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Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

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  #1  
Old 01-06-2009, 02:44 AM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

For a Christmas gift I engaged www.whcc.com to create a "press printed book" of my photos and art: hard cover, 45 2-sided 11"x14" pages, and custom dust jacket.

To make a long story shorter: It turned out great, as in jaw dropping. Quality was supurb; colors terrific.

I chose WHCC because of their positive reputation and MPIX.com, my usual printer, did not offer 11"x14" pages.

WHCC provided templates in Photoshop format (with guides marking the 'safe areas') for a regular page and one for the dust jacket. I crafted several individual pages templates, e.g., full-bleed, 2-up, 4-up, 6-up, panorama, etc. and populated each page. Images selected were a mix of color and BW; I added descriptive text where needed.

Designing a front/back dust jacket took a lot more time than I expected it would take. There were many details, such as choosing a title, picking photos for the front and back, crafting a pseudo barcode, formatting text horizontally for the spine area, and coming up with about the author-like content for the dust jacket flaps. The greater challenge, however, turned out to be deciding on content (among hundreds of candidates) and page-to-page layout.

I highly recommend WHCC for their quality output and stellar care. I made several calls to Customer Service with rookie questions, each of which was answered professionally without a hint that I was stupid and/or annoying for asking.

I would suggest to anyone considering this type of endeavor to "GO FOR IT!" Having had complete control over layout and content is very satisfying, as is seeing your own name on the title page.

= = = = = = = = =

Question:

If you have advice and/or experiences (good or bad) in this regard with this or other firms (wherever you live, not just the U.S.), please do share them.

My contribution in this regard: Building my own multiple-layer page layouts was an interesting excercise, but it would have been so much easier if WHCC would have provided pre-built templates (beyond just dust jacket and a general page).

So, the next time I do this I might look for a printer that provides templates for various layouts, or buy some templates.
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:29 AM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

Thanks for the info Danny. I'd like to hear from others with regards to quality printers for "coffee table" type books and their recommendations. I've used Blurb in the past and have not been pleased with the quality of their paper and richness of color. Price great however.

Was their a particular style book you decided to use? Whcc, I believe, require you to submit a photo to check monitor calibration vs print color quality. Did you have to make any adjustments or was it good from the get go. It is indeed a great gift!
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:22 AM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by skydog View Post
I've used Blurb in the past and have not been pleased with the quality of their paper and richness of color. Price great however.
Great price, but not happy with color and paper = unhappy customer. Not good.

The WHCC dust jacket and pages feel like high quality. Not chintzy at all.

Quote:
Was their a particular style book you decided to use?
Not a "style" per se.

As of this writing WHCC offerings are based options such as these:
* page size and in some cases orientation (landscape or portrait)
* paper type: regular or hinged (hinged pages "lay flat" when turned; a little more expensive, fewer size options, fewer maximum pages possible)
* optional dust jacket
* optional photo on front/back cover
* choice of cover color
* choice of cover material
* optional foil text on cover

It's pretty much an exercise of "select what you want" from a series of menus.

See attachment for an info page as of 12/2008. An example of a book with hinged paper is in the foreground.
Quote:
Whcc, I believe, require you to submit a photo to check monitor calibration vs print color quality. Did you have to make any adjustments or was it good from the get go.
I did do the test print exercise... I sent them a 21-bar BW graidient (like the 'stripe' across the top of each RetouchPRO webpage) and a few prints of "darkish" scenes. Colors were mostly right on. BW = good shape, too.

I have a pretty bright LCD monitor, so for really dark images (on my screen) I'll usually compensate with a Photoshop curves adjustment [estimate: about 1/2-1 stop] prior to file upload to bring out the shadows a bit. No need to do this for well lit scenes.
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File Type: jpg RP WHCC info2.jpg (195.7 KB, 29 views)
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:58 PM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

So the options you listed which ones did you chose and would you do anything different the next time?
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:06 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by skydog View Post
So the options you listed which ones did you chose and would you do anything different the next time?
page size: 14x11
regular, not hinged, paper
black leather cover
dust jacket

- - - - - -

Next time:

Just for different, not because I was dissatisfied, I might try a photo-book cover and hinged pages, but 14x11 gives one a LOT of layout flexibility. Full page scenery shots in landscape orientation look very elegant.
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:26 PM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

Danny...are you at liberty to show one of your pages? I'd like to see your layout...
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:40 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by skydog View Post
Danny...are you at liberty to show one of your pages? I'd like to see your layout...
Look for e-mail from me. I'll send sample pages "too large" to upload here.
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:19 PM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

danny...did you send? If so, I have not received
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Old 01-07-2009, 09:34 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

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Originally Posted by skydog View Post
danny...did you send? If so, I have not received
Sent e-mail and PM via RP forum software seeking your email address.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:55 PM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

Danny...it's been almost a year, but you did inspire me! Last year at this time, after reading your post, I decided that I would make a book.. I took my son to Scotland in the Spring and that ended up being my book (son's Christmas present). I didn't go with Whcc, no particular reason, but did go with Blurb and used their professional paper. The book came out great and can't wait to do it again. Thanks for the idea.
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