May 6, 2011 at 8:15 pm #1273447
Have any photographers out there used a photo book printing service called Blurb?
If so, how were the results?
–B.G.–May 7, 2011 at 9:38 am #1734196
Sorry, I haven't used it, although I meant to and mean to. I used Shutterfly to make a couple of books, and that went well, but I want to design a book completely on my own without online software, so I was going to try Blurb's PDF option. I've heard really good things about the quality of their printing. It's probably worth trying. :)May 9, 2011 at 9:17 pm #1734839
Michael LBPL Member
I'm not much of a photographer but I've used blurb. I liked the quality more than shutterfly. They aren't for a serious pro in my opinion but good enough for an amerture like me. If you are calibrated you should be set there but you might still order a small cheaper book to test the quality and brightness.
I've had better luck with landscape images over the people pictures.
Had some issues with them butthe hooked me up with a corrected free repacement.
Hope that helps. Replying on my phone is s pain! :)May 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm #1734851
Blurb offered me a free book, but it doesn't seem like there is enough of a customer base here to make it worth the effort, or at least not with backpackers.
–B.G.–May 10, 2011 at 7:32 am #1734952
Michael LBPL Member
Might not be. Depends on your value of your time. The booksmart software from blurb is very nice and easy to use imo. I tried about 6 or so different options (shutterfly, mpix, etc) before settling on it due to ease of use/flexibility for what I wanted.
I'd be an interested market segment, but in general you are right. The backpacking community does have a lot of frugal members that wouldn't pay much – if anything – no matter how great your product is.May 10, 2011 at 9:28 am #1734985
I've just had an album printed by Blurb
I have a 24mp full frame camera and color calibrated monitor, so here are a few notes:
1 – quality is good for the price, but not excellent. While all the pictures do look good under normal viewing conditions, if you focus the eye on the edges and transitions in the pictures you will see that the lines are not "fine". They are somewhat jagged.
for $20 (cost of printing), it's not bad and probably better than some, but this is not book store album quality.
2 – paper is pretty thin. If you have any source of light behind the book/pages as you are flipping them, you will see the image on the reverse side of the page
3 – mate paper is also less contrasty and feels cheaper than glossy paper
4 – some images came out slightly darker than the image on the calibrated screen, but not bad. Doesn't spoil the image, just looks different to those who saw original.
5 – don't print the smallest "40 page" book, put more pages as 20 leafs (40 pages) is barely enough and it feels really thin in the hands. print 40-60 leafs (80-120 pages) and get hard cover – this will make the book much more presentable.
Also if you are printing anything that you really care about – go for the heavier/thicker paper.May 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm #1735085
Yuki, thanks. This is more depth than what I was hearing from other Blurb users.
You stated that some images came out slightly darker than the image on the calibrated screen. OK. Do you think that could have been a calibration shift in your system, or more of a printing defect by Blurb? If it is the latter, maybe they know about it, or maybe they have already done something about it.
–B.G.–May 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm #1735086
Can anybody compare a book printed by Blurb with one by MPIX? MPIX has been my calendar printer for a couple of years now, but I have never used them for a book.
–B.G.–May 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm #1735127
It could be a few things – conversion into a color space (from my SRGB into RGB or something else), or it could be their printing process on mate paper (anything on mate paper looks less contrasty due to ink absorption and light reflection).
Or it could be my calibration to be slightly off. I use Spyder Pro from ColorVision, but my monitor is not top of the line graphics model with IPS panel – just a consumer grade unit.
I just got home and received an e-mail from my sister who just saw the album – she like it and didn't see any issues. So as I've said – it doesn't look bad or anything, just slightly less bright in sunlit areas in the image.May 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm #1735153
"Or it could be my calibration to be slightly off. I use Spyder Pro from ColorVision, but my monitor is not top of the line graphics model with IPS panel – just a consumer grade unit."
I, too, use a Colorvision Spyder on an ordinary Samsung display.
The Apple users have one standard, and everybody else has another standard. At least we have plenty of standards, and more all the time.
Ordinary folk can look at a printed piece and like it, simply because they do not know what the original photo had in it for detail, and they are simply looking at the content. Photographers know what extra they had to do to get that tiny bit of detail to show up in the original photo, and if that gets lost at the printer, it is a bummer.
–B.G.–May 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm #1735160
Mike In SocalBPL Member
Ohhhh… the time and money I have spent trying to understand printer profiles… You can have a camera and monitor that are well calibrated but you also need to make sure you have the right printer profile installed if you want accurate color reproduction. For more information, see the Color Management Resource Center on Blurb's site.
There, they have an intro to color management document and instructions on how to set up a color-management workflow.
MikeMay 10, 2011 at 5:24 pm #1735170
Color profile management is extremely hard. And yes, you are absolutely right that printer should also be calibrated.
Now to be completely honest, the printing facility should provide their print profiles so they can be applied before the printing process. That way the printer will put on paper exactly what you tell it to put and not what it "translates" your picture should be like.
Managing profiles for different labs, monitors, computers, etc is very time consuming, so i generally just calibrate the monitor and do test prints do adjust for the final product (this is actually easier, while more expensive).
I also have a Mac with an LED screen, but while it's panel is superior to my main screen, it is also smaller (it's a 15" MacBook Pro laptop).
So would i recommend using Blurb for album printing? Yes – they are better than what my family printed at Costco (who outsources to snapfish i believe). Blurb is not for $100 art album that you display proudly on your shelf or to picky clients, but it is an excellent place to print your "coffee table book" and not be ashamed of it.May 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm #1735188
Rick DreherBPL Member
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
I know little of this self-publish world and have what may be a silly question: do you convert to cymk before mastering and submitting your images?
RickMay 10, 2011 at 6:53 pm #1735197
In some situations, the printer company will read the color management information out of the data in the file, and then convert it to whatever they need for their particular printer device. That may or may not get perfect results.
Some printer companies tell you to convert to CYMK before you send the file. Some will take RGB or sRGB.
I know that my system is color calibrated within my home office. Plus, I can send a file to MPIX, and that prints correctly. I just don't know much about Blurb as a company or what results to expect. I was offered one free book by Blurb, so there aren't a lot of second chances.
"You never get a second chance to make a good first impression."
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