Start your 2015 photo book now! I will teach you how.
January is well underway but it is not too late to make a New Year’s Resolutions, so let me suggest a fun resolution to try out: make a photo book for your family in 2015. Most people I suggest this to love this idea, but then follow up with a ton of “buts.” They would say, “I would love to do this, but I do not have the time”, “I have never made one and it seems overwhelming”, or “I have so many other years to do first”. Let me teach you how to find a good online site, how not to make it overwhelming, and why to start with 2015 rather than going back a few years.
I love making photo books for several reasons. First, it keeps piles of pictures from just sitting there. Second, it helps give your precious images context. Lastly, it is something I do for myself. Obviously, I love taking pictures. To print out every cute shot of my kids or pictures of every little day trip to the zoo or the city would be too much. Who has that many frames!? I love making a book for each year. This allows me to print all these great shots, but also give them meaning. For example, my daughter lost her first tooth this past year. I have a page from the day she lost her tooth. It also has several cute backyard pictures of my kids playing with one of the big grin sans tooth. I then wrote the date in below the picture. I love being able to tell the whole story of the day and have a place to write down the date of this milestone so I will not forget.
There are a ton of sites to make photo books online. Although I have not tried them all, I have tried several. Here are some key features to look for when choosing a site: 1) The photo site should upload your photos in chronological order, 2) it should have a variety of premade layouts (which can be modified), and 3) it should allow you to save your work for a long period of time. Most sites do these things I just mentioned, but please double check before you begin because I have seen some that do not. Another key thing to keep in mind is how many pages each site allows. Some sites can go over a 100 pages and others stop at a maximum of 74.
The most important thing to consider in choosing a site is the price/quality of the book. I say price/quality for a reason. In the half dozen or so sites I have used, my experience has been that the better the deal, the lower the quality of the book. A site I have tried and really liked is Adoramapix(http://www.adoramapix.com/.) They max out at 76 pages, but the pages are much thicker and the book lays flat. It feels like a professional book and there is no color bleed from backgrounds into your photos. That can be a huge problem with cheaper books. The quality of the photos in the Adormapix book is better than any site I have ever used. For someone like me who does not do a ton of printing throughout the year, but wants quality in both the book and prints in the book, this site is a perfect fit. Take a look at this picture of my Adorama Book (on the left) verses a leading online site. Both books have the same number of pages. The thickness and durability of the Adorama book is easily seen.
Once you pick a site, start uploading sooner rather than later. I try and log on to my photobook site at least once a month. Then I am having fun uploading and arranging a few pages. If you wait and have to do several months at once, it is a chore and you forget to add some of those everyday moments. I will also make an effort to work on my book right after a big event like vacations, birthdays, or holidays. In order to make the actual process of designing the book go faster, I upload photos, count the number of photos I want to include from a specific event, decide how many pages I will need, and then pick a premade layout as my starting point. From there you can modify the layout, add text or stickers, and play with backgrounds. Lastly, in order to keep yourself from being overwhelmed, especially if you have never done a photobook before, is to start now with this year! It is daunting to go back and do a huge book all at once. Start with 2015 and do a little at a time as you go. This is a gift of time doing something you enjoy now. It will also be a gift of cherished memories in the future. After you do a few photo books, you will get good at it and then going back and tackling previous years will not be such an overwhelming idea.
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