What if you don’t want to use Blurb?

One of the brand new feature that came out with Lightroom 4 beta was the ability to create books. If you haven’t looked at this yet check out our overview of the book module in Lightroom 4. With this Adobe is trying to make it really easy for us to create a book layout while still in Lightroom and also send that right off to be printed. I love how they are trying to make Lightroom more and more of a all in one application. The more things I can do with Lightroom without having to move to another app is great. The only bummer for me is they only picked one company to work with for books (at least for now). If you want to create a book layout and then send it right to a printer the only option you have is Blurb. While I haven’t used them in awhile I normally do not create press printed books for my clients. Since I shoot primarily weddings I want to create an archival product and always have books created that are printed photographically. Also I don’t like the hinge on most of these types of books and like a book that can lay more flat with no real crease in the center.

So what if I want to use Lightroom 4 to create a book but use any other printer/binder to create it. There is a way to accomplish this although it isn’t the easiest way. I hope that Lightroom 4 when it’s out of beta will add a export to jpeg option which would make this way better. You can choose to create your book as a PDF at the very top book settings on the right. Just make sure that you have the JPEG quality set to high to make sure you get the best possible resolution in the PDF.

Then once you design the book click the Export book to PDF button at the very bottom of the page. Now we have a high resolution PDF but what can I do with that? If I want to get a book printed I need to have a JPEG image to send off to my lab for printing. I tried to open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Professional and then export the spreads as a JPEG. Big Fail. The contrast was lost in the conversion, there were JPEG artifacts and overall just a loss of quality. I was using the highest amount of resolution when exporting but in the process lost a lot of important data. Tried to export from Acrobat as a TIFF and still a lot of loss of data.

So the best way to get these into a format that a lab can print? Just simply open in Photoshop which will bring up the following dialog box. From here make sure that you choose Pages instead of Images at the top left and then choose to Crop to Media box. This will open up each page as a separate Photoshop document and keeps a very high resolution to your book layout.

That’s it, a fairly easy way to create a book layout in Lightroom 4 and then use that with any printer/binder.

If you have any questions just let me know, I love to hear your comments!

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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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