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Creating a Photo Book in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4

  • Date: Aug 23, 2012.

Article Description

Whether it’s produced for a client or as a professional portfolio, designed as a gift or simply to preserve precious memories, a photo book makes a great way to share and showcase your images. The Book module makes it easy to design beautiful, sophisticated book layouts, and then publish them without leaving Lightroom.

Working in the Book module

Whether you want to commemorate a family milestone, frame your memories from a special trip, or put together a photographic package for a client, a photo book is an attractive and sophisticated way to showcase your work. The Book module, new in Lightroom 4, delivers everything you need to create stylish book designs that can be uploaded directly from Lightroom for printing through the on-demand book vendor Blurb, or exported to PDF and printed on your own printer.

Setting up a photo book

In the work area, you may or may not see photos already placed in page layouts, depending on whether you’ve already experimented with the Book module’s tools and controls. You can start this project by clearing the layout and setting up the workspace so that we’re all on the same page.

  1. Click the Clear Book button in the header bar across the top of the work area. If you don’t see the header bar, choose View > Show Header Bar.
  2. In the Book Settings panel at the top of the right panel group, choose Blurb from the Book menu and make sure that the Size, Cover, Paper Type, and Logo Page are set to Standard Landscape, Hardcover Image Wrap, Premium Lustre, and On, respectively. The estimated price of printing the book at the current settings is displayed at the bottom of the Book Settings panel.
  3. If it’s not already selected, click the Multi-Page View button at the far left of the Toolbar at the bottom of the work area. In the View menu, disable Show Info Overlay.
  4. Choose Book > Book Preferences. Examine the options; you can choose whether photos are zoomed to fit their image cells or cropped to fit them, toggle the Autofill feature for new books, and set your preferences for text behaviors. Leave the settings at the defaults and close the Book Preferences dialog box.
  5. The Autofill feature is activated by default; if you just entered the Book module for the first time, you would have seen the images from the Details collection already placed in the default book layout. An automatically generated layout can be a great starting point for a new book design, especially if you’re beginning without a clear idea of exactly what you want.

  6. Expand the Auto Layout panel, if necessary. From the Auto Layout Preset menu, choose Left Blank, Right One Photo, Caption; then, click the Auto Layout button. Scroll down in the work area, if necessary, to see all the page thumbnails. Click the Clear Layout button and repeat the procedure for the auto-layout preset One Photo Per Page.
  7. Examine the result in the work area; scroll down, if necessary, to see all the page thumbnails arranged as two-page spreads in the Multi-Page view. Hide the module picker and the left panel group by pressing F5, and then F7, or by clicking the triangles at the top and left edges of the Lightroom workspace. Drag the Thumbnails slider in the Toolbar to reduce or enlarge the thumbnails.

Lightroom generates a book with a cover, a separate page for each of the nineteen lesson photos—placed in the order in which they appear in the Filmstrip—and a twentieth page reserved for the Blurb logo. You can’t place a photo on the Blurb logo page, but you can disable it in the Book Settings panel, if you wish.

The first photo in the Filmstrip becomes the front cover image; the last image in the series is placed on the back cover. The number above each photo in the Filmstrip indicates how many times it has been used in the book; the first and last images have each been used twice—on the cover and also on pages 1 and 19.

Changing page layouts

Using an auto-layout preset can help you get started on your book; you can then focus on individual spreads and pages to introduce subtlety and variety to the design. For this project, however, you’ll build your book layout from scratch.

  1. In the Auto Layout panel, click the Clear Layout button.
  2. Right-click / Control-click the header of the Page panel and choose Solo Mode from the context menu.
  3. In the Multi-Page view, double-click the front cover.
  4. Figure 15 The cover layout fills the work area, with the front cover selected, as indicated by the yellow border. The Page panel displays a diagrammatic preview of the default cover template: two image cells (identifiable by central cross-hairs) and a narrow text cell positioned along the book’s spine.

