story to tell. What’s yours?
Tell us and you could win $200 Blurb bucks to help your launch your very own printed project. Here’s how:
1. Visit us on Facebook.
2. Sum up your story in a couple of sentences and post it on our Facebook page. What would you write about in your own book?
3. Hook us in and include a link to one of the photos you plan to use.
Post your ideas by Monday the 28th at noon, Pacific time. We’ll announce one randomly-picked winner that night on Facebook, so make sure you check in!
We love Blurb because they make it simple to design and publish your own beautiful photo books. They offer lots of cost-effective options so you can pick and choose exactly what your readers will feel in their hands. From portable pocket books to luxe tomes on premium paper, there’s something for every photo:
So tell us where you’ve been, what you’ve learned, or what’s moving you now. We can’t wait to hear (and see) all about it!
Here’s to publishing great pics together,
The SmugMug Family