MagCloud Project: Framed Poster

Last month, we introduced a handful of new product types, including a new Poster format. Posters are available in 18″ x 12″ landscape and 12″ x 18″ portrait sizes, and use the same high quality print output as all of MagCloud’s products, for only $2 per printed Poster. In addition to being a great way to advertise an event or new product for your business, these new Posters are also a great opportunity to get large format prints of your photos at an affordable price. With that in mind, today I am going to show you how easy it is to make framed art for your home using MagCloud’s new Poster format, and a photo taken with the popular photo app Instagram.

http://vimeo.com/48024577

The first step is to create a PDF file that you can upload to the MagCloud website. You’ll want to export your square Instagram photo from your phone’s Camera Roll/Gallery and put it on your computer for editing. Using the photo that Instagram saves to your iPhone or Android device will be of higher quality than using the photo that gets posted to your Instagram account. Once you have your photo on your computer, you have a few options for creating your PDF. I’ve listed some steps specific to this project below, but check out the Getting Started page on the MagCloud website for more general instructions in other software programs.

Create Your PDF in Adobe Photoshop:

  1. Open your original image
  2. Go to Image > Image Size and set size to 3675 pixels by 3675 pixels at 300 pixels/inch resolution. Select “Bicubic Smoother (best for enlargement)” from the Resample Image drop down menu and click OK.
  3. Go to Image > Canvas size and set width to 18.25 inches, leaving height at 12.25 inches, and click OK.
  4. Go to File > Save As and select “Photoshop PDF” from the Format drop down menu. Make sure the box to embed color profile is checked and click Save. In the PDF Export window, select “Press Quality” from the Adobe PDF Preset dropdown menu, and uncheck the box for “Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities.”
  5. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual*

Create Your PDF in Adobe Lightroom:

  1. Import your original image
  2. Go to the Print module and select “Single Image/Contact Sheet” as the Layout Style.
  3. Click the Page Setup button and choose “Manage Custom Sizes” from the Paper Size dropdown menu. Create a new custom page that is 18.25 inches wide and 12.25 inches tall, with a User-Defined Non-Printable Area that equals 0.00 inches on all sides. Click OK twice to return to Lightroom.
  4. Make sure all the boxes under Image Settings are unchecked. Under Layout, set all of your Margins to 0.00 inches and set the cell size: Height = 12.25 inches | Width = 18.25 inches. Under Print Job, select “Printer” next to Print to and make sure the Print resolution is 300 ppi.
  5. Click Print, then select “Save as PDF” from the PDF dropdown menu. Pick a name for your PDF and click Save.
  6. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual.*

Create Your PDF in Apple Aperture:

  1. Import your original image
  2. Go to File > Print Image and select Custom from the Paper Size dropdown menu. Enter 18.25 inches x 12.25 inches as the Paper Size, with a Landscape Orientation, and select Maximum to Fit from the Image Size dropdown menu. Make sure the box next to Crop Image to Fill is NOT checked so the whole image appears on the page.
  3. Click Print, then select “Save as PDF” from the PDF dropdown menu. Pick a name for your PDF and click Save.
  4. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual.*

*After uploading, you will be told that your PDF is not long enough. Select “Proceed with this PDF” to have an extra page added automatically.

After you’ve uploaded your PDF to MagCloud, simply order a print copy and select your desired shipping method. When your print arrives, trim off the 3” white edges on either side so that you have a 12” x 12” copy of your photo, which can then be placed into the frame of your choice. The square VIRSERUM frame from IKEA is a great option – it’s available in both white and dark brown to match a variety of décor, and includes a mat with an 11 ½ inch square opening for only $19.99. Using the VIRSERUM frame, you can get your photos off your phone and turn them into a framed piece of custom art to display in your home for less than $25.

Eternalize Summer Memories With Your Own Magazine

Though Summer’s heat lingers on, Labor day is just around the corner marking the unofficial end of Summer.  Whether your family took a big trip or just used the lazy afternoons to hang out together, you are sure to have plenty of memories – and pictures – you want to save.

