Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Images and a cover for your own 2007 photo calendar


By David Gewirtz

We continue our 2007 photo calendar project by preparing the images for publication. As you'll recall from last week's article (at, we selected 13 images to be used for each month, plus a cover.

In this article, we'll learn about proper image formatting and create the cover image.

Using the template

Let's start by talking a little about printing. Printed images generally require a higher resolution than images destined for display on the Web. As mentioned last week, CafePress recommends creating an 11.5" x 9" image at 200dpi. That means each of our pictures needs to be at least 2,300 x 1,800 pixels. The images I've chosen are all somewhat bigger than that.

Whether you use CafePress or another photo service provider, you'll need to be sure you both find out the specs for the images, and convert your images to those specs. CafePress provides a template (at that you can use to size your image.

As you can see in Figure A, the template also provides another benefit. It shows you where your "safety zone" is.


The template provides a "safety zone". (click for larger image)

The idea of a safety zone is this is the area where you're guaranteed to have your image show up. Anything outside the safety zone could be trimmed or cropped out of the image as part of the production process. The easiest way to do this is open the template, save the file with a new name, and then place your image on top of the template in a new layer.

You could choose to use the Image Size dialog to do your resizing, but I found it far easier to simply drop my image as a layer on top of the template and resize the image (constraining it with the shift key), until the image fit the template as best as possible, making sure to completely cover the template with the image.

Once you've placed your image, you'll need to save it. CafePress recommends using the PNG file format, but I found that the CafePress servers didn't work right with PNG and I eventually found myself saving the files as TIFF images, and uploading the (much larger) TIFF data files. Not fun, but it worked.

Just repeat this process for your 12 inside images.

Creating the cover

Next up, you'll want to create an interesting cover. I used one of my favorite images, a picture from my back yard that I'd tweaked with a tungsten filter (see As you can see in Figure B, the safety zone becomes particularly important when you're placing text.