Designing Full Bleed PhotoBook pages

Yesterday, I had provided a very brief overview about my earlier bias against full bleed photographs in a photobook and some reasons why my opinion about full bleed photographs have  now changed.  I am actively designing my photobooks with the intent of using full bleed photographs. As Martin pointed out in his comment yesterday, after I decide to use a full bleed, then comes the publishing details to make it effectively look like I intended.

Case in point was my example of the cropped photograph that was created for a full bleed in the book I am developing. Specificily understanding just what is going to get lost on the edges of page when the full bleed is printed and the subsquent trimed during the binding operation.  Martin was right on when identifying the potential issues with my image Away Station in that I had some content close to the edge before the trimming action and I could lose some of it. I had made a mental note of that exact same thing and I had already figured that I was not done with that image yet.

The practice design issue is, how do you know what you might lose, eh? The answer ought to be the book publishers specifications.  Specificly what do they state you will lose in the triming operation, a 1/8″ or 1/16″  or 1/32″ and the tolerance stack on that triming process, thus the 1/16″ with a +/- of 1/32″ means you need to allow a maximum loss of the image of 3/32″. My problem with Blurb, is that for real results, I have lost almost 1/8″ due to sloppy triming, and when you want page numbers and they get trimmed off, you know that something is not right.

With the Blurb Booksmart software, all you will see for a full bleed is an alert that you will lose something with the triming process, but no visual indication of what you will lose. So the better solution for me is to open the image up in Photoshop and use the cropping indicators with the rule bars showing. If I use the Blurb trim spec and move the crop lines into place, I will have a closer indication of just what I should expect. And then I can make an informed decision on what I need to do next in order to get the photograph printed like I need in the photobook.

 Best regards, Doug

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