You Can Still Print Custom Photo Books From Aperture

Apple has stopped offering photo book printing from Aperture, it’s end-of-lifed professional photo app for OS X. The good news is you can still print Aperture custom photo books through Bookmobile. Here’s how.

I’m assuming you already know how to make a photo book in Aperture, so I’m just going to cover creating a PDF from Aperture for printing at Bookmobile. If this is not the case, see How To Make a Photo Book in Apple Aperture.  A few pointers and requirements:

  • Aperture does not export bleeds–that is, running photos off the edge of the page–properly. So you’re not going to be able to create page layouts with photos running off the edge of the page, and, in fact, you should keep all images at least 1/4″ away from the page edge.
  • We can print any page size up to 12″ x 12″, landscape, portrait, or square, on a selection of paper stocks, with either paperback or hardcover binding.
  • Our minimum order quantity is 25 copies. We can cost-effectively print up to 1,000 copies, depending on the specifications of the particular book. If you want to print fewer than 25 copies, you should use Createspace, Lulu, Blurb or another POD outfit. (We’re short-run digital printers, not Print-On-Demand.)
  • Other options besides Aperture for creating professional-quality photo books are described here.

Exporting a Photo Book PDF From Aperture

Exporting a photo book PDF from Aperture is easy if you set a custom page size when you print to PDF. With the book open in Aperture, here’s how to do it:

  1. With the photo book open in Aperture, select File/Print Book.
  2. Under Paper Size, select Manage Custom Sizes.
  3. In Manage Custom Sizes, create a custom size and give it a name.
  4. Set the page size to 1/4″ larger than the page size of your photo book. For example, for an 11″ x 8-1/2″ book, set the page size to 9″ x 12″. You will notice a discrepancy here: according to standard printing nomenclature, you should set the page dimensions at 12″ x 9″ to get a landscape format. However, when you do that, it results in portrait format when previewed, so go with the non-standard 9″ x 12″.
  5. Set all four Non-Printable Area margins to zero. This prevents Aperture from creating a white border around the page.
  6. Back at the main print menu, select Adobe RGB (1998) as your color profile. (We’ll perform the RGB to CMYK conversion here in order to maximize the printed color gamut, as explained here.)
  7. Select PDF/Save As PDF, gave the new PDF file a name, and click Save.

All pretty straightforward, except for the portrait/landscape discrepancy.

Getting Your Custom Photo Books Printed at Bookmobile

Here are the steps for getting your photo book printed at Bookmobile:

  • You’ll want to know how much it’s going to cost, so get a printing quote here.
  • Send us your files. (When our customer service person provides the price quote, they’ll also provide instructions.) We’ll send you printed proofs.
  • Review and approve your printed proofs.
  • We ship you your books!

For much more detail on printing photo books—probably more than you need!—I’ve written a whole series of posts:

Creating a Fine Art or Professional Photo Book: Design Options Overview

Creating a Fine Art or Professional Photo Book: Design Options Part 1, Page Layout Programs

Creating a Fine Art or Professional Photo Book: Design Options Part 2, Hiring a Book Designer

Creating a Fine Art or Professional Photo Book: Design Options Part 3, Using Adobe Lightroom

Creating a Fine Art or Professional Photo Book: Design Options Part 4, Using Apple Aperture
(Note: this post still includes information about ordering books through Apple, which is no longer available.)

Maximizing Print Quality in Your Fine Art or Professional Photo Book: Part 1, Monitor Calibration and CMYK Soft Proofing

Maximizing Print Quality in Your Fine Art or Professional Photo Book: Part 2, Making a Print PDF

Maximizing Print Quality in Your Fine Art or Professional Photo Book: Part 3, Proofs and the Proof Review Process

The Best Way to Print Black and White Photo Book on a Digital Press

Preparing Black and White Photographs for Printing

Printing a Fine Art Photo Book? Look At All Your Options, Not Just POD

Turning Your Art or Photo Book into an eBook

Bookmobile Adds PUR Binding for Art Books and Fine Art Photo Books

Need a printing quote, eBook conversion quote, or more information?

You can request a printing quote here, or request an eBook conversion quote here.

I’d be happy to answer questions—you can contact me via email.
 I welcome any feedback, especially that pointing out my errors!

Don Leeper is founder and CEO of Bookmobile, which has provided design, printing, eBook, and distribution services for book publishers since 1982.