  5. Click the Change Page Layout button (Image) to the right of the layout preview thumbnail in the Page panel, or in the lower right corner of the cover spread displayed in the work area.
  6. Scroll down in the page template picker to see all of the available cover layout templates. Grey areas with central cross-hairs indicate image cells; rectangles filled with horizontal lines represent text cells. Click to select the third template in the list. The single cross-hairs at the center of the spread shows that this template has a single image cell that extends across both covers, and three text cells: one on the back cover, one on the spine, and one on the front cover.
  7. Expand the Guides panel. Make sure that the Show Guides option is activated; then, watch the layout in the work area as you toggle each of the four guides in turn. When you’re done disable Photo Cells, leaving the other guides visible. Move the pointer over the layout to see the borders of the text cells.
  8. Figure 17 The Page Bleed guide’s wide gray border shows the area to be cut off after the page is printed. A thin gray line borders the Text Safe Area, where your text will be well clear of accidental trimming. The Filler Text guide shows filler text (here, the word “Title”) to indicate the position of text cells. The filler text will disappear when you click a text cell.

  9. Click the Multi-Page View button (Image) in the Toolbar.
  10. The first page in a photo book is always on the right side of the first spread; the grayed-out left side represents the inside of the front cover, which is not printed. Likewise, the last page in a photo book to be published to Blurb must always occupy the left side of the final spread. At this stage, your book consists of a cover and a single, double-sided page, the back of which is the Blurb logo page.

  11. Right-click / Control-click page 1 and choose Add Page from the context menu. Lightroom adds a second double-sided page to the book, which appears as an additional two-page spread in the Multi-Page view.
  12. Click to select page 2; then, click the Change Page Layout button (Image) near the lower right corner of the page.
  13. For an inside page, the page template picker offers a choice of layout categories to help you search the layout templates by style, or by the number of photos per page.

  14. Click 2 Photos to see all the layout templates with two image cells; then click to select the fourth template in the list: a layout without text cells that fills the page with two portrait-format images arranged side by side. Activate the Photo Cells option in the Guides panel so that you can see the changed page layout.

Adding photos to a book layout

You can add photos to a page layout in any of the three Book Editor views.

  1. Drag the image DSC_1534.jpg—the seventh photo in the Filmstrip—to the cover spread in the Multi-Page view.

  2. Drag the image DSC_6230.jpg from the Filmstrip to page 1 in the Multi-Page view. Place the photos DSC_0180.jpg and DSC_5865.jpg in the left and right image cells on page 2, respectively, and the sixth image DSC_0149.jpg on page 3.

Changing the images in a photo book

You can remove a photo from a page layout by right-clicking / Control-clicking the image in the Book Editor and choosing Remove Photo from the context menu. If you simply want to replace a photo, you needn’t remove it first.

  1. Drag the photo DSC_0131.jpg—the second image in the Filmstrip—onto the right-hand image on page 2. DSC_0131.jpg replaces the original image.
  2. In the Multi-Page view, drag the image on page 1—DSC_0131.jpg—onto the photo on page 3; the photos on pages 1 and 3 swap places.

Working with photo cells

The photo cells in a page layout template are fixed in place; you can’t delete them, resize them, or move them on the page. Instead, you can use the cell padding—the adjustable space around a photo within its cell—to position the images in your page layout exactly as you want them.

