Photoshop or your editor of choice actions can help you cut time corners to make a better end product like blog entries. Say what? Oh yes, you can adapt tools normally used for a task like making albums into a killer tool for making story boards for blogs or displays or whatever else comes to mind. I just used my favorite album software from Fundy to make a batch of story boards for my blog here. Yes I could buy actions to do this but I wanted to see if I could do something close on my own with Photoshop.
I already have a couple of flavors of album making software, LumaPix, You Select It (YSI) and FundySOS Album builder. Since I’m on a Mac, I prefer to use Fundy Album builder. While LumaPix would do a really nice job, it’s Windows only and I need to start up XP just to make these. It’s more work then I want right now. Fundy means I never leave my workflow. This is not intended to be a review of Fundy’s software but suffice to say it’s pretty powerful and is adaptable to virtually anything that requires arranging images, not just wedding albums.
Here is a sample of a three by three story board of a shoot in Colorado that I shot last year. I tossed together in Fundy Album builder in a few minutes. Not only can I make the grid but I can save it as a design then load it back up and automatically fill the grids or fill them by hand. It can takes less than 5 minutes to make the entire grid and fill it this way. And I just have to insert ONE picture into the blog instead of a dozen or more.
And it does not have to be squares, it can be any shape I want, singles, squares, grids, puzzles and more. Also, this is not just for blogs, this technique of story boarding or building paneled images can be sold to a client or used in an album or picture book. So the time invested in making the templates can be time well spent. And yes, I had to buy the software but I had bought it to make my wedding albums so now I’m using the same software for two or three other uses without having to buy anything else. That is money saved and in your pocket.
Here is a type of grid that is called a “puzzle” with several images from a local coffee house in the city of Orange called Chapman Coffee. My business, Michael Sweeney Photography, had some art hung on the walls there for a while and I had taken pictures for their website. Now I’m using them to illustrate a second type of collage that you can put into your blog by using album building software. I started with a blank canvas set to 1024 pixels square and used Fundy’s Album Builder Ninja layout and CS4 to make the puzzle. You can of course, make the squares manually using just Photoshop.
And you can take a single picture and use the panels as a design element. Use a strong picture and add a bit of space between the sections and you get a very cool effect. In this case, I made a quad panel and used a picture of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air automobile that I shot at the “Cars and Coffee” car show in Irvine, California. This image of the car works well spread across the four panels with a visual break between each panel and gives an idea for a wall hanging upsell to the client.
If all this is cool but you either dont have existing tools like FundySOS or you just dont want spend the time to mess around with Photoshop, then you can buy actions from a variety of places such as MCP who has the “Blog It Boards” among others. The actions give you a very fast way to get started on this type of presentation of your images. You can find some free ones at coffeephotography.blogspot.com but keep in mind that free is good, sometimes paying for something is better.
So the take away is that for your blog, instead of fighting with posting a dozen images which can also be swiped, make a storyboard of them and post that. Everyone gets to see the pictures, admire your artistic skills in layout and you can shave time off the editing of your post. You can also incorporate your album software or actions into your workflow as design elements.
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