For many, vacation photographs wind up unorganized and spread amongst their hard drives, cell phones, Instagram and Facebook–doomed to be lost in the shuffle. With that in mind, why not take an afternoon and organize your family’s vacation experience, photographs, and mementos into a summer memory magazine?

With MagCloud’s beautiful print quality and direct mail options, you can even order copies to be sent directly to grandparents, cousins and friends to enjoy.

Getting Started: Where will you create your PDF?

First, you’ll want to select a platform to design/assemble your MagCloud-ready PDF­. You can use web-based Poyomi, or software like Adobe InDesign, Quark, Apple iWork Pages, or Microsoft Word.

As you get started, you can choose to start with a pre-designed template from the software (if available), or with a plain MagCloud template available here. You may even remember a post from awhile back, when we used Apple Pages’ built-in Templates to create magazines.

Organize Your Images and Treasures

Next, gather together your vacation photographs and organize them into a single folder. Then select the images that most effectively represent your vacation experience.

Collect any small items that you may have picked up along the way (i.e., a drink coaster with a resort’s logo, maps, airline ticket stubs, brochures from attractions, etc.). Such items can be scanned and added throughout your magazine and provide a more personal touch to the project. For example, you can use your ticket stubs from the theme park to give a different look to your family’s latest roller coaster adventure.

Order and Details

Although you have complete creative control over how you assemble your summer memory magazine, the easiest way is to assemble things is in chronological order so those enjoying your magazine can experience your vacation from start to finish. Throughout the publication you can include  quotes from your family members, or funny anecdotes – like when the duck bit the zoo keeper during his presentation.

Be sure to take the time to caption your photographs, indicating the “who, what, when, and where” of each picture. This will be helpful for others viewing your memory magazine and for you in later years when small details slip from memory.

Write a short paragraph for each of your summer highlights. Ask your children for input and have them answer questions about their favorite parts of the summer. You’ll be amazed by what they come up with and it’s always fun to look back and remember what was happening in pop culture at the time.

Some details you may want to include:

  • Favorite Summer Memory
  • Places and people you visited
  • Friends made
  • Activities and Games played
  • Movies watched
  • Books read
  • Song that was on repeat in the car
  • The silliest moment of the summer

Design Can be Daunting

When it comes to assembling your summer memory magazine, don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of design skills or experience. You can look at magazines for inspiration, simply use photos and captions for a basic layout, or even re-purpose templates that have nothing to do with this purpose. You can find inspiration anywhere, you just have to look past the content and look at the design. For example, the magazine pictured above used our Microsoft Publisher Brochure Template as a starting point for the layout. The design was a perfect way to include ample text to tell the story that went along with the photos. A few tweaks to colors and typefaces and we were able to completely transform the look of the original design..

As an additional example below, we used the layout from an Apple Pages design template for a school yearbook. With a few changes (and by deleting the extra clip art that made the layout look  “education-centric” we were able to create a casual scrapbook-style. Adding a scanned scrap of paper with Sara’s favorite memory from the water park gave the page a personalized feel.

Microsoft Word also has some great “Newsletter Templates” that are built-in to the software (Mac) or available online. Below are some samples that could be easily tweaked and used as the interior pages of your memory magazine.

No matter what software or platform you choose to create your magazine in, there are lots of sources for inspiration. So start designing and have some fun with it!

Have you created a photo magazine or book with MagCloud to commemorate and event, trip or season in your life? Tell us about it, or share your publication in the comments below!

Summer Fun with MagCloud

Over the next six weeks we’ll be sharing blog posts that discuss how to use MagCloud to plan vacations, create excitement for family reunions, capture all your summer memories and more.

First up is creating MagCloud published photo books directly from your iPad with the Poyomi Photo Book application. This iPad application makes it easy to create photo books while on the go–select photos, design your book, order, and have MagCloud print and deliver them before you even get home from your vacation.

