Editor's Note -- Recently I was corresponding with TDS member Brian F Wilkie about a project he was working on. Brian had figured out how to create a unique type of photo album where he output pages with snapshots printed on them, then bound these pages together in a binder. I loved this idea and asked Brian to write a short article for us, which he kindly did. So, in his own words, here's how Brian Wilkie creates his unique output, complete with Lightroom templates so you can do the same. Thanks Brian!
Using Lightroom 2.4, a Canon Pixma Pro 9000 printer, and Red River Paper's excellent Premium Gloss DUO 8.5" by 11" letter-sized stock, I'm able to create a handsome looseleaf bound album quickly, and fairly easily.
In Lightroom, I start with a grid filter which gathers all images taken in a particular year with a rating of 1 star or above. The choice of rating will vary with how hard you are on yourself and whether you want to include family snapshots as well as fine art images. Select all of the pictures (command A), then create a collection called Album 20XX (filling in the appropriate year). Now, you can use delete to remove any images which are repetitive, virtual copies you made for different print sizes, or black and white versions. By the end of the process you will have a good idea of how big a printing task you have undertaken.
You can download a pair of print templates that make good use of the real estate on a US letter page, as long as you have a printer that can handle borderless printing. These templates provide 4 prints up at 5.5" inches by 3.67" inches on a page. I use the "rotate to fit" option so that portrait mode images are printed as large as possible, although this means that on some pages viewers will need to turn the binder on its side to see the pictures oriented correctly. I also enable Page Number under Page Options to help keep track during printing, and the Identity Plate option for my Logo. Finally, the Photo Info option is enabled using Capture Exposure Date as a template. Be careful not to be too wordy in captions or the text will wrap around and the photo size may be restricted.
Printing is done using the appropriate ICC profile downloaded from Red River Paper with Print Sharpening set to "High" and Media type to "Glossy".
The printing itself is completed in two passes. First, the User Template "4up letter+data Odd" is selected, then Print is clicked. At this point, settings options become printer and computer operating system specific. As I mentioned before, I use a Canon Pro9000 on a Mac running OS 10.5. In the print dialog box under Paper Handling, I select Pages to Print - Odd Only. I also select Page Order - Normal. Under Quality and Media I select Media Type - Glossy Photo Paper and Print Quality - High. Under Borderless Printing, I select Amount of Extension - Min. This allows the page number to be visible on the final print since Lightroom puts this in the extreme lower right corner of the page.
After the first pass, carefully flip over the set of odd pages and put them into the paper feed. The top sheet should now be the back side of page one, but careful experimentation is called for here. Select the user template "4up letter+data Even" and click Print. Now under Paper Handling change to Pages to Print - Even Only.
All you need now is a good quality 3-hole punch. Remember, this is heavy paper stock. Then put the pages in to a quality 3-hole binder. I use a nice leather one from the local office supply store. The end result is a good looking, well printed, and durable album. By my calculation the cost is around 28¢ per image, less if you shop around for discounted Canon ink.