May 26, 2009

Yearbook Woes and Why I Love Lightroom SOOOO Much...

Warning: I'm about to use a whole bunch of words. And they'll probably sound whine-y. If you just want to get to the punch line -- why I love LR soooo much -- just skim right over all my blah-blah-yada-yada-yada-blah-blah and go straight to the end.

So, here was my process to create Middle Dude's School's Yearbook (and I surely hope to skip some of these steps next year!)...

1. Take LOTS of pictures. Collect pictures from teachers/students/parents.
2. Pull all pictures into Lightroom. Key word tag by grade, activity, etc.
3. Pick usable images. Edit EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM (yes, even the head shots supplied by the portrait photographer).
4. Export every usable image.
5. Pull exported images into Fotofusion to design each page according to specs supplied by company who will be printing the yearbook.
6. Export designed page.
7. Import designed page back into Lightroom.
8. December - Mac computer crashed. I panic and lose sleep. Big Dude saves the day ... and the data.
9. Get everything up and running on new computer. School pictures now reside in two different LR catalogs. For this year, I'm just resolved to do a bunch of jumping in between catalogs.
10. I resolve to regularly back up everything to house network/drive and export full-res files to Flickr also.
10. Export low-res copies of all pages & email to school to get clearance.
12. Upon completion of design, I renamed each file according to the printer's requirements; exported to a brand new folder; imported to Photoshop to convert each 300 dpi jpg to a pdf (a requirement by the printer), which I might add, made each file H.U.G.E.
12. Then I knocked my head against a wall trying to figure out how to upload to said printer using their ftp uploader. Wanna know how long it took to upload 42 pdf pages? 16.5 hours! Crippled my internet.
13. Sigh a huge sigh of relief when upload is done and yearbook is out of my hands.

Til this afternoon when the printer emailed that my measurements were all wrong for full bleed (remember, I was using their specs that I downloaded back in Sept). And they no longer needed crop marks, so I should remove those (I won't even tell you how long it took me to figure out how to include them in Fotofusion in the first place ... and yes, they were recommended by the printer back in Sept. but no longer due to new printing process). And, oh yeah, my pdfs were too large and were shutting down their computer, so I needed to reduce the size.

Now, please don't think I'm complaining about the printer. I'm actually quite grateful that they were so careful with my project and didn't just go ahead and print the whole thing as is, cutting off images.

But. I won't lie and say this little "hiccup" didn't make me want to vomit. I was picturing in my head redo-ing all these steps, and having to recreate from scratch some of the Fotofusion-layer-pages that got lost in the December computer snafoo. Having to move all these darn files back thru Fotofusion & LR & PS. ugh ugh UGH.

***Ok, here comes my LR rave...***

Long story short. Printer allowed me to send jpgs, not pdfs, to get smaller files. And LR saved the day on everything else. I resized ONE file and also cloned out the crop marks. I then copied those edits to the other 41 files with one click. PS does NOT let you do this. I LOVE LR. Upload to the printer only took 1.5 hours this time and didn't cripple my internet access like on Friday.

Sigh. I'm soooo NOT a techie. I just want to take pretty pictures. All this other hardware, software, stuff just makes my brain hurt. Oh yeah, and makes me feel very, very stoopid.

Ok, that's all. I'll now go back to being sparse with my words...

post signature


Aunt Tea said...

note to self: never ever do yearbook project. i would not survive it.

Heasleye said...

Whew! It's exhausting to just think about it. I can't imagine doing it!!! :) Yay for Lightroom! And yay for you for sticking with it and creating a supreme product. Bravo!

Katarina said...

I'm with you on the just wanting to take pretty pictures while all the other *stuff* makes the brain hurt!!
Hopefully it goes smoother for you next year!

Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

Ouch! I felt that pain. So, are you gonna do this next year?? :D

I'm glad LR saved the day. My brain is hurting just thinking of all those steps.

Standing ovation for a job well done!

Heather said...

Susan, you're my hero!! I could never in a gazillion years figure all that out, let alone have the patience to handle it :)

So glad you survived it all, and as Beth said... a big standing O for a job well done!

fxmixer said...

Computers make our lives so easy! Except when they don't. But the right piece of software at the right time is a gift.

Heidi said...

Oh. Ugh. Ew. Ack. Splutter. I would never have made it through that. You are one dedicated champ. They are going to love the finished product and be forever grateful to you!!

Piggy said...

Wow, nice job!

cris said...

So glad to have stumbled upon your blog. We have an incredible amount in common (ie, classically homeschooling, small photography biz, SoCal residents, day-trippers, and now - yearbook!) I wanted to say hello and send support for your yearbook project. I have been there, done that and know how incredibly difficult it can be. If you're ever interested in hearing what I learned in the process, shoot me an email and I'd be happy to share info re: my vendors, etc. The good news is, the second year is alot easier, at least with regard to the necessary evil of formatting for print. :) Good luck to you and happy blogging! :)

Skeller said...

Thanks, All, for commiserating with me. I feel better now [smirk].

Cris - where were you last September?!? I could have used you!! Don't even ask how many hours I putzed away trying to find a printer on a shoestring budget. And yes, the 2nd year will be easier, for sure. I hope. ;-) I peeked thru your blog and loved your "Freedom for Sale" post. I recently told a friend (who was enquiring about charter possibilities) that in order to fulfill all the requirements of CA chartering, as a homeschooler you have to lie about what all you're doing, or NOT doing. or lie about lying. not a position I want to be in. because I have no intention of being public school at home. not my cuppa. Thanks for dropping by!

Anonymous said...

I plan on buying LR as soon as I can afford it, though I did recently find that I could do edits to one image in RAW and then copy the edits and paste them onto other images, which made my process for color-correcting weddings much faster! I, too, am overwhelmed by all the software jargon and even all the things PS can do!

Anonymous said...

wow...I think you might be Techie...after all..!
Hope it all turns out perfect! Shi`

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

I feel like I use so many programs for my pictures too. I just want to be able to push one button to mess with all the pictures in a folder. And yep. My photoshop makes me feel stoopid.

Leslie said...

you just made my brain hurt, I so feel you on PS hoops to jump through. Still want LR..

thanks for the call today.. have a wonderful time.. :)

Unknown said...

WOW! Have to admit I don't know what lightroom is..(I am so new to taking pictures...-sad I know..) But I am going to go google it right now.
Sounds like so much work..but I would love to do something like that... good job.. the kids are going to love it! : )

angie {the arthur clan} said...

You are definitely making me want to learn how to use my LR program better...I am definitely not accessing all of the awesome things it can do.


Oh. My. Goodness. Susan.

I am having sympathy pains for you. This whole situation sounds like it was a small nightmare for you. :(

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness. How nice of you was it to do the yearbook? WOW!

I might have a nightmare about this tonight

Anonymous said...

Susan, I cannot wait to get the yearbook. I just have a feeling this will be the best yearbook ever! Thank for all your hard work!!