Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to make an e- photo book

Presentation of your photography in an e-book

To give more viewers access to your photographs, a relatively new way is to publish them in a book that is not printed but accessible online.
I want to show you a simple way of doing this using free software, OpenOffice.org Impression, and a free publishing site, www.issuu.com.
The first you can download for free http://www.openoffice.org/index.html,
or if you have Microsoft Powerpoint installed on your computer you can of course use that instead.
For issuu you have to sign up with them but it is really straightforward, you only need an email address.

Fig 1: signing up with issuu

I. Making the book

The kind of presentation that works best with photos is a simple layout,
with a neutral background.
The default background colour here is white but it is possible to change that to any colour, see what works best with your photos.
O.k. Lets start with the cover page, you want at least one photo here and the title of your photo book and your name or any other information you want to give, not too much though.

 Fig 2: Starting your powerpoint or open office presentation

Fig 3: inner cover and title pages

The next page should be plain and on the third your book title again with the authors name and a very short description what the book is about,maybe the year also.
When I tried an ebook first I forgot to add these pages, I did not visualize what is left and right in the book and the careful sequence it had put in order became meaningless.
After this put your photos on new pages one at a time for more impact, you want a kind of classy look not a scrapbook style or maybe you do, then go ahead.

Put them all in the same kind of grid even if they are of a different size and orientation, try at least to have one margin the same distance, especially on left and right facing pages ( for same orientated pictures I actually copied the last finished page and put the new photo on top).

You can give a title to each photo or a place and a time although no title is more mysterious and should the pictures not speak for themselves?

Go on until you reach the end of your book, between 30 and 40 pages is a good number. Now see if you want to make it look like a real book then add one or two blank pages as the back.

Fig 3: one white page added as back cover

Under "file" export your presentation as a pdf, give it a nice name and keep track where you exported it to. You can actually send this pdf file to people but it will not look like a book with "turning" pages yet.

II. Sending your file to issuu

With figure 1 you were signing up with issuu , now lets get started with uploading your pdf file. Go to www.issuu.com and log in with your password.
Somewhere in the top right corner you will find upload a document, click on that.

 Fig 4 and 5: upload form needs to be filled in

Browse for your pdf file, then fill in all the empty fields.
Be careful to choose in type (dropdown): book
publishing (dropdown): public /privat-which can still be
embedded on blog or website
sharing options (dropdown): I prefer no to download
Now click upload and if there is a communicating error which seems to be happening to me of late, click ok then on simple upload, situated under upload.
A new window will open and you only need to browse again for your file.
The actual uploading time depends on the size of your file, it can be a few minutes, your file also needs to be converted (done automatically).
Do not close the window during the upload process, you can minimize though.

Once the upload is finished go to My Library, on the left you will find My Publications, click on private or public, depending what you chose earlier and you should be able to see your book!!!

III. Embedding your e-book in your blog or website
Click on your book in the shelf, it should get a thin blue frame around itself,
then click on embed

 fig 6: getting the html script for embedding

A new window will open and you need to choose the place you are going to put your book up, eg blogger for this kind of blog or html for a website.
Also choose layout: two up, the size: eg 500 pixels wide for sk camera club blog, you can choose a backdrop colour, have the book pages turning automatically and even put some musik with it which I have never done, I am not too sure about copyrights there.

 Fig 7: customizing and embedding for blogger

Copy the Embed Code (ctrl+c) and the paste this (ctrl+v) into your blog, make sure you are in html not in compose mode.
Publish and to see the book in full screen click on it. Voilá !!

 Article written by Eva Herrmann

PS I changed the width of the main column so maybe all photos could be in x-large and the width of your e- book actually 600 pixels.

And the book can be seen here.....


  1. Excellent article, something else for me to try out, thanks for the detailed lesson.

  2. just spoted the article, can't wait to try it out. Thanks Eva, trish