Using InDesign to Create Album Layouts


Welcome to the first edition of Tech Tips Tuesday! I’ve been thinking a lot about the types of tips I want to offer here, and one thing I know for sure is I definitely want to keep it simple. If you’re the type of person who stays on top of all of the new software, or is great at figuring out things for yourself, then these features aren’t for you. Each post will be geared more towards beginners or the technologically-clueless photographer.

So, if you’re the type of photographer who is still blogging from WordPress v2.0 and is still using Lightroom 1 to not only color-correct but also to cull your images (oh, the humanity!), then you’re definitely going to want to add my blog to your favorite RSS reader (if you don’t know what that is, maybe that can be the topic of a future post), because I’ll be giving you all kinds of crazy tips that will blow your mind and change your life. Promise!

Now, let’s get started, shall we?

In honor of my friend Jordana, who was one of the people instrumental in getting me to start this darn feature already, I’m going to talk a little bit about using Adobe InDesign to create album layouts. InDesign is a very powerful tool that I could talk about for days, but in the interest of keeping things simple, I’m going to offer some simple tips that should help you streamline your album design process and hopefully get you finishing layouts for your clients in record time.

InDesign is part of the Adobe Creative Suite. At the time of this posting, the current version available is CS5.5, but I’ll be using CS5 (InDesign version 7.0.4) to demonstrate these tips for you. If you’re using an older version, your tools palette may look a little different from mine but you should be able to do the same things I’m showing you here.

Why use InDesign over Photoshop for album layouts?
The answer is simple, page layouts is exactly what InDesign was, well…designed for. The drag and drop functionality of InDesign makes life much easier than the constantly-resize-and-create-mask-layers functionality of Photoshop.  Photoshop is an amazing tool, but it wasn’t made for page layouts, period.

The nature of today’s topic really warranted a video. I wouldn’t be able to demonstrate InDesign any other way. I hope you learn something by watching it! Personally, I learned that I say “um” and “uh” way too much. I’m going to work on that for next time. Enjoy the video below! For a larger version of the video, click here.

One thing I wish I had demonstrated in the video is exporting the page files. It’s very simple, you’ll just go to File >> Export and then choose your destination folder. You’ll be prompted to make a choice about file size via a pop-up window that looks like this:

Just make sure you mimic the Image options that you see above and you should be good to go! After just a few seconds you’ll have hi-res Jpegs of your page spreads waiting for you in the folder you chose as the destination.

In the video I mentioned places where you can buy InDesign templates. Here’s a short list:

H2O Creative – clean, modern, creative templates, designed by several talented photographers so you can choose the look that’s best for you and your brand.
Tofurious – simple and clean layouts at a very affordable price.
Weddings In Motion – free!

*DISCLAIMER: I am in no way affiliated with Adobe, or any of the album template companies listed here. In fact, they have no idea I’m mentioning and/or linking to them. I did not receive compensation of any kind for this blog post.

Have a technology-based question that you think would be a perfect topic for Tech Tip Tuesday? Let me know in the comments section or shoot me an email!

  • Geoff - Thanks for the shout out Heidi, great tutorial!

  • Jordana Hazel - hahahaha it is for me! Love you darling! Because of you I have so much free time to eat pie because it takes me a fraction of the time to get my job done. You are my hero :-)

  • Raquel - This was great Heidi! Thanks so much! <3

  • Kelly Mendoza - Thanks Heidi!

  • Judy Cebreros - Now, how did you know I’d need something like this? :D

  • Jen Grant - Thanks Heidi! I can’t wait to start using your advice. Sadly, InDesign is $700, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get it…. But, it looks MUCH easier than what I’m doing now. :(

  • Nick Rose Photography - Great tutorial here….thanks!

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