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Author Topic: Making A Photo Book  (Read 2965 times)

david loble

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Making A Photo Book
« on: March 24, 2017, 04:23:39 PM »

Eric,
Our paths to publishing fame and glory were parallel until I could no longer deal with Blurb.
Yes, I made many mistakes in setting up the book in the LR Book module but Blurb, even after 4 attempts did not get my toned b&w images correctly printed. What added to the frustration was the customer reps telling me they were not familiar with LR.
So I shelved the project and restarted a year later with professional help. That is, professional book publishing help. (My friends tell me I need the other kind of professional help.)

The upshot is that I have sold some copies and more importantly the buyers and the giftees, of which there are many, are enjoying the book. Like yours, WITNESS was accepted for Photobook 2016 and Puritan Publishing has put it on their website under “Our Work.”

I had hoped to get to the Griffin Museum for the Photobook 2016 opening, not only to see the other books but also on the chance that we could meet. Unfortunately family matters took precedence.

Hopefully my next experience with Blurb will turn out better and less expensive due in no small measure to your helpfulness.

Regards,

David
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2017, 06:30:25 PM »

Hi David,

I'm sorry about your bad experience with Blurb. I've heard others say that they have a hard time with toned monochromes. Mine were all straight black and white, not toning, and their ink and paper suited my photos admirably.

My next book will have some color, which may well be a bigger gamble.

I expect to get back to the Griffin while PhotoBook  2016 is still up, and I'll look for WITNESS.

Regards,

Eric
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David Watson

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 06:00:44 AM »

Hi

Very interesting article.  I have made several photo books largely as a method of distributing family and event photographs to friends and family.  I did not use LR's book module but went straight to Bookwright which I have been very happy with.  Simple and straightforward to use and seamlessly integrates with Blurb.  No problems with colour content but admittedly I have always gone with the highest quality paper.  I have noticed that images printed on the covers are often of a poorer quality than those inside.

I have just ordered some books using Blurb's Trade format and standard colour printing as an experiment - time will tell.

« Last Edit: March 25, 2017, 11:37:48 AM by David Watson »
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dasuess

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2017, 10:52:56 AM »

Very interesting article.  I have made several photo books largely as a method of distributing family and event photographs to friends and family.  I did not use LR's book module but went straight to Bookwright which I have been very happy with.  Simple and straightforward to sue and seamlessly integrates with Blurb.  No problems with colour content but admittedly I have always gone with the highest quality paper.  I have noticed that images printed on the covers are often of a poorer quality than those inside.

I have used Bookwright and agree it's pretty good; however, after a couple of disappointments with Blurb's printing quality, I started looking elsewhere for book printing. This of course required that I look for another way to create a book. I can report that I have had excellent results using the public domain program Scribus. I was able to not only create a PDF to upload to another printer, but I was also able to easily do the same with Blurb. Once you set up the book parameters in Scribus which Blurb specifies, it's easily to create the PDF and upload to Blurb.

As for Blurb quality, my experience is pretty much the same as yours. The covers, which are obviously printed on a different device than the book content, have a horrible color cast for B&W images. I was able to get decent B&W quality on the inner book content by taking my images into PS and converting them to duotones. My most recent book was printed on their Proline Uncoated paper which I really like.The duotone images were nicely rendered; however, cover images, also converted to a duotone, had a nasty blue-green cast. My less than ideal solution is to not have an image on the cover.

I really want Blurb to work for making books with my B&W images...

- david a. suess

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churly

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2017, 12:47:50 PM »

Eric - Thanks for relating your experiences. I have Eric's book and can attest that it is very nice.  Thanks to the rest of you for posting your experiences as well.  I've been tossing around the idea of trying a book (likely an ebook first) when I have a bit more time.

Chuck
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2017, 12:26:38 PM »

Eric - Thanks for relating your experiences. I have Eric's book and can attest that it is very nice.  Thanks to the rest of you for posting your experiences as well.  I've been tossing around the idea of trying a book (likely an ebook first) when I have a bit more time.

Chuck
Chuck,

I hope you will do a book or e-book.
I am planning to convert my paper book to e-book format when I get the time. The conversion is trickier for a book of images than for a book of plain text.

Eric
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Rob C

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2017, 03:19:31 PM »

I'm not at all suprised that folks experience problems getting pictures to look 'right' in books.

As some know, I spent a few years designing, shooting and producing bespoke company calendars, and they should have been relatively easy to get printed correctly (four-colour litho in those days). Some were black/white and the majority of them colour. Almost every one of them saw me swearing that I'd never touch another production again. The problems were unending, and that was with standing beside the machines at times, talking with the printing company experts. Part of the problem, I suspect, in retrospect, comes with one being too close to the job: we come to expect too much. Not for the first time did a printer tell me that I simply wanted more than was 'commercially viable' which basically meant "if you're going to hassle us like this please don't come back - we lose money with you!"

