Thinking about making a photo book?

alisandeOctober 13, 2011

I'm planning to put together a couple of photo books as Christmas gifts this year, and I've been researching websites that offer them. An article from a back issue of Popular Photography was very helpful, as was this excellent, in-depth review of 12 photo printing services.

I recommend reading at least some of his findings in detail (and looking at the video the author posted for each book), but go here if you'd like to see a wrap-up of his conclusions.

The results of his experiences correspond with what I've read elsewhere and observed on my own from looking at others' photo books.

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They can be so much fun,I made one for all hubbys hunting trips,the stickers.paper you can buy plus thier photos,makes for a great album.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 3:44PM
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Thanks for the link! I order a lot of photobooks since I quit doing scrapbooking and also have bought them for gifts.

I've used Shutterfly and Snapfish as well as some others. I have always used a coupon code.. a few years ago it was pretty easy to find a coupon code for a free book.

One of the important things for me is to not have to download the software... I don't think any of the companies I've used made me do that. My favorite company is Mixbook because I like to use a lot of different backgrounds and embellishments and they let you do that... even changing themes throughout the book. I like my books to look more like a scrapbook, if you are just using plain backgrounds then that wouldn't matter.

I think photo books make great gifts! Have fun making them! I must warn you.. they are more time consuming than you might think. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Mixbook website

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 3:44PM
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Great info, Susan! I've made and ordered several from Snapfish and
Shutter fly, and have been really happy with them. Might try the Mixbook next time.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 3:58PM
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Lydia, this project has already been time consuming for me, and I haven't even started yet! I've been pulling old pictures out of albums, and scanning them. I'm counting on the result being worth all this time and effort. And money!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 7:41PM
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I made one for my GS after our Alaskan cruise. He was so proud of it.

I'm thinking about making him one of assorted photos since he was 4. That's when marital split happened, and after that I have them all stored on my computer.

Now if I can figure out how to print them. They are all stored in Photobucket.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 7:47PM
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Glenda-- why do you have to print out the photos? These are digital photobooks in which you upload the photos that are already on your computer into the book-publishing software that's online. Are we talking about the same kind of books? Not the scrapbooking-type books where you buy stickers and paper and put it all together yourself on the kitchen table (which is what Bulldinkie's referring to?). I've done that, for my first puppy's life. Fun, but these digital bookmaking programs give you something different. Really nice professional look. There are some inexpensive photo scanners out there that'll have all your loose pictures uploaded in no time (or photo service places will scan photos on a CD -- if you can still find an old-fashioned-type photo place nowadays! They're dying off... unfortunately).

I've stuck to Shutterfly for a few books I've done (trips).
Too bad that the guy who wrote the comparative analysis didn't include the version made for Apple computers (tho I understand why--not everybody has an Apple). But it's the simplest one I've ever tried. At the time, tho, there were very few layouts to choose from. I saw a friend's Apple book and it looked really nice.

Some of the book-publishing software is easier to understand than others. Beyond Apple, Shutterfly is pretty simple, but I found MyPublisher (and I think Blurb, too) to be much more difficult to master (without investing too many hours!).

I'm going to mess around with the Inkubook publishing site next to see what that looks like. It got some good marks from this guy's tests.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 4:23AM
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Pammyfay, are you referring to the Apple program called Aperture? I was planning to use it myself--until I discovered it was only for Apple computers. Now I'm planning to use Adoramapix. I used their printing service for my last couple of exhibits, and was happy with the results. As good as Mpix for the most part, but less expensive. I thought it was interesting that Mpix's book printing didn't get very high marks from Popular Photography. Their individual prints are gorgeous.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 7:53AM
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No, Alisande, just the regular "book" option that I see when I open iPhoto. I haven't upgraded anything since I bought my MacBook a few years ago. I'd looked at some of the photo and video software "suites," but I really wouldn't use it very much so I decided I didn't need it. All the basic Apple programs that are on my MacBook satisfy my needs (so far!) -- simple, intuitive.

If I were making a book just for myself, which nobody else needed to have input on, I'd try Apple again. As it is, the travel books I've worked on have been for my sister in another state, so she's needed to be able to look at the pages in progress and make whatever tweaks she wants using her non-Apple computer. So far I haven't found a way for her computer to communicate with mine on that.

I'll take a look at Adoramapix, too. Will have to see if there's a limit on the number of pages.

I know it's important to edit down the number of photos in a book -- for impact (and to not have to squish 4 or 5 tiny photos onto one page!). But my sister likes more, more more!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 12:35PM
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Last time I looked (which was yesterday LOL), Adorama's limit was 76 pages. So your sister can have more, more, more........but she will pay, pay, pay! :-)

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 12:51PM
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Very helpful thread, link and wrap-up. I've only made a couple small books for the grandkids, and that was through Walgreens (easy to pick up photos locally). It does take a long time to put even a small album together in a meaningful way. Thank you, Susan.

I had the idea that Kodak and Shutterfly merged, or Shutterfly took over Kodak. Didn't something happen there? I thought they transferred my pix to Shutterfly, but now I'm not sure what happened.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2014 at 9:00AM
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I finished my two books, and am very happy with them. I give Adoramapix 5 stars! The pages are heavy photo paper, and the quality is everything I could wish for. I didn't have to download any software; it all stays on

I made one book using a "baby boy" theme, tweaking it heavily to suit my own tastes and layout preferences, and did the other one from scratch with no theme. Both worked well. I had a 35% discount with a coupon code I was able to use both times.

Below is a link to all PhotoBookGirl's detailed reviews. She likes Mixbook, too, so I'll keep them in mind when shopping for a good discount deal for my next project.

Here's the back cover of the book I did about my parents.

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo Book Girl's reviews

    Bookmark   December 24, 2014 at 10:02AM
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