Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Year in a Photobook

I love scrapbooking. It is one of those skills that has come a long way for me and I really enjoy it. However, being about 4 years behind in my scrapbooking was starting to weigh on me. It made me feel pressure to scrapbook instead of being able to enjoy it. And the more pressure I feel the less I actually do a task. I am weird like that.

I love to scrapbook because I love taking pictures and writing out the stories behind them. A picture can tell a lot of a story, but I feel like every picture deserves some kind of story. Since I am so far behind on my scrapbooking I was starting to forget details that I would have remembered had I wrote them down immediately. So I decided it was time to put my pictures together in a different way. I have had less and less time to devote to scrapbooking and that time will only decrease as we start having kids in the future. Also, having kids will probably triple the number of pictures I take. Keeping up with it all was no longer feasible.

Enter photobooks. I was skeptical at first when it came to replacing scrapbooks with photobooks. They were not going to be as pretty and colorful, but at then end of the day all I really care about is a way to put my pictures and stories together instead of having them just sit on my computer. I did some research to find which photobook company works best for me. The three I was trying to decide between was Shutterfly, My Publisher and Blurb. Ultimately I decided to go with Blurb because the limit of pages per book is 440 verses the other companies where their maximum is 100 pages. This one that I made was about 80 pages and it was just one year of pictures for Richard and I. Add in children and I know myself enough to know that I will need way more pages than that. By going with this company my books can look the same as the years go on.
Front Cover
Back Cover
I decided to start with 2013 since that year is fresh in my mind so it would be easier to put together and write about. I downloaded Blurb's software to my computer and went to work. Their program was really easy to work with and it is 100% customizable. You can start with one of their pre-made layouts and then tweak it to fit your pictures and text. It was really important to me that I could add text to all my pages and be able to design them however I wanted. It took me a while to assemble my book, but I only worked on it for about an hour each night.
I went with the standard portrait size which was 8 in by 10 in. This size is about the same size as our wedding album so it worked perfect. I used a lot of grid style layouts since they were the easiest way to get a lot of pictures on one page. I added titles and descriptions to most of my pages. Some pages were a bunch of random pictures thrown together, while other pages were about a specific even that occurred. It ended up being a pretty good mix. The only thing that I was not thrilled with was the quality of the titles. For my next book, I am going to play with titles a little in Photoshop to see if I can make them pop more.
Once I was done, I placed my order with their website online. I ordered the basic paper with no extra add ons-such as upgraded interior paper among other things. My book came faster than I had expected and I was eager to open it up and see my creation. I got to the middle page of the book, which happened to be me writing about what happened with my mom and the glue from the binding made the two pages stick together so they ripped.
At first I was really upset. But as I looked closer at my book there were a few small things that could be fixed. Nothing that would have been worth me repurchasing the same book, but enough that it bugged me. I called customer service and they informed that they could either reprint my book or they could give me a voucher so that I could reorder my book. I chose to reorder so that I could fix my mistakes. I also then was able to upgrade a few things that I did not realize I would want until I saw the ruined book. I changed the color of the inside cover pages from what they described as grey (even though it looked purple to me) to black. I also decided to upgrade the pages to their matte premium pages. The standard pages were a little thin so you could see through them, which I did not like. All of these things I could have lived with, but I basically had the opportunity to try out their book and see what I did and did not like and then fix everything. All because the pages with my mom were stuck together. She was definitely watching over me that day.
Upgraded black inside cover

There are a lot more pages, but I can't show all of them. I am really please with the way this turned out and I am excited to try to see if I can add a little more scrapbooking elements to the next one I try to design. Here is a little 15 page preview that Blurb gave me when I purchased my book to give you a little look inside. If you have a bunch of pictures sitting on your computer I highly recommend putting them in a photobook! It is a small compact way to display all of your pictures and a nice keepsake for the future.

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