A Keynote/Photo Book
books are great. I love photo books. I make a photo book
for every big trip that we take. I've seen the discussions
about improving the print quality of the books, but what I
really wanted was a way to get better control of the layout
of the iPhoto books.
originally wrote this article about iPhoto, but the same
applies to Aperture-created books. Although Aperture books
are much more flexible than iPhoto books, you still can't
do a lot of things that you might want to do.
should say here that what I'm about to outline is not for
the faint of heart. Most people are probably quite happy
with the available iPhoto book layouts. If you choose to
follow my lead and head off of the beaten path you do so on
The only thing
that I don't like about iPhoto books are their lack of
layout options. Sure, each book style has several options
for number of photos per page and many page designs have
customizable text– but none of these layouts have the exact
layout that I may want to best present a collection of
The Travel theme has some nice options, some with creative
text options (I particularly like the option for 2 photos
per page), but you're still limited as to what you can do.
Want more than 7 photos per page? Sorry. Want text with six
pictures? Sorry again.
occurred to me to try using a tool that I'm already
intimately familiar with: Keynote. The new version of
Keynote that is a part of Apple's iWork is an extremely
capable and flexible layout tool. You can choose the slide
size to correspond nicely to the size of any of the book
formats available through iPhoto. Just pick a book size
(large hardcover is 11" by 8.5") and a target resolution
(the iPhoto book default resolution appears to be 200dpi)
and you've got your Keynote slide size (2200 x 1700 for my
You can use one of Keynote's included themes or make your
own. If you make your own (which I did) I would recommend
delving deeply into the Keynote
package to get some of
those great backgrounds. Note that each of those .kth files
is also a package so you'll have to Control-Click them to
view the package contents. Icon view with large icons can
be helpful here. I copied every image that I liked into a
new folder in ~/Pictures/
Take those backgrounds and set them as slide backgrounds.
Use Inspector -> Slide Inspector -> Appearance ->
Background (I had trouble finding this myself).
The great thing about Keynote is that you have nearly
complete control over image layout and can use all of Mac
OS X's amazing typographic capabilities.
Speaking of amazing typographic controls, you can use Mac
OS X glyphs as vector-based clipart. This means that you
can scale and rotate to your heart's content and don't have
to worry about jaggies.
So, with your pictures from iPhoto (remember the media
browser is built into Keynote), some nice and free vector
clipart, and a collection of nice backgrounds in hand you
are all set to make your presentation/book.
I'm not going to
pretend to even suggest to you how you should lay out your
presentation/book– so I'll assume that you did your Keynote
magic and are ready to convert from presentation to book.
If you've made it this far, you're done with the difficult
part. Just choose File -> Export… and save your slides
as TIFFs (or JPEGs if you're drive space conscious).
Now you have a collection of pictures that you can import
into iPhoto. Create a new iPhoto book based on your newly
exported slides. Make sure you choose the same size book
that you used for your math earlier. Personally, I like the
Travel book. It's actually my favorite book style from
iPhoto. Choose a 1 picture layout and make it full page.
That wasn't too
bad, was it?