Shortly after we returned from our family vacation, I sat down one night and designed our vacation photo Blurb book. Start to finish. Now, the hard cover book sits on our coffee table. Frequently, my two-year old likes to flip through the pages and name all of the family members. Although I have to watch and make sure she doesn’t rip the pages, this is exactly why I make photo books. The photos are not only located on my hard drive but visible for my kids and family to remember the precious moments of our life.
January is the perfect time to finish a photo book of your 2012 photos – or get started with your 2013 book. Too often, this sounds like a great idea but becomes too time consuming to finish. Well, I have 5 great tips for using Blurb’s free program, BookSmart, to efficiently and beautifully design a photo book.
Blurb book layouts made easy
1. My Pages
Blurb’s BookSmart offers over 70 different page layouts you can choose from when designing your Blurb book. That’s great, but that’s also a lot. You shouldn’t be using all of those spreads. It takes way too long to figure out which one of the 70 you should use. Plus, the more layouts you use, the more haphazard your design appears.
Streamline your options by designing your favorite 10-12 layouts and save them to your “My Pages” tab.
When you have adjusted a particular layout to fit your style, click “Apply & Save to My Layouts.” Provide a custom name. Typically, I include the number of photo boxes in the layout name.
Then when selecting layouts for your book, use the pull down menu to only reveal the “My Pages” you have saved.
2. Text Styles
If you want to provide a title, captions, date, or page number to your layouts, I recommend you utilize the text style feature. It will keep you organized and save you time. Two very good things!
Select your favorite font(s) and define the text styles. Blurb’s BookSmart allows up to 5 text styles.
Select “Customize Styles” from the pull down menu when the text box is highlighted.
Define the font style, size, color, and any Bold/Italics/Underline you may want.
Once these are defined, all you have to do is select “Body” – or whatever style you want – when adding text. Super easy!
3. Align tools
If you create your own layouts with multiple image and text boxes, the align tool becomes your best friend. The software does provide a grid, but to make sure you have clean lines to your layouts and all boxes align appropriately, use this handy dandy tool. Your eyes will thank you too!
4. Page numbers
Not necessary for every page, but page numbers can provide a handy reference for you, especially if you are designing a large book. It sounds like it will be very time consuming to add them but it is really quite simple.
If your particular layout does not have a footer, you can add one by selecting the “Footer” button in the upper right corner in Edit Layout mode. If you don’t want page numbers of footer in your layout, select, right click and press “hide footer.”
You also have the option to show the footer on all pages, even pages or odd pages.
5. Locked spreads
Do you love the look of full spread bleeds but not sure how to achieve the layout with the free program? It’s not rocket science, but it can be done. Create two full bleed page layouts next to each other. Insert the same photo on each side. Scale exactly the same percentage and then line each photo with the center along the spine.
Finally lock the spread! This will ensure these pages stay together as a pair.
Get started on your next photo book using these tips.
What is your favorite tip for making a photo book???
Stacey R. Wiseman-Guest Post
Stacey R Wiseman is married with two kids living in a bungalow in Kentucky. Although she rarely cooks dinner for her family (thanks to her husband), she makes awesome biscuits! She is the owner of Book This Project and has been making blurb books for over 4 years. Want to see these tips in action and learn how to take your photo book to the next level? Sign up for the Book This Project Intro to Photo Book Design Workshop. Or she can design a custom book for you! Are you looking for weekly tips, advice, and specials? Sign up for her weekly newsletter – it’s free!
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