Publishing/Submittal Process and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Coffee Table Photo Books by

AL RUSCELLI PHOTOGRAPHY

We Offer the Finest Hard Bound / Book Bound / Leather Bound Photo Books (Book-Style Albums) Created from Your Own Personal Photographs. 

You Provide the Photos, We Design and Publish the Book

Al Ruscelli Photography
1912 Triple Mast Circle
League City, Texas  77573
Phone: (281) 538-0579  

E-mail:  Al Ruscelli Photography
Alternate E-mail:  vruscelli@comcast.net
 


 

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How to Request Our Services
The Submittal and Publishing Process and FAQ

There are two basic ways ways to get digital images into our hands to begin the production process for your desired book.  Either you provide digital photos for the book or we shoot and event for you (for instance, a wedding). 

Did We Shoot the Initial Digital Photos for You?  The simplest method for book creation exists for those who have had their photography work done by us.  That is, if we have already shot your wedding, social event, etc.  In those cases, we already have access to the digital files and can begin work soon after you have made your decision on images to be included. 

Did Another Photographer Provide the Digital Photos (or Are You Providing Your Own Digital Photos)?  For those who have done their own work or who otherwise have access to digital photos from their own wedding, event, family function, or travel adventure, vacation, etc., what  we need from you is the collection of digital images you wish to include in the book.  Once you have made a decision on the the photos you want included in the book, the digital photos must be submitted to us on CD or DVD, in most cases.  Direct mail of the CD or DVD works best, unless you are in the Houston, Texas, area and wish to meet with us in person.  If meeting with us in person, all you must do is call for a consultation/meeting time and we'll be glad to set it up. 

CAUTION:  Never send us the only copy or disk that you have.  Make sure you have a backup before trusting any delivery service with your digital images.  The same caution applies to original photos for which there is no extra copy.  Trust any delivery service at your own risk since none are infallible and every service provider (from US Postal Service to UPS to FedEx) can lose or damage a package.  Loss or damage due to delivery service error doesn't happen that often, but it can happen.  Please take that possibility into account before sending any package out.

What Type and Quality of Digital Photos Do We Need from You?  If you submit your own digital images to us, we need as high quality images as you can provide us.  The better the quality of the images that you provide us, the better the quality of the final published book.  We can work with jpeg (.jpg) files, tiff (.tif), and just about any other typical digital camera generated files.  If you shoot in camera raw format (as is the capability of many Canon and Nikon cameras), you may send us those camera raw images.  Again, the higher the quality of the input to us (larger images, higher resolution, etc.) the better our ability to produce high quality books. 

Can the Client Scan Images and Provide Those for a Book?  Yes, we can accept scanned images from our clients.  However, care must be taken in scanning photos or other documents.  Scans should be done in high resolution.  When in doubt, try scanning at 300 pixels per inch (ppi).  In some cases, using 300ppi might result in images larger than we need, but it's much better to have images that are very large than images that are too small (size and resolution-wise).  And if you do your own scanning or have someone else do that for you, please make sure that the scanner and surface of each photo is cleaned before each photo is scanned.  A good scanner will pick up every spec and every bit of dust that is on the photo or on the surface of the scanner, which results in the need for retouching before the images are included in the book.  The bed of a flatbed scanner should be wiped with a clean cloth between each photo scan, because dust can easily settle on the scanner surface while the scanner lid is up.  Bad scans cause more work on our end and can result in more expense to the client, so it's better to provide us clean scans - and large, high-resolution scans - to whatever extent it is possible and practical to do so. 

Can We Use a Low Resolution Photo in a Book if That is All Can Be Provided?  Yes, it is always possible to use low-resolution images, but only when absolutely necessary.  Remember, book images must be optimized for printing, which usually means much higher resolution than typical “viewing” resolution on a PC monitor.  Images that appear fine on a PC monitor may in fact be much too low a resolution to print well.  In most cases, we can take steps to safely increase the resolution of an image to a certain extent for book printing use, if necessary.  But, it is important that we initially receive as high resolution images as is reasonably possible.  The best advice for the photographer is to use the best quality setting on the camera when taking the photos.  Lower quality settings can be a convenience in the camera  (usually used as a convenience to fit more images onto the digital media in the camera, like CF cards, etc.) but the resulting low-resolution images but cause printing problems later.  Low resolution is fine for viewing on a computer screen, but not good for book printing purposes. 