  1. Double-click page 3. The Book Editor switches from Multi-Page view to Single Page view; in the Toolbar, the Single Page View button is highlighted.
  2. Click the photo to select it, and then experiment with the Zoom slider. When you enlarge the image too much (for this photo, above 43%), an exclamation-point badge appears in the upper right corner to alert you that the photo may not print well. Right-click / Control-click the photo and choose Zoom Photo To Fill Cell; the image is scaled so that its shortest edge fills the cell (at a zoom value of 29%, for this photo). Drag the photo to position it vertically within the cell. Drag the slider all the way to the left; the minimum setting reduces the image so that its longest edge fits within the image cell. Click well within the borders of the photo and drag it to the right side of the cell.
  3. Leave the photo at the 0% zoom setting. Expand the Cell panel and increase the padding by dragging the Padding Amount slider or typing a new value of 150 pt.
  4. In the Cell panel, click the black triangle above the Padding value to expand the padding controls. By default, the four controls are linked; the adjustment you made in the previous step changed all four values. Disable Link All, and then set the Right and Top padding to 0 pt and the Bottom value to 300 pt.
  5. Set the Left and Right padding to 250 pt, and the Top and Bottom padding to 205 pt. Click the photo in the Single Page view to select it; then, use the slider to set the zoom level to 22% and drag the image to position it within its cell padding as shown in the illustration at the right.
  6. By starting with the right template, and then setting the photo cell padding, you can position an image anywhere on the page, cropped however you wish.

  7. In the Cell panel, activate Link All, and then drag any of the sliders to set all of the padding settings to zero. Right-click / Control-click the photo in the Single Image view and choose Zoom Photo To Fill Cell from the context menu. Drag the image vertically inside its cell to find a pleasing crop.
  8. Click the Spread View button in the Toolbar to see pages 2 and 3 as a spread.
  9. Select the image on the left of page 2. Set the linked padding controls to 50 pt, then unlink them and reduce the Right padding to 15 pt. Repeat the process for the photo on the right side of page 2, but this time, reduce the Left padding to 15, rather than the Right.
  10. Double-click the yellow frame below page 2 to see it enlarged in the Single Image view. Zoom the photo on the left to 70%; then, drag the image inside its cell padding to position it as shown in the illustration at the right. Reposition the photo on the right without changing the zoom level. For a clearer view, click the gray space outside the page to deselect it.
  11. In the Toolbar below the Single Image view, click the left navigation arrow to jump to page 1. The circular grille is slightly off-center; zoom the photo to 21% and drag in the photo cell to center the image on the page.
  12. Click away from the page to deselect it, and then click the Multi-Page View button (Image) in the Toolbar for an overview of the changes you’ve made.

Setting a page background

By default, all the pages in a new book share a plain white background. You can change the background color, set up a partially transparent backdrop image, or choose from a library of graphic motifs, applying your background design to the entire book, or just a selected page.

You can start by adding two more spreads to your book layout.

  1. Right-click / Control-click the Blurb logo page and choose Add Page from the context menu. To add another double-sided page, right-click / Control-click page 5 and choose Add Page.
  2. Select any of the four new pages in the Multi-Page view, and then click the Spread View button (Image) in the Toolbar.
  3. Expand the Background panel. Disable the option Apply Background Globally; then, drag the last photo in the Filmstrip, DSC_9777.jpg, to the preview pane in the Background panel. Drag the slider to set the opacity of the image to 50%.
  4. Activate the Background Color option, and then click the associated color swatch to open the color picker. Drag the saturation slider at the right of the color picker about a third way up its range; then, drag the eyedropper cursor in the color field to find a muted tone; we chose a color with R, G, and B values of 70, 55, and 90, respectively. Click away from the color picker to dismiss it.
  5. In the Background panel, activate the Apply Background Globally option, and then click the Multi-Page View button (Image) in the Toolbar.
  6. Your composite background is applied to every page (except the Blurb logo page, where only the color is applied); it can be seen behind the images on page 2.

  7. Disable the Background Color option; then, right-click / Control-click the image in the background preview pane and choose Remove Image. Disable Apply Background Globally.
  8. Select page 2 in the Multi-Page view, and then reactivate the Background Color option. Click the color swatch to open the color picker, and then click the black swatch at the top of the picker. Click away from the color picker to dismiss it.
  9. Refresh the skills you’ve learned in this lesson by replicating the pages in the illustration below. You’ll need to adjust photo cell padding on pages 5, 6, and 7.
3. Adding text to a photo book | Next Section Previous Section

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