Friday, 7 November 2008

Lightroom for book mock-up

I've been using Lightroom a lot since I first installed it a few weeks ago. I'm finding it great for bulk file handling around my various workflows. This week I started the process of producing a second edition of my Kristiansund book that I put together for SoFoBoMo. Originally I had very few shots from which to choose and pretty much all the decent ones ended up in the book. A pretty good effort for a few hours works and relatively easy to do by hand.

Well now I've got a summer's worth of picturing and a whole lot more shots to choose from. My first rough-cut got me down to 120 plus covers and I'm aiming for 50-60. Enter Lightroom and some nice features.

Here's what I've been doing:

Key to this process has been the use of a Collection. The original files are stored in a varity of locations on my system. The Collection enables me to gather them all in one place without moving or copying the originals.

Once I created the collection, I ran a print of contact sheets to plain paper to eliminate the obvious edits - all those that are not up to the job, duplicates, subjects that don't fit etc.

Next, back to Lightroom to remove those and start ordering the rest. I can easily click & drag the images in the Collection organiser to sort into the chapters and start the basic sequencing. This helps me identify further shots that don't fit, understand the overall story I want to tell and hone in on the best.

I'm not yet done with this process but was able to get from 120 down to around 90 in under an hour, together with having all of the images grouped by chapter. Now it is a question of balancing the chapters & getting to the images that tell the story succinctly.

Using Lightroom in this way is really speeding up the whole process of mocking up the book, especially the difficult task of trimming the selection down to a manageable number of images. I can see this leading to me putting together more books in the future.

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