Tips for Making Books with Blurb

A number of members have made or are considering having made photo books using Blurb, because it is built in to Lightroom.  Recently, member Lou received a book and he was unhappy with the results.  When he contacted Blurb, they were, in my opinion, rather snarky in their response, and I felt that they were making the poor quality of the result his fault.

I looked closely into the Blurb functionality in Lightroom and while it is nice that it is built in, none of the guidance provided was highlighted or even indicated in the Blurb plugin.  Perhaps Adobe should remove the Blurb plugin completely and simply direct people to use Blurb's own book building software.  Not that doing so would have helped because the only way to know about these tips is to wade through their FAQ.  I consider this lazy on their part, and I find blaming the client for not reading every scrap of dreck on their site to be very crappy customer focus.

However, should you wish to make books using Blurb, you really MUST read these articles.

Blurb Colour Management

Blurb Soft Proofing in Lightroom

Please note that soft proofing for Blurb only works in Lightroom 6 / CC according to Blurb so if you don't have either and want to soft proof so as not to get a product that makes you unhappy you will need to soft proof in Photoshop.  This certainly puts the boots to the concept of simplicity and ease of use.


Lightroom 4.2 is now available

One of the things I love about Adobe Creative Suite is how the Application Manager downloads updates automatically.  Lightroom doesn't do that, and you have to launch it to maybe get a notice.  

If you area Lightroom user, head over to and download the 4.2 update.  It's worth your time.

Lightroom Workshop - November 2012

Following our macro workshop, attendees offered suggestions on what else that they would like to see.  Far and away, the biggest demand is for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.

Lightroom is a very powerful tool comprising multiple modules.  I am pleased to announce that I will be working with the City to book the facility for a full day workshop (with breaks) to get people up to speed on Lightroom.  This means that we will not cover every module, but will cover the three key things that people need to do.

So, I will cover the Library module including importing, using catalogs, using collections along with workflow strategies to ensure that you have proper backups in the face of something going horribly wrong.

Next up we will spend the majority of the time working on your images.  Guidelines will be provided in advance of what kinds of images to bring for the exercise.  The plan is to go through the Develop module options on at least six different images.  

We'll close the workshop with a short session on the Print module, with guidance on printing your own images and for preparing exported images to be sent to a lab for printing.

This will be a hands-on workshop opportunity.  Attendees will bring their own laptop computers (if desired) and work on their own images.  Attendees will certainly be welcome to attend to only take notes if that is your choice, but hands-on will provide more retention and skill development.  If you already own Lightroom, awesome, if you do not, Adobe does provide a free trial at their website where you can download Lightroom to try out.  Please bear in mind that the trial is timebombed - so if you will go this route, only download less than five days in advance of the workshop.  Lightroom is sold online and in major retailers.  It is available with media at Henry's from Bryan Weiss of course.

I will confirm a date shortly once I receive the options available from the city.  In the interim, if you read this post and want to attend email me so I get an idea of who would be interested.  You aren't committing with this email.

VIDEO : Introduction to Macro Photography

As was mentioned by more than a few attendees, I blasted pretty quickly through the Introduction to Macro Photography session at the recent meeting.  Since several folks complained about the time allotted (not enough, no real time for questions) I have recorded a video of the presentation.  You can view it at The Photo Video Guy

I also had requests for more detail on how I lit the flower shot that I used for Passages, so I will work on that shortly.

REVIEW : Joe McNally One Light Two Light Tour

Yesterday I attended the Joe McNally One Light Two Light tour that I posted about a few weeks back.

I've seen Joe teach before and knew what to expect, fast paced content, lots of movement, interesting stories from his lengthy career and Joe's somewhat dark sense of humour.  I also expected to learn something new, and if I was paying attention, multiple new things.

I was not disappointed, and neither were the list of club members that I saw and spoke with.  Gabe, Jay, Geoff and Richard all said how impressed they were.  New members Barb and John were also pleased and I saw Paul there as well.  Unfortunately Bryan could not attend because he got jerked around by a co-worker (my words entirely - not his).  I also saw Martin Ingles who runs Amazing Adventures along with his wife and trip attendees Kate, Liz, Holly and Chris.  Clearly lots of people were looking to learn from the master of small flash.

The most compelling message coming out of the seminar is that you can do most anything you want with TTL small flash.  Joe experienced some regular issues with his Nikon Creative Lighting System getting multiple flashes to go off, all due to line of sight issues, but he did demonstrate that indoors, when line of sight is maintained, this system works very well.  I can confirm that Canon's system also works very well as I've used it myself.  Joe is not a fan of TTL radio, he was clear on that.  I will say that the PocketWizards for Canon work brilliantly but I have no experience with the Nikon implementation.

Joe made clear that the best use of the built in pop-up flash on DSLRs is to be a Commander for remote flashes.  He made no attempt to justify its use as a flash and it was pleasant to hear a real professional say the same thing I've been saying for years.

I surely cannot go through the entire day as it was eight hours of very fast content, but there are a few things I will note for readers.

Every flash Joe uses has a dome diffuser on it.  On close inspection they look like Sto-Fen units.  They only come off when being used as a trigger for other flashes, he leaves the domes on even when he will be shooting through other diffusion options.  I confess I learned this in a previous Joe training and have one on all my small flashes as well.  Joe did not bring up the use of the Gary Fong tools that I like so much, but he has spoken about them in past courses and I concluded that he is not fond of Mr. Fong, although that is my opinion.  Member Jay has shared a story of Mr. Fong's arrogance at an appearance so that may be related.  The Sto-Fen diffusers are inexpensive and while they do not diffuse like the Fong Lightsphere, they serve to spread the light decently.

Joe advocates getting your ambient reading before firing up a flash so you can decide whether to support the ambient, fill the ambient or displace it completely.  He also gave numerous points to using the zoom head position on his flashes.  For this tour he was using his stable of SB-900s, but any TTL with manual zoom override on the head would work.  I've written in the past about how much I like the Metz 58 SAF-2 model.

The most compelling message that Joe sent was also the most subtle.  There were no professional models.  He invited audience members to be the model for segments every time.  They were all enthusiastic participants with the exception of the last young lady, possibly because Joe kept calling her by the wrong name.  What matters is that with effective use of light, these regular folks could be portrayed in a number of different ways just by changing how he used the light.  This message went unsaid, so I will repeat it here.  You don't need to hire professional models to work up your portfolio.  Friends and family can make excellent subjects, when you apply the light.

I hope to be able to attend Photoshop World in Las Vegas this fall, and be assured there are plenty of classes for not photoshop and look forward to more classes with Joe McNally.  I heard some criticisms that Joe spends his time on the how and not on the why.  This is a true statement, but for me at least, this is what I go see him to learn.  And learn I did.  I rate Joe McNally as 5 out of 5 when it comes to helping me learn how to solve a lighting problem.

Thanks to the Meter Masters!

A big shout out to the group of members who joined me for this morning's photowalk on Learning to See Like A Light Meter.  Feedback was very good, so thanks to Kelly,Trevor, Dave, Jay, Angie, Jodi, Richard, Valerie, Jennifer, Will and Eden.  Gosh I hope I did not miss anyone.  

Based on comments from these folks, the next walk I lead will be Learning to Use Fill Flash Outdoors, date and time to be determined.



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