Mastering the Art of Creative Photo Bookmaking
4.6 (52 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
271 students enrolled

Mastering the Art of Creative Photo Bookmaking

Learn how to produce engaging and dynamic digital photo books with the help of a publishing professional
Highest Rated
4.6 (52 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
271 students enrolled
Created by Robin Nichols
Last updated 7/2019
English [Auto]
Current price: $30.99 Original price: $44.99 Discount: 31% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 6.5 hours on-demand video
  • 15 articles
  • 9 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Create impressive digital photo books using a range of simple-to-follow design, layout, retouching and editing processes
  • Be able to choose the most suitable bookmaking software for any project
  • Understand how to best use different fonts, font styles and font families
  • Enhance your front covers using drop shadows and (free) custom fonts
  • Understand the differences between book themes, styles and paper options
  • Get to know the basics of colour calibration
  • Learn how relatively easy it is to use affordable editing software
  • Master basic photo editing techniques to achieve picture pefection
  • Have a clear idea of the book topic before you start class
  • As there are several lectures that rely on your using a photo editing software program, I'd advise your downloading a freebie editor off the internet (if you don't already use one). Picasa is one good, cross platform editor, as is Apple Photos and Adobe Photoshop Elements (the last can be downloaded for a month's trial)
  • You will need to download a bookmaking software program. Most of the lessons are based around an excellent, free, cross-platform application called Blurb Booksmart

A digital picture book is one of the best ways to profile your fabulous photographic hobby. This course highlights, in easily achievable steps, how to get the best possible [printed] results with standard bookmaking software specifically with:  simple photo editing techniques, good design and page layout ideas, plus creative use of fonts, text and picture effects.
In fact, everything you need to produce a professional-looking coffee table book worthy of any notable photographer.
Mastering the Art of Creative Photo Bookmaking comprises more than five hours of easy-to-follow instructional videos, plus a mix of information-rich documents and quizzes.
Everything you need to make impressive-looking photo books that will be the envy of your family, friends and colleagues...

Who this course is for:
  • This class is ideally suited for beginners wanting to create beautiful-looking photo books
  • The class is taught in an easy-to-understand format using basic techniques, and simple software to achieve professional results
  • Though initially targetting beginners, these resources can be easily extended to take your bookmaking design skills to a far higher level of creative profficiency
Course content
Expand all 66 lectures 06:55:10
+ Photo Bookmaking Software: Where to Start
1 lecture 04:38

Welcome to the class!

This lecture highlights many of the topics you can expect to learn about in my course - and hopefully highlights some of the potential that this class will to unlock along the way.

Preview 04:38
+ Setting Up the Basics
20 lectures 02:13:50

An overview of the pros and cons of online bookmaking for the first time bookmaker.

Preview 07:25

Looking at the advantages of free, downloadable, bookmaking software, the basis for most of the lessons in this course...

Downloadable Bookmaking Software Options

Not sure where to start looking for some awesome book making software? Here are a a few suggestions...

Photo Bookmaking Software: Where to Start

Self-publishing getting a bit complex in the jargon department? Here's an explanation of some of the most common print terminology...

Book Publishing Terminology

Learn how bookmaking software can start you off by choosing a pre-designed theme for your project.

Looking at Bookmaking Themes

Though most of us might be (slightly) price-driven, bookmaking companies now offer an even wider range of paper types, surfaces and weights (thicknesses) for the novice bookmaker.
There's something for everyone.

Choosing the Right Paper Quality

Trim lines are there to warn the designer where content can be placed, and more importantly, where it cannot. Make a note of this feature before you start your book!

Safety First: Understanding Trim and Bleed Lines

Blurb Booksmart is one of the top bookmaking software programs in the market. It works on PC and Mac and is full of robust features. Even better, if you are not entirely happy with those features, most can be fully customised to your specific requirements...

Getting Started with Blurb's Booksmart Software

Blurb's BookWright application officially replaces Blurb's Booksmart software which was released in 2007. It has more features (such as selectable ISBN numbers) and generally runs a bit faster than the older Booksmart (although I think both are still very good applications).
Here's an overview on what it looks like and some of its main features.

