An important step
Just like heading home and processing your images after a days shoot, creating a photobook at some point is a very important step to being a better photographer. I have spoken before about the importance of processing your images. This self critique phase greatly helps us become better photographers. This image was good but I had to brighten the exposure half a stop, nice composition but the horizon wasn’t straight etc. We fix in post processing but remember to get it right in camera next time around.
With books we assemble a number of images and see them at the same time/space, possibly gathered from across a broad time frame, maybe the same subject matter but from different locations etc. When we see these together we notice common traits, trends, persistent problems or even notice how we have matured and refined our skills. Whilst creating my first landscape collection I personally noticed the difference in how I process clouds for example. How certain locations lead me to a lighter blue hue whilst others a deeper warmer gold when processed. You notice this when you try to put them on the same page.
How to make Photobooks – Open source
Really a series of notes for myself on workflow which you may find of interest. Hopefully I will learn better ways as I go and will thus update this in time.
I use Darktable (DT) and at the time of writing 2.4 stable has just been released. Thanks so much guys this is an awesome bit of software. I would not be doing any of this if it wasn’t for the free flavour of such software and the amazing “cheapness” of equipment nowadays. You people have elevated those of us not so financially fortuitous to a position where we too can enjoy creativity.
Tags tags and more tags
Tag everything, right from the get go. So you have a nice image of rolling waves, against a sunset vista. Basic tags come to mind, sunset, waves, sea, beach. Think more, landscape, seascape, water. You never know what you might be searching for so the more tags the merrier. Photobooks help you out here, forces you to allocate more tags. As you sort images which may or may not fit in the current collection you are making, it does not stop you from you tagging as you go. This will help future searches. Yes at the moment of image transfer from camera to storage its time consuming. But it helps you think about your image if nothing else.
Photobook and printers
My initial thought here was to create a PDF, then send that off to a printers. Problem is the “cheap” (quality is excellent nowadays) printers aimed at the DIY amateur/enthusiast don’t seem to want to accept PDFs. Well not here anyway. I can list 6 Australian companies that provide pretty good free layout software but don’t support PDF to book printing. This means to reprint, you have to use their app again. If you decide to do a bulk run you have to either use that basic setup or start from scratch. There are printing companies, aimed more at the commercial or DIY publishers market that accept PDFs but the breakpoint money wise is 50 off or so, as they require setup fees.
Also creating a book layout is a lot of work with lots of traps, edge bleed margins and spine and sizing etc. All taken care of with the company layout software. Things you have to work out on your own if going the PDF way. PDF is the way to go, more professional, more control and access to creativity etc but with that comes a much bigger learning curve.
Scribus perhpas the way
It creates PDFs, you have to create the layout, workout the margins etc and of course requires sending to a publisher rather than a “hobbies” printers.
The easier shorter path
Falling at the first hurdle linux
My workflow worked pretty well. (two monitors, left DT, right VP layout software(ie chrome))
Export from DT to photobook folder,import to layout software,place on page.
What would be nice would be a way to automate this a bit, use the export function to tag the image. Is this possible?
tag(photobookV1N1) to the images as I was looking through various folders and tag collections. Then view them all together using photobookV1N1 tag rule. If happy, select all and do a bulk export(in which case the photobookV1N1 tag is already there of course). Switch over to layout software, import the images and place them.