Luminous Landscape Forum

Raw & Post Processing, Printing => Digital Image Processing => Topic started by: ksporry on July 21, 2008, 07:59:56 AM

Title: making photo books
Post by: ksporry on July 21, 2008, 07:59:56 AM
Guys,

I was thinking of making a photo book myself, but I would like some advice on that. There are many systems commercially available these days, ranging from services that provide you with a template, to systems that allows you to do your own thing completely yourself, but only provide paper and the cover. Some systems only provide software.
There are also build in systems in e.g. Aperture, and PS-elements.

My question is: does anyone here have any experience with any photo book creation system and/or provider? How does that work?
Any tips/suggestions for making a book? (e.g. white or black background, inserts, text sections, etc etc)

Cheers!
K
Title: making photo books
Post by: SeanBK on July 21, 2008, 09:32:44 AM
Quote
Guys,

I was thinking of making a photo book myself, but I would like some advice on that. There are many systems commercially available these days, ranging from services that provide you with a template, to systems that allows you to do your own thing completely yourself, but only provide paper and the cover. Some systems only provide software.
There are also build in systems in e.g. Aperture, and PS-elements.

My question is: does anyone here have any experience with any photo book creation system and/or provider? How does that work?
Any tips/suggestions for making a book? (e.g. white or black background, inserts, text sections, etc etc)

Cheers!
K
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=209700\")
 Haven't used them yet, but
www.blurb.com/
    and
[a href=\"http://www.artefactstudio.com/]http://www.artefactstudio.com/[/url]
   they seem to me very good.
Title: making photo books
Post by: Gordon Buck on July 21, 2008, 10:16:30 AM
I use and like Blurb.com for my personal "books".  Blurb is template based and sometimes a bit quirky, especially with text, but I find the templates very helpful.  There are many templates but, of course, still a limited number.

You can preview some of the Blurb books, here's one of mine:

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/288261 (http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/288261)
Title: making photo books
Post by: DarkPenguin on July 21, 2008, 10:35:22 AM
Outback photo has done some.  Might want to check and see what they have to say about it.
Title: making photo books
Post by: Mark D Segal on July 22, 2008, 03:19:59 PM
This has become quite topical for me. My nieces are putting together a photo book of my mother's life to present to her in a couple of months, and they asked me if I could contribute some old photos. I went back into my "archives", pulled out some stuff I thought appropriate, scanned the negs (ouch), prepped the files, and then the quetion crossed my mind about soft-proofing. So I sent my two nieces an email asking about this, and they told me they were going to have the book made by Lulu.com. Lulu's website doesn't mention the word profile, so I got onto a Live Chat Help Line with Lulu.com. I taught the guy who answered me what an ICC profile is, then he put me on hold and a while later came back telling me they don't print the books - they send them out to be printed. So then I asked him whether the printer could provide Lulu and Lulu provide me with the appropriate press profile. He said he'd try and created a job ticket for me. Seems as if colour management is still an enigma in this business.
Title: making photo books
Post by: Roberto Chaves on July 22, 2008, 04:07:18 PM
Quote
I use and like Blurb.com for my personal "books".  Blurb is template based and sometimes a bit quirky, especially with text, but I find the templates very helpful.  There are many templates but, of course, still a limited number.

You can preview some of the Blurb books, here's one of mine:

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/288261 (http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/288261)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=209712\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Gordon,

What is your experience of the print quality?
How are the colors?
Print resolution?

Iīve just had a quick look at their site and havenīt found any ICC profiles, maybe one gets access to them after registering/login in?
Title: making photo books
Post by: DarkPenguin on July 22, 2008, 05:04:21 PM
Mark,

Go to the Lulu.com forums.  Some people there have figured out how to soft proof.

Quote
This has become quite topical for me. My nieces are putting together a photo book of my mother's life to present to her in a couple of months, and they asked me if I could contribute some old photos. I went back into my "archives", pulled out some stuff I thought appropriate, scanned the negs (ouch), prepped the files, and then the quetion crossed my mind about soft-proofing. So I sent my two nieces an email asking about this, and they told me they were going to have the book made by Lulu.com. Lulu's website doesn't mention the word profile, so I got onto a Live Chat Help Line with Lulu.com. I taught the guy who answered me what an ICC profile is, then he put me on hold and a while later came back telling me they don't print the books - they send them out to be printed. So then I asked him whether the printer could provide Lulu and Lulu provide me with the appropriate press profile. He said he'd try and created a job ticket for me. Seems as if colour management is still an enigma in this business.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=209967\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: making photo books
Post by: DarkPenguin on July 22, 2008, 05:06:30 PM
Quote
Gordon,

What is your experience of the print quality?
How are the colors?
Print resolution?

