Over the Fall in 2015 I took up a class at Webster University in hopes to expand my knowledge on Photoshop and learn how to develop a book. The class, Digital Photographic Workflow, helped to fine tune a number of my skills in Photoshop. There were plenty of tools that had rusted and my memory proved to be inefficient in working through the space of Adobe CC. But all of that changed as I became immersed in the course; applying filters, using the magic wand, and changing colors in my images all started to come back to me. By this time I'm happy to report that I feel as comfortable with Photoshop as I do with Lightroom, which is saying something. In addition I have been spending a lot of time working with Illustrator, which has been great. It's taking a little to get used to Adobe CC, but I'm in a groove, so I don't think it will be too long until I'm really comfortable with the entire suite again.
Back to the course: the thing that proved to be most valuable was that I was required to design and print a book from scratch. This meant that I had to make images, edit them, and develop a layout within eight weeks which included shipping. Not too small of a feat in hindsight. Nevertheless I pushed through, started the Framed Series, met up with local people to make their portraits, edited them, and finally had to create my layout. We were using the sight Blurb for our final orders. I'm not usually a big fan of online ordering menus. They are always overly complicated, while looking overly simple. If I want an image to only take up 1/16 of the page, I should be able to do so and a lot of these user-friendly editors don't let you do that.. The predetermined layouts may have been a great choice for grandparents and stay-at-home parents, but I wanted something more. Fortunately, Blurb had an option for me with custom layouts that imported into InDesign. Yes! This was exactly what I was looking for.
Downloading and installing the template was easy and only took a few moments. Once it was done I was able to select some specifics about my book: size, paper, pages, etc. All in all, not too bad. I wanted to get something back that would be simple, minimalist. Something that would let me test the waters and see how quality Blurb's books were. But also something that would help introduce me to the world of book publishing. In the end I went for a completely white book with black text. I don't know that it could be more minimalist. When it came to images, I wanted a pattern. I shot each of my images in a 3:2 at 18mp and I wanted to keep all of that information from the images there, so I decided to place the images in the middle and let the edges of the pages remain white. I did this for all of the images, whether they were portrait or landscape and played with the pattern to place three landscape photos, followed by a portrait.
I received the book today, which is roughly a two week turn around for it to be printed and shipped. It cost me though... a 7x7 paperback book with express shipping ran me $35. Pretty steep for what I ended up with. Ultimately I think it was a great introduction to printing. I'm going to continue working on the Framed Series, come back with 100 images, spring for the hardback with a dust jacket, and make it available to the public. Keep an eye out for the Framed book... coming, hopefully, by the end of 2016.