Musings on Photography

SoFoBoMo completed books

Posted in Solo Photo Book Month by Paul Butzi on May 25, 2009


You can now see a page with links to all of the completed SoFoBoMo books that have been uploaded to the website at


(and if you’ve finished your book but haven’t uploaded it, please, do that!)

10 Responses

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  1. Martin Doonan said, on May 26, 2009 at 1:36 am

    Looks like I’m going to be busy downloading and reading that lot…

    Some of the files are large. Shouldn’t really be a reason to be over 10MB. I wrote a piece about image compression aimed at SoFoBoMo that I suggest participants read before producing the final pdf:

  2. Ed Richards said, on May 26, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    I think your image recommendations in the blog are a little small. A moderate display these days is 1600×1200, so a nice image size on the display (for 35mm aspect) is 1200×800. If you have reasonably high rez images with a lot of color, that gives files from about 500k-900k, depending on the detail at quality factors high enough to avoid artifacts. So my book, with 48 images, comes in around 15 megs when sized and compressed to view without distortion:

  3. Martin Doonan said, on May 27, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Ed, I think you’re over-estimating the resolution of screens people work with. Looking at my blog stats, more than half have 1280×1024 or 1024×768. even if I use a full page of 1200×800, most book images will have a border, reducing the size of the actual image further.

    And I think you’ve missed the point I was making on compression & resolution – you don’t need high resolution nor file sizes more than about 200k to avoid artefacts for on-screen display. 500-900k is getting up to files sizes good enough for printing.

  4. Gordon McGregor said, on May 27, 2009 at 8:28 am

    I’m viewing the world at 1920×1200 these days

  5. Paul Butzi said, on May 27, 2009 at 8:46 am

    I’m viewing the world at 1440×900. A little later, and for a brief time I will be viewing the world at something like 1280×1024. And then I will be viewing the world at 2560×1600.

    That’s all interesting as far as it goes, but it’s important to realize that the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’, let alone ‘useful information’.

    Just knowing the resolution does not help. You need to know both the resolution of the display device, and its physical size. And the aspect ratio. Strictly speaking, you need to know the maximum brightness, the contrast ratio, and something about ambient lighting, the color gamut of the display, the texture of the display surface, the refresh rate, what sort of human interface device will be used to interact with the PDF reader, which PDF reader will be used on which platform, the computing capabilities of that platform, and so on. The list is endless.

    There are lots of variable that influence how your SoFoBoMo PDF book will appear to the eventual reader. Of those variables, you control relatively few.

    Part of the challenge of SoFoBoMo is coping with the challenges this presents. It’s a PDF book. It’s a PDF book made in a month. Take a breath. Make a decision. It might be right, or it might be wrong. No matter what, you will learn something, and it will be ok.

  6. Ed Richards said, on May 27, 2009 at 8:46 am


    I want the book to display correctly and look great on the best monitors, not the lowest common denominator. I run a large public info WWW site, and that is build for the LCD – you could even read it with Lynx, if you still have a copy.

    For art, I want every image I put on the WWW to be top quality. I want Paul with his 30″ Apple wide screen to be blown away with the images, not to wonder if I shot them with a camera phone. But then I am primarily a large format photographer who is frustrated that on the Internet, no one knows you are a 4×5.:-)

  7. Gordon McGregor said, on May 27, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    true, but our two anecdotes are actual, real, very likely viewers of the SoFoBoMo output, not averages of internet users as a corpora.

    As another data point, I like to occasionally zoom in on interesting parts of images, so 1900×1200 is more of a minimum resolution than an upper limit, for a page, if I had things the way I’d like them.

  8. Pat Cooney said, on May 27, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    I gave much thought and did many trials concerning image resolution and jpeg quality before posting my SoFoBoMo ’09 book, “Lancaster Crossroads”
    (now at ).

    Using images limited to 1500 pixels on their long side, saved at “high” jpeg quality, my book of 36 images on 43 pages came in at 13.3 MB. This choice allows readers to zoom in to about 400% in Acrobat Reader to study image details without excessive image breakup.

    My experiments indicated that if I had not made the 15 MB file size limit with these settings, my next best choice would have been 1500 pixels on the long side of each image at “medium” jpeg quality.

    I invite you to check out “Lancaster Crossroads” to see how this image size and quality choice worked out.

    –Pat Cooney

  9. Rusty said, on May 27, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    I built my book in Word and ended up with a 38MB file. By setting preferences for Acrobat and using convert to small file I ended up with a 9MB book.
    The colour, in some photos, however sucked. I tweaked the settings and got some improvement but still it c/b better. So I’ll be working on this aspect or teaching myself InDesign for next year.
    Paul, you have created a wonderful community here, thank-you

  10. Graham said, on May 30, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    What the hell is this?

    Is this about photography or computers? I’ve just spent heart and soul creating something artistic, and now I need to worry about the computer science aspect of it? I do that all of the time at work, and even in my normal recreation time at home. I’m involved in the SoFoBoMo event, trying to do something different. A size sample PDF of what I might produce runs around 38M. By the sounds of it, that’s no good.

    I’ve fixed bad kernel sources for Linux, turning an uncompilable lump of source into a working piece of binary code. I’ve earned the label “Mad Scientist” from upper management to outside contacts (international business partners and nine-figure sponsors) for the things I can do with math and computers. In contrast, check my blog. Today I, the consummate introvert, spoke to complete strangers, giving all I could of myself to give something back to some real heroes. That’s not to mention what I did to get permission to take photos hassle-free in an airport, post 9-11, and actually end up chatting with both TSA inspectors and their manager.

    “Oh, that’s no good. Your PDF is too big.”

    The rules were one month, starting no earlier than May 1, ending no later than June 30, do all of the work in that time, create a book in a PDF form that has at least 35 photographs. Have we this secret size limit too? Are others allowed to make and/or change the rules as per their sensibilities?

    I have other things to do with my time. What are the rules?

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