One of the most powerful but underutilized features in Lightroom is the Lightroom Book Module.
Print may seem like a thing of the past. But people still love having something tangible like a photo book. This allows them to experience beautiful imagery directly.
Read on for our step-by-step guide on how to use this powerful Lightroom feature.
What Is the Book Module?
Adobe Lightroom is one of the most popular post-processing software out there. And it comes with a lot of image organization and optimization capabilities.
Adobe integrated the bookmaking module into the Lightroom. They did this in collaboration with the independent book publishing company Blurb. It’s available in both Lightroom Classic and CC.
Blurb is available in many countries. If it’s not accessible to you, you can still use the Book Module to save your books as an Adobe PDF. Then you can have them printed by the printer of your choice.
A photo book can make a great portfolio piece to share with friends or family, or even clients.
The Library Module: The First Step
Before making your photo book in the actual Book Module, you’ll need to spend some time in the Library Module. This is where you’ll organise and sequence the images you want to appear in your book.
If you want to include captions with your book images, this is a good time to put them in, via the Metadata. You can also add copyright information that can be applied to all your images,
While in the Library Module in Grid View, start by creating a Collection of images for your book. You do this by first selecting the images you want while in Grid View.
Hold down the Command/Ctrl + N key to select non-consecutive images.
Once selected, click on the plus (+) sign. You’ll find it next to collections in the left-hand panel of the Lightroom interface.
At this point, you don’t have to be certain about the final image selection. You can add or remove images at any time in the process, and change the sequencing of your images as well.
The Lightroom Book Module: Settings
When you have your images ready in the Collection, it’s time to enter the Book Module.
Highlight the Collection containing the images for your book by clicking on it. Then click on the Book Module in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
All your images will populate the spreads of the book. If this doesn’t happen, click on the “Auto Layout” tab under Auto Layout.
Below the Book Module menu, you’ll find two options:
Create Saved Book: You save the default layout and refine the design and image sequence.
Clear Book: You clear the layout and build your book from scratch. You can use a wider selection of templates.
Before you get started, you need to choose your Book Settings from the first pull-down menu.
Decide on the format and size of your book. For my book, I decided on the “Large Landscape”.
It’s best to make this decision before starting your layout process. The size will affect the layout of your images and any captions or other text you might put in your book.
In this menu, you can choose to print a Blurb book. You can also generate a PDF or series of JPG files for output through another printing service.
You can also select from three cover types for a print version of your book. These are a Hardcover Image Wrap, a Hardcover Dust Jacket, or a Softcover book.
If you’re creating a PDF or JPGs, there is a “No Cover” option available.
You’ll also need to decide on your paper type.
This is a personal choice. It can be influenced by the genre of photography you shoot, and the purposes of your photo book.
You might select the option for a PDF or JPG output. Then the Book Settings menu will change to display a sliding scale of JPG quality settings.
It will also give you various other choices for optimization. These include color profiling and sharpening.
For printing with Blurb, there is an option create a logo page. This has nothing to do with your own company logo. It means the Blurb logo will be printed on the end page of your book.
Doing so will give you a discount. It’s not recommended if you’re creating a portfolio or magazine for commercial use.
You’ll also see a cool feature at the bottom of the Book Settings menu for Estimated Price. This feature calculates your price per book. You can preview how much the choices you make your design will cost you at checkout.
You can choose from several different currencies.
Book Layout Options
As mentioned before, you can use the default layout or choose other options from the Auto Layout menu. You can find these options by clicking on the arrow beside the preset options in the Page panel.
Scroll down to choose how many photographs you want in the spread. You can also find all the options for the custom templates here. This tab will allow you to design your book page by page.
The Lightroom Book Module also offers templates based on the content of your book. You can find these under the options and include Portfolio, Travel, or Wedding.
The Favorites category allow you to save the templates you may want to use again and again.
The Cell menu allows you to size individual images with the Padding slider. Adjusting the initial slider applies padding to all sides of the image.
For more control, click on the triangle at the top right of the menu box. This will reveal Padding adjustments for each side of the image.
Click Link All to apply padding to all sides.
Covers and Backgrounds
The Lightroom Book Module offer you several choices for cover designs. You can access 12 template options for your front and back covers. Click on the black triangle at the bottom right of the highlighted cover cell.
You can find the Background panel at the bottom of the panel menu. It allows you to add a colour and graphic elements to your layout.
Click on the black triangle in the middle of the panel. This will reveal a range of graphic treatments. These are relevant to travel and wedding subject categories. You can also choose your own photo with Photos.
This will allow you to select an image to use as a background treatment. You can control how visible the graphic or image will be in the background with the Opacity Slider.
Click on Background Color to access the colour picker. This will allow you to choose from a variety of colors or shades of grey.
Text and Type
The Text and Type menus will help you to add captions or other texts to your book.
You can find tools for both “Photo Text” and “Page Text” in the Text menu.
To the right of the Photo Text box is a pulldown menu with text options. These can be taken from your image Metadata and then edited if desired.
You can move a text box up and down the page with the Offset slider. The Top and Bottom buttons allow for the automatic placement of the text in relation to images.
To choose a font for your text, click on the Type Menu. This will display the many available typefaces and other customizing options.
Once you’ve decided on individual text and type options, go to the Lightroom Edit Menu in your browser’s menu bar. Click on Select All Text Cells to apply your choices throughout the entire book.
While working on your book, you might realize some of the images need further retouching. Or you may also want to make universal changes to all the images, like increase the sharpening level.
This is easy to solve by navigating back to the Develop Module. You can make individual or universal image adjustments. Then, you can navigate back to the Book Module to finish laying out your book.
The changes will be automatically updated in your layout!
You can also rearrange your images by dragging and dropping them onto pages.
Check and Proof Your Book Before Printing
The black lines and grey edges that appear close to the borders of each page are print production guides. The Guides Menu displays the various production guides for image bleeds and text bounding boxes. You can choose to have these displayed while you’re designing your book.
You can turn these guides off if you find them too much of a distraction while you’re creating your layout. Don’t forget to turn them back on and check for production errors before printing.
If possible, print a review copy before sending it off. You might be using Blurb to print several copies of a magazine or other promotional pieces. It’s helpful to order one to review in this case.
Mistakes in retouching are more obvious in print and easier to pick up on than they are on the screen.
Note that the cost of shipping a single item may be almost as much as the book. But it’s not as costly as ordering many that you end up not using because they’re faulty somehow.
To deliver the book to Blurb, click the Send Book to Blurb button. This is in the lower right corner of your screen above the filmstrip.
If you’re producing the book as a PDF or JPG, click the Export Book to PDF/JPG button. Make sure you have selected either of those options in Book Settings first.
With Blurb, you have commercial quality printing at an affordable price. But you might want to print on your own with your preferred printer. You can still design the book using Lightroom’s Book Module. Save it as a PDF/JPG and you’re good to go.