Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
Blurb is an online-based book publishing service that allows everyday folks and professionals alike to publish their own books – something almost everyone dreams about at one time or another. Photo books, cookbooks, a book about your family vacation – if you can think of it, chances are, Blurb can print it up and make it in to a book for you.
Blurb offers a plethora of apps related to story and/or photo publishing; anything from plug-ins for Microsoft Word or Adobe Lightroom and InDesign, to Facebook and Instagram book designing apps.
For on-the-go publishing, Blurb Mobile is designed to allow users to create and share photo stories in a slideshow format, much like miniature multimedia photo essays. The app also features built-in image enhancement and editing tools so that everything from shooting to showing can be done in the one app.
- Eight photos in a story
- One 30-second audio clip per image in story
- One 10-second video clip per story
- Seven “themes” for stories (colored backgrounds and text)
- Various page layouts
- Social sharing for published storied (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
Blurb Mobile Plus:
- An additional eight themes for stories
- Up to 20 images in a story (the website lists 15, but apparently the app has been updated)
- One 30-second audio clip per image in story
- Three 30-second video clips per story – up to 30 seconds each
- iPhone, iPod touch or iPad
- iOS 4.0 or later
Upon starting up the app users have the option to use existing photos or start a story straight from the in-app camera.
I chose to use photos from my iPhone’s Camera Roll of a recent road trip to Montana. Each story has a space to enter the title. Just tap the rectangle outline to the left of the photos and a text box for title entry pops up.
Scrolling from left to right, photos can be individually edited, deleted, and rearranged once placed within the story. Tapping a photo brings up seven buttons on the photo’s edges, each with a different function.
From the top left, moving clockwise:
- Delete: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Tap it, and your photo is gone.
- Rotate Clockwise
- Size Adjust: Tap once and the photo moves to 1:1 (square format). Tap a second time and the photo changes to portrait mode. Both of these will crop the photo, blocking out parts of the image to suit the new image size. There is no option to adjust the photo within the newly sized image area for a new composition. Tap this button a third time and your aspect ratio is reset to the original setting.
- Rotate Counter Clockwise
- Caption: Allows caption editing for each image
- Audio Recording: Brings up the audio clip recording menu (explained later)
- Move Image: Allows the user to move the image within the story. A nice feature that is easy to use.
Beneath the story are options to add additional photos, record audio, change the theme and edit photos, and add custom page layouts (essentially one image with multiple photos placed in various arrangements – think PicFrame, Diptic or Grid Lens images).
Adding Some Style
After adding all of my photos and inserting the story title, I tapped the “Style” button, which brought up the options for themes, as well as the adjustment tools and custom color enhancements.
Aside from color corrections and the occasional crop, I generally like to keep my post processing to a minimum, so I opted out of the sepia tone. I decided to go with the black theme for my story – sleek and simple, not distracting. Other options for themes include wood grain, water, granite, etc. All strangely reminiscent of textures found in Microsoft WordArt 15 years ago.
Simple adjustments like contrast, hue, saturation and brightness can all be made to individual photos as you scroll through from the adjustments screen, rather than having to go back and forth from the story screen to editing menu.
Updating Story Info
The “Story Info” button will bring up options to change the title, add a description, and change listing and location information. This is nice if you build your story where it took place, which is why this is a “mobile” app. However, I built my story once back in Washington, so adding the location didn’t make much sense.
Tapping the “Layout” button at the bottom of the story editing screen brings up a scroll bar full of various image layouts that can each be used as a single “page” in the story.
There are twelve layouts, sectioned to feature anywhere from two to six photos on a page. This is handy if you have, say, three photos from the rodeo that would look good featured on one screen. This allows you to save room for other photos, while still being able to showcase all of the photos you desire.
Adding Audio Clips
If your story needs some narration, this is the place to do it. By tapping the microphone icon in the story menu, you will be taken to a simple audio recording interface that lets your record clips up to two minutes long (Plus version, 30 seconds for regular version) to accompany each image in the story. You can do this yourself, but it is best if you can find Morgan Freeman or any famous person with a dignified accent, as they will undoubtedly give your slideshow some immediate street cred in the documentary community.
After your story is finished, it is made in to an automated slideshow, which is assigned an online URL and stored in Blurb’s “Story Stream” online. The slideshow can then be played back on your mobile device, emailed to friends, or posted directly to Twitter or Facebook, since everyone will want to see your newly minted, Morgan Freeman-narrated photo essay about your recent journey to Montana.
The “My Stories” tab lists all of your completed stories, where you can choose to continue editing, share or make adjustments as you please.
The Story Stream is Blurb’s social platform that allows you to add friends in order to build a network of fellow app users.
Check out my Montana slideshow here: http://www.blurb.com/mobile/show/0588c01d8
I am a photojournalist by trade and have been known to put together the occasional photo essay. Often, automating a slideshow with audio narration, music and 20 photos is a cumbersome task that requires semi-expensive software. Blurb Mobile obviously isn’t a replacement for professional-level multimedia projects, but it does an excellent job of assembling many of the same features in an easy-to-use, simplified mobile app that can help you put together a story on the go, upload it, and share it with friends around the world in a matter of minutes.
What we like: As a photographer I love posting photos to Facebook, but always struggle to find the best single image to tell the story – this app is a great way to gather a few images together and showcase them all in one place to tell a story.
What we don't like: I wish there were a way to adjust compositions after changing the aspect ratio of images on a page.
Nate Watters, @nate_watters, is a commercial and editorial photographer currently based in Seattle, Washington. He spends much of his time documenting the Northwest music and arts scene for City Arts Magazine and photographing his wilderness adventures for Scenic Washington State.
Oct 24, 2015
Oct 22, 2015
Oct 20, 2015
Oct 20, 2015
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Holding down the top position is none other than the Nikon D850 – by a landslide.
It's been twenty years since Jeff Keller founded the Digital Camera Resource Page, one of the first websites dedicated to digital photography. Jeff, who has been at DPReview for nearly five years, looks back at the rise and fall of consumer digital cameras and his website.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At #2 we have another staff favorite – the Sony Alpha a9.
Rotolight has released the Anova Pro 2 circular LED for stills and video, boasting a 70% increase in brightness and what the company describes as "unrivaled battery performance."
Designer Vinicius Araújo has imagined what he believes the perfect Adobe software keyboard might look like. From customizable touch pads, to a scroll wheel, to a little display that shows the tool in use, his design is pretty compelling.
Peak Design has teamed up with Leica to release a limited-edition backpack made special for fans of the Red Dot.
A portrait of an android woman has beaten over 5,700 pictures of humans to take third place in this year’s prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. The judges were not told the subject was an 'android' until after the winning images were chosen.
Hauling around C-Stands just got a whole lot less annoying thanks to these new Matthews shoulder and roller bags, which can hold two or three C-stand (respectively) plus accessories.
Neal Preston has shot timeless photos of everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Whitney Houston, to Michael Jackson. In this interview, he offers insights into his craft to up-and-comer Elijah Dominique.
Future prosumer Canon DSLRs might feature light-up buttons, if this newly published patent is any indication of the camera company's plans.
Sony's a7R Mark III shoots 42.4MP files at 10fps and incorporates a robust video feature set, large battery, refined ergonomics and more. It certainly looks impressive, but what is it like to use, and how does it stack up against the rest of the market? Find out in our full review.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017 – the Fujifilm X100F takes the bronze and the #3 spot.
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. But there may be some improvements.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.