If you like BookWright, move on to the BookWright-specific section just before Troubleshooting.

Preview 11:00

The front cover of your book is important. It's the first thing people see and therefore should be a bold statement by the author. In this lesson I outline how to create the best looking front cover that does your creative photography justice...

Preview 11:18

Text design in bookmaking software is restricted. You are limited in many ways: in how big the text can go, with how close to the edges it can be placed and how close to other lines of text it can be set before warning signs prevent further movement.
The answer is to create your own text as a pixel-based image file and save it as a PNG file. This not only saves the transparent background behind the text, but it means can be placed as close to any edge, or other object, as you would a regular JPEG picture file.

Breaking the Text Rules: Creating WOW! Contents Pages

Not everyone thinks of a contents page when making a book.
Adding one is not only quite easy but it can also enhance the reader experience tenfold.

Creating the Contents Page

Pale sky merging into the white paper background? Not sure where your photos finish and the rest of the page starts? Sounds like you need to add in some keylines or borders....

Adding Keylines and Borders

Here are some simple but highly effective tips on how to create good design...

Design Ideas (part 1)

More tips on how to achieve clean, eye-catching design...

Design Ideas (part 2)

I this lesson I demonstrate the effectiveness of using flipped images, panoramas and even out of focus shots for great effect. (Don't delete those out of focus snaps quite yet!)

Design Ideas (part 3)

In this last lesson about design, I look at using multiple versions of the same image to make patterns, designs or simple shapes to enhance the content.

Book Design Ideas part 4

Consistency of design is probable as important as editing your pictures to perfection. Without it your book will look amateurish, poorly thought out and hurried.

Thoughts on Design Consistency

Many bookmaking companies include a staggering range of page embellishments to their software. Use these to create a mood or style that is pertinent to the subject: scrapbooking, weddings, portraits, cookbooks and more...

Book Embellishments

Learn how subtly different page colours can be used to create effective borders around your photographs and a different visual 'look' in your book project.

Working with Different Page Colours

There are several things you can check in your book project to make sure you don't accidentally lose parts of your photos off the edges of the book

Book Publishing Terminology
3 questions
+ Retouching: Making Your Images 'Pop'
7 lectures 58:22

While the AUTO tone correction tools in most photo editing software might work reasonably well, they are never that good for every photographic shortcoming, so why not learn to do it manually using Levels? It's faster, more effective and guaranteed to work every time...

Quick and Effective Editing with Auto correction and Levels

Once the contrast and brightness have been improved using the Levels tool, you can use the powerful Hue/Saturation tool to increase the colour values, create black-and-white or just tint an image in many different ways.

Colour Enhancements with the Hue/Saturation Tool

Any professional photographer will tell you that Raw files are far better than JPEGs. In this you'll lesson learn how to use the Camera RAW processing feature in Adobe Photoshop Elements. It is fast, powerful and most importantly, so much better than editing an 8-bit JPEG file.

Basic Introduction to the Power of Raw Files
  • In this lesson I outline the entire editing process from using basic AUTO tone features to using Levels to removing colour noise and adding sharpening.
    If you have never paid much attention to editing your photos before, this is the lesson for you.
  • Picture Editing Basics

    In this lesson you'll learn how to become a professional retoucher.
    Learn to use the Clone Stamp and the Healing Brushes to great effect.

    Retouching with the Clone Stamp and Healing Brushes

    It's one of the most misunderstood terms in photo editing - the Unsharp Mask filter is actually brilliant at adding sharpness to your work. It's not going to make a blurry shot look sharp - but it will turn a clear shot into a razor sharp shot!

    Getting Ready to Print - Using the Unsharp Mask Feature

    One way to add a distinct WOW! effect to your book is to add a panorama - in this lesson I show you how cool it is to make a panorama using Adobe Photoshop Elements

    Making a Panorama for Maximum Picture Impact

    Here are a few quick questions to see if you understand the fundamentals of photo editing

    Some Questions about Retouching
    3 questions
    + Advanced Page Creation Techniques
    7 lectures 41:31

    Templates are provided in all bookmaking software. Some are good, some not so good. The best software allows you to customise any of its templates for a unique and individual look.Here's how...

