If you are like me, most of your photographs are on your computer and you never actually make prints from them. I try to organize my pictures into albums on my iPhoto, but looking at them on the computer is never quite the same as seeing them artistically laid out in a real album that you can hold and flip through. Once my husband and I were engaged, I decided to make an album each year of our favorite photos and activities from the past 12 months. Having it printed into a book makes us realize that we really did do a lot of fun things over the past year, plus our friends enjoy looking at the albums when they come over, (especially if they are in it, too!).
There is nothing like an old-fashioned album with photo corners and black pages, but I also love the ease of the printed digital albums. It is fun to see all our photos printed out in a sleek coffee table book. There are numerous websites that offer digital photo books; Shutterfly, MyPublisher, Snapfish, Blurb, Mpix and Picaboo are just a few of the companies that you can design and order from. You can even create a book through Mac’s iPhoto. All of these companies are constantly offering special deals, so the best thing to do is shop around for the best price and look at sample books to see if you like the cover choices and layout selection. (Shutterfly is offering a 20% discount right now and MyPublisher is offering a second book for free.)
I have played with most of the album companies’ various design programs, but so far I have only ordered books from Shutterfly and MyPublisher. I was pleased with both, but MyPublisher seems to be a bit more flexible with the layouts and I like that you download their free design program and create the book on your desktop. Shutterfly is all done online. I do tend to get bored with the layouts after a while, no matter what program I am using, so I am designing each page of our newest album on Photoshop and uploading it to MyPublisher. It is MUCH more time consuming, but I think it will be rewarding in the end.
Recently, I finally made an album of our engagement photos. We received a disk of the high resolution digital files once our wedding was over and I wanted to put our favorite shots into a book. I decided to use MyPublisher this time, because I had heard so many good things about them and we are planning on using them to make wedding albums for our parents. I used their layouts and kept the book classic and simple. In all, it took me about 2 hours to layout and when I woke up the next morning they had already printed the book and were mailing it!
Below are some shots of how the final book turned out: (The cover is pictured above)
Now I just need to get caught up on our yearly albums and then the next experiment is our wedding album. I think I am going to use Mpix for that. They offer assembled albums that feature photos mounted directly onto heavy, stiff cardstock, much like a professional album. They only have one cover option (black leather) and the photos aren’t true flush mount, but for under $300 you get twice as many pages and a beautiful album for a fraction of the cost of a professional album. I will post photos when and if we ever have it done! (Maybe by our 5th anniversary).