Step 1: Select your Photos

Poyomi’s app makes it easy to choose photos for your book from your iPad albums including your camera roll and iCloud PhotoStream, or import them from third party websites such as Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, SmugMug and Dropbox.  Simply upload your photos to the Poyomi Book Editor by selecting the specific photos you want to include in your book.

 

Step 2: Organize Your Photos

The Book Editor lets you organize the photos in your book by date taken, alphabetically or you can drag and drop them to create a custom arrangement.

You can also add captions, rotate images and ensure your photos print as large as possible by favoriting them.

 

Step 3: Design Your Book

Poyomi allows you to select from four of the MagCloud product types–Letter (aka MagCloud Standard), Digest, Digest Landscape and Small Square. You can also choose your binding type either Saddle Stitch Binding or Perfect Binding for books over 20 pages.

Poyomi’s design features include four color schemes for the inside of the book, as well as multiple type face colors for the cover title of the book.  Title your book and choose a wrap around cover photo or individual photos for the front and back of your book.

The Book Editor also allows you to crop and select portions of the cover and back photos for the perfect look.

 

Step 4: Preview Your Book

All that’s left is previewing and making final adjustments to your book.  You can write a brief intro to your book including using one of your travel photos as a background image, as well as creating a brief closing note to go at the end of the book.

Once you’ve previewed your entire book simply tap “Finish”.

 

Finished!

That’s it in a few easy steps you’ve created a travel photo book on your iPad without ever leaving your beach chair.

Poyomi gives you the option to save your book to your Poyomi account for editing when you get home or you can create a personal home page where friends and family can preview and order copies of your book. Finally you can purchase it directly from your iPad with a credit card or via a PayPal account.

 

How can you imagine using Poyomi’s Photo Book iPad app this summer?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Print and Digital: A Winning Combination

Print vs. digital has long been hotly debated. Recently, we’ve seen several experts weighing in on the topic, arguing that print and digital can coexist and will in fact strengthen a brand when used together. Of course, we’ve always known this at HP MagCloud (check out our Jan. 5 blog post), and we are thrilled when other people realize it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. The challenge is finding the right medium to use to tell your unique story, so that it’s heard and understood by your audience.

So what are people saying? Novelist Dave Eggers in the Guardian said, “It’s our admittedly unorthodox opinion that the two can co-exist, and in fact should co-exist. … But they need to do different things. To survive, the newspaper, and the physical book, needs to set itself apart from the web. Physical forms of the written word need to offer a clear and different experience. And if they do, we believe, they will survive.”

When should you choose digital? “For news, facts and information, let’s tell stories as they unfold: a tweet here, an update there, a database, a video clip, a timeline, a slideshow, a conversation, a list. Let’s master the tools of digital storytelling and learn to match our tools and techniques to the circumstances,” stated digital guru Steve Buttry on Poynter.org.

What about print? “Let’s respect the pure, traditional story – the narrative string of paragraphs – by reserving that form for real stories,” Buttry added.

We’re fortunate to live in a world where we have both options.

In telling your story, you’ll want to rise above the chatter. It’s a good idea to participate in the online conversation by using Facebook, Twitter, email newsletters and more to share what’s happening in the moment. You’re demonstrating your knowledge about your industry and connecting in a more immediate way with your audience.

Meanwhile, a print publication showcases your photographs and carefully crafted story to an audience who wants to linger over and slowly digest your content. No matter how great digital content is, readers can stash magazines in their purses, dog-ear the pages and tear out their favorite articles. Quoting The Economist (June 9 issue): “As long as there are coffee tables, people will want things to put on them.” The high quality of print makes you proud to display your work to clients, and likewise, your clients will be happy to share your magazine with people they bump into.

HP MagCloud provides both print and digital offerings because different stories beg to be told in different ways. Plus, you might reach new readers who prefer to read content on their iPad or smartphone. We realize there is much to consider, and one of the main deterrents of print is the expense and complexity. With HP MagCloud, it costs only 20 cents per page for Standard and Square products, there are no upfront costs and everything can be done via our website with a few clicks of the mouse. So a small business on a tight budget can afford to self-publish their content.

