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Images, Graphic Design, and Digital Photography Discussion of all things graphics.

iPhoto Book


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mathogre

 
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I've taken a plunge of sorts. I just made a book through iPhoto '08. It was of our recent trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. The vacation was fun. Creating a book about it was a mostly pleasant experience if not exactly simple.

In this post I'll highlight what I did that was successful. There was a little trial and error involved, but mostly the task was straightforward and logical. I found it helpful to view the Apple tutorial on making a book. Simple as the video is, it showed how easy it is to make a book.

Note that you do not need to buy a hardcopy of your book from Apple. Once you've created your book, you can print your book either on paper or to a PDF that you can share with others, assuming bandwidth isn't an issue.

PHOTO EDITING

I had 284 photos from the trip, most of them taken with a Sony Cybershot DSC-T5 point-n-shoot digital camera and the rest with the iPhone. After backing up the originals and ensuring their integrity, I created a new album in iPhoto and copied all of the vacation photos to it. I took a few passes at editing my collection for the book.

I rotated pictures and deleted obviously bad images. I then took a pass at deleting photos I just didn't like. Eventually I took a final pass, rearranging photos and doing light duty editing. My rearranging was a matter of grouping images by topic, even if they didn't quite correspond to the timeline by which the photos were taken. The light duty editing was simply changing some parameters through iPhoto. Exposure and contrast were modified on some images in order to make them acceptable for the book.

I was impressed that iPhoto knew enough about when I took my pictures to merge them from multiple sources. I had images from the Sony that were burned to a CD at WDW; I also had images directly on the Sony I downloaded to my MacBook; additionally I had images on the iPhone that spanned the entire vacation. iPhoto initially arranged them by the time they were taken.

I was a bit surprised I ended the editing with roughly 80 images. In the film days of the past, I always figured I was good for having ten percent of my pictures being viewable. In this case I was closer to thirty percent. Mostly I credit digital technology to this. With both the Sony and iPhone, I can quickly see the results of my work and learn almost instantaneously. Also, an image that might have been too dark can often be easily adjusted to become quite acceptable.

MAKING A BOOK

iPhoto gives you many options for making a book. I wanted to create a hardcover book. Once chosen, I had many templates from which to choose. An interesting and practically unusable feature is Autoflow. It takes your images and sequentially fills in your book. It's interesting in that you can see lots of options from which to choose. For all practical purposes it's unusable for anyone who has some sense of how they wish to group their images. After many experiments with different themes, I chose the "Line Border" theme, and I manually added photos.

I began adding photos to the main part of the book, leaving the paper cover to last. Virtually each page required a modification to the layout. I wanted to group images logically, and have a small caption on each page. While layout options are a bit limited, I had little trouble finding combinations that would work for me.

The standard book is 20 pages long; mine ended at 32. My 80 images eventually dropped to 75, and I reused key images from the book for the paper cover. Captions were added, and the book was complete.

EDITING

I've spent time editing the book, modifying an image here, rewriting a caption there. I want people to pick up the book and enjoy it and not find it tedious. I also want it for us to remember our vacation over the years. It doesn't have everything in it, but it has the important things.

For instance, I kept the picture my wife took of the tile floor and the tips of her shoes. It was one of her first with the iPhone, and it was an accident. It did NOT make it into the book however.

On the other hand, we had lots of pictures taken with Disney characters. Most all of them are in the book. It was a significant part of the trip, and a little redundancy here I considered to be fine.

BUY THE BOOK

After I was reasonably sure the book was stable, I ordered a copy. A 20 page hardcover is US$30. Mine, with extra pages was just over US$40; tax, shipping, and handling brought it to just over US$50. It is supposed to be here in 6 to 10 days.

Is it worth it? Who knows? I'll know after it arrives. If nothing else, the PDF version is very cool, so it's good knowing I can create those. The one for this book is 32M however, so it isn't exactly small. I just think it's a very cool idea to make a book for something special like a fun vacation. I'll post commentary on the quality of the actual book when it arrives.

Below is the front of the paper cover for the book. Enjoy!


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It looks super, mo!

A few questions about the book though...

When you submit the photos for print and themes you want for your photo book, how do you do this? By that I mean, did you make sure of the pixels per inch resolution in the photos? Did you send each image individually? You talk about a .pdf version, so I imagine this is the file you sent to get your book printed: did you get to choose which image quality you wanted at some time during the sending process or is it all done automatically?

Too many questions, I guess...
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mathogre

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHeadCase View Post
It looks super, mo!

A few questions about the book though...

When you submit the photos for print and themes you want for your photo book, how do you do this? By that I mean, did you make sure of the pixels per inch resolution in the photos? Did you send each image individually? You talk about a .pdf version, so I imagine this is the file you sent to get your book printed: did you get to choose which image quality you wanted at some time during the sending process or is it all done automatically?

Too many questions, I guess...
Hi MHC! It's certainly not too many questions. ^_^

All of it is quite simple on the user end. How it comes out in the finished product remains to be seen.

PDF

To create a PDF of the book, I simply highlighted the name of the book project in iPhoto and selected Print (which can be done either through key commands or menus). From there I directed the print output to a PDF. It's as easy as creating a PDF of any file in a Mac.

