Tuesday, January 13, 2015

PhotoProject: Creating a PhotoBook using Picasa & Snapfish

picasa screen showing the albums I createdMy suggestion for the first thing to do when creating a photobook is to get your photos organised. I used albums within Picasa to do that. If you select the photo or photos you want and then right click within Picasa your will see a pop up menu and the second item on that pop-up is add to album. An Album is an organization thing, The photo still stays in the same location on your computer but an album entry also exist that looks as if the photo also exist there. Many package have similar concepts (for example Lightroom has the name collections rather than albums) to show a specific grouping of photos. A photo can exist in several albums. Removing a photo from an album does not remove the original photo from your computer. So they are a very simple and safe way to organize and reorganise your collection.

picasa can order prints from snapfish directlyThe next step is to upload your album to Snapfish, because it is an on-line service for the preparation your book. This can be a tedious process if you have to upload the photos manually (one at a time or even a few at a time via the snap fish web interface). Fortunately Picasa has a simple way to do this. Firstly go to the album with all your photos. If you look on the File/Order Prints Menu Item you should see Snapfish as one of the options (the options available vary by country, so check before you start). When you click on the choose button under the Snapfish logo you will meed to enter your Snapfish account name and password. If you don’t have one you can create an account (and yes it will ask for payment and personal details, after all you are going to buy a book). Once you are connected to the server and your account details are verified Picasa will start to upload the full contents of your album, which might take a while. Alternative if you just select some images in the album and start the upload only those photos get uploaded. Since I wanted to split the photos into 4 groups I uploaded the groups separately. Unfortunately this interface has a limit that will not upload and photo greater than 4000 pixel in any dimension (larger photo have to be loaded by a special option in the Snapfish web uploader). Snapfish also has facilities to upload from Flickr & Facebook.

snapfish uploads sectionThe upload step finishes by opening a browser window and taking you to the Snapfish upload section. You will see on the right two option in green, the top one take you into creating a book. the second will let you order prints. I’m not going straight the the photos book. Nor am I ordering prints. The upload always loads into a directory called My Pictures, so the first thing I do is change the name. There is a little pencil icon beside the screen name at the top of this section. Click on the pencil and you can type over the name. To make the task of finding images easier I loaded the four sections I wanted into four directories, I have found once you have more than 50 photos in a directory it can be a bit time consuming finding the photo you want. When you are organised here and have all your photos uploaded its time to start the book.

Snapfish book creation toolThis is both the most fun and perhaps the most tense part (particularly if this is your first book). You can let Snapfish autofill the book for you but be prepared for the cost. Remember I choose the largest book, and the autofill had done a reasonable job albeit with fewer photos per pages on average than I had planned. So I went back to the start and choose my custom layouts as I went along building the book, doing it section by section. It didn’t take all that long and I was very pleased with both the layout and reduction in price. In the review process you can email your photobook project to others for approval/feedback and they can order a copy from your link, but the preview is in flash, so it won’t work on an iPad. If your at all like me it will be important to check any text your entered for typos and omissions. So it is a good idea to save your project, have a break and come back a fresh eyes to review your masterpiece before ordering it.

For the finer details of setting up and personalizing you book I’ll leave you to the snapfish’s video. The process is pretty much as simple as it looks.

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