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Project: Photobooks Part 1

One of the dangers of digital photography is that the hundreds (ok, thousands) of photos that you take never make it off your hard drive. I’m pretty good about posting to Facebook and my blogs but are these services still going to be around when its time to pass the memories on to my kids for their own safekeeping? As the years pass by my greatest fear is that they’ll  never make it off the hard drive in a form that anyone will be able to appreciate without having the backups to my computer.

In come photo books. You’re familiar with services like Shutterfly and My Publisher. They allow you to create relatively inexpensive high quality photo books using simple web tools. When it comes to quality, I actually prefer My Publisher. The print quality is  outstanding but their designs are a little limited. Shutterfly has done a great job of expanding their offerings of templates to choose from and providing the tools to allow you to customize their layouts. My latest favorite is their addition of layflat books. It costs about $25 more per book but the pages are thicker and the quality is higher.

When it comes to templates and ways of putting these together my preferred approach to photo books is to create them in Photoshop using templates that I buy from digital scrapbooking sites and then print them through Shutterfly’s photo book service. For me, its quicker to work in PS and Lightroom than it is to upload the photos and use the Shutterfly tools. You can use Photoshop Elements to do the same. The templates are relatively easy to use. Most come with instructions on how to put them together. ) You can buy the templates in two formats: Quick Albums or PSD templates. Quick Albums are generally easier to put together. Simply drop the photo in to the template, crop, add any text, and save as JPG file. The templates are generally less expensive.  Here’s an example of a Quick Album from Paislee Press.

The alternative are layered album templates that allow you to full customize the layout, move graphics around, resize photo frames, and do just about anything. These require a little bit more experience with PS or PSE. I build them in PS, save the files as JPGs, and then build photo books in Shutterfly. Here’s a link with specifics on how to print out these files using Shutterfly.

So what do my albums look like? Take a look here:

Click here to view this photo book larger

Luke’s 2nd Birthday

Click here to view this photo book larger

Luke’s 1 year Album


Click here to view this photo book larger

Katie’s Newborn Album


Links to Instructions:


Favorite Custom Photo book vendors

There are lots of other talented designers and their products are available through digital scrapbooking sites or on Etsy.


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