Overview of the Book Module in Lightroom 4

I have been writing about Lightroom 4 Beta a lot this week, trying to cover all of the new additions for everyone. One of the brand new features is the Book module where you can use pre-created templates to create a book and with a partnership they have with Blurb also submit the book to be printed and bound. So lets take a quick look in to the new Book module in Lightroom 4 and see what it’s all about.

We will start first by going into the library module and picking the images we would like to use for the book. Just for a demo I am picking a group of images that I recently used for a slideshow, these were already set with a keyword and star rating so all that I have to do is filter for them, select all and then I can click over to the book module. Now all of these images will be available in the filmstrip below. Once you click into the book module there are a lot of options to customize the book on the right. I’ll start right from the top with the book settings. This is where you will select if you want to send the book to Blurb for printing or export the final design as a PDF. You will also be able to select the size and other options about the book.

lightroom book module

Once you have the book size configured it’s time to start getting the book layout set. The first option you will see is actually a way to automatically lay the book out for you based off of a preset. What you first would want to do is create a preset by clicking on the Edit Auto Layout Preset option under the Preset drop down. This will bring up a window where you can tell Lightroom what layout preset to use for the left side of the book and the right side. If you don’t want the same format throughout your entire book you can choose to have a Random layout chosen from your Favorites (i’ll show you how to add favorites a little later in the article). You can also choose if you want to have the images Fit (with this it will fit the image within the constraints of the format of the layout. For example if the page layout has a horizontal image but you use a vertical image for this spot it will be vertical with blank space on the sides), or you can choose to have the images Fill (this means it will crop the images to fit into the box and take up the entire space of the frame). You can also choose to have any photo captions added.

lightroom book module auto layout

Once you have the selection for the right side and left side chosen just click the Auto Layout button to have Lightroom create the entire book layout for you. Don’t worry you can always edit the layout after its created so this can be used as your starting point and you can refine from there.

lightroom book module auto layout2

And in a few quick seconds you have your book layout all populated with images!

lightroom book module3

This is the standard view which gives you a thumbnail look at the book but you can change it to other views by using the icons on the bottom left or these keyboard shortcuts:

Thumbnail view: Command E
Page Spread: Command R (first select an image and click Command R to bring up that page spread)
Single Page View: Command T

Another useful feature is from the Thumbnail view you can simply drag and drop images from one page to another. So if one image was out of order you can easily move it to another page by drag and drop.

After the auto layout runs you might still want to change the page layout for some of the pages. You can do this by clicking on one of the pages and then click the triangle that appears under the bottom right of the image.

lightroom book module auto layout3

This will open up a page layout selector where you can choose different layouts based on how many photos you want on the page. Also from this page if you Right click on any of the page layout thumbnails it will give you an option to add this layout to favorites. This is helpful if you want to use the random selection in an automatic layout which will pull from your list of favorite page layouts.

lightroom book module layout

This can get you started creating a basic book but there are lots more features we can customize. I’ll cover more about the Lightroom book module coming soon, so stay tuned for part 2. Also remember to sign up for our email updates to be notified of new articles by entering in your email on the top left. This is a great way to stay connected.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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  1. Great article, as always!
    I am really looking forward to using the Book Module in Lightroom 4, however I have what seems to be a common problem: when I try to open the book module, it says “An error occurred when attempting to change modules”. Just wondering if you or any other readers have a simple solution to this problem? I am working on a Macbook Pro… (I tried to look for a fix on Google but haven’t been successful.)

  2. Hi Antonia,

    I haven’t come across this error at all. I’ll look around and see if I can help find a solution for you.



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