In 2010 I received a coupon for a free 20-page shutterfly.com photo book as a Borders Reward member. I thought “Okay, I will put something together even though the quality of the printing and binding will probably be crap. But it’s free, right?” I decided on a photo collage of the Cambodia portion of our most recent trip.
The Shutterfly book interface was actually nice – there are a lot of layouts available, a lot of background designs to choose from, with the potential to be very scrapbook-y.
Other members had uploaded their completed books to Shutterfly’s gallery so I checked out some of those books. A few books ran into the 100+ page range. I knew I didn’t want that because I don’t need to show every trip photo I take (and with four of us taking photos we ended up with almost four thousand pics). I wanted a book that would give people an idea of what we did on our trip and would provide us with good memories whenever we look at it. None of that hooking the laptop up to the television for a slideshow. Very boring. And a slideshow still requires at least one thorough review to get rid of the repeats, missed shots and boring photos.
A lot of people use Photoshop or PS Elements to design “scrapbook” pages and uploaded those to Shutterfly. Great idea but it’s still a lot of work and you can easily end up with very busy-looking pages.
So after a few days of work (a few hours a day) my Cambodia book was thirty-one pages. I submitted my order with my coupon and credit card number and… five days later I had my book in my hands. And it was pretty f****g awesome. The print quality was good, the binding was much better than I anticipated (laminated hard cover, no dust jacket), I loved it.
I then proceeded to spend the next few months creating photo books of my international trips going back to 2001. They won’t last forever but they make me smile every time I look at them.
Note to self: do this within a couple of months after returning from a trip when details are still fresh. Going back to 2001 and trying to resurrect the details through pics – even a few of them – was hard. I was still using film back then so I had all the photos scanned from prints. The prints were not great to begin with so it was hard work trying to find a few good pictures. Still I am pleased with my Italy book – even if I can’t tell the difference between all the hill towns we visited (and still can’t name them all because none of us can remember!).