Iīve just had a quick look at their site and havenīt found any ICC profiles, maybe one gets access to them after registering/login in?
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=209983\")

[a href=\"http://www.blurb.com/assets/colormgt_dpreview-v3-1.pdf]http://www.blurb.com/assets/colormgt_dpreview-v3-1.pdf[/url]

Dunno if it is current.
Title: making photo books
Post by: Mark D Segal on July 22, 2008, 05:11:30 PM
Quote
Mark,

Go to the Lulu.com forums.  Some people there have figured out how to soft proof.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=209996\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for the tip - I'll do that, because the inquiry could well come-up dry. I'm being informed that in fact many presses do not use ICC profiles.
Title: making photo books
Post by: Philip Weber on July 22, 2008, 08:28:57 PM
I just used Blurb and am very happy. I agree that the software could be improved but it doesn't take long to get used to the "quirks" and with a quick turnaround time and reasonable pricing, I'd recommend them.

The software uses JPEG photos in sRGB with a resolution of 300 dpi.

Phil



Quote
Guys,

I was thinking of making a photo book myself, but I would like some advice on that. There are many systems commercially available these days, ranging from services that provide you with a template, to systems that allows you to do your own thing completely yourself, but only provide paper and the cover. Some systems only provide software.
There are also build in systems in e.g. Aperture, and PS-elements.

My question is: does anyone here have any experience with any photo book creation system and/or provider? How does that work?
Any tips/suggestions for making a book? (e.g. white or black background, inserts, text sections, etc etc)

Cheers!
K
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=209700\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: making photo books
Post by: pindman on July 22, 2008, 10:38:09 PM
Blurb has great printing... and paper quality that was too poor to use.  I've been happy, for the price, with mypublisher.com.  The paper is leagues better than blurb; the printing is almost as good.  You need managed color with any of these, and a calibrated monitor to obtain decent results.
Title: making photo books
Post by: peterpix2008 on July 23, 2008, 10:04:19 AM
Many of these companies use  a machine called an Igen3, sort of a color version  of a docutech B&W printer (both printers  made by Xerox, I believe). As a publisher, I have had a local company make proof books that I feel held up  very well in quality compared to the finished book printed on a 4-color press. Many of the internet publishers don't have their own equipment, they are mostly a website and an office. These printers are expensive to rent so its more economical for the internet folks to print books as needed. One POD (print on demand) company, Lighting Source, only sells to publishers, not to individuals .

I think I'd look around for a local or otherwise company who has the equipment (also see Nextpress and Indigo). Of course, the internet folks offer ISBN numbers, bar codes and a ready made ordering operation. But you could have your own ISBNs and make your own bar codes and be more in control of the process. Certainly the opportunity to order a book at a time beats having to go on press and print 1,000 or more, and then worry about selling all those books, not to mention to tying up your  cash.  POD is more expensive per book, but it is an economical way to get started.

BTW, some of you may have read about my Ghana book http://luminous-landscape.com/essays/ghana.shtml (http://luminous-landscape.com/essays/ghana.shtml).

We had a book launch attended by some 400 people in Accra in January. The US ambassador to Ghana  officially "launched' the book. In May we  got a Benjamin Franklin  for third  place in design  in the coffee table/large format category, also selected as one of the best photo books of 2007 by Shutterbug. So  far we have sold about 2,000 books of the 3500 printed. Most recent sales are through Amazon in both US and UK.  More book details are here http://ghanavisit.org/ (http://ghanavisit.org/)
Title: making photo books
Post by: joedecker on July 23, 2008, 11:34:07 AM
Quote
Gordon,

What is your experience of the print quality?
How are the colors?
Print resolution?

Iīve just had a quick look at their site and havenīt found any ICC profiles, maybe one gets access to them after registering/login in?
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=209983\")

Blurb has a business-to-business program in Beta testing called "B3" that both provides a color profile for soft-proofing but also allows you to specify that your books will be run with the same printers--Blurb either owns or has relationships with multiple printers that do the back end, the "B3 Custom Workflow" in theory gives you more consistent results.  "For a few bucks more", of course.

