Create a photo book

Keen to savour your images for years to come? Take advantage of Lightroom’s Book module to create a stunning photo book from scratch

JORDAN BUTTERS: There’s no denying that since the advent of digital, photography has come on leaps and bounds. However, if there’s one downside to the digital age it’s that we rarely see our images printed. The ability to share images digitally is fantastic, but seeing your images in print offers a sense of gratification that is hard to equal. Thankfully, we now have more ways to print images that ever before, and one of the best ways to present a collection of images is in a photo book. Putting a book together sounds like it could be a complicated and costly experience, however print-on-demand services make book printing fast and cost-effective. Combined with Lightroom 4’s Book module it couldn’t be easier to collate your own coffee-table classic.

Book design is a highly skilled and complex art. Lightroom 4’s Book module works by way of cells and templates, and so as such does not offer complete fluidity when it comes to page layout and design. However, it does offer incredible ease of use and allows you to put together an aesthetically pleasing and professionally presented title in minutes. Before you start you’ll need to collate a collection of images using the Library module. In Grid view, select all of the images that you want to use and press the B key to add these images to a Quick Collection. Select this Quick Collection from the Collections menu on the left and click on the Book module to get started.

1 Choose a format for your book

Use the Book Settings tab to choose the type of book you wish to create — you can create a PDF or JPEG mock-up, but Lightroom’s most useful feature is to order a print-on-demand book from Blurb. Select Blurb from the menu and choose the book specifics underneath — the Estimated Price is displayed below.

2 Use Auto Layout

If you’ve never designed a book layout before then b Auto Layout sets you on the right path. Use the Preset menu to choose the basic layout of your pages, before clicking on the Auto Layout button below. Once you’ve discovered layouts that work, you can use the editor to add your own preset by selecting Edit Auto Layout Preset from the menu.

3 Edit the layout

To edit the layout of individual pages, click on the page in the preview window and use the Modify Page menu in the Page tab to change its layout. The Modify Page menu is divided into categories based on how many images are to be displayed on the page, or by layouts that suit a certain style — for example, Travel, Wedding, Portfolio etc.

4 Add images and pages

To change any of the images in your layout, click and drag the image from the film-strip at the bottom and drop it onto the page. You can also use the Add Page and Add Blank buttons in the Pages tab to insert new pages. To delete a page or image, right-click on the page/image and select Remove Page or Remove Image from the menu.

5 Customise images

Click on any image to edit it. Clicking once brings up the Zoom scale, allowing you to zoom in and out on the selected image within the image cell. You can also use the Padding Amount slider within the Cell tab to change the image size within the cell. Finally, right-click on an image and select Zoom Photo To Fit Cell to fit the photo to the cell.

6 Add text

If you’ve selected a layout with a text or title cells, click on a cell to add text. You can adjust the font, font style, alignment, size and text opacity using the Type tab to the right. You can also add captions to images by selecting an image before checking the Photo Caption tick box in the Caption tab.

7 Change the background

The Background tab can be used to customise the selected page. Insert an image by dragging it from your film-strip into the Background thumbnail box, or add a colour fill using the colour swatch below. You can also click the arrow next to the thumbnail to bring up a choice of patterns, which can be combined with a colour fill, too.

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