Then the matter of proof sheets: the printers always wanted to offer Cromalin proofs but I wanted to give the client machine proofs on the same paper as the job was going to run on. More expense factored in - or not - and more agro all round.

Years later, and obviously speaking for myself, I conclude that there's nothing like making your own single prints either wet or on a desktop printer. Ultimate control can't be beaten for the satisfaction it brings.

Instead of getting a printing job done, why not simply copy Bailey's Box of Pin-Ups idea and just have bespoke boxes made and offer them as complete sets of prints within said boxes?

http://www.christies.com/features/British-Photographs-David-Bailey-Pin-Ups-5943-1.aspx

You may never get to flog 'em at auction, but it could be fun!

Having said all of this, the quality of Eric's book - at least my copy - is excellent.

Rob

luong

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2017, 06:47:02 PM »

Print-on-demand uses presses (mostly HP Indigo) which are just OK, but once you move into modern offset printing, very high quality can be achieved. Michael was very discriminating and had nothing but praise for the printing in his 20 year retrospective book, but I assume he spared no expenses. However, the limited budget that let me produce a full-color, 10x12 inch, 456-page book that Amazon is currently selling for $32.5 can still afford very good printing. How good? I showed my Epson prints together with the book to Charles Cramer and he was impressed.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2017, 07:48:40 PM »

Hi QT,

It's good to hear from you. I have enjoyed seeing your prints of the parks at a museum in Lexington Massachusetts a few years ago. I don't buy many photo books myself these days, but I'm going to order yours from Amazon right now!

Regards,

Eric
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Rob C

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2017, 04:14:38 AM »

I spent a lifetime creating and supplying illustrations, transparencies and digital files for reproduction but can count on the fingers of one hand those that were true to the original.

How I wish then that the final output could have been completely in my own hands as it is now.


Yep, that's the reality of the professional world, Keith.

Along with Duffy, a man I never met but did admire, and without having the slightest clue that he had done the same thing but for dfferent reasons, I destroyed all the stuff I could not sell to old clients prior to my move to Spain. How I have come to regret that.

Two of my proudest achievements were black/white cals that I shot for Barbour Threads, and all that remains is a set of final proofs of one of them, encapsulated in plastic. I copied these as best I could, studioless, taped to a board and shot in indirect light in the sitting room, and they sit in the website. What a job, trying to avoid reflections from the damned plastic mummifications! In the end I had to settle for shooting a bit from the side. The other b/w one has vanished entirely, and all I have is the memory of working on it with the delightful Jaleh Hadad from Bobton's agency. A third, the first, actually, calendar for them was done in colour and they printed it in-house. Two trannies survive and are also in the web site. But the point is this: had I all those negatives still, I'd be able to scan and make really nice files for that site, instead of filling it with my 'amateur status' stuff that doesn't mean that much to me. I remember distinctly thinking at the time of the massacre: you loved those shoots; be careful! Sheesh.

From the fashion days, nothing at all apart from a print that I discovered of my muse wearing Lee Bender (Bus Stop), shot in '72. There was stacks of stuff shot for Impact, the Glasgow end of Harrod's Way In (boutiques), that was used as full or half-page ads in Glasgow newspapers, and nothing... damn it, those ads alone would now have been body enough for a show, quite apart from the historical value! I have to say, digital brought a lot of problems with it, but did it bring access and possibilities with it too!

We had good times, Keith. I felt a bit odd this mornng with my body clock a bit out of kilter, but as I drew the blinds and opened the shutters to let the day in, I though hey, a great day! Every day's a great day: it's ultimately what we make of it that defines the outcome.

Definitely time for that second mug of tea!

;-)

Rob

david loble

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2017, 11:56:40 AM »

Two men who helped guide me through the printing process cautioned me that the book would never be the same as my exhibition prints (read: as good as) and should be judged on their own. At first this was a disappointment but as I got more involved in the process came to see their point and the explanation. The printer, Puritan Capital, does use an HP Indigo (I don't remember which model) so there is the matter of converting to CMYK. However, they are one of the few companies that will do tri-tones on the HP and that is what we elected to do. It runs up the cost because the printer has to be flushed of old ink before "loaded" with the tritone-tone inks. Then there was the matter of 4 sets of proof prints. After each one I wondered how they were going to get to "there" from "here." But in the end I was happy with the result and just as importantly those who have seen the book and are experienced in the process have pronounced it well done, whether or not they have seen the exhibition prints.