    Creating Custom Templates

    So many bookmakers place too many pictures on each page - with the result that the project ends up looking like a stamp collection. In this lesson I encourage you to enlarge your 'hero' shots across the entire page and beyond to create a real Wow! display.

    Designing with Big Pictures

    All digital images are rectangular - but what if you want to place an irregular shaped object, logo, image onto a regular page background? This can be done using the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) file format. In a single layer, PNG files preserve the transparency of an irregular layer - something that JPEG files cannot do.

    Working with Background Transparency

    PNG files are special because of their ability to save background transparency - which makes them ideal for placing irregularly-shaped image elements onto a specific colour background

    Working with PNG Files: Background Transparency

    In this lesson I show you how to create irregularly-shaped tears and ripped edge effects in your images, then how to preserve their transparency by saving everything in the versatile PNG file format

    Working with PNG Files: Advanced Techniques

    Learn how to bend perspective to correct optical distortions in your shots of maps, place names and more. It's all about the layer Transform command found in most good photo editing software...

    Working with Graphics and Transformations

    Most travellers love to snap place name pictures of the locations they visit. Problem is most come out totally the wrong shape thanks to distortion produced by wide-angle lenses or by shooting the signs from odd angles. In this lesson I show you how you can totally correct the perspective in any distorted shot.

    Transformations and Maps
    Special File Formats and Perspective
    2 questions
    + Getting Creative with the Text Tools
    4 lectures 30:20

    Most fonts belong to a family: Italic, Bold, Semibold, Extra Bold, and more. The best designs don't use multiple fonts in the same documents, they keep the text in the same family...

    Understanding Font Families

    Unfortunately the text tools in bookmaking software are not too hot.
    Here's a simple introduction to how it works, and how to get optimum results...

    Text Basics

    All you need to set up this handy feature is to choose a specific font, font style, and point size for your captions, body copy and headers, save the results (as a preset) then, next time you need to format a caption, for example, simply choose 'Caption' from the Text Styles box and the formatting is done for you. Text styles can be used to significantly speed up the page layout process.

    Setting Up Text Styles

    In this lesson learn how to download and use custom fonts - these are created by graphic designers and posted online for free (providing it's for personal use only).
    You can add a distinctive design to your front cover by choosing a custom font with a character that reflects the content of the book.

    Getting Creative with Custom Fonts

    Think you know all there is to know about type, fonts and formatting? Think again...

    Some Questions about Text
    3 questions
    + Creating Special Custom Pages
    5 lectures 19:48

    Often photographers totally forget to consider black-and-white images in their bookmaking project. Its not only easy to do but can add a seriously creative edge to the look and style of your book project...

    Using Black-and-White

    A flipped image can make an impressive visual statement - here's what it looks like.
    In the following lesson I demonstrate how it's done...

    Flipping Images for a Special Effect

    Some photos are just made to be flipped to give an eye-popping, mirrored look. It's easy to do and can make a spectacular lift to your visual content

    Flipping Your Pictures for a Dynamic Design

    Learn how to create a different look to a single or double page spread by adding a colour gradient, a solid colour that fades to accommodate an image or text across the pages. Good for contents pages, section headers, and chapter headers...

    Making a Tonally Graduated Double Page Spread

    This lesson describes how you actually make a graduated page using Photoshop - the technique can be used in most other photo editing programs...

    Making Graduated Pages for Section or Chapter Headers
    Special Pages
    1 question
    + Advanced Bookmaking Techniques
    4 lectures 37:57

    Sometimes I prefer to just place one image on each page - but the format of the picture is never the same proportion as the sensor in your camera. You always seem to have to crop the image at some stage.
    In this lesson I show you how to set the photo editor Crop Tool to crop to the photo book page dimensions - so you decide first what might have to be lost, NOT the page layout template.