What About Using Printed Photos and Negatives?  For projects involving standard printed photos that you wish to have included in your book, please contact us with your request.  Scanning or otherwise digitizing printed photos for digital books involves more time, effort, and cost, and overall costs vary according to degree of difficulty.  We can work with existing prints (wallet sized, 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, etc. - almost any sized existing print) or we can create new digital images from you existing negatives, if those are available.  We have many options that we can exercise to digitize your existing printed photos or negatives to include them in your book project or to make a new book strictly from existing printed photos.  If you have prints for which another professional photographer owns the copyright, we cannot use those prints without the original photographer's permission. 

Can Text Be Added to the Front and Back Covers as Well as Pages in the Books?  Yes.  Small snippets of text, including page titles or photo captions, as well as larger blocks of text may be added to any book page or series of pages.  We can also provide larger-scale, in-house editing and writing services, when needed.  Any minor editing for punctuation, grammar, and consistency in use of terms and phrases is easily accommodated on request.  And we will alert the client to anything that we feel should be addressed in text (again, with punctuation, grammar, sentence structure and the like).  However, if writing or editing tasks change the scope of the project to a significant degree, charges may be assessed based on the level of effort required to perform those tasks.  Addition of text and how much the text affects the scope of the project is another item that must be assessed on a case-by-case basis and discussed with the client. as necessary.  While our primary goal is to create "photo" coffee table books, we have full ability to add professional editing and writing services to any project. 

Can Color Photos Be Converted to Black and White?  Yes.  And we can do sepia-toned images and occasional colorizations as well.

How Many Photos Can Fit on Each Page?  OK, is this a trick question?  In reality, except for aesthetic reasons and the possibility of it being cost prohibitive, there is not an exact limit to the number of photos that can fit on one page.  But, if we place 100 postage-stamp-sized photos on a page, who is going to want to try and look at them?  Ideally, photos should be sized according to significance and beauty.  Really good photos shouldn't necessarily have to share a page with another photo.  In fact, some photos command panoramic treatment and will actually span two pages in a book.  Some photos are used as backgrounds (backdrops) with other photos are placed on top of them.  Some are used both as backgrounds and primary images.  Sometimes a larger image will be surrounded by smaller images and sometimes several images of equal size will share a page.  Or a page might have multiple images all in different sizes.  That is something that we, as book designers, view as part of the challenge of building each book.  And it's something that the client often helps us with, in terms of letting us know their personal favorites and which of their photos we should "build around."  The client might supply 100 images and tell us that 10 of them are their favorites, indicating that we should place design emphasis on those 10 photos and build around them with the other 90 images. 

When it comes to the number of photos in each book, it should be noted that the starting point for each book is one image per page.  That is how our base books are initially priced.  A 40-page book has the first 40 photos included in its base price.  An 80-page book has the first 80 photos included in its base price.  As photos are added to each book, the cost of designing the book grows since each photo adds to both real and potential design complexity.  It's not so much that adding one or two extra images increases design complexity, but when the number of photos is increased by 50 percent or doubled, etc., the possibilities in design layouts increase exponentially.  And, the possibility of the client wanting to see changes or variations on page layouts also increases dramatically when the number of photos in a book increases.  We know this from experience, and it's a completely understandable situation.  We show clients design/layout variations and sometimes clients develop their own ideas that they want explored during the course of book development (things they might not have envisioned when first contemplating putting together a coffee table photo book).  Often, the more variations we show, the more it sparks the imagination of the client and the more they want to see other possible variations in layouts and photo combinations. It's a natural progression.  But the more images that are included in the book, the more radical the potential variations are and the longer we have to work on design and layout along with all the other things we do with each and every photo included in the book (including color corrections, cropping, and other photo enhancements that must be addressed at some point in the process). 

How Does the Client Review the Progress of the Book?  We provide online viewing of each book as progress is made from the initial draft stage through completion.  We can also provide in-person reviews to clients in the Houston, Texas area, or a mixture of online and in-person reviews.  If certain circumstances, disk-based reviews can be accommodated (whereby we send a disk of higher-resolution page layouts for high-resolution review on the client's end). 

