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Extremely Essential Camera Skills
Incredibly Important Composition Skills
Super Photo Editing Skills
Simple Wedding Photography
Really Easy Retouching
Awesome Album Design Skills
Before / After
Before/After: Black & White
The Creativity Field Guide
Backup or Die
How We Did It: Lobster Island

Software Review: Storyboard

screen-capture-88.jpg

Storyboard is a workflow tool that lets you create magazine style layouts for your blog insanely fast. Like this snazzy one:

-4.jpg

Sounds decent right? Let me tell you, this tiny piece of software is going to save you SO much time and SO much frustration.

See, if you are a blogging photographer, you’re going to need something. You’ve probably come across the problem as soon as you decided you wanted to blog a vertical image.

You slapped it into your post, and it ended up looking mega lame, like this:

buenosaires-055.jpg

Then you realized that if you put two verticals beside each other, it looks a gazillion times better, like this:

-8.jpg

But manually doing that in Photoshop is the biggest waste of time in the world. And when you’re a busy photographer, you don’t have a second to spare.

First off, I’ll let you know that I was highly skeptical when I saw Storyboard. I have an obsession with InDesign, and I thought that was all I would need to do these layouts. You can create templates, drag and drop your photos in, save it down, and you’re done! Easy peasy!

Well, I had my mind truly blown when I tried it out. I’m not usually so impressed by plugins, but this one is easily a must-have for blogging photographers.

What It Does

I don’t know all the fancy magic that is going on behind the scenes, but what Storyboard does is pretty simple. It takes the photos you choose, and perfectly aligns them based on your preferences.

See, that’s one of the absolute best things about Storyboard. You can customize it like crazy. You can change the width to match your own blog, and the spacing for your own personal preference, and even the background colour in case you have a coloured text area! So no matter what your blog looks like, this will work.

And you can do tons of arrangements. You can create single storyboards:

-1.jpg

Or use the awesome Compiler feature to put a bunch of storyboards together:

-comp-5.jpg

Now, like I said, before I tried it I wasn’t really sure that Storyboard was necessary, since you can do all of this in InDesign with some work. But that’s the thing: using InDesign takes some work. There are a few extra steps in there, and those steps take up time.

Storyboard automatically resizes, saves for web, and puts the image in your blogging folder, ready to go. The whole process takes literally seconds, and you’re done. It’s incredible. As soon as I used it once, I was absolutely hooked.

Other awesome things it can do? 

  • Run actions on the images automatically (like Sharpening for Web)
  • Create perfect web sized files (small file size, and the proper sRGB colour space)
  • Re-order the images so you have total control of the layout
  • Loop so you can keep creating your boards without any extra keystrokes
  • Archive the photos you’ve already used so you won’t have to try to remember
  • One button launching with their free included actions

How It Will Help You

The biggest thing here is time. Storyboard saves you bazillions.

Blogging is critical for photographers these days. It’s how you put out your latest and greatest work, get your clients involved in your business, and constantly market yourself. It’s more important than ever to be a consistent blogger.

But it can take a while to get all your photos ready to go, and as soon as you start feeling that resistance to create a post, it’s going to be harder and harder to keep up with it.

Storyboard truly makes it fun to prep your images for blogging. I’m not exaggerating. You’ll create one Storyboard, say “Holy smokes, that was easy!” and then you’ll begin to look for other combos to throw up there.

It’s going to make your blog posts more engaging, with great pairings of images that tell a story together, and take you way less time to do it.

It will also give a more professional look to your blog. One of the most important principles of great graphic design is consistency. You want your spacing to be perfectly consistent to give that pro feel. Storyboard suddenly makes that automatic, and that is mega valuable.

So you’re going to spend less time blogging, so you’ll blog more. And your blog posts will look better. It’s win-win-win all the way around.

Tips

The instructions provided with Storyboard are thorough and easy-to-follow, so I don’t have a lot of tips to share! It’s dead simple!

However, here are a few I’ve thought of:

  • Spend some time planning out your layout before hopping into Photoshop. Storyboard is going to let you tell stories, which are far more engaging than random sets of images.
  • Think through your combinations carefully, and don’t be afraid to re-do them if you don’t like the result. Pairing images can be very powerful when you do it thoughtfully. Or it can be distracting if you just slap things together.
  • When you’re choosing images for your Storyboard, change the file view to Thumbnail (on a Mac, it’s the little button at the top of the window with the four squares). That will enable you to see exactly which images you’re selecting from a large folder)
  • Install the actions they include, and assign the keyboard shortcuts. That will make it even easier to use, and ensure that you will use it
  • Take the time to read through all the instructions they provide, so you know all the powerful features that are included. I’m the kind of person who just jumps in without reading first, but when I went through the entire guide, I realized just how much I could do with the plugin

