Musings on Photography

SoFoBoMo Preparations

Posted in Solo Photo Book Month by Paul Butzi on March 24, 2009


One of the things which was a big help for me in my SoFoBoMo effort last year was that, with weeks still to to, I got busy making sure that I knew which PDF generation software I was going to use (Adobe InDesign, in my case), took the time to build a mockup of a book using images I had on hand, figuring out things like title pages, copyright pages, and a general page layout for the project I had in mind.

It turned out that I didn’t use ANY of those things quite in the way I envisioned. I changed around the layout, I changed the font and the arrangement of the title page, and so on. But by having done all that work up front, I was familiar enough with InDesign that the inevitable changes went smoothly and I spent almost no time during my month struggling with software issues.

Another thing I did was really streamline my photo processing workflow. I built custom actions in photoshop to perform the important steps, like sizing and sharpening the images to go into the book. Again, it turned out that I was still making tweaks to those actions, but the up front investment of time and energy into putting together a smooth, trouble free workflow from exposure through to plopping the images into InDesign paid handsome rewards when my month long effort started for real.

There’s only so much you can do to offload effort OUT of the 31 day period, because if you’re at all like me you’ll find your plans changing as the project progresses. But having a solid plan in place BEFORE the period starts not only ensures that you’re in a good starting position, it ensures that you’re up to speed on all the tools you’re going to use. And getting the learning curve part of your workflow out of the 31 day period sure leaves a lot more time and energy for the creative stuff. I still had plenty of anxiety during my month of activity, but it wasn’t the high stress “How can I get this #$%^&*(*^%$ software to do what I want” variety of stress.

6 Responses

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  1. jerry said, on March 24, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I know the software I’ll be using, Pages and Lightroom, but I will not begin any page layouts until May. Seems more challenging.

  2. Anil said, on March 24, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    From last years experience, I can tell you that I was starting to run against time and would have possibly not made it to the end – only because I did not do the mock-up and the testing of various software options in advance. As Paul says, I did have many many “What the F$%^&*” moments because the software worked differently to how I expected, or many just did not do it the way I wanted….

    Yes, one can opt to bring on additional challenges to the entire SoFoBoMo process and experience by doing EVERYTHING in the 31 days you allocate to your project… or you can get the other stuff out the way first, and leave the actual 30 SoFoBoMo days for the “best” part of the experience. The making of images, the processing, and then putting it all together pretty seamlessly.

  3. Juha Haataja said, on March 25, 2009 at 12:32 am

    I was originally planning to use Pages, but didn’t find any hints on how to do photobooks with it. (All the way to both a PDF file and Blurb-compatible full-bleed images.)

    Now I’m planning to use Scribus, which was used by many in the previous SoFoBoMo. But I’m willing to check out Pages also, it just seems to be much more “black box” in terms of templates, guides etc.

  4. Sean said, on March 25, 2009 at 6:56 am

    I just ordered my Blurb test book to check the color profiling on my main workstation. Will report in the Flickr discussion group as to the results when it arrives.

  5. Gordon McGregor said, on March 25, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Anil speaks the truth

  6. Chris Klug said, on March 25, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Pages, hmmm, I hadn’t thought of that. I need to get on with it, I think.

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