For a small business, blending print and digital elements into your marketing is a win-win. Does your business plan include both digital and print? If not, here’s your chance to consider both.

MagCloud for the Wedding Photographer

Whether you are a professional wedding photographer with a studio space and a team of five, or you’re flying solo, it’s important to present your business in the most professional and appealing way possible to your clients. MagCloud is an easy and affordable way to publish lookbooks, promotional tools and affordable products that that you can sell as a part of your business’s offerings. With easy publisher settings you can offer any, or all of your publications in both print and digital formats.

A number of photographers have already discovered the value of MagCloud for their business. They are using the service to promote themselves at trade events with a brochure or glossy catalog, provide lookbooks to potential clients, print proof books for existing clients; and even as a sales tool intended to up-sell clients to an entire gallery of prints rather than just one or two.

Let’s explore some of the options available for your wedding photography business:

Portfolio and Catalog:

At just 20¢ a page for Standard size or 16¢ for Digest size, MagCloud offers full-color, full-bleed printing on HP’s beautiful Indigo presses–a true advantage for today’s professional photographers.

For example, if you want to create a full-color soft-bound book to highlight your photography and present your services, you could do so in a 28-page Standard-sized perfect-bound publication for just $6.60 a copy. Yep, you read that right, $6.60 a copy. And you don’t have to buy 100 to get that pricing, you could order them one at a time if you like, or drop-ship them to an address list of potential clients who have seen your work online and are interested in learning more.

**Want to create one of your own? If you use Microsoft Publisher, we’ve already got a great basic 4-page catalog template to get you started. Don’t use Publisher? Feel free to use the design as inspiration for your own services catalog.

Lookbook:

If you’d prefer to woo your customers before revealing all of your pricing, or would just prefer to have something less time-sensitive for showing off your work, we suggest creating a lookbook. Lookbooks are a great way to express your style, showcase your best work, and really tell your potential customers who you are.

Some publishers have started to use our ultra-portable Digest Landscape format to create a marketing piece that shows off their best work in a portable format that doesn’t break the bank.

What’s great about this idea is that the Digest Landscape’s compact 8.25″ x 5.25″ size makes it easy to keep on hand. Should you meet someone who is interested in hiring you, you can easily hand off the book to a potential client and not cringe at what it costs to replace. And with a max page count of 384, you could create a lookbook that includes hundreds of images, worthy of your coffee table. At just 16¢ a page for our Digest Landscape publications (plus $1 for perfect binding), you can create an impressive 60-page lookbook for just $10.60.

Album for family and friends:

Waiting for that big beautiful album can sometimes take weeks, or months, so while your bride is still excited about the wedding and singing your praises, why not surprise her with a mini photobook, or cool glossy magazine of photos from her big day? She’ll be thrilled to show off your work to her friends and family, and with our 3-day print turn around time, you could surprise the happy couple before they get home from their honeymoon.

You could also create a similar album as a product for your newlyweds to give as a thank you gift to extended family, bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Sales tool:

If you sell more than just digital packages, you know how hard it can be to sell prints–especially large prints (like the elusive 20″ x 30″ canvas) or collections of images, intended to be displayed as galleries. Most clients can’t envision what a gallery of their images could look like–”How would they arrange them? Where would it go?” That’s why some photographers have created booklets to help their clients place their orders. Diagrams and examples can help customers to envision a gallery in their home so they can select prints that work well together. If you went so far as to create this publication and save it as a template, you could drop a few of the customer’s images into the gallery diagrams creating a customized booklet to really seal the deal.

Proof Book:

It seems just about everyone has made the switch to online galleries for proofing, but there is something to be said about proofing photos in print, especially when you are planning to buy them in print.

So why not put together a proof book for your client to accompany that online gallery? This way your bride can have something in hand when she talks to her parents or grandparents about that 20”x 30” canvas. You could even go so far as to include your print pricing, packages or gallery inspiration guide into a custom publication to help encourage larger sales.