Pros

  • Easy to install and use
  • Fun!
  • Incredibly fast creation of perfect layouts
  • Highly customizable
  • Creates perfect web quality files (small files sizes, and the correct colour space)
  • Compiler is fantastic, and easy to use
  • Includes actions so you can launch with single keystrokes
  • Flexible, can combine verticals, horizontals, and squares
  • Efficiently designed to speed up your workflow (Loop Mode and Archive Mode are brilliant)
  • Works with Mac and Windows, and CS4 and ass=”caps”>CS5, so well supported
  • Instructions are thorough, and easy to follow
  • Actively developing and improving the plugin, based a lot on user feedback
  • Creators are photographers, so they really understand the blogging process
  • Super nice and helpful guys, who truly want to help photographers save time!
  • Super affordable for the amount of time it will save you

Cons

  • Can’t create super customized layouts, like two horizontals that span the height of one vertical
  • Currently can’t create full resolution files (though it looks like this is in the works)

Conclusion

It was really hard for me to come up with any cons for Storyboard, which is surprising because I’m a super picky person. But honestly, it’s fantastic. The pros of saving time and creating perfect layouts far outweigh the one con of being slightly restricted in the types of layouts you can create.

You’re going to find yourself creating beautiful posts that are more engaging, and tell a story. And you’re going to save yourself so much time.  

Convinced?

Storyboard is available for $79.99. For the amount of time this will save you, and the power of the plugin, we think that’s a very fair price.

Check out all the details of Storyboard here: http://www.storyboardrocks.com/
Follow Storyboard on Twitter and Facebook

Review Details

Storyboard dropped us a line to see if we would review their plugin. I told them I was pretty skeptical, and loved InDesign, and wasn’t sure if Storyboard was really necessary. They did a fantastic job of showing me how their script totally destroys InDesign for this work. I was extremely impressed. They gave us a free copy to try out, with no strings attached. They are super nice guys, and we were happy to give the plugin a thorough testing. We don’t receive any compensation for giving a positive review.

BONUS GIVEAWAY!

I asked the guys if they would be up for giving away a copy to our super awesome readers, and, in their total niceness, they offered TWO copies! So leave a comment, and TWO lucky readers are going to have this amazing plugin freesies!

CONTEST IS NOW OVER! Congrats to our winners, Corissa and Jennie, who are going to be rockin’ their blogs with Storyboards!!

Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photographer and head ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.

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Discussion

71 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. You forgot a BIG pro! It's Canadian!! LOL….I'll admit, I was skeptical in the beginning too, as I was (and still am) using Morai….but I'm over it. Would LOVE a copy of Storyboard!

  2. Wow – Storyboard looks and sounds fantastic! I'm a big fan of InDesign so didn't think this plugin for Photoshop would be of any use but just by viewing their product videos, I'm sold! Like you said, easy peasy. BTW, love the inclusion of your recent travel photos – can't wait to see more. Also LOVE, LOVE your Buenos Aires (Museo Tecnico) photo near beginning of this post – especially composition and tone of the photo.

  3. Natalie says:

    This sounds like a great product! Would love to try it out!

  4. It looks pretty awesome and easy to use.

  5. Sounds Awesome!

  6. This looks like a huge timesaver!

  7. Great review! Resizing pictures for blogs takes up so much time! Hope I win. :)

  8. Sounds interesting!

  9. this sounds great. I'd love to win!

  10. I would love a copy of storyboard. Blogging eats up so much time and i've been looking for a way to streamline the process!

  11. It would be GREAT having software that speeds up blogging….would love to try this!

  12. Saving time priceless.

  13. Heather says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE all the tips and tricks that you share with us all!

  14. Jasmine says:

    Love reading blogs but hate the time consuming task of getting my images ready! Would LOVE to try Storyboard!

  15. Count me in! Lovin' me some Photoshop time-savers!

  16. Amazing, count me in…

  17. This sounds like exactly what I need to speed up my blogging workflow. Photoshop takes at least 70% of my time spent blogging! I hope I win the giveaway, but even if I don't, that price is definitely worth the hours saved later.

  18. EmaLeeDee says:

    Saving time is always a good thing! :)

  19. I needs this! My blogging is lame and needs serious help. PLUS I have two kids so I need even more help to save time. PLUS did I mention you guys are awesome?

  20. DUDE!!! every time you do a give away I think oh I NEED this one way more than the last one! However REALLY I NEED THIS ONE!! I'm so glad!

  21. I want Storyboard!! Really!!

  22. Kylene Cleaver says:

    Wow If I had something like this I would actually have time to make dinner for my family :-) Thanks for Sharing!!!

  23. an awesome review I really must get round to buying this at some point!

  24. Nicole Voth says:

    Wow, this would be so awesome to win!

  25. I would love, love, love to try out Storyboard!!

  26. Wow! Sounds like a real time saver. I'd LOVE to try it out!

  27. i love trying out new software! Send one my way please ;)

  28. oh, this is awesome! I want!

