Wednesday, August 17, 2016

PhotoProject :: PhotoBook Practise

Its so long since I made my last photobook, on checking it was only 20 month ago, but the process is somewhat streamlined and the on-line service I will be using, Snapfish (*), is different enough to need a little retraining. Snapfish are actually having a current TV Campaign for Father’s Day and have a simple soft cover book with 20 pages being advertised for $10. This this is a good price to let me experiment, before I tackle a bigger volume of my recent trip.

The TV ad and online videos suggest you can make a photobook in 10 minutes and you can,
but there are a couple of IFs.
  1. You need to have the photos you wish to use already organized and ready to upload. 
  2. Be aware the quick set up involves autofill layout, where the snapfish service will automatically do a best fit of all you photos into the available space using a variety of layouts. Its not bad BUT I needed a little more grouping and continuity of theme.
 The Snapfish work area for Photobooks
Since this is a practice run I rolled up my sleeves and spent part of an afternoon moving photos around and adjusting layouts. The first step was to load the photos and snapfish can upload directly from flickr and better still do a group upload from a flickr album. Since I already have my daily photos going into an album this made the upload very straight forward. On the left hand side snapfish has a film roll/tray which they call the photo well and this is loaded with your photos. You then simply choose a template and drag the photos into place (if you don’t want to use autofill). As you use a photo the tick icon, on the lower right of the photo, turns blue to keep track of what photos you have already placed in the book. Since this book is based on my first 100 daily photos (that lets me average 5 photos per page which seemed a reasonable number). so it was a challenge keeping track of the photos already placed, since the photo well only display 16-20 thumbnails at a time. So I used the the “Hide used photos” found under the options icon. Whilst the software and its template layouts aren’t bad it does lack a few alignment tools (they flash up occasionally but I could not find a means to turn them on permanently while I was working). So I had to trust my eye for some key alignments. Otherwise the set up was easy and I soon got the hang of the best approach, which was to have a few photo in the get photo well (aka tray area) and drag them onto suitable looking layouts, and if necessary use autofill just on a blank page as you add the photos.

Adjusting layouts to incorporate extra photos is where you can spend a lot of time. So it is worth (re)watching these snapfish’s editing tutorials. Ordering the book was super simple and I won’t go into that here.

PS: Why Snapfish (*), It’s the service I’ve used before. For a long while snapfish was the only service in Australia that you could get flickr photos printed. That built in service was discontinued when flickr released their own (expensive) photo books. Most importantly Snapfish has always done a decent job on my photos, I am careful to have all images in higher quality jpeg (>80% quality) and in the sRGB colour space and appropriate ressolution (2000+ pixel on the longest axis is fine for the typical small photo book). Finally they are reasonably priced on both printing and postage.
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