“Love you because” book how to . . .

I have had lots of questions about the specifics of how I put my books together so I thought I would write a post detailing my work.  I started with Ali Edwards “Love You Because” templates from Designer Digitals.  I am a PhotoShop user, but I’m pretty sure this will work in PhotoShop Elements too- the exact steps might be a tad different.  I did a little research to find a book publisher that would allow me to upload full page photos to all of the pages and the covers.  Shutterfly fit the bill!  I wanted a square book so I chose the 8×8″ hardcover.  I also wanted to stick with their standard 20 page format so I designed the book accordingly.  Knowing that I was tackling five different books with a specific deadline I tried to really organize my thoughts.  I created a template showing me all 20pp. at a glimpse so that I could organize my photos and reasons (I’ll upload it here tomorrow)- basically, Reason #1=page 1, Reason #2=pages 2-3, Reason #3=pages 4-5, etc.)  I started making a list for each family member of reasons I loved them and photos I’d like to use.  You will notice that reason #1 is only a single page.  I did this in order to make my 10 reasons fit in 20pp.  This also left an additional single page at the end of the book.  I decided to have each family member write something they loved about the others.  I scanned those in and assembled them in Photoshop.  However, there are a million different things you could do with that last page.  I gathered my photos in separate folders for each person and then I was ready to go!

I decided to make new book templates from Ali’s original set so that I could easily open new documents for each of the 5 books.  I added a .25″ bleed to all the pages since I wanted them to print as full page bleeds (edge to edge).  I recommend dragging your guides over so that you can see where the bleed begins on each page.  That way you will not lose anything important on the edges.  I set up the cover, page 1, page 20 and the back cover as 8.25×8.25″ @ 300dpi.  All of the double page spreads were set up as 8.25″x16.25″ documents @ 300dpi.  I opened Ali’s templates and dragged the word art, number and frame to each page.  I copied each frame, rotated it 180 degrees and added it to the opposite page.  Now you are finally ready to begin designing the pages!  I will create a PhotoShop quick Reference sheet and upload it tomorrow for beginner Photoshop users.

Once you have designed all of your pages you need to prepare them to upload to Shutterfly.  The single pages (cover, page 1, page 20 and the back cover) are easy.  Just flatten each page and make sure it is a jpg.  The double page spreads are a little trickier.  Open each spread, flatten it, then set your crop tool to 8×8″ @ 300 dpi.  Crop from the top left corner all the way to the botton of the page.  You will notice that this selection includes a sliver of the opposite page.  This adds the bleed area and it will print perfectly.  I saved this jpeg as the page number + the letter A.  Crop the other side of the page (including the bleed) and save it as the page number +B.  You will upload each 8×8″ photo to Shutterfly and place as a full photo on each page of the book.  I had to play with the cover photos a bit, but I got them to work.

I think that is about it!  I have a couple of worksheets I’d like to share, but I can’t get to them until tommorrow.  Stop back later in the day and I should have them posted.  If you have any questions feel free to ask!  I’ll answer as best I can.  I had as much fun making these books as my family had receiveing them.  I encourage all of you to take on this project!

Edited to add Planning Worksheet . . . click here love-you-planner1

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January 2, 2011 - 12:38 pm

Elliottsurf - Oh my goodness, I found your blog through the posting that Ali did on her blog.

You are so awesome to share the details of how you did these books! Your photos are amazing and you’ve given me such a great idea for a valentine’s gift for my children and husband! It would also make a great gift for my friends who are turning 50!

I’m looking forward to reading your posts in the new year…would love to read about tips for photography and what camera and lens you use!

PS. You have a BEAUTIFUL Family

January 2, 2011 - 4:36 pm

Karen - THANK YOU! TFS! So, you have a little overlap, is that what goes in the crease of the book/bleed area? I will have to play with it later to figure out exactly what you mean, but what you wrote here seems very clear, I just have to try it out! A dumb question from me: so on the other page (2ndpage) are you cropping starting from the right corner to the bottom I guess? Love this!

January 2, 2011 - 7:25 pm

Kathy - Melissa thank you for sharing and the worksheets sound helpful. I think Ali’s tempates and shutterfly sales will be going up in the next few weeks.

January 3, 2011 - 12:37 pm

Leslie - I haven’t purchased Ali’s templates (yet) so I am curious as to whether she recommends a certain font for the reasons? Which font did you use?

January 3, 2011 - 12:47 pm

Melissa - I used Susie’s Hand for my reasons. You can download it for free here . . . http://www.searchfreefonts.com/free/susies-hand.htm

January 3, 2011 - 5:01 pm

Kris - Absolutely beautiful and inspiring! Thanks for sharing 🙂

January 3, 2011 - 5:47 pm

Juanita - Thank you so much for taking the time to share your project with us. Your books are amazing. And your photography is outstanding. Thanks again.

January 3, 2011 - 7:34 pm

Melissa - Karen- Yes, on the opposite page you would crop from the top right corner. The center has a sliver of overlap, but it all works out once the pages are printed and bound. I also enlarged (transform:scale) the numbers to the edge of the bleed. Everything printed perfectly!

January 4, 2011 - 1:19 am

Ashley - Thank you for sharing your process.
Your books and photographs are wonderful. What treasures!

January 4, 2011 - 12:11 pm

Karen - Thank you for answering my question 🙂 I am going to make one of these for Valentine’s day for the grandparents I think!

