Creating your own coffee table book

It always seemed clunky to get back from a wonderful vacation, with wonderful pictures going to the local photo store, printing lots of 4”x6” prints, culling the bad ones then trying to load the good ones into a photo album(s). The album was always fat and bulky, pictures would slip or you would get half way through and realize that you had a good photo out you forgot to put in the album so you have to go back and move all the photos in the book forward to fit that missing picture. Then the photo book goes on a shelf and collects dust.

No more! Now using two simple tools you can improve your pictures by cropping, adding light, contrast, etc and then turn them into a coffee table book that looks like a pro did it. The first tool that I use is Picasa by Google Picasa is a free program that you download onto your PC.

When you dump your digital card Picasa can be used to create a file structure so you can organize your photos, enhance your photos and create online albums. Photoshop is the king of photo manipulation but Picasa gives the novice the tools to turn mediocre pictures into a good pictures.  Once you have enhanced your photos do a save in Picasa so your changes are saved. One thing I like about Picasa is that it makes a copy of the original photo so can always undo your changes. See the example below.

Next go to My Publisher and download their software. My Publisher allows you to create various styles of books, cards or calendars. I have created 5 or 6 different books, from a photo journalistic perspective using photos from our vacation to a family recipe cookbook where I scanned old family photos, retouched them with Picasa and included them among family recipes.

As I mentioned, My Publisher allows you to select from different styles of books, Storyteller is my favorite because it gives the option to put a lot of copy around your pictures. The program also allows you to choose from a number of different page layouts with different numbers of photos, different aspect ratios (horizontal or vertical) and text or no text formats.

The first step is import the pictures you would like to use in your book, then putting those photos into various layouts throughout the book. You can pick different covers and background colors for the pages. I like choosing their top quality book with a black background. Every book I have purchase from My Publisher has been created and shipped in a week’s time and the quality has been excellent. If you would like to see some of the books I have created please reply to this post and I will send you a link where you can view them online.

A couple of quick suggestions for book creators:

  • Before you submit your book make sure that all of your copy is spelled right. I type my copy into Word, review it multiple times and then cut and paste it into the book.
  • Before you purchase your book search the internet for coupons for My Publisher, I have found 2 for 1 and 40% off coupons.
  • If you pictures are not the level of quality that should be included you will see a red line around the photo.       

The price for a book will vary on size and quality of the book style you choose, the number of pages and if you are using a discount coupon. I have found the price range between $60 and $150 per book. 

I highly recommend My Publisher, their quality is excellent, the speed at which you recieve you book is amazing and I have found their customer service to be impeccable.