Interested in proof books? Take a look and get some tips

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pin it button Interested in proof books? Take a look and get some tips

Time to prove the whole “a picture is worth a thousand words” thing. Check out the Blurb proof book that Jason Stratton Photography made.

Pro photographers use proof books to display all of a client’s images in one bound compilation. This lets the client easily view, select, and order prints. Putting photos into a book can be done in lieu of proof sheets. In about the same amount of time it takes to process proof sheets and get them to the customer, you can create a proof book using BookSmart and have it in front of your customer in less than 10 days.

We’ve pulled together a few tips to make your proof books that much easier to make.

  1. Make the entire proof book process easier by using BookSmart’s autoflow feature.
  2. To control the layout during autoflow, create a page, select the layout, then duplicate the page enough times so autoflow supports your layout of choice.
  3. Find the perfect layout. Of all our Photo Layouts, many find the nine-images-with-captions layout to be good for proof books.
  4. Need to include photo ID numbers? Create contact sheets in Photoshop or InDesign and drop them in as .jpeg or .png files. Or add captions on your own in BookSmart.
  5. Add an extra layer of customization by tailoring the soft or hardcover to the client with your best image and personalized text.

We know there are a lot of proof book users out there. Any other tips you can pass along to fellow Blurbarians?

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  1. I just did this for a wedding client and they loved the results. Normally I ask a client to pick around 200 favorite photos to be put in a 4×6 proof album. But instead of doing that I proofed the entire shoot as 4×6 images in a nice hardcover 8×10 book. Considering that it’s possible to fit over 850 4×6 sized proofs in a book (two per page), having a book printed is less costly than regular photo printing, is better organized and looks much, much more professional. The parents have seen the book and decided to order one for themselves too rather than opt for a more limited “parents’ album.”

    Here’s a tip regarding captions… if you want to include the file name on the actual image itself, you can use a program called Photo Mechanic to embed a customizable watermark. Photo Mechanic allows you to choose whatever text you want in the watermark through the use of their powerful “variables” feature. Using the {filenamebase} variable, Photo Mechanic output a new set of resized files with the watermark in the bottom right corner (the watermark can be placed anywhere on an image). It’s super easy for the book recipient to skim through the photos and quickly cross reference them to the the files on disk. And it looks very professional. Photo Mechanic is a very specialized program aimed primarily at photojournalists, and at $150 for a license is not cheap, but for some it will be a worthwhile investment. Perhaps there are other programs out there that can embed the filename as a watermark, but I’m only familiar with Photo Mechanic. One challenge is vertical vs. horizontal images. I decided that since most of the images were horizontal that I would rotate the verticals 90 degrees CCW to keep the overall appearance uniform. It does mean the recipient needs to turn the book to view those images, but it is a “proof” book after all.

    By Ron S
      February 25, 2008 – 1:46 pm   Permalink
  2. I’ve been using Blurb to do this for about two years. Lightroom can build custom contact sheets at the target output size you need which I then save to PDF from within the print dialog. In Acrobat Professional, open the PDF and export the pages as JPG. Highlight the set of JPGs in Finder and drag into page 1 of a new Booksmart book. It will autoflow the pages and be ready for submission. Pretty simple and effective.

      February 25, 2008 – 9:46 pm   Permalink
  3. XnView ( – it’s a freeware photo viewer that can add a watermark onto one or a bunch of photos. It’s great if you just want a simple watermark containing the same data on each photo…

    By Chris
      February 26, 2008 – 2:30 am   Permalink
  4. Thanks for featuring us! Our bride loved this one and I’m mailing another one out today to another bride.

      February 26, 2008 – 8:54 am   Permalink
  5. I’ve been using Lightroom to make the proof sheets as well, then upload them to Blurb. I think it would be really great if Blurb could come up with “proofbook” layout in their program that would number the images.

    This would really make the whole process a LOT easier. Sometimes the pdf takes forever to make in Lightroom!

      March 4, 2008 – 12:01 pm   Permalink
  6. Very nice! I’ve been using the 5X5″ books with one photo per page. It’s a slow process though in order to format the page as either vertical or landscape, then drop the photos in. Photos are in sequential order so the page numbers = file numbers. I think they’re great!

    Don’t know how to send a link to a sample, but this book is public under janice kushner Photography, if you’d like to see it…
    The Koch – Hieber Wedding September 29, 2007

      March 7, 2008 – 7:21 am   Permalink
  7. Ooops, I meant 7X7″ not 5X5″.

      March 7, 2008 – 7:25 am   Permalink

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