Create a Lulu of a Photo Calendar for 2006
Building the perfect photo calendar, just in time for the new
By Arthur Bleich
are great for showing off your pictures but grinding them out slowly
on an inkjet printer and laboriously assembling each one by hand
isn't my idea of fun. It's not cheap, either.
if you could put together a professionally-printed, four-color,
spiral-bound calendar on heavy, semi-gloss paper stock in a couple
of hours and then order and pay for only as many as you want? And
what if the set-up was free? Sound too good to be true? Not if you
let Lulu do it. Lulu.com is a totally automated print-on-demand
publisher; after you put your calendar together it gets stored on
their server, ready to go at a moment's notice.
a calendar order comes in, it's printed within three to four business
days and then shipped by whatever carrier you specify. And it only
costs US $11.45 each plus shipping, even cheaper if you order in
quantity. If you want them to, Lulu will also sell your calendar
online so both you and they can make a profit.
you have to take a leap of faith because you canāt email or call
anyone at Lulu to guide you through the process -- that's why it's
so inexpensive. But the instructions, with some rare exceptions
that I'll get into later, are detailed and simple to follow. If
you do run into technical trouble (like an upload that's not working)
you can contact them online and they'll fix it.
registering at their site, I clicked into the calendar section to
begin my project, a 2006 cat calendar I named The Miami Cat Factory.
Since I wasnāt interested in selling it commercially, I clicked
on Direct Access which made my calendar available only to myself
and those with whom I shared a private URL: (www.lulu.com/content/147681).
Feel free to order a copy if you want to see the kind of quality
Lulu offers using Xerox's new state-of-the-art iGen3 color presses.
I used cat pictures taken with a variety of cameras Iāve reviewed
over the years, some with resolutions as low as 1MP.
began by assembling my images and pre-sizing them to go on the monthly
calendar pages (see Preparing Your Calendar Images). Then I plunged
in, reassured by Lulu that revisions could always be made, even
after the calendar had been finalized. You can also scratch the
entire project and begin over if you want to. And you don't have
to complete the job in one session; you can work on it over several
days or weeks. Since thereās no charge for any of this, there's
no pressure. So do as I did and just take it a step at a time. If
you run into a glitch or two, itās not fatal.
to do a standard calendar with classically laid out date pages annotated
with national holidays. There are other styles available and you
can even insert your own event reminders. Uploading my images (about
65MB worth) took 50 minutes, even with a high speed internet connection.
Donāt despair. Even if the status bar doesnāt seem to move, things
are happening behind the scenes. Walk your dog, pet your cat or
have a cuppa. By the time you come back, thumbnails of your pictures
will be on miniature calendar pages. Then it's time to do the cover.
cover title will be the same name as your project, so remember that
when you first name your project. Trying out different typefaces,
sizes, and colors was fairly straightforward but when I wanted a
credit line to read "Photographs By" all I got was my name. So I
went back to the beginning and changed the author's first name field
to Photographs By and last name field to Arthur H. Bleich. That
did the trick. There are also a few options on the Cover page that
only apply to book covers -- ignore them.
cover text and its placement is bare-bones, to say the least, so
you might want to consider a work-around that will allow more flexibility.
Try laying out the cover in your imaging program, adding text and
other design elements wherever you want them. Then upload the composite
image as your cover photo, leaving all the option boxes unchecked.
This will also work on individual calendar pages if, for example,
you want to do multiple images per page, a caption under each picture
or a photographerās credit.
next-to-final step involves a conversion process that gets your
images press-ready. Despite Lulu's warnings (mainly for book authors)
about how long this might take, it was finished in less than five
minutes and the status bar for this step worked fine. I put my calendar
together on a Sunday afternoon. Conceivably the conversion process
could take a longer at peak hours. If that seems to be the case,
just opt to have Lulu send you an email when it's finished.
you get a chance to examine the PDF files that have been created
of your calendar, make any changes (if necessary) and then give
your final approval. Once thatās done you'll click along to the
pricing page. If the calendar will be bought just by you, friends,
and family, the cost will be US $11.45 each. If you want to put
it into general circulation, then set your own price and Lulu will
calculate their commission and your per-calendar profit.
free, print-on-demand technology makes it virtually effortless to
produce a professional-looking calendar. And with no minimum order
required, you don't run the risk of having a stack of them moldering
away in the corner of your garage. So go ahead and try it. I was
delighted with the results and Iāll bet you will be, too.
Your Calendar Images
This is the most important step in producing your calendar and
itās done offline. Once you have your images prepared, the rest
is a breeze.
Set your imaging programās mode to RGB for color pictures -- do not
use CMYK. For black and white photos, use Grayscale or RGB,
For your 12 monthly photos, pre-set your crop width to 10 x 7.5
inches (3000 x 2250 pixels). This will assure that all images will
automatically end up at the correct size as you crop them.
If you plan to use a cover image (instead of a plain cover), size
it at 10.75 x 8.25. (3075 x 2475 pixels). Again pre-set your cropping
tool to that size.
After you crop your image, resample it to 300 ppi. You can go as
low as 150 ppi if your image looks rough when upsampled to 300 ppi.
After resampling, give the photo some sharpening using the Unsharp
Mask filter. Hereās a good starting point: Amount, 150; Radius,
1.0; Threshold, 0. Or just use Sharpen or Sharpen More.
If your images are JPEGs, make sure they are saved at the maximum
quality setting (using Photoshop or Elements, that's number 12).
If you've worked from anything other than a JPEG image, convert
it to JPEG after itās been cropped and resampled. Use ćSave Asä,
select ćJPEG,ä and use the highest quality setting.
Now decide which images will go on the monthly calendar pages and
rename them "1_jan.jpg," "2_feb.jpg" and so on and put them all
in one folder named Calendar. This naming scheme is not required
but it will make it easy for you to find your pictures and make
sure they end up on the right pages.
If you are going to use one of your inside images for the cover,
duplicate it, upsize it, and name it "cover.jpg."
ö Arthur Bleich