Showcase for Vendors:

If you’ve been in the business for awhile, you probably have already had a number of referrals come not just from happy brides, but also from vendors. You know that impressing a location rep means your images might get highlighted when they tour brides-to-be around their venue. Event planners love to show off your beautiful photos of their meticulously-planned soirées, so why not give them access to your photos in a way that not only highlights their work, but at the same time shows you off? We’ve seen photographers partner with venues and service professionals to create custom showcase publications for their specific businesses, but imagine how popular you’d be with everyone down to the makeup artist if you created a showcase book for each wedding and shared it them for their own promotional uses? Every time they show off that booklet, their client will see your brand.

Annual Retrospective for past clients:

If you do more than wedding photography, it makes sense to remind your clients of this. Then, as your wedding clients become growing families, they can make you their photographer for life – there to document their pregnancy, baby photos, family portraits and even high-school seniors.

Creating an annual retrospective photography magazine to highlight favorite sessions from the previous year is a great way to remind customers that you do other types of photography. Similar to a portfolio, this sort of publication can really highlight events, press-opportunities and sessions that occurred during the past year. Clients highlighted in the publication would surely love a copy to show off to their friends, and it keeps you top-of-mind for their next photo-worthy occasion.

Client Gifts:

A number of wedding photographers send gifts to their couples at their anniversary, or around the holidays, so why not create a calendar template that you can customize for each couple?

Swap in photos from their big day, add their anniversary to the calendar, and voilà! You’ll have a product that costs you $5.60 + shipping (a 28-page Standard publication) and reminds your bride how fabulous you are every day of the year.

Print or Digital? Why Choose?

There is a constant debate about print vs. digital, arguing why one is better than the other. Here at MagCloud, our motto is “Why choose?” What’s great about all of these ideas is that if you like, any one of them could also be enjoyed and shown off on the iPad or as a digital download to any PC or tablet device. With just a few clicks you can use one PDF for both print and digital purposes, just opt-in for digital distribution when you select your print pricing and finishing options.

More:

Along with all of these great ideas, you can also use MagCloud to print professionally bound Contracts, Employee Handbooks, Style Guides, Posing Guides, Workbooks, and Lighting How-to’s for workshops. Want more inspiration? Browse more wedding photography publications on the MagCloud website.

Have you used MagCloud as a promotional piece or product for your wedding photography business, or have you been inspired to create something from this post? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Vote for MagCloud in the SXSW PanelPicker – Ends Friday!

SXSW 2012 is prepping to bring the most captivating speakers, interesting topics and creative panels to film, music and interactive enthusiasts attending their Austin, Texas gathering March 9-18, 2012. Once again, they’re giving the public a voice by opening up the SXSW PanelPicker and letting YOU cast your vote for your favorite panels.

The MagCloud team has entered two great panel submissions to the PanelPicker featuring MagCloud publishers.

We hope you’ll vote for us in hopes we can bring these presentations to the biggest interactive conference in the U.S.!

Print Pioneers in a Digital World is about capturing the attention of your customers and getting your story heard by those who really matter. The panel will feature Roseann Hanson of Overland Expo and ConserVentures, Atlanta-based editorial photographer Zack Arias and Paul Lips of online children’s wear retailer ToobyDoo. For more on this panel and to cast your vote, go here.

The PB&J Effect: How to Publish in Print & Digital is about the perfect combination of print and digital and how perfecting that balance will help you reach a bigger audience. Joining us on the panel are Gizmondo’s Senior Reporter Mat Honan (also known as one of the editors behind Longshot Magazine), well-known photographer Trey Ratcliff and graphic designer/illustrator Craig Frazier who recently debuted his new Living Letters font. For more on this panel and to cast your vote, go here.

If you like what you see, all you have to do is create a free account (it’s easy!) and hit the thumbs up button on our panel pages.

Want to help spread the word. Tweet or Facebook about these presentations:

 Hurry! Deadline to vote is 11:59 CDT on Friday, September 2.

Tell us you voted by leaving a comment below.