    Cropping Photos to Specific Page Sizes

    In this lesson I show you how effective a custom background to your pages might be to the design. See how to create a faded or ghosted background, add special effects, and flip and save backgrounds for a mirrored effect.

    How to Create Custom Backgrounds

    Bookmaking software is, in general, quite good. But when you need total control over the creative process it's better to design the pages entirely in some good photo editing software first, save everything as 'page01.jpg', 'page02.jpg' etc, and drag them into the book as a final step.
    In this lesson I show you how to make incredible edge masks to make your page designs pop off the page.

    Basic Masks for Individual Page Design

    Carrying the layer mask exercise further, this lesson demonstrates how you can create a complex, multi-layered masking effect for each page to produce jaw-dropping page design.

    Advanced Page Design

    If you are good at photo editing you can quite easily design everything before it goes into the bookmaking software...

    Customised Pages
    1 question
    + Bookmaking with Blurb BookWright
    12 lectures 34:09

    BookWright is the replacement for Blurb's excellent BookSmart application and as such is a great little product with some very useful improvements included in its design.

    Preview 05:39

    Once the application have been downloaded it comes with a good selection of design templates to help you arrange images on on a page. If you need additional inspiration Blurb also supply free themes to give your designs an even more consistent look.
    Easy to download and easy to use (have a look at the downloads screen page selection in the Resources page here)

    BookWright: Downloadable Themes

    Here's how to import your photos into this application

    BookWright: Importing your photos

    One of the best new features in this application is the inclusion of clear rulers and ruler guides - these are fully adjustable and once set, appear on all your pages, making consistent design and layout significantly easier.

    BookWright: Using the Ruler Guides

    If your images slide off the page edges, or if text is too close to the book edge, you might lose it completely once the book is printed, trimmed and bound. To avoid disappointment, always check the Warnings from the View Menu, and use the Trim Guidelines to make sure you don't get any nasty surprises when the book is finally delivered.

    BookWright Check the Warnings

    Often it is faster and more efficient to create your text in a third party text editor (like MS Word or Apple Pages) than it is using the text editor inside the book software (because it is a bit clunky). Learn here how easy it is to get text from a word processing file and paste it into your book.

    BookWright: Copying and Pasting Text

    Here's how to change the paper colour on a single page, or in the entire book.

    BookWright: Setting page colour

    Learn here how to customise any page template or layout to make it your own.

    BookWright: Customising a Template

    Here's a quick demonstration on how to add a wide screen panorama across two pages for an instant WOW effect.

    BookWright: Using Panoramas

    Use BookWright's Trim Guidelines to keep valuable assets from being lost once the book is trimmed in the print factory.

    BookWright: Checking the Trim Guidlines

    Although not a full design tool (like Adobe InDesign), BookWright has a few neat features that permit you to adjust the text in a text box to give you greater control over how precisely it is positioned.

    BookWright: Aligning Text

    Use BookWright's PDF feature to view your book in a two-page format before paying for the printing. Although the PDF is low resolution, it still gives you a good idea of what the final print job will look like.

    BookWright: Exporting a PDF for Final Checking
    + Troubleshooting - What can go wrong
    2 lectures 08:22

    If your software warns that the resolution for a picture isn't suitable for enlargement, use this resampling technique to add pixels to the file. Sounds like magic? Works beautifully on all but the smallest of image files

    Increasing Image Size: Resampling

    Often overlooked, colour calibration is a way to ensure what you see on your computer screen is very close to what you get once the book is printed.

    Colour Calibration Basics
    + Finishing Touches
    2 lectures 16:35

    In this lesson I show you how to add page numbers using Blurb Booksmart - and show how a customised page number can be added to your book project

    Adding Page Numbers

    Once the book is 100% finished it is time to check all the features (colour, design, layout, spelling and grammar, page numbers, content, front cover, fonts, brightness and contrast) before uploading to the company website for inclusion in the online book store and printing. This video is designed around Blurb's Booksmart software - but the checking process is identical for all other bookmaking software...

    Finalising the Book
    Page Numbers
    1 question