Towards the end of every year shelves at bookstores, drugstores, and many other places get filled with calendars. Calendars of different sizes, shapes, colors, but not many photographers have a calendar featuring their work. In this guest blog, I will share with you the necessary tools to make a calendar featuring your own work and have it printed at my favorite place, MagCloud. I have produced many bound folios, magazines, even single prints there and you will find their quality top-notch and prices highly affordable. MagCloud made it even more attractive for you to try with a 15% discount to the readers of this blog. Use KEPTLIGHT13 for 15% off the publishing cost of your first purchase. Keep in mind that this discount can be used once and cannot be combined with other discounts like bulk pricing or sales. The discount code will expire at the end of September 2013.
Although I use InDesign to layout my calendars, considering that more users are likely to own Microsoft Word, I will explain how to create your calendar in that software. To make things even easier, I have created an MS Word template with the calendar pages already in place. All you have to do is to drop in the photographs you would like for each month, and one for each of the front and the back covers.
What you need
A Template with Calendar Pages
To begin the process, download the 2014 Word Calendar Template for MagCloud for MagCloud and save it in a place you can easily locate. (*)
A MagCloud Account
If you want to have this printed professionally, where I have my work printed, you need to create an account at MagCloud. (Full disclosure: Using this link will identify me as the referrer to MagCloud for a referral credit, thank you for using the link.) Starting an account there is free, and the print quality is excellent. Optionally, you can even put your work up for sale at a price you set. You can peek at my collection at MagCloud if you like.
A Selection of Your Photographs
For this calendar layout, you will need 15 photographs; 13 for the months, including January 2015, and one each for front and back covers. If you like you may leave the back cover blank or put some text there. This document will be saddle-stitched, stapled in the middle of the folded pages, and MagCloud requires the number of pages to be multiples of 4. Your finished calendar will be 28 pages long. The cost of printing this size document is $0.20 per page or $5.60 per calendar. If you purchase 20 or more copies they offer a 20% discount (this cannot be combined with the 15% discount mentioned earlier).
The template is designed to leave white borders all around the photographs and uses the maximum image dimensions of 2160 x 2880 pixels at 300 dpi. You should crop and size your images to your taste ahead of using them in the calendar and store them in a separate folder for quick finding. Also, keep in mind that the Word template is in portrait orientation while the printed document will be used in landscape orientation. Therefore, to make the image use easier, rotate all the images 90-degrees counter-clockwise so that the bottom of the image is on the right. (See the example on the right) Do this for all the calendar month images except for the back cover image, which should have the bottom of the image on the left. No, you cannot rotate the Word layout to landscape, the calendar pages will not rotate and the printed calendar will have the binding on the short edge.
If you want your pages to have bleed, the photographs going all the way to the edge, you can do that but make sure that you do not put anything critical within 0.25” off the edges. If you like bleed edges with no white border then size your images to fit in a 3300×2550 pixel box. The final printed calendar will be trimmed on all outside edges, keep that in mind when you use a bleed. You can drag the image to the desired location to have the bleed on some or all sides. If Word does not move the image to the edge of the page so that you can have the bleed on that side, right-click on the image and choose “Format Image”. In the layout, change the image position to in front of the text. Now you can move it to any place you like.
Populate the Photo Pages
- Start a blank calendar by double-clicking on the template document. This will create a new document identical to the template and leave the template intact. You can use it as many times as you like. When the calendar document is created you will notice that it begins with two blank pages before the January calendar. The first one is the front cover, and the second blank page will be visible when the calendar is opened to the January calendar.
- Click inside the first page to target it, then use the menu options “Insert/Picture”. This will open the file browser, which you should point to the folder containing the photographs. Select the one you prepared for the front cover and click on OK. This will place the chosen photograph on that page.
- Click on the image and change the “Wrap Text” setting to “In front of text”
- If you are using white borders. Otherwise if using bleed skip to 5:
- While the image is selected, choose “Align/Align Center” center it horizontally, and repeat this “Align/Align Middle” to place the image vertically in the middle.
- If you are using bleed pages:
- Position the image so that it touches the edges where it should bleed, use the arrow keys to nudge the image until it is flush with the edges
- Repeat steps 2-5 for the picture page of each month and the back cover. Make sure the orientation of the back cover is such that the bottom of the image is on the left.
- There should be a total of twenty-eight pages. If some get deleted or new pages added, make sure to fix them before saving the PDF version. The sequence of pages should be cover, a photo of January, the January calendar, a photo of February, the February calendar, … photo of January 2015, the calendar of January 2015, back cover.
Your calendar is almost ready. Make sure to save it and save often. You don’t want to lose your valuable time if you lose power or other problems hang up your computer. Your completed calendar needs to be converted to PDF.
Convert to PDF
MagCloud prints from PDF documents that are created with high-resolution images and embedded fonts. This calendar uses a font called Calibri that will be embedded in the PDF file. If you make font substitutions make sure that the font you choose can be embedded in a PDF file.
Before saving the PDF file, let’s make sure that the font embedding is not broken. Choose the menu “File” and then “Options.” Look for the group called “Save” and click on it. You should see a checkmark next to “Embed fonts in file.” If it is not there, place a checkmark in the box and click OK. To create the PDF file, follow the menu trail “File/Save As” and choose PDF from the “Save as type” drop-down and save the file.
Upload the PDF to MagCloud
- Go to the MagCloud Web site and log in to your account.
- Click on Publish, then the “Create Publication” button.
- Give your publication a Product Title and choose a product type.
- Then click on the Upload a PDF Now button and point to the file you saved for this purpose.
- After the file successfully uploads, you will be presented with a preview window. Review the pages, there should be 28 pages altogether, including the front and back covers.
- If all works well, choose the “Saddle Stitched” option which is free and necessary for this publication.
You may want to get one copy as proof to see the printed version of your calendar. After you see the printed version, you may decide to make changes and create a new PDF if you like. After that, you can offer it for sale if you like
- Decide if you want to offer your calendar for sale; if you want that, click on the Sell or Distribute This Product button.
- Fill in the fields to describe your calendar, add tags that may help in searches, decide on your markup and other options, and click on Publish Now.
Look at a sample calendar showing various image layouts from borders on all sides to bleed on all sides as well as using vertical images positioned on the page differently. I added the “2014” text on the cover image in Lightroom (or Photoshop, Photoshop Elements) and saved it as a JPEG file with the desired dimensions for full bleed on all sides. The white border at the bottom is by design, I could have made the image full bleed size and added the text on top of it. Note that the image for October is on dangerous ground since the stamen of the lily is dangerously close to the crop zone. On the back cover, I decided to use smaller dimensions for the image and added a text box with my copyright info and Web site address. The sample calendar is a low-resolution version for viewing on the Web.
That’s it! You will have a nice gift to share with friends and family during the holidays. They will enjoy and remember you and your photography every day.
(*) I did my best to make this template easy to use and instructions easy to follow, but there are different versions of Word and I cannot provide support for problems that may arise. Your best bet is to find your Word wizard friend and troubleshoot the problem.