January 4, 2011 - 4:26 pm

Carrie C - This is so so cool. Your books are beautiful.

January 4, 2011 - 5:39 pm

Tavia - I tried to comment on your first post…can’t remember what went wrong. Wrote out a long….oh my goodness you are amazing comment & kaput. I can’t resist trying again to tell you these are amazing! Its going on my list of things to do!

January 5, 2011 - 2:24 am

Claudine - Melissa — these photo books you have created are absolutely amazing! What a delight to find your blog (Through Ali Edwards) and see your incredible work!

Best,
Claudine

January 5, 2011 - 11:36 am

Ann-Marie - I just HAVE to add how amazing these are and thank you for sharing the process…you saved a lot of people tearing out their hair because of the chopping due to bleed lines etc!:)
I will be an avid follower of your blog..so inspiring to an amateur want to be pro photographer!
Would love to know what camera and lenses you love.

January 6, 2011 - 2:44 am

Rosa - Thank you sooooo very much!!! I am new in photoshop and have been trying to figure out how to make one of theses for my husband, thank you thank you! cant wait to your post tomorrow!!!

January 6, 2011 - 5:44 pm

Celeste - Your photography is AMAZING!! Thank you so very much for sharing your books and process!
Like those above, I’m new to photoshop and an amateur photographer, but your work is truly inspiring!
Not sure what bleed lines are but hope to figure that out soon. I want to try my hand at these books soon!

January 7, 2011 - 3:20 am

Rosa - it’s me again…I just got to say, your work is awesome! thanks for sharing all the details…but I still have a couple of questions: 1) for the solid color portion of the pages, did you use digital papers or just the pds drop tool and pick one of the color of the pictures? 2) for the writing, did you scanned your own handwriting or did you use any font, which? thanks again 🙂

January 7, 2011 - 8:29 am

Melissa - Rosa- thanks for your comments! Here are some answers . . . #1 I use the dropper tool to select a color from the photo for the bg, but you could certaily use papers. #2 I used the font Susie’s Hand (there is a link at the beginning of this comment section). HTH!

January 7, 2011 - 9:44 am

latoquee - Hello,

First of all, congratulations for your album extraordinary. So extra that I also bought these templates to make an album for my daughter to be baptized in a month.
I have a question: could you tell me what font you used for journaling your pages?
Thank you very much

January 7, 2011 - 11:35 am

Melissa - latoquee- Thanks! The font is Susie’s Hand. There is a link at the beginning of the comments.

January 15, 2011 - 2:26 am

Kate Ha - Wow, I wish I would have found your site sooner! I have to throw away a Blurb book that came today – bleed issues, of course. I have one follow up questions from above – when you said you enlarged the number did you put the edges inside the bleed boundary or outside? Thank you again, I was so disappointed with the first try….

January 21, 2011 - 11:17 pm

Jenna - Love your books! Just bought the template. Question: how did you make the cover page? It wasn’t included in the set that I just bought, so I’m assuming you made it? What fonts? Thanks!

January 22, 2011 - 10:27 am

Melissa - Jenna- I used Ali’s “1” and just played around enlarging different “0”‘s until I found something that looked similar to her “1”. I’m not sure what I ended up using. I also used one the “Love you becasue” word arts and added a polaroid frame I already had. HTH!

January 22, 2011 - 12:24 pm

alicia - LOVE THIS!!! You have inspired me. Question… did you make title page yourself? Bought kit and I don’t see that one. Thanks, alicia.

January 24, 2011 - 3:25 pm

kate - I want to make a couple books for some birthdays! Did you buy the template from designer digitals.com and then slightly modify it? Where did you print the books at?

January 24, 2011 - 5:00 pm

jen - I absolutely love this. What a treasure for your family. I’d love to make one for my son’s upcoming bday…did you happen to post the PS reference sheet? I can’t seem to find it and I’m such a newbie when it comes to PS. Thanks.

January 30, 2011 - 1:37 am

louise - Thanks for the inspiration, Melissa! I NEED to go and make my own now! For the last page, did you use a template for the 16 pics or did you make it on your own? Thanks!

March 16, 2011 - 6:39 pm

Deb Rymer - LOVE your photography and your take on these books. I want to do something similar, but need a “0” as you have it in your title pages “10 Reasons I Love You”. What font did you use for that zero in the number “10”?

Thanks!
Deb

July 31, 2011 - 10:58 am

Tenille - I knew I remember seeing this somewhere! Thanks for taking the time to share this with everyone!

October 5, 2011 - 9:40 pm

Jacqui - Hi, I have started my ‘Love You Because’ photo book and it’s looking fantastic. I was hoping you could tell me what typeface you have used for your ‘because comments’. I have a few similar but really like this one.
Thanks
Jacqui

October 14, 2011 - 2:06 pm

Melissa - Thanks Jacqui! It’s Susie’s Hand.

August 23, 2012 - 12:34 pm

JenS - I have a question about how you saved the images for upload to Shutterfly.
I just got my book from Shutterfly and the frames are all cut off at the bottom (Shutterfly credited my account so I can get it reprinted).
When you created the 2-page spreads at 8.25″x16.25″ how did you create the 8×8 image to be uploaded to Shutterfly – because if you create an 8×8 crop, then you will definitely lose some of the image vertically and horizontally. I think when I did it, I did an 8.25×8.25 crop, but obviously that didn’t work either since my images are all cropped off at the bottom (even though the preview looked fine).
Any help appreciated since obviously your book came out perfect!

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