Creating an Album for your/your client’s iPad

The cover of my PDF album

I love the idea of giving my clients not just a PHYSICAL album, but one that they can also enjoy and take with them on their mobile devices (hello marketing!)

There are tons of different directions you could go with this idea, including actually designing album pages just like you would a real album (with several images per page or other design elements etc) but for the purposes of this tutorial I’m keeping it REALLY simple – an album with one image per page and a cover image with your branding information.

First, I’m going to give you a link to the resources which include 2 Lightroom print templates, one for iPad2 and one for the higher resolution iPad3 and a PDF album that I created:

You can also access just the PDF to check out how it looks in iBooks by navigating with your iPad to: and click on “view in iBooks”.

The reason I included my own album is so that you have an example that you can play with and open in iBooks and see if it’s the sort of thing you’d like to recreate before you go ahead and follow along. If you don’t know how to open a PDF in iBooks – keep reading, we will go over that too!

Exporting your Files from Lightroom

There are several steps to this:

1) Create a COLLECTION in LR of the images that you want to include in your album.

2) Click on that collection so that all the images you want to work with appear in your filmstrip.

3) Switch over to the LR Print Module and make sure that just above your filmstrip you choose to work with “all filmstrip images”

work with "All filmstrip Photos" in the print module

4) In your LR Print module template browser (on the left) right click on “User Templates” which will prompt a fly out where you can choose “import:”

5) This will prompt you to navigate to the file/s you want to import, so browse to where you unzipped my resources folder and import the iPad2 or iPad3 or both templates.

6) Click on the template in the template browser that you want to work with. I created my PDF for iPad2, but if you or your client have an iPad3, feel free to use that one.

7) This will bring up a cell on screen that is the size/ratio of an iPad screen which is more of a square ratio than the native 2×3 ratio that comes off your camera, which means that your images will be cropped a little. The good news is that lightroom lets you choose the position of your photo within the cell and remembers it! So you might want to click through each image in your filmstrip which will pull it up in the main image area and you can use the hand tool to move it right or left or up or down to get the desired crop.  Once you have finished, move to the next step.

8) Click “Print to file” in the bottom right hand corner of your screen and navigate to where you want LR to export these images.

9) Navigate to where you exported your images and rotate any that are on their “side”.  For example, need to rotate the vertical images clockwise. DO NOT skip this step!

You are now ready to create your PDF album!

Creating the PDF itself

**Note: If you want to create a cover image, scroll down to “optional frills” at the bottom to see how to do that BEFORE you create your PDF!**

There are several different methods for creating a single PDF out of a bunch of separate files (in this case jpgs) including using Adobe Bridge. I’ve never done it that way, but if you DON’T have Photoshop CS6 or Adobe Acrobat Pro, you may want to look into doing it that way.  Actually, if you are a Mac user you are in luck because you do something like “In Preview drag all images into the sidebar, then select all in the sidebar, and print to PDF.”

For the rest of us, here are two other methods.

Creating the PDF Using Photoshop CS6 (currently in free BETA!)

1) From the file menu choose “File>Automate>PDF Presentation”.

2) Click on the “browse button and go to the folder where LR exported your jpgs and select ALL of them at one time and click “Open.”

Once you do that, you should see a list of all your files in the top left of the PDF Presentation dialogue box.  Make sure that you copy my settings below, choose “multipage document” and uncheck all the checkboxes under “include:”

uncheck everything

3) Click “Save” which will prompt you to choose where to save your PDF to and what you want to name it and immediate after, will bring up the PDF settings box.   Because we don’t want to take up too much valuable space on our clients’ iPads I highly suggest you at least try the settings I am using here under “Compression”:

I also once had the colorspace go TOTALLY out of whack on me even though I never touched the color settings and it only did it one time, but it was enough to make me resolve to always click on the “Output” tab and use the following color setting to convert to sRGB and use my embedded color profile:

Click “Save PDF.” Done!

You are now ready to share this PDF!

Creating the PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro

1) Open Acrobat and from the “Create” menu choose “Combine files into a single PDF”.

This brings up a box where you can drag and drop all the jpgs you created in LR.

After they are all there, from the bottom of the screen make sure you choose the small file size and then click “combine” which will prompt you to save your PDF.


Getting  the PDF to your iPad/client’s iPad

**Note: If you want to create link in your cover image, scroll down to “optional frills” at the bottom to see how to do that BEFORE you share your PDF!**

Probably the easiest way (and one reason it’s important to keep the file size down to something reasonable” is to email it to yourself or your client as an attachment with instructions on how to open it in iBooks. You could also upload it to your own server and send them the link, which would be advisable for larger files!

Getting the PDF to open in iBooks is as easy as clicking on the email attachment and letting the PDF open in the email client.  Once open, click on the little swoosh arrow in the top right corner and choose “Open in iBooks”:

This stores the PDF in their iBooks library so they can enjoy it anytime just by clicking on it’s icon!

