27 April 2010

Five Minutes for Eternity - a Wedding Photo Book Created in a few Steps 

A wedding photo book, printed and bound as a single print or in any number of copies. Thanks to free software from online vendors such as FotoInsight and Printing-1 this has become accessible to everyone. How fast a glossy wedding book can be done and that a wedding photo book in deluxe leather cover is available for under 40.- Pounds is shown in the following article: "wedding photo book - five minutes for eternity."

The best news first: photo book software from vendors such as FotoInsight and Printing-1 is designed so that the photo book can almost completely be done in autopilot, while it still offers you the option to edit the design or to add finishing touches. Thus, even design novices can cheer the creation of their wedding photo book. But the artistically well-versed will have all the freedom to express their own ideas in the photo book.

Design software - free and self explanatory
The software for the creation of photo books is available online as a free download, for example on http://fotoinsight.co.uk/ and www.printing-1.co.uk - for both Windows and Mac computers (FotoInsight Designer is also one of the few options for Linux users). The installation is easy and takes less than 10 minutes. When opening the application, the user is given the option to edit an existing photo book layout or to create a new one. Those using it for the first time, will of course always create a new photo book.

Apart from vendors where a software download is required for the photo book design there are other online sites where photo books can be created from within the web browser. Obviously the editing features are limited to what can be delivered in a web session through a browser. Another burden is that every image has to be uploaded in full resolution; with hundreds of professionally shot photographs, this can be a frustrating and time consuming process. For good reasons most photo book services in Britain, like FotoInsight und Printing-1 offer a free software tool download.

The application interface of the photobook software of the providers mentioned above (and most others follow this layout, too) is divided into seven areas: the main menu bar, the menu tree, thumbnail images, the photo book list, the photo book page view, the toolbar and menu. A novice photo book designer can open the folder containing the images to be included in the photo book. In the case of a wedding photo book, this should be all the pictures of the wedding that should go into the wedding photo album. The images now appear in the "thumbnails" field.

Layout - complete freedom
To start a photo book, one thing to be decided from the start is the book format and type of cover. Printing-1 allows to change the page size at any stage of the design process, however, computers aren't perfect at resizing individually laid out page designs. So it is best to stick to the page size once the design has been started. 

Clicking on the "layout" tab allows you to choose the number of images and text fields per page and how they should be arranged. During the design process sets of pages can be added as required. The page layout can be created, chosen or changed for each individual page in the book at any stage. To pick a layout, simply click in the "storyboard" on the double page to be changed and the layout section to pick the desired layout. The program will do the rest.

By now the photos have been chosen and the book format has been defined. Clicking on the "thumbnails" section on the "apply" button, the Printing-1 software imports the images into the photo book. With FotoInsight Designer, the "PHOTO BOOK Assistant" is activated by clicking on its icon (bottom left), dragging the thumbnails for the book form the preview into the selection box and clicking "Create Photo Book". Voila!  The result can be seen in edit mode on the "Storyboard" or displayed as something closer to the real book in the "Preview". 

Of course, both applications also allow to place photos individually at any location or angle in the photo book instead of having them laid-out automatically by the software. This works simply through "drag & drop", i.e. clicking on the desired picture in the "thumbnails section"; hold the left mouse button and then drag the image to the appropriate place in the photo book. Once all images have been positioned in the photo book, it is a good idea to check all the pages to ensure no layered picture is covering any important elements of a background picture and that all images have sufficient resolution for their size. If an image has a barely adequate picture quality, a yellow warning light flashes on the screen. If the picture quality is insufficient a red warning will appear; making the image smaller usually resolves the problem. 

Finishing touches - image editing
As a finishing touch, images can be improved. In the FotoInsight Designer software any image can be edited through a double click and in the application from Printing-1 image editing tools can be reached through the toolbar. The applications from FotoInsight and Printing-1 offer under icons like 'page', 'new image' 'text', 'processing', 'layout adaption', 'rotation', 'frame options', 'zooming', optimization etc  and includes numerous design, text and image processing tools. E.g. there is a tool to rotate images freely or in increments and another one to add text, but make sure that you select an appropriate font size. Images can also be converted from colour to black and white.

A wedding photobook becomes most interesting taking into account a few design tips: A photo book is basically about telling the "story of your wedding" through photographs. For this it is best to create chronological chapters, like preparations, civil wedding, church wedding, the party etc. Each chapter might be introduced by an overarching main picture, for example, a photo of the church for the chapter, "church wedding".

Once happy with the design of the wedding book, it is easy to order it online. Clicking on the 'order' icon in the 'main menu bar' starts the checkout process in which the address details and print data will be transmitted to a photo lab. The wedding book will be professionally printed, bound and delivered by post within a few days.

System requirements:
FotoInsight Designer 4.5.9 - Win, Mac, Linux
1 Ghz processor
512 MB RAM
Windows 2000, XP, Vista; Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Linux Kernel 2.6, glibc 2.6

Windows and MacOS

Articles for free publication:
"Factsheet" about FotoInsight Ltd. and Printing-1

IITM LLP  |  London, UK  |  Tel +44 (0) 20 76177469  |  http://IITM.info

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