I have been a fan of MagCloud publishing platform for the last several years since two students of mine published the PSRI Focus magazine. Since then I have published close to a dozen magazines and experimented with their new single sheet format. Recently I read on the MagCloud blog that Lightroom 4 Book module could be used to produce two sizes of square format books since they had found a way to map the Blurb format to MagCloud requirements.
The process is reasonably straight forward as outlined on the MagCloud Blog. Essentially you pick the square format, small or large from the book size options and pay attention to the ppi settings. For the small square book it is set to 360 ppi and for the large square, 310 ppi. Read the MagCloud post for details. Then create your page layouts with photographs and text and create your PDF file to upload to MagCloud. Which is what I did for the two publications in the free download link above. It worked fairly well and I am waiting for my proof copy of the magazines before I order more copies. The reason I used a qualifier in how well it worked has nothing to do with MagCloud but the restrictive layout options in the book module provided for Blurb. Generally, I chose the largest suitable frame for my photographs and adjusted the margins in the image frame of the layout. That gave me more flexibility when needed. The cover of Kirlangic was done entirely with the available options in the module, it was tedious but I was equally determined to remain within the publishing framework available in Lightroom.
This is certainly a much more approachable method for most photographers who may not have layout programs like InDesign which I have been using until the last two examples. If and when Adobe allows plugins to the book module MagCloud may choose to offer their dedicated module allowing direct and seamless access to all their sizes and formats. Until then, the available formats for MagCloud PDFs will be the two square formats in the Blurb publications.
That said, I wondered if I could develop a workaround to create 8.5″ x 11″ format. After a few attempts, I have come up with a method that worked for me. However, it requires Adobe Acrobat, not the acrobat reader but the full product that can create PDF files. I will present that method in a separate post. In the mean time, if you have Lightroom 4, try the method described in the MagCloud blog and create a collection of photographs in a bound publication. The presentation method does make a difference in the enjoyment of photographs. A printed copy, especially a collection of photographs shows the photographer’s commitment to the photographs the way they appear, presents a cohesive body of work, allows for a verbal narrative if necessary, and creates a more intimate relationship with the photographs.
Try it, you may get hooked! Get an account on MagCloud and publish your work. Yes, you can!