If you peek through the preview of my book from this page:  [a href=\"http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/289652/]http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/289652/[/url]

you'll see, I think, that I manged to put the printer through it's pacing, with high-key and low-key images and a lot of near-but-not-quite-neutrals.   The hues were dead on, I was stunned.  For my money, the profile was tweaked a little bit as if it expected a little less light on the book than the profiles I get from my Lightjet print vendor, but then the Blurb books don't have quite the contrast range of LJ prints, so a tweak or two wasn't a problem.

For the money, Blurb seems to be an exceptional value.  I like the hardcover binding better than the softcover.  Customer service was excellent.  Blurb has my recommendation.

I need to say a few words about MyPublisher

A couple years back I ran some test books through a few vendors (Ofoto and MyPublisher come to mind), I had world-class bad experiences with MyPublisher.  The books showed a lot of problems, but worse, the delivery date for the big order of books I did through them ended up getting delayed and delayed, each time with the assurance that it would make the date of the book signing associated with the opening of my 2004 photographic show "Signatures of the Sun."

After much screaming, and chasing down an actual human at MyPublisher (I ended up spending a lot of time playing with their voice mail system after hours to find a human) Eventually, too late for the marketed book signing I ended up with ten copies of the "Harris Family Album, volume 4, 1964-1973."  I ended up calling the Harris family, they had my books,  we just Fedex'd the right books to each other and called it a day, both at that point so frustrated with the bullshit we'd endured to actually communicate with MyPublisher again.

There is nothing, nothing that would make me ever darken their digital doorstep again.

Ofoto's books were okay, but I like the results at Blurb better.

There are higher-end services for wedding pros and such that have a really good reputation (e.g., AuskaBook), but the cost per book makes them prohibitive for a lot of resale uses.

--Joe
Title: making photo books
Post by: Mark D Segal on July 23, 2008, 11:58:35 AM
Has anyone reading this thread had any experience with Lulu.com? I'd be interested to know as a relative is thinking of using them.
Title: making photo books
Post by: Gordon Buck on July 23, 2008, 02:32:00 PM
Quote
Gordon,

What is your experience of the print quality?
How are the colors?
Print resolution?

Iīve just had a quick look at their site and havenīt found any ICC profiles, maybe one gets access to them after registering/login in?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=209983\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Sorry for the delay, I've been traveling a bit.

Aside from converting to sRGB as recommended, I've not done anything special; however, everything that I've submitted has been previously satisfactorily printed on my own printer (Epson 2200).   A bigger question in my mind is about sharpening.  I typically have submitted jpgs that have been previously sharpened butfor larger output using PK Sharpener and these seem to be OK in the somewhat downsized Blurb book.  Blurb says to not sharpen for printing.

The judgement of quality is so much a matter of taste that I hesitate to make a recommendation; however, my wife and I are pleased.  

Remember, Blurb is print on demand.  You can quickly throw together a test book and order a single copy to see if it meets your needs.
Title: making photo books
Post by: DarkPenguin on July 23, 2008, 02:41:57 PM
Mark,

I made a calendar with Lulu.  Just to try it.  The printing was fine but the calendar was of the sort your realtor sends you.  Not impressive.  (I figured as much going in but I still went for it.)  They have newer calendar products that are supposed to be much better.  (Certainly larger.)

However, they really know little of the photo world.  God help you if you have a problem.  You are really dependent on the forum folk who have figured it out.

But if you have an insane manifesto, fiction from the point of view of a vampire or a beer, cheese and flatulence diet book to print they're your people.
Title: making photo books
Post by: Mark D Segal on July 23, 2008, 05:19:30 PM
Thanks, as we're not into writing about beer, cheese, dieting or flatulence we'll probably give one of others a try.  
Title: making photo books
Post by: Roberto Chaves on July 23, 2008, 05:37:20 PM
Quote
http://www.blurb.com/assets/colormgt_dpreview-v3-1.pdf (http://www.blurb.com/assets/colormgt_dpreview-v3-1.pdf)

Dunno if it is current.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=209997\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for the link!
Title: making photo books
Post by: Roberto Chaves on July 23, 2008, 05:51:45 PM
Quote
Blurb has a business-to-business program in Beta testing called "B3" that both provides a color profile for soft-proofing but also allows you to specify that your books will be run with the same printers--Blurb either owns or has relationships with multiple printers that do the back end, the "B3 Custom Workflow" in theory gives you more consistent results.  "For a few bucks more", of course.

