Well, ok, we published OURSELVES in a Shutterfly photo books but it is a start 🙂
I will be honest, we actually won a free book from Dog Tipper months ago but I was super busy and forgot about it until our promo code wasn’t valid anymore. Since I am planning to make some kind of You Did What With Your Weiner? coffee table photo book next year I decided to order one on my own.
I wanted to do a test order to see what our photos would look like in a book and what the print quality was like.
It did take me a few minutes to scan my options and figure out how to work their software but then I literally threw something together in about 15 mintues. I went with the least expensive book, the 20 page, 5X7 soft photo cover, and chose the Simple Design Path (note: you get the same book options whether you choose the Simple or Custom design path).
Creating the layout of the book was simple. I didn’t even attempt to use any of my creative juice because 1) My reserve is low and 2) this was primarily a test to see how the photos would look. I chose black borders and used three different page layouts – photo portrait, photo landscape, and one test page.
I noticed when I was randomly inserting my 13 photos that the program crops the images for you. I didn’t like that at all because it ended up cutting out some of the most important details of the photos – like the mountains and scenery we love.
Maybe you can crop them yourself or scale them to fit but I wasn’t able to find how to do that in the, oh, one minute I took to look…so if it is possible, the way to do it is not obvious.
For the text, I was more concerned with the overall look and the layout so I just threw in a quick blurb on each text page.
You can choose from about 25 different fonts and change the font size when you enter text. Depending on the background, you may also be able to change the color of the text. My only option, I am assuming due to the black background, was white but I think that looked very cool and modern anyway.
I was very eagerly awaiting the book so delivery seemed to take for-evar. It really only took 7 business days to get here though. I might of liked it sooner but, considering printing time, that timeframe seemed very reasonable.
When the book arrived it was a little thinner than I expected. However, the binding was better than I thought, the print quality was probably as good as it would get for the quality of the photos I gave them and the photos looked very snazzy against the simple black background. I really liked the book.
The only thing I would have done different is made the text bigger. I didn’t pay much attention to the size (because it appears smaller than it actually is when viewing the book in their creator anyway) but the text was kind of hard to read. Looking back, I see that the main text was 9 pt so that makes sense. Next time I would definitely make it at least 11 or 12 pt. I would also increase the size of the font of the page titles to make sure the text to title proportions stayed similar.
Next time I would go with a hard cover book. Even after opening the soft cover book once I could start to see a white line on the front page where the crease of the binding was.
I know there are other options out there for photo books but I was happy with the ease and quality of the Shutterfly books. I will make the few changes mentioned above and order from them again.
I AM unhappy about the automatic photo cropping so if someone knows how to fix that or knows where you can design a book that doesn’t do that I am all ears.