Upon my return from Slovenia, I had three things: jet lag, awesome memories and 900+ photos. I knew I wanted to create a photo book of our vacation. I've done this once before, back in 2006 when my family went to Australia, but I did it for an assignment for a Simple Scrapbooks special issue. Not that I didn't love the results, but I remember thinking, "Why do I need a photo book and scrapbook pages?"
Of course, times have changed during the last six years. The sheer quanitity of photos I shoot—both with my DSLR and now, my iPhone—is staggering. I don't have space, nor would I want to find it, to do something with all of these digital images.
But photo book design has come a long way in this digital era. You can find very elegant, minimal designs (or create them yourself!) and produce lovely books to save your memories. I worked this both ways.
First up, my book from Blurb.com.
I've used Blurb for nearly all the books I've created over the years, including my aforementioned Australia book, plus one of my Me: The Abridged Version books. I created my own 8 x 10 templates for this album, although Blurb does offer some very clean, simple page designs to choose from. I chose the Standard Portrait size and the Clean & Simple style, which would let me upload fully designed pages to print.
Once I created a page in Photoshop, I saved the files as individual JPEGs and uploaded using the Blurb Bookify software. Then, it was simply a matter of dragging and dropping images into place, being sure I used the full page image page design for each page.
It took me about two hours to build the files, upload them, and create the book.
I chose a wrapped-image hard cover finish. Of course, you can choose different cover options as well.
Here is a preview of the entire book from Blurb.
Overall rating: A-
Reservations: I have extremely high expectations of printed material, but this goes back to the days when I would actually be at print shops, inspecting jobs as they came off the press. In this day and age of digital printing, there will be some tiny imperfections that show up from time to time. This would be my only reason for not giving the book an full A rating. Maybe it's me who needs to get on board with what digital printing on matte-coated book paper really is capable of. I would totally recommend Blurb and would use them again.
Next up, Artifact Uprising.
One word describes how I feel about my little 5.5-inch square soft cover book: infatuation.
I am in love this book.
And yes, I would marry it.
Their book making process is simple and streamlined, much like Blurb. I used their pre-designed page templates to create this book in about a half an hour from start to finish. My book is 40 pages, their minimum page count.
Artifact Uprising offers several sizes in the soft cover, and they also make gorgeous hard cover books, too. (They also make other cool things: Sqaure Print Sets, Wood Blocks + Prints, just to name a few!)
Plus, they have a strong commitment to the environment, using only recycled paper for the interior pages of their books. You can read more about that here. (A side note: this graphic designer adores the paper used for these books. It's lush and smooth and not only that, it's manufactured with Wind Power. Kudos to Mohawk Paper!)
These books are also designed with Instagram users in mind. All of those little works of art deserve a home, right? Aidan was so geeked after seeing my book, she started creating three separate books, combining many of her digital photos and Instagram shots. One of her themes? All the selfies she's taken since getting her phone. We both agree, it's going to be the coolest book ever. I may even convince her to let me share some of them here.
Overall Rating: A
I have two new photo album/book template sets: one is 8 x 10, the other is 7 x 7. To use either of these with Blurb or Artifact Uprising, you simply design your pages, save them as JPEGs, and then upload them, choosing the edge-to-edge, full page style for each of your album pages. Each album set comes with a PDF instruction sheet, showing how to use Blurb's Bookify process. You can use the 7×7 set for Artifact Uprising as well. Again, simply choose the full page design, and when you place your file, it sizes to the correct size for the 5.5-inch square book. Of course, if you want to make a larger square album, simply increase the template size before you begin places photos, and you're golden.
Here's to making gorgeous photo books that make you happy.