Book Design and Imaging

Concerned about photo quality for my Photography book

I have been reading other authors complaining about the Image quality in their finished product.  I am publishing a Photography Book with @ 200 images, 150 pgs. I have been spending MONTHS on this project and hope I have not wasted my time. Any feedback on image quality issues would be Greatly appreciated!

Thanks in Advance Everyone,

Cheers,

Lowell Cottle 

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Posted by
lowellcottle
Jun 3, 2008 11:55am PDT
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lowellcottle
 

I think it’s all a matter of expectations. I spent close to two months putting together a 400+ page book and I certainly don’t think I "wasted my time" – the results are far more impressive than I could have got by printing all the photos out individually and putting them in albums – and especially as it only cost me £61, delivered to my door!

Will the photos look like photographic prints that you would get on glossy photo paper from a photo lab? No – this is a book, it’s printed on ordinary paper and using a different process.

However, I have ordered two books from Blurb and the photo quality has been just as good as any decent shop-bought book. I won’t deny that if you bought a very expensive fine-art coffee-table book, the pages would be thicker and the printing probably better – but it wouldn’t have YOUR photos in it!

Most of my full-bleed pages (10 x 8 size book) were printed from 2mp images (resampled in Photoshop) and I was still very impressed by the image quality.

Yes, if you look very closely at the page you can see the screening dots of the printing process, the same as on any book printed with this message (look at a quality glossy colour magazine, it’s the same kind of thing), but IMHO the pictures look great.

I’m at the office at the moment, but maybe when I’m at home I should take a close-up macro shot of a printed page and post it here so you can see what I’m talking about.

Unless you are a real perfectionist I think you will be delighted with your book.

Posted by
robkingston
Jun 3, 2008 12:58pm PDT
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robkingston
 

"the same as on any book printed with this message"

Not quite sure what I meant there… any book printed with this method, I think!

Posted by
robkingston
Jun 3, 2008 12:59pm PDT
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robkingston
 

I’m a photographer, and I’m about as picky as they come. There’s quite a few complaints on the board about photo quality, but as far as I can tell they all come down to either A.) uncalibrated monitors or B) not softproofing.

I’ve seen a few people trying to compare color/quality to prints from everything from home printers to Costco or Walgreens, but I won’t even start on how many things are wrong with that. Blurb in my mind is a consumer printer, and the majority of their users are consumers (at least the posters on this board). There’s nothing wrong with that, but printing is a complicated process and beyond most consumers understanding. You kind of have to disregard a lot of the feedback, and realize if you do everything on your end correct, the quality of the photos will be only limited by the printing technology, which is going to be the same with any book in a bookstore.

I’m sure there’s an occassional bad batch due to printers falling out of calibration or bad ink, but 95% of quality complaints on these boards are user error.

The colors and brightness are spot-on in mine. You have to make the same adjustments you would if printing anywhere else. Dark images (not underexposed, just dark on purpose) need to be brightened a tad for print, reds will never be quite the same, photo’s need to be high enough resolution, etc.

  

 

Posted by
semipixel
Jun 3, 2008 1:00pm PDT
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semipixel
 

Justin and Rob…Thank You both

I greatly appreciate your time to answer my question/concerns. Perhaps the key is to have everything correct on my end, and let the printing technology work its magic.  I suppose that’s all anyone can do to get the most from the image quality. I’m quite relieved to hear other professionals’ opinions on the subject, and my time will be well spent. I have spent a year and a half, so far, taking thousands of images and compiling the latest information for the 40 or 50 pages of text that will go onto this book project. Thanks again,

Cheers,

Lowell 

Posted by
lowellcottle
Jun 3, 2008 1:26pm PDT
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lowellcottle
 

As promised, I’ve taken some "extreme close-ups" of photos in my book. I actually think the screening dots show up a lot worse in these photos than they do to the naked eye, but they do say the camera never lies…

The full-size version of this pic is here: http://i28.tinypic.com/ilk2hh.jpg

Rob

Posted by
robkingston
Jun 4, 2008 12:44am PDT
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robkingston
 

(I included the whole page in the background to give a sense of scale. This is a 10×8 book, so the dimensions of the first inset are about 1.75" (4.5cm) square, and the second one less than 0.4" (1cm) square

Posted by
robkingston
Jun 4, 2008 12:49am PDT
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robkingston
 

Hi Rob,

Hey, Thanks for sharing…again I appreciate your time.

My bigger concern is the color as I see it on my monitor and how it will actually come out when printed.  I have downloaded the HP Indigo Press 5000 semi matte, so I can soft proof in CS3. If this is accurate, all my pictures seem to have washed out colors and less details. I am afraid to correct it, and actually not sure how to get the look I want.  To correct 200 pictures would be a huge set-back for my book and I’m not convinced that this is how the photos will actually look when printed. 

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I should just let it ride and hope for the best. I suppose I can change all the images after I get my first copy of the book.

Thanks again,

Lowell 

Posted by
lowellcottle
Jun 12, 2008 2:15pm PDT
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lowellcottle
 

Lowell,

Have a look at the other post you posted, and have a look at my suggestion in that forum discussion.

http://forums.blurb.com/forums/4/topics/3100

Hope that helps.
Brian
[A passionate Blurbarian]

Posted by
brianbonitz
Jun 12, 2008 3:28pm PDT
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brianbonitz