How Long Does It Take to Produce a Coffee Table Photo Book?  The overall process generally averages about 8 weeks, including the approximate 4-week publication turnaround time needed by the book publishing company.  Turnaround time can vary, though, based on many factors.  Factors that can come into play are our current in-house workload, the size and complexity of the job you are submitting to us, whether or not you make changes to the material as the job progresses, etc.  Every book must be assessed on a case-by-case basis and accurate production time estimates are difficult to make before we have the actual materials in hand.  We also have the ability to optionally expedite some parts of the publisher's shipping and publication process, but the publisher assesses extra charges for such expedited service (not high charges, but extra charges that nevertheless must be taken into account).

Do We Provide Time and Cost Estimates to Our Clients?  Yes, we do.  We can generally give a rough estimate on time and costs based on phone and e-mail information provided to us by our clients.  However, exact estimates on time and cost can be difficult until we see the photos we are going to be working with on any given project.  Additionally, book projects often evolve while we are working on them based on new ideas that we and the client have as we mutually watch their book grow. 

How Much Does It Cost to Produce a High-End Coffee Table Photo Book?  Base costs range from $700 to $2000 for books of 20 to 80 pages.  Book costs increase as design complexity and design time increases (with addition of extra photos as a simple but common way that costs increase). 

Are There Discounts Available for Extra Copies of Books?  Yes, we have significant discounts available for those who wish to purchase additional matching copies of any book.  Clients can expect at least a 50-percent discount on additional matching books (additional books must be exact matching copies of the original book -- same size, same page count, and same image content). 

What are Some of the Ways in Which We Prepare Photos for Printing in a Book?  Some of our frequently encountered situations and photo enhancements include the following:

  • Color Balance/Color Correction

  • Image Saturation Correction

  • Contrast Correction

  • Exposure Correction (for underexposed and overexposed images - often, images that appear too dark or too light can be fixed by us)

  • Low-Resolution Images (those that must be converted to higher resolution images for printing purposes)

  • Image Clarity (images that are blurred from camera movement or too slow shutter speeds can often be salvaged)

  • Redeye Correction

  • Photo Cropping (to improve photo composition and to improve book page design)

  • Conversion of Images from Color to Black and White (and occasional selective colorization of images)

  • For Scanned Images and Older Photos - in addition to most of the above-mentioned items, older photos often require fixes for dust spots, specs, scratches, fading, stains, rips and tears, etc. (Improving/fixing/restoring older photos for book use often crosses into the realm of serious retouching and restoration.  So, depending on the desires of the client in regard to the degree of restoration wanted, this is a process that may add significant cost to any book.  Minor retouching and restoration is generally not a large concern, but major restoration can involve significant time and effort, so assessments are made on a case-by-case basis and discussed with the client before work has begun on the photos in question.  In some cases, the client wishes only minimal work to be done to older photos, while in other cases thorough cleanup and restoration are desired.  Again, we discuss the needed effort with the client before we begin working with such photos.)

You may e-mail us or call directly for more information if you have questions that are not answered on this page.  We're glad to help in any way we can to assist you in making the right decisions in terms of what kind of files to send to us, how to get those files to us, and other items you might need to take into account when considering a coffee table photo book project. 

 

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Please contact us for details on any of our products.

E-mail:  Al Ruscelli Photography
Alternate E-mail:  vruscelli@comcast.net
 

Professional digital photo albums, digital photographs, digital photography albums, hard bound wedding books, coffee table albums, hardbound albums, magazine style wedding albums, storybook albums, events, family books, families, sports photo books, photographs, photography, travel, vacation, sports, published, customized, personalized, contemporary, modern, latest style, montage, flush mount, custom layouts, collages, stylish, elegant design, elegance, multi image, unlimited layout possibilities, unique, one of a kind, custom cropping and placement, bridal albums, engagement albums, children’s albums, child album, baby books, personalized maternity and pregnancy books, community and corporate events, artists and art portfolios.  Writing and editing services available.

Copyright 2006-2011 Al Ruscelli