Greetings all, I am a still photographer now retired and beginning to publish books for my clients. I have a special high-end client that wants the leather cover, lay-flat coffee table book and about 300 best-quality, thick pages. I have over 5500 images to cull into this book, some collages and many full photos spanning two pages. He wants best quality of everything and largest format possible, probably 10x12. Anybody have experience with a specific publishing vendor that has top-knotch product that also has a flexible page-formatting interface in Lightroom Classic?
As an introduction, I am ArtPhoto Chicago and I ran TheLoft Chicago, now retired into the mountains of western North Carolina. I have experience in studio, concern, fashion, portraits and modeling, food and other product and commercial photography and also political and celebrity editorial photography, Smiles and coaching are truly my "thing" (translation: being a goof and capturing smiles of people happy and being themselves) but I've always enjoyed capturing nature and scenery and wildlife. My current largest client is an injured military veteran and war hero, and he wishes to publish a photo essay of his life and legacy -- pre-war, during the war and post-war-- and he has an amazing story to tell. This is my biggest challenge in my almost 15 years of fulltime photography. I shoot Nikon only, and I have used Lightroom since the early 90s when it was standalone, no subscriptions, and there was no Adobe Creative Cloud.
Thank you. Glad to be here...
Hello - congratulations on your retirement. I have published (3) books each with its own unique requirements. One of these is a coffee table book that I published for a photographer (a retired navy captain) who specializes in wildlife photography: https://savannaimages.com/#/page/from-desert-to-desert/ This book has a cloth cover with foil, is full color with the highest quality paper, binding and finishing. Without knowing what you've done for research on your own I will say that publishing a book is a different than printing a book. Feel free to direct message me here if you'd like to learn more about how to go about your project.
I have a special high-end client that wants the leather cover, lay-flat coffee table book and about 300 best-quality, thick pages. I have over 5500 images to cull into this book, some collages and many full photos spanning two pages. He wants best quality of everything and largest format possible, probably 10x12. Anybody have experience with a specific publishing vendor that has top-knotch product that also has a flexible page-formatting interface in Lightroom Classic?By @MTNShootR
Given these requirements, you probably need to start thinking outside Lightroom for the book production.
I've marked in bold the key issues. Lightroom's Book module is tied to Blurb, which is often good-enough at a good-enough price, but it is not as high end as you describe. You might use Book to layout your work, move stuff around, and maybe order a small book through Blurb so you can ascertain the quality for yourself (or find them at a trade show).
With a third party, you should be able to push the paper quality further, choose a binding that you prefer, and get more individual support.
In any case, Lightroom would remain the hub of your workflow. It manages all those 5000 images - and it's a big plus to manage the photos in the same program that adjusts them and not be forced to re-export to another application each time you make an edit. So I'd use its Collections to gather and shortlist images, reorder them, stack them in collections to group images into book sections, for example. I'd also use virtual copies for different crops.
Once you have the 5000 under control, much of the battle is done. If you then use a third party book vendor, you can then just export the photos and bring them into the third party's design app. You might even use InDesign (or similar) for the book creation, which is what I'd prefer in the circumstances you describe (but there's a learning curve).
Publish is also quite handy here. For an InDesign project, I would often create a new publish service using the Hard Drive option. This would then manage the location of exported files so InDesign always knows where they are, ensures they're all output with the same settings etc, and highlights images that have changed (so you don't have to export them one at a time).
The more text is important in your project, the more you're looking outside LR for the layout. You can do some fancy things in Book, but it's not ideal. For example, let's imagine the client wants to replace all occurrences of "NC" in the book text with North Carolina - LR can't search and replace book text, InDesign can (as can other DTP apps).
So that's a lot of info, a lot of angles, and there are others too. I'd suggest your next steps are to get your hands on Blurb-printed books and those from other vendors, while simulataneously making a small book in LR. So scope out the book printing side while figuring out the LR tools and putting some shape into the project. Just get familiar with the LR-Blurb workflow - you don't even need to order a hard copy.
In the early days of Lightroom, I made several attempts to create books, but was always frustrated by the constraints of having to use a largely template based system and inability to place an image where I want on a page and to place a related text box where I wish. [There were tricks to do with padding, etc... but these did not work for me]
For this reason, I created my books within InDesign. These can still be sent to Blurb for printing, but you have to download Indd templates from Blurb as the base for your document (so they have control of page dimensions, bleed settings, cover dimensions, etc.). The big advantage of using a dedicated Desktop Publishing app is that you extend your printing options outside of Blurb.
I have not used the Book module for a long time, so it is possible that there are better tools to place images and text on the page layout. Maybe others can comment.
For such a large project, I would be tempted to use InDesign (or similar dedicated desktop tool). John has some excellent advice re using Lr as the control centre for your project in terms of collections, publishing to disk, etc.
I have always been disappointed that Adobe did not provide an integration between Lr and InDesign. Publishing to Disk and using this output from Lr is a good middle ground.
I have not used the Book module for a long time, so it is possible that there are better tools to place images and text on the page layout. Maybe others can comment.By @gnits999
It is considerably more flexible now - 7.5 and 8.1 allowed almost complete freedom over positioning of images.
Thanks so much for all the great comments and ideas. Thanks to John for cross posting from Lightroom Queens. Busy day today, but I will absorb and reply and share what I discover as wel as I continue my exploring. Thanks again 🤠
"It is considerably more flexible now - 7.5 and 8.1 allowed almost complete freedom over positioning of images. "
Very good to know. Thanks.
Certainly publishing apps are not the same as actually creating and marketing publications. But they all have the same beginnings: how we manage and organize our images and then combine and format and annotate them, and then paginate them so they can be printed. Some apps are all-in-one and do it all. And since this is Adobe community, most of us probably use Lightroom or at least Bridge and then do the formatting/annotation/pagination stuff with InDesign.
I'm wondering how many people use InDesign, which unfortunately requires other apps (Lightroom...) to organize and proces the images. Or are people more using external all-in apps that do all the processing and "publishing" tasks.
I'm interested in who used what software and for what benefit.
(...Is there a better forum for this type of question?)