I’ve needed to put together a portfolio for some time now and I keep putting it off. Probably because I had in my mind only the typical portfolio book with lined pages full of photographs and paper based CV, Bio and Artist Statement. It just seemed like putting together a scrapbook – really uninspiring for me. I have purposely avoided scrap-booking. Too many expensive supplies, and well, the whole thing makes me feel terribly inadequate with regards to how I display my photographs. Anyway, I digress. I stumbled upon a deal with Blurb and was intrigued. I heard about them before, but didn’t make the connection to creating a portfolio. This time I explored the idea a bit more and decided it would be great to try. So, I used their 7″x7″ format, chose a high quality gloss paper and soft cover, and decided to try their downloadable software to create the book. BookSmart turned out to be really easy to use. There were lots of pre-loaded text and image templates to start with and lots of flexibility in manipulating those templates. So, it made the layout and design process really quick. I had considered creating my own design with Adobe Indesign which would have given me complete control and flexibility, however it would also have taken me a ton more time.
In the end I was happy with what I created with BookSmart. I ordered a few copies to have available whenever I need to show my work to anyone interested in seeing what I’m up to. I’m really happy with the result and the quality of the end product is fantastic. It’s a really professional looking little portfolio.
The one thing I would have liked to be able to do is create a pdf version to have available electronically. Adobe Indesign would have given me the ability to save it in pdf format. BookSmart, however, only saves a pdf version with a non-removable watermark through all the pages. What Blurb has done recently though is to add the option of an ebook purchase on their site. So, you can purchase the epub file, readable on iBooks or other epub readers for 1.99 – a great price. The conversion is still not perfect though. Some of my fonts were substituted, which isn’t a huge deal for me, but the images I had saved as png files (in order to have a transparent background) printed all funny. I’ve sent a note to the folks at Blurb, but have yet to hear back. Not sure how much control they have over that issue.
So, all in all, I’m really happy with the paper copies of my portfolio and those that have seen it have been quite impressed. I think it’s a great option for an artist’s portfolio, and it sure is easier to carry around with you than the standard full size black binder-style portfolio. You can see a few more of the inside pages here on the Blurb website.