The great thing about iBooks is that it will automatically rotates the  images as you flip your iPad around.. so this vertical image would fill the screen if turned counter clockwise, but once the ipad is turned horizontal, iBooks rotates the image for you and shrinks it accordingly:

The other cool thing is that if you tap at the top of the screen and access the iBooks controls, you can click the “list” button just to the right of “Library” on the top left that will give you a thumbnail view for quick access to a particular photo!

You can scroll through these thumbnails vertically.

Optional Frills

Creating a “cover image”

You might be wondering how I created the fancy “cover” image for my PDF. All you need to do is create an image in Photoshop that has anything in the world you want on it..just make sure that you create  your document to these dimensions:

iPad2: 1024 high x 768-pixel wide at 132 pixels dpi

iPad3: 2048 high x 1536-pixel wide at 264 dpi

Then, save for web as a jpg into the SAME FOLDER where you exported your images from LR.  BUT, and **this is important** make sure you name the jpg something that appears alphabetically BEFORE the other photos/images in the folder! So for example, when I exported from Lightroom I choose the file name “valentine” and LR appended a suffix with the image # so that my folder had valentine-1.jpg, valentine-2.jpg etc so I choose to name my cover image jpg “albumcover” because I know that A is before V in the alphabet so it will appear FIRST alphabetically which aslo means that Acrobat will also AUTOMATICALLY make it the first page of your album. Make sense?

Here’s how my folder looked:

You can see that the cover image is first. If your cover image is NOT first, rename it AAA111 or whatever you have to do to get it to be first. It’s a lot easier than trying to rearrange it later once it’s been PDFd!

Creating a URL link to your website from the cover image

Here’s another optional frill and to be honest, I’m not sure if you can do this if you don’t own Acrobat Pro, but just in case you do, read on..

1) Open your album PDF and choose “Tools” from the top right, then expand “content” and click on the link tool:

2) Copy my settings:

Click “Next”

Then, when prompted, put the URL for your website like so:

Click OK and RESAVE your document and close it.

PHEW!!!! Done. Maybe my longest tutorial ever. If you are a DIYer like me and like control of every aspect, you will find that this is a fairly simple process and once you’ve done it one time it really can just become another quick step in your workflow.

For those of you who are overwhelmed, there are also vendors like Sticky Album that is more of an automated solution.

Whichever way you go,  I think your clients are going to love it!

Enjoy :)


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Amy Hoogstad says:

Great tutorial, thanks for the help Ariana!

I’ve been trying this out for the last hour and I love it…except I can’t seem to get my horizontal images to save when rotated from vertical or horizontal. Or when they do save (using preview on a mac) they won’t save to the pdf album, it deletes them completely. I’m not expecting you to answer my technical issues, just curious if anyone else has hit a snag with the horizontal images? Thanks so much again for showing this!

This is Awesome!!!! Thank you for sharing this! I love incorporating new technology into my marketing and this is just so fun…I appreciate you taking the time to do this, I can’t wait to try it out:)

Mandy Sroka says:

This is awesome Ariana! Thanks for creating this tutorial. As a Mac User, it was waaaaay easier to create the PDF in Adobe Bridge (I have CS4) than in Preview. And I couldn’t figure out how to compress it enough to send via email (yet), so I’m using a dropbox link. Did you get a small empty space around your images? It could be because I’m using the iPad 1 – eek! I need to upgrade! Thanks again!

ariana says:

@Christy, I wish I could help – I hope another mac user can chime in!

@Mandy – it doesn’t give you an option when it creates the PDF to choose the size/quality? As for the small space, I see a tiny one, I assumed it was an allowance for the iBook controls or something.. not sure. Was planning on figuring that out next :)

Amber says:

this is amazing! Thank you for taking the time to write such an in-depth, detailed tutorial, you are always so generous with your time and talent! I can’t wait to try this!

Karen H says:

Thanks for taking the time for the tutorial!! I have had a really crappy day today and coming here and seeing this neat tutorial really improved my day! It is so nice for you to take the time to write this all out, I know how much work it is…just wanted to say Thanks and I really appreciate it! You’re a good egg Ariana! (Ok, we use the good egg term a lot around my house…hope that’s not too odd :))

Melinda T says:

This is great! I was going to ask about photoshop too, but you answered it already! Guess I’ll have to get lightroom.

ariana says:

Hi Pam, not such dumb questions. I’m almost 1000% sure aperture can do something just like this, but I don’t have it so I wouldn’t be able to tell you how!

Adobe took out the PDF Presentation feature in CS4-5 and then brought it back in CS6 due to popular demand, so no, it can’t be done in CS5 :(

Pam says:

Love this!! A couple of dumb questions: Will this work through Aperture? and Can it work with CS5? Thank you!