I have been using Lightroom Classic’s built-in book module to create Blurb photo books for well over a decade. In 2020 I took the plunge and moved my Lightroom catalogue to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service becoming slightly nervous that it may mean the end of my annual Blurb photo book.
I started to experiment with the automated import from Creative Cloud to Blurb’s own ‘Book Wright’ application. I tried the process a number of times and although the photos did import I couldn’t manage to properly order them by date of capture.
Not to be defeated I decided to opt for a simplified manual approach to moving my photos from Lightroom CC to Blurb’s Book Wright software. The following steps document the simply journey from Lightroom to print.
1. Gather the Images for your Blurb Photo Book
In Adobe Lightroom CC load up the ‘all photos’ view and make sure the left menu panel is visible. If it isn’t visible click the little icon on the top left of the screen that features a white menu pane.
Now, click on the ‘by date’ option on the left menu, then click the year of your photo book. If you are anything like me 2020, the year of Covid 19 may mean a lot less photos than previous years.
2. Move your Photographs to a Lightroom CC Album
This is an important stage. Using a Lightroom album allows you to sift through and remove images that you don’t want to include in your Blurb book without deleting the original image.
The more photographs you include the more pages you will need and the more expensive your book will cost. That said Blurb books are exceptionally good value but you don’t want to bore your readers with 3-4 variations of the same image.
With all of the images still selected, from the ‘Photo Menu’ select the ‘add to album’ option, I have one already setup for 2020. If you don’t have an album already set up, (ensuring all the images are still selected) click the little + icon on the albums pane and select ‘Create Album’. Lightroom will then prompt you to name your collection.
3. Edit your Album to contain your best Photos
Now comes the real challenge of editing and filtering your album down to your best photos for inclusion in the photo book.
Important : make sure you are in album view for this stage.
To remove a photograph from the album simply click on the image and press the backspace button. Make sure the Lightroom message that appears is the same as the one below. This ensures you are not deleting the original photo from your Lightroom library you are just removing it from the album.
4. Export your photographs from Lightroom CC
Once you have filtered your images down to those to be included in your book again, use the ‘edit menu’ and click ‘select all’.
It is now time to export the images. Ensuring all the images are still selected, from the ‘File menu’, select the ‘export’ option.
Make sure you export the selection as ‘full size’, ‘100% quality’ with with no watermark. The export process may take some time depending if your images are stored locally or one hundred percent in the cloud.
5. Design your Blurb Photo Book in Book Wright
Once the photographs have exported it is now time to load up the Blurb Book Wright application. Log in and select the format of your book. There are quite a few options although I opted for the recommended easy mode and standard photo book.
Now import your images by clicking on the computer icon with a + on the screen and selected all of the images in the export folder.
Once imported you can sort the images by the date of capture, this ensures your photo book tells the story of the year in a roughly chronological order.
It will probably take you a few hours (or days) working through the design of your book. Book Wright allows for a wide range of page layouts including the ability to add both text boxes and frames to your pages.
At this point I start with the first images (January) and drag them down into the various layout place holders. Once an image has been added to a placeholder you can move or scale it within normal parameters. Book Wright will also add a little tick to each image once it appears in the book.
The Blurb Book Wright application will analyse your photos and warn of any images that may not be of a high enough quality or that are overlapping edges. The software offers advice on how to resolve issues (although you can ignore the advice at your own risk).
6. Send your Photo Book to Print.
Once you are happy with the layout of your book it is possible to export a proofing PDF for other members of your family to check. Finally, once everyone is happy simply upload and pay for the book. As well as the printed book Blurb also offer a PDF service (for a small cost). This allows you to download a high quality digital version of your book.
My books tend to arrive in 7-10 days.