  29. That sounds incredible! Thanks for the hot tip ;-) Would you guys recommend blogging for a part-time, working-her-way-up-to-pro photographer? I don't shoot all the time so I thought maybe I wouldn't be able to update enough to keep viewers interested… but this sounds incredible and I'm keen to try it out! Maybe I'd shoot more if I had a blog to market with! 0_o (besides my tumblr…)

  30. Wow! This is just what I was looking for! (Something to save time making super-awesome photo layouts!)

    Thanks for sharing Rob & Lauren!

  31. This sounds amazing! Thanks, Storyboard and FotoConcentrate!

  32. Cool idea – it would save a ton of time!! Thanks for sharing it, Rob and Lauren!

  33. Nicole says:

    looks fantastic. Would love to win a copy.

  34. We have been using the program for some time and loving the ease of use, and fully imlemented it to our workflow. However, recently we discovered that the storyboarded blog posts do not show well on the iOS specifically the iPad. When images resize to ie. 940px (width of blog)they really look pixelated. Any suggestions? Thx.

  35. Hi Mark,

    The issue you are having isn't so much a Storyboard issue, but an iOS limitation when dealing with really tall images.

    This is why we stress that using the compiler is an optional step and that it is much better to not use it unless you absolutely have to.

    TIP: By not using the compiler your blog posts will load faster, you won't have these iOS issue and you will have nice looking thumbnails when sharing with Facebook.

    - Sean @ Storyboard

  36. Although I'm not much of a blogger, especially not the one with long and fully loaded blogposts, I do see Storyboard has many possibilities. I might check this out to create portfolio slides for the iPad. That is still a lot of time-consuming work these days. At this moment, I'm also using Indesign, but saving for output on the web isn't very ideal. A pity it doesn't create high-res output yet, it would be a great help to make my books too. Or at least a time-saver in the creative process.
    By the way: wouldn't it be even more awesome if this could be implemented in Lightroom too, using the same technique?

  37. gah! of course i didn't know about this when i purchased moirai… :( but i would love to win a copy!

  38. Mmmm saving time… I like the idea of that, especially when it comes to the blogging process. I really love the editing & layout process, minus the time it takes… so major kudos to the people whose goal is to make the editing process even more enjoyable. I'd love to win! Thanks again for yet another encouraging and helpful post.

  39. You guys are SOOO right. I do the same layouts on my blog as well and while I do have some action scripts to make it faster, it is still a tedious process of getting the storyboard look. One of my most hated part of post-processing is setting up the storyboard images for the blog. I will have to try this product and see how well it works. It certainly sounds simple enough.

  40. Looks awesome :). Would love to win!

  41. I like winning! this seems like a time saver! woo!

  42. Would love to get a copy of this. Sign me up!

  43. Jennifer says:

    Just launched a blog and about to launch a website – I would love this product!

  44. This looks like a great plugin. I spent several days creating actions to resize images for my blog, but I am still pretty limited in my layout choices. Storyboard is looking pretty tempting!

  45. Exactly what I need for my blog — Thanks for the review, I'd love to try it!

  46. With Hi res files this could be good for Album design

  47. Thanks so much for the review, def considering it now. It seems so strange that it can't size two horizontals to a vertical…such a basic task, I wonder if upgrades will have that instead.

  48. I am horrible at blogging…for the very reason that I really dislike trying to get my images to look "non-mega-lame".
    Seems like this might do the trick ;o)

  49. I LOVE to blog, but have not done the whole story board thing because of the time. This program looks like it would be oh so helpful!

  50. What a great tool! Can't wait to try it out.

  51. This would make getting into blog posting after a shoot so much easier!

  52. i would love this. hope i win!

  53. Cordelia says:

    looks awesome! i want in!

  54. Great tool, count me in…

  55. Maryam Y. says:

    Wow! That sounds wonderful. Just found out about this blog from one of the photographers I follow on twitter. It's 12am but I think I'm going to be here a while.

  56. Looks really great! Would love to try it out!

  57. yes! timesaving and easy and fun!

  58. Barbara Bain says:

    oooOOooooOOOOOoooo…. looks awesome! Would love to try it as well. Love that its a Canadian product!

  59. oooh pick me!

  60. I would LOVE to have this! It looks so awesome! And Photography Concentrate is awesome too! :)

  61. looks interesting

  62. Wow! I so need this. Hope I win!

  63. Sounds Great! I want to try it.

  64. Cynthia Rodriguez says:

    As an amateur photographer and website creator enthusiast, this sounds like the perfect program. Can't wait to try it out.

  65. I know a good storyboard. A young couple from the tundra region of Canada embark on a quest to eat empanadas and drink Malbec wine for a month. Our young adventurers…

  66. Tracey heppner says:

    Honestly.. U guys truly r givers. Love ur heart for our industry. Much love to u from Asia! Xoxo

  67. this looks awesome!

  68. Great review…on my list. Thanks.

  69. This would be the perfect compliment to my soon to be released blog!

  70. Awesome looking product! Thanks for sharing!

  71. What do you think about Moirai Compositor?

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