If you peek through the preview of my book from this page:  http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/289652/ (http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/289652/)

you'll see, I think, that I manged to put the printer through it's pacing, with high-key and low-key images and a lot of near-but-not-quite-neutrals.   The hues were dead on, I was stunned.  For my money, the profile was tweaked a little bit as if it expected a little less light on the book than the profiles I get from my Lightjet print vendor, but then the Blurb books don't have quite the contrast range of LJ prints, so a tweak or two wasn't a problem.

For the money, Blurb seems to be an exceptional value.  I like the hardcover binding better than the softcover.  Customer service was excellent.  Blurb has my recommendation.

I need to say a few words about MyPublisher

A couple years back I ran some test books through a few vendors (Ofoto and MyPublisher come to mind), I had world-class bad experiences with MyPublisher.  The books showed a lot of problems, but worse, the delivery date for the big order of books I did through them ended up getting delayed and delayed, each time with the assurance that it would make the date of the book signing associated with the opening of my 2004 photographic show "Signatures of the Sun."

After much screaming, and chasing down an actual human at MyPublisher (I ended up spending a lot of time playing with their voice mail system after hours to find a human) Eventually, too late for the marketed book signing I ended up with ten copies of the "Harris Family Album, volume 4, 1964-1973."  I ended up calling the Harris family, they had my books,  we just Fedex'd the right books to each other and called it a day, both at that point so frustrated with the bullshit we'd endured to actually communicate with MyPublisher again.

There is nothing, nothing that would make me ever darken their digital doorstep again.

Ofoto's books were okay, but I like the results at Blurb better.

There are higher-end services for wedding pros and such that have a really good reputation (e.g., AuskaBook), but the cost per book makes them prohibitive for a lot of resale uses.

--Joe
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210166\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks you Joe, that was very useful information.
Iīm for sure prepared to pay a little bit more knowing that I can get hold of profiles and be sure that they use a colormanaged workflow.

I can imagine your stress with MyPublisher..  

Iīve tried one POD company here in Sweden about 2-3 years ago and was extremely disappointed with both the colors and the resolution.
All the pictures had sort of a sepia color cast over them. Many of the pictures had burned out highlights.
I never expected results to be near the prints from a Frontier or Lambda in contrast or so, nor would expect them to be near as good Epson or Canon printer, but this was so far off that I wouldnīt dare showing the pics to anyone.

So I took a pause and waited...  now it seems like the time has come to create a test book and send to Blurb or some other published mentioned here. (Lulu doesnīt seem to have good enough quality from what Iīve read on the internet)
Title: making photo books
Post by: Roberto Chaves on July 23, 2008, 05:53:18 PM
Quote
Has anyone reading this thread had any experience with Lulu.com? I'd be interested to know as a relative is thinking of using them.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210170\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I was about to try them out when I read some bad reviews regarding their color prints
If you are doing text books with a few B/W pics they might do.
Canīt remember where I read the posts that got me to back away..
Title: making photo books
Post by: DarkPenguin on July 23, 2008, 06:05:14 PM
On the other hand I think Mike Johnston uses them for his stuff.
Title: making photo books
Post by: KeithR on July 23, 2008, 08:33:50 PM
Quote
Thanks for the link!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210256\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Blurb has a forum where you can ask questions and also do a search for topics that have already been discussed. You have to register, but it's free.
Title: making photo books
Post by: KeithR on July 23, 2008, 08:39:53 PM
Quote from: peterpix2008,Jul 23 2008, 09:04 AM
Many of these companies use  a machine called an Igen3, sort of a color version

Last I read, Blurb had their stuff printed by companies that use the Indigo 5000. I don't know if this is the same as the Igen3. Blurb does state that their books are printed by various companies throughout the US.
Title: making photo books
Post by: Chris_T on July 24, 2008, 07:49:48 AM
Quote
Of course, the internet folks offer ISBN numbers, bar codes and a ready made ordering operation. But you could have your own ISBNs and make your own bar codes and be more in control of the process.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210144\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

