Musings on Photography

My Own SoFoBoMo Progress

Posted in Solo Photo Book Month by Paul Butzi on February 2, 2008

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The time to the start of SoFoBoMo is rapidly dwindling. I’m now deep in the preparation, trying to get everything sorted out in advance so that when the clock starts, I’m not losing time working out workflow details, processing, or learning to use software.

With that in mind, I’m expecting March to be largely about doing a kind of dry run, not working on the project I have in mind for SoFoBoMo (more on that project in a bit) but largely just trying to make a lot of exposures each day, get them into my storage structures and backed up, editing out the good images, and making sure I can make rapid progress on the book by plunking these random images into a book and cranking out test PDFs.

Here’s my plan.

At the very start of the month, I’ll fire up Adobe Indesign, and quickly build the front matter, back matter, and page layouts for the final book/pdf. Getting that out of the way early means that I can be focused largely on getting the photography done.

The project that I’ll be doing will be a modest, contained one. The project will be photos all taken while taking my dog for a walk down in the valley. I’ll plan to go for at least one walk a day, camera in one hand and a leash in the other. Kodak, the dog, actually will be off lead much of the time, which frees me up both to photograph non-dog things and also to photograph the dog when I feel so moved. At the end of each walk, the images will be immediately copied off the memory card and put in the monthly directory. In the evenings I’ll go through and rank the images, and start to think hard about which images are ‘in’ and which are ‘out’.

As each ‘in’ image is decided, I’ll plunk the image into a blank page spread in InDesign and write up some sort of accompanying text, which will go on the facing page. There’s an upside to this – it means that the book is designed to be viewed as a series of page spreads, not as a series of pages. My hope is that this will result in a book that works well for ‘lap browsing’ – sitting in a comfy chair with the book and some pleasant drink, turning the pages and admiring each spread. As things progress I’ll be thinking about sequencing the spreads and so on. I’ll also be generating PDF’s so that I can be working out any kinks in that process.

I’ve made some basic decisions – the page size will be 8.25″ x 8.25″. This is something that can be printed at a variety of POD printers, and has the advantage that I can crank out book dummies on my laser printer without too much trouble (but at a very low quality).

The last step will be to finalize all the editing decisions, generate the final PDF, and upload it to my web site.

(as a out of band note, I’ll point out that I’m tagging all of the posts that discuss my progress and preparations for SoFoBoMo with the SoFoBoMo tag, to make it easy to click on that tag and be presented with just those posts. This will make it much simpler for folks to follow along with my madness and be impressed (or, perhaps, to mock me mercilessly. If other SoFoBoMo participants do likewise, it will be easy to put together a page which has links to the blogs of participants, making it easy to keep up to date on everyone’s progress and (ahem) learning experiences.

7 Responses

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  1. Martin Doonan said, on February 2, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Crikey, that’s organised. I’m still muddling through where I’m going to shoot my project and what software to use for pdf generation.

    similarly, I’m tagging my SoFoBoMo posts. I think it’s so I can look back in a few months time and laugh at myself.

  2. Rosie Perera said, on February 2, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    I still need to teach myself InDesign. That’s going to be a project for a week or two sometime between now and April 1. Any good suggestions for online tutorials?

  3. Gordon McGregor said, on February 2, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    I remember being struck once listening to Brooks Jensen talk about assembling images in Lenswork. How each pair of images are designed to work together on the page, odd and even, odd and even. I’ve looked at lenswork differently ever since, noticing the images as pairs, considering why some where chosen to face another. Not just looking at them in isolation, but considering the pages as a designed element, with the images on it.

    The idea of what should be in and out always made sense to me – even the sequencing of images as part of the flow of the story or layout, also made sense. But it wasn’t until I started trying to lay out my own pages that those comments from Brooks came back to me and I really started to understand how that can impact how you view a page.

    file under random rambling…

  4. Dave Kosiur said, on February 2, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    It may not allow you to do everything you plan, but I’m going to go with Pages (part of Apple’s iWork package) to design my book layout. Seems to have everything I think I need to place and modify photos and text, even in a freeform manner if I so choose. Pretty to learn the basics, also.

    Just my $0.02


  5. Allen George said, on February 3, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Thanks for giving us a glimpse into this – I’ve often thought about putting together a small book, but have put it off because of (what seemed like) the mass of unknowns involved…

  6. Gordon Fraser said, on February 3, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Hi, I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about themes and content but having never put a collection together let alone a book and reading some of these comments I am starting to realise that there is a bit more to it.

    Is there any information on the software side, I was looking at the basic book feature that comes with iPhoto. I’m not really wanting to go out and purchase an expensive desktop publishing package.

    Having done a very simple trial run of placing a few images which were originally saved as jpegs for the web in the iPhoto book, I am getting the warning that ‘this photo may print at too low of a print quality’ on quite a few. Does anyone know what the ideal file type is how big the file needs to be to give a good quality image when published?

    Also I can already see even on the screen that some of the colours are not replicating themselves. I guess there will be a colour space issue which I need to check out.

  7. Anil said, on February 23, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Am completely new to any sort of publishing software, have read all I could at other SoFoBoMoers blogs and tried out book-making software from BLURP and MyPublisher. Both have their own quirks. A simple PDF file with a collection of JPG’s is just a click in PSCS3. So thats what I did for a test. I cannot figure how to place any text though… so I guess the only option is to create a larger canvas size leaving space for text and then use the “Type Tool” in CS3 to add any naration. Then save the entire page as a JPG and export it to PDF.
    Anyone with suggestions other than the use of Indesign etc?
    Another question is, what is the best [optimum] image size to use in PSCS3 to output to PDF?

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