This idea of having a mental set that the book repros will be different than the originals obviously won't work, or doesn't seem to be operative, in high end commercial work. But for me it was a lesson learned.

David
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2017, 12:28:32 PM »

David,

I am heading back to the Griffin this afternoon to look more closely at the books, and especially "Witness." At the opening it was too crowded to see many of the books. The show ends this Friday.

Eric
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HSakols

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2017, 10:04:53 AM »

Charles Cramer and my friend Mike Osborn have made what I thought were beautifully printed books using MagCloud.  I read somewhere that Blurp now uses MagCloud's Technology.  So is there any difference using Blurp vs Magcloud anymore?   
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2017, 10:21:21 AM »

Charles Cramer and my friend Mike Osborn have made what I thought were beautifully printed books using MagCloud.  I read somewhere that Blurp now uses MagCloud's Technology.  So is there any difference using Blurp vs Magcloud anymore?   
Here is a link to an interesting discussion by someone who has made a number of books with both Magcloud and Blurb (who now apparently own Magcloud).
It's well worth a read.

MagCloud vs. Blurb
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HSakols

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2017, 10:46:59 AM »

Eric,
Thanks for the link.  This is just what I was looking for.  Too bad Lightroom hasn't improved their book mode.

Hugh
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 10:50:55 AM by HSakols »
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2017, 12:23:53 PM »

Eric,
Thanks for the link.  This is just what I was looking for.  Too bad Lightroom hasn't improved their book mode.

Hugh

Hugh,

Here's one quote from Simenson's essay:
Quote
With Blurb, I recommend getting their BookWright software. It is simple, intuitive for most people, and full of clean templates that are a great starting point. There are also plenty of tutorials over on their website to help you get familiar.
I used the LR Book module for my book because I was already familiar with LR. I have also downloaded and played a tiny bit with BookWright, and I am pretty sure I am going to use it for my next book. I'll probably do a parallel version in LR and export it as a pdf for comparison instead of uploading it to Blurb.

Eric
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Jonathan Cross

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2017, 08:02:35 AM »

This is an interesting thread.  I have used Blurb for several books, including two of B&W images.  The first was fine, but I was disappointed with the second because the images printed darker than I thought they should.  I had prepared all the images in LR, ensuring good histograms with a wide spread.  Having spent time doing this and designing my own layout, to then pay and not be happy is frustrating.  I want confidence that if the images are prepared well in LR that the printing is consistent.  I am not sure of this so am rather reluctant to risk lots of effort and some money.  I did have two identical copies of a colour book done by Blurb at different times, and the covers are different shades of grey!  It is a couple of years since I used Blurb, so do people find them consistently good now?

Jonathan



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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2017, 10:09:51 AM »

I did have two identical copies of a colour book done by Blurb at different times, and the covers are different shades of grey!  It is a couple of years since I used Blurb, so do people find them consistently good now?

Jonathan
I had seven different versions of my (black and white only) book printed over a couple of month period, and the interior pages looked identical in all printings. The covers showed at least two slightly different shades of grey, but that didn't seem to be a show-stopper to me. I have reprinted small bunches of version 7 a few more times, and they all look good to my eyes.

I remember reading somewhere that the covers are printed at a different facility from the interiors.

I'll report back in a few months after I put together a book with color, using BookWright instead of LR.
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David Eckels

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2017, 10:50:03 AM »

I have just completed a Blurb book in LR and sent it off for printing when this thread started. Needless to say, I was a bit anxious as the book, Travels With My Father, was to be a gift for Fathers' Day. It arrived yesterday and I am delighted with the result. I made no special adjustments other than to up the saturation a bit to accommodate for the white pages (Lustre). I was particularly concerned about several color and B/W images that had some subtle sky gradients that came out banded in the pdf proofs. No such problem in the final product. I can only say, by way of advice, if your prints look correct based on your LR/PS workflow, they should turn out fine in Blurb. This is my fifth such book and all have been as expected save for grammatical errors I failed to recognize in proofing :)

PS I don't know if this matters, but in fiddling with the pdf proofs, there is an export setting in the Print module for jpeg quality. It was originally set at 70 and when I upped it to 100, the banding improved significantly, but was still visible. I have an 8-bit GPU so I am not sure if this is a factor; a 10-bit test ramp appears banded on my monitor.

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Making A Photo Book
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2017, 02:56:28 PM »

For those of you wanting the ultimate in quality in your photo book, I recommend reading the fascinating article in the New Yorker about Gerhard Steidl:

"GERHARD STEIDL IS MAKING BOOKS AN ART FORM He is the printer the world’s best photographers trust most."

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/22/gerhard-steidl-is-making-books-an-art-form

Eric
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