What is the difference and significance between creating one's own ISBNs and bar codes and letting others do it?
Title: making photo books
Post by: SeanBK on July 25, 2008, 10:15:06 AM
Try this;
  http://www.artefactstudio.com/ (http://www.artefactstudio.com/)
 They seem to have all the color management tools spelled out in their specs. I personally have not used them, alittle more than Blurb, but may be between Blurb & Wedding guys. Has anyone used Artefact Studio?
Title: making photo books
Post by: DarkPenguin on July 25, 2008, 10:24:30 AM
Do they tell you anything without registering?
Title: making photo books
Post by: peterpix2008 on July 25, 2008, 10:49:55 AM
What is the difference and significance between creating one's own ISBNs and bar codes and letting others do it?


Your own ISBN refers orders/ownership to you.  You'd have to create your  publisher name. This  is only for  folks doing self publishing. Trade publishers would supply their ISBN. Books only have one ISBN, its like your SS # and is unique to a single book, although a hard bound version and a paperback version would have different numbers.
Title: making photo books
Post by: Mark D Segal on July 25, 2008, 10:53:15 AM
Quote
Do they tell you anything without registering?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210590\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Not much, from what I can see.
Title: making photo books
Post by: DarkPenguin on July 25, 2008, 11:45:53 AM
Quote
Not much, from what I can see.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210601\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's just spiffy.
Title: making photo books
Post by: Mark D Segal on July 25, 2008, 11:54:38 AM
Quote
That's just spiffy.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210608\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, it's no big deal. Probably a few minutes and another Cookie on your hard drive!

They have quite a few options for making these books, so you probably need to create a project before the site can return to users the pricing and the configuration requirements.

And of course, by doing it this way instead of just putting their wares on an open shelf, they get more names and email adresses for sending promos! Eh?
Title: making photo books
Post by: SeanBK on July 25, 2008, 12:40:28 PM
Quote
That's just spiffy.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210608\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Drawback when compared to Blurb is, Artefact max size is 8.5"x11", while Blurb is 11"x17". Artefact max is with 30pgs, while Blurb is 40page for almost 50% price less, but Artefact seems better quality. Artefact looks good when compared to other Wedding books, while Blurb looks expensive when compared to Aperture...
   So it really is quite personal. I can't imagine one would make books thru' Artefacts & sell it as photo books...
Title: making photo books
Post by: Gordon Buck on July 26, 2008, 06:30:19 PM
Quote
I use and like Blurb.com for my personal "books".  Blurb is template based and sometimes a bit quirky, especially with text, but I find the templates very helpful.  There are many templates but, of course, still a limited number.

You can preview some of the Blurb books, here's one of mine:

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/288261 (http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/288261)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=209712\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'd submitted that book and ordered one copy but was traveling and not able to see it until today.  Seems like it took about a week to be printed, shipped and received.  Anyway, I like my recent Blurb book.

I used the "darkroom" template (black background) and found that one page was printed with a tiny bit of white showing at one edge.  Also, most of my jpgs had already been sharpened for printing using PK Sharpener but I intentionally did not sharpen a few of the later images because Blurb says that they will do the final sharpening.  In the future, I'll sharpen all images with PK Sharpener as those images looked better to me.  

As I suggested in another post, it's a simple and quick process to assemble a small test book to see if the Blurb product is satisfactory to you.

Plus, my Christmas shopping is done!
Title: making photo books
Post by: Roberto Chaves on July 26, 2008, 06:48:00 PM
Quote
Try this;
  http://www.artefactstudio.com/ (http://www.artefactstudio.com/)
 They seem to have all the color management tools spelled out in their specs. I personally have not used them, alittle more than Blurb, but may be between Blurb & Wedding guys. Has anyone used Artefact Studio?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210587\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

"An e-mail with your details has been sent to the portal administrator for verification. Once your registration has been approved an e-mail will be sent to your e-mail address:"

So hopefully I will be registered on Monday.
They seem to take quality more seriously as the mention (in a proud way) about color management etc on their website and the paper options look really nice.

I will try ordering something from there, using pictures of my nephew as a sample that I can give away as a present to my sister (providing the quality is good enough for that).
I'll get back with my impressions.
Title: making photo books
Post by: BruceHouston on July 26, 2008, 08:09:07 PM
Thanks all.  This and similar threads are incredibly useful for sorting the wheat from the chaff as regards product and services vendors.

Best regards,
Bruce