Creating Covers for Albums and Photo Books in JDLab2You

It is easy to create great album covers in JDLab2You if you follow these directions:

1. Decide which of our albums you are going to create: Diamond, Emerald, Sapphire, a hard cover photo book, or a soft cover photo book. Each of these types of albums have different sets of layout guides that you’ll need to use.

2. Download and save the Layout Guides .ZIP file for the type of album you’ll be creating.

3. Open the .ZIP file, and select the .PSD file for the size and cover of the album you’ll be creating.

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New 8×8″ Photo Book Size Makes It Faster to Print

Beginning this week, we’ve redesigned our 8.5×8.5 inch press-printed photo books so that they are now 8×8 inches. This size matches our 8×8″ photo print albums.

Although you and your clients should never notice this small change, it will simplify the workflow in our book binding department.

This means slightly faster turn-around times on your 8″ photo book and album orders.

If you have any questions about the change, please contact or call us at 888-858-8084.

You Can Write a (Photo) Book

A realtor friend of mine recently showed me a book entitled, Magnetic Real Estate Photography. I was less impressed by the contents of the book and more impressed by the idea. The author took a series of several “before and after” photographs, described them, and created a book she sold on Amazon.

Two things immediately struck me about the book:

  1. 1. It was a soft cover photo book – just like the ones we make every day here at the lab.
  2. 2. Every page had a few sentences, but the important part was the photography.

Which made me wonder, why couldn’t a professional photographer do the same thing?

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New Simply Elegant Photo Books Website

We’ve just launched the new Simply Elegant Photo Books website. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should check it out.

Simply Elegant Photo Books are a fun way to preserve and present your images. Creating a customized photo books has never been easier.

Many pro photographers now use the Simply Elegant Photo Book software to easily create photo books for their clients. You can create a book that you previously built in Photoshop or LabPrints or ROES – but in less time.

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New Photo Book Cover Colors, Material Available

JD now offers red and camel photo book cover material in addition to black on all its standard photo books and accordion mini – books. There is no additional charge to select these new colors.

Both these rich colors were selected to show off your photography. They can be selected in ROES while designing your photo books or mini – books.

In addition, all standard photo book covers – black, red and camel – now use a new material that is much richer than the previous black material only. If you’ve ordered a standard photo book before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the difference.

You can install JD ROES to order these or any of our products.

Accordion Mini Books Available in JDLab2You

Accordion Mini Books are a great new way for your clients to show off their images.

• Each order includes 3 identical books so your clients can share with their family and friends.
• The magnetic cover on the mini book makes it easy to carry in a pocket or purse.
• Accordion Mini Books have up to 10 wallet-size customizable panels.
• Standard Leather covers in black or blue or custom photo covers are also available.

To order Accordion Mini Books, select the Press Printed catalog in JDLab2You.

Simply Elegant Photo Books Important Update

The new Simply Elegant Photo Book software Version 3.7 is available at, and has several new features that make it worth upgrading. However, the new program is not compatible with any previous version.

If you use Simply Elegant Photo Books, you must upgrade to the latest version 3.7 before starting a new photo book. Older photo books created in previous versions will not longer automatically upload to the lab.

If you have a photo book created in a previous version you want reprinted, you have two options:

  1. Print a preview copy of your old photo book, install version 3.7, and use the printout to re-design a new book.
  2. Contact customer support at 888-858-8084 and tell them you need an older photo book reprinted. In most cases they will be able to help you.

Note that once you install the new version 3.7, you will no longer be able to review old photo books in the new software.

3 Photo Book Design Mistakes We’ve All Made

If you’ve ever designed a photo book with a dust cover you can appreciate how small changes to fonts, rules, overlays, and drop shadows can have a huge impact on the finished design. What looked good on the screen may not look quite right after printing.

This is because, unlike photographs, photo books (and post cards, business cards or any other press-printed products) must be cut and trimmed after printing. This results in pages and prints that are close – but never exactly – the same size. Combine this with double-sided printing, folding, stapling, binding and die-cutting, and even more layout problems can arise.

Below are three design mistakes we’ve all made when laying out photo books and other press-printed products. Avoid them, and every design you create will look better for it.

1. Backgrounds that don’t go up to the edge of the print. “Back in the day” we all sold bordered prints. In modern design, background colors and images are always printed to the edges (called full-bleed printing). For press-printed products like photo books, the paper edge is trimmed to create the same full-bleed effect you get with a photographic print. However, if the image doesn’t go all the way to the edge, a thin line of non-printed white paper is left. The only way to fix this is to trim the entire photo book shorter than the shortest page.

  • Solution – Unless you’re printing an image in the center of a white page, cover the entire background.

2. Elements that are too close to the edge of a print. Text, logos, graphics, borders, and drop shadows that are too close to the edge of a print “look funny” and in some cases can be cut off.

  • Solution – Graphic elements should always be at least 5% of the image size away from any edge. For example, on an 8×10 layout, 5% of 10 inches is 1/2 inch. This means nothing except the background should be closer than 1/2 inch from the edge. On small items like wallets or business cards, never put an element closer than 1/4 of an inch from the edge.

3. Elements on or near a fold. In ROES we sometimes assume that the blue “safe lines” on a product are exactly where the fold or edge will be, and push elements up to them. Actually, they are only an approximation to remind you that any parts of the photo like heads or feet outside the “safe lines” may be cut off or wrapped around the edge in the finished book.

  • Solution – Don’t put text, borders, pinstripes, key lines, heads or feet up against safe lines.

Avoid these three design mistakes and your designs will look better to you – and your customers.

Photo Book Minimum Page Numbers Explained

JD Photo Imaging Emeral AlbumCustomers ask why we have minimum page requirements for albums and photo books. We require an even number of pages, and most books require at least 10 pages (20 sides). Here’s why:

  • Book pages have two sides. If you don’t submit an image for both sides, we can’t be sure whether you ran out of images, or if you forgot to finish the order before you sent it in. Either way, you’ll get a call from customer service that may hold up your order.
  • Bound books with less pages than the minimum aren’t aesthetically pleasing. They just look wrong. Instead of building a book you might not be proud to show, we’d rather give you a minimum page number.

Note that if you run out of pages to finish a book, you have a couple of options:

  • Re-design your photo book so that you meet both the minimum number of pages and have an even number of pages.
  • Submit blank, ruled, light-colored or white jpg images as pages at the end of the book. For example, on a student photo book you could put a text node at the top of the final page that said “Memories” or “Autographs”.