BUY BOOK

To buy the book, you simply click a button that says Buy Book. Everything is done automatically. The photos that you put in the book, the text, the theme, everything is uploaded without any further action from the user, except of course to pay for it (and even that was easy). Truthfully I don't know what was sent to Apple. It should have been the highest resolution images and detailed information regarding the layout, versus a PDF (which can have lots of detailed info in it), but I don't know.

In terms of image resolution, I never needed to do anything. The Sony puts out 2592x1944 and the iPhone 1600x1200. I know they're not professional quality, and I'm leary of how well they'll print, but time will tell. iPhoto doesn't ask anything about resolution, though there were a couple instances when I was first playing where it said the image resolution was too low.

Creating the book took probably 6 or so hours, from initial image manipulation to final edit. It's the kind of thing where I could have done it with more professional tools, but in the end it never would have happened. Frankly I never would have even thought to make my own book if not for one of the "I'm A Mac" ads. So now I've done it, and I'm anxious to see how good it will be. Though my expectations are low, my hopes are higher.

Does this help?
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ambivalent

 
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oh man! I am really excited to see how it comes out! I just bought iLife '08 yesterday and LOVE the new iphoto! love love love. I tried to make a web gallery but it didnt work....

anyway! One of these books would be such a spectacular gift, with all the digitizing of everything you never get to hold a photo album anymore. I simply can't wait to see how it turns out!

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Ooh! This gives me an extraordinary idea for a Xmas gift! I'll have to check to see if this iPhoto service is available here in The Great White North.

That sample page and the screenie look like awesome stuff, MO! Thanks for the reply!
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Please let us know how it comes out! I have created 3 books so far, all from wedding photos taken at 2 weddings. I plan to give them as xmas presents, but I have not ordered them yet. Please let us know how your books looks!! Snapfish has a similar service for making books, but I like iPhoto's layouts and choices much better.
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hey headcase, let me know if its possible in the great white north as you say. I have a cousin there and she's gonna be coming down to where I live (India) in November. I don't think Apple sends books all the way out here so I could ship it to her place.
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mathogre

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ambivalent View Post
oh man! I am really excited to see how it comes out! I just bought iLife '08 yesterday and LOVE the new iphoto! love love love. I tried to make a web gallery but it didnt work....

anyway! One of these books would be such a spectacular gift, with all the digitizing of everything you never get to hold a photo album anymore. I simply can't wait to see how it turns out!
What happened with the web gallery? I actually made a couple and they were easy to make, even if the instructions weren't quite what they might be.

I'll certainly let folks know how the book comes out. (I hate waiting! ^_^)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHeadCase View Post
Ooh! This gives me an extraordinary idea for a Xmas gift! I'll have to check to see if this iPhoto service is available here in The Great White North.

That sample page and the screenie look like awesome stuff, MO! Thanks for the reply!
You're quite welcome! I must say I was most impressed with how the screen results looked. Good luck, hope it's available up north!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kuklachica View Post
Please let us know how it comes out! I have created 3 books so far, all from wedding photos taken at 2 weddings. I plan to give them as xmas presents, but I have not ordered them yet. Please let us know how your books looks!! Snapfish has a similar service for making books, but I like iPhoto's layouts and choices much better.
I'll let you know. It's supposed to be here in 6 to 10 days, and I assume that's business days (so figure 2 calendar weeks).

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The book has shipped. That means it took two days from the time I submitted the order. According to the email from Apple, it should be here in 3 to 5 business days which implies delivery sometime between next Monday and Wednesday. I took standard shipping, which is via FedEx.

Looking forward to it!!!!

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Great! Ever since I saw it on an episode of "Its all geek to me" a show on the Discovery Channel, I knew I had to make one. The quality looked fantastic on TV. Please let us know how it comes out.
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For the price, the quality is actually pretty good.
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The book is in Maryland, according to FedEx. It started in Oregon, and is now close. It will be here tomorrow. Yes I'm impatient. ^_^

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I'm getting excited too!
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Whee!!!! It arrived yesterday morning. I wanted to post about it, but didn't have time. I still don't have time, but this should be quick.

My wife's response after she looked at it was something like, "I'll let you do the trip scrap book from now on. It looks great!" She commented that she couldn't tell which photos were from the Sony and which were from the iPhone. The book immediately went to the coffee table in the livingroom.

The book arrived via FedEx ground in the morning in a plain box. Inside that was an Apple box with the book further protected in a clear plastic liner.

The book looked great. The paper jacket was as expected, and even had the book title printed on the binding end. The actual hard cover had the book title and subtitle printed in silver. All the pages - text and photos - were as I'd created them. The paper is a nice weight semi-gloss stock.

What don't I like about it? The images on the paper jacket are a little dark, not by much but a little; those same images inside the book are fine. It's probably a matter of using different paper.

The binding looks very good if unusual. Time will tell how well it will hold, though it looks and feels sturdy. Being a one-off book, I guess I wouldn't expect a sewn binding, but I can't exactly tell how it is bound. The physical pages are perfectly aligned, and they seem to be secured firmly in the book. There's no visible glue on the page ends (not that I care for glued bindings), though I can't see how they assembled it.

I'll do this again in the future. It's not cheap, but then I wouldn't expect to make one very often.

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Sound like it was well worth all your effort. Thanks for all the info
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