Build A Book On Your Phone

We spent most of the month of June wandering across the country. The main point of our trip was to watch our oldest grandchild graduate from high school – in California. We took advantage of this event to see as much as we could on our way there and back. It was an amazing trip with plenty of time to hang out with the California clan and visit many of the national parks across the southern half of our country. Of course we took loads of pictures and now it’s time to turn those photos into a book documenting this great adventure.

Blurb is an impressive photobook platform giving you the ability to incorporate photos and text into a beautiful book. Their free Bookwright app [Windows and Mac] provides all the tools to create professional quality books, magazines and even ebooks. My project is much simpler and I’m taking advantage of their Blurb app for iOS. This app is also free and it is amazingly easy to use. That’s because there are limited features for including text and other embellishments you may want to include in your book. Yes, you can add captions to your photos, but sometimes you need more.

Embellished photo
Photo book cover page

The answer to that concern came from an old copy of Somerset Memories magazine. One article discussed how the artist “embellished” a photobook project much like mine. She “photoshopped” some of the images to add text layers, titles and emphemera before including them in her book project. She even intentionally designed photo pages with enough white space to add hand-written text once the book was printed. The result is delightful!

I’m using the Supermatic app [iOS – free with $2.99 in-app purchase for additional features] to embellish my photos before moving them to the Blurb app for printing. In the example above I added a box and reduced the opacity so viewers can see the sky behind the box. Title text is added in the box. Natchez TraceHere I used the banner shape to add text over the photo. There are a number of fonts available and the in-app purchase adds several more. You can also add your own fonts if you are so inclined. It’s well worth the $2.99 price.Pig Out Inn

Supermatic also includes a broad range of frame templates with tools to add color and texture to them. I’m still in the experimental stage . . . playing with different frames, fonts, overlays and colors to find a style to use throughout the book.

Speaking of “the book”. Blurb’s iOS app is also free and available for both iPhone and iPad. There are only two options for book sizes when using this app. The mini square book is 5×5 inches and the small square book is 7×7 inches. Each book starts at 20 pages for a fixed price – $12.99 for the mini and $29.99 for the small. After that it’s pay-per-page.

While each of the examples shown are designed as squares, I’m also working on some portrait and landscape layouts to see how they look just in case I want to do some post-printing embellishment when I get the finished book.

Since these are both mobile apps, they would have been even more useful for capturing people, places and special moments while we were on the road. Unfortunately, I didn’t put two and two together until after we got home. It’s still fun going through all the pictures and telling their stories, but it also means I’ll be ready the next time we hit the road.

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