Photo Books

Started Sep 3, 2012 | Discussions
Doublehelix
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Photo Books
Sep 3, 2012

(I also posted this same message in the Retouching forum, but I am thinking that I will get more mileage over here since no one has responded to the first posting.)

How are you folks creating photo books?

I have LR4.1, and I know they have a photo book module, but I remember reading that it was just "OK", and a bit half-baked in its first iteration, and needs another revision or two to be viable.

Are there other dedicated pieces of software that do a better job that you can recommend? I know some web pages have their own online creation software, but then they charge you a fortune to create the book.

(i.e. Shutterfly, Snapfish, etc.)

I am due to be married in about 5 weeks, and I want to create a photo book for my fiancee of our courtship to present to her on our wedding day. Will I even have enough time to create it and get something back?

I am also looking to make other books in the future, so with that fact in mind, it might be worth the investment to buy something rather than using online creation modules. If this was the only book I would be making, it is probably ultimately less expensive to just use the online service to lay out the book and then order the book from them, even if it is a bit on the pricey side.

Thank you!
--
James

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Rigochitotoll
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Re: Photo Books
In reply to Doublehelix, Sep 3, 2012

lumapix photofusion is the best software for Photobooks.

But if you won´t DIY the photobook I recommend you adoramapix.com, the photobooks have a excelent quality and very good prices and its layout software is easy, powerfull and it runs in flash, so you can use it in any OS.

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Petruska
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I agree with both suggestions...
In reply to Rigochitotoll, Sep 4, 2012

I use FotoFusion for wedding album layouts and is great but there is a fairly long term learning curve to exercise this software to the fullest and I don't think one getting married in 5 weeks has the time to do so..

I also just tried AdoramaPix and was highly impressed with the quality even though I have had books done by White House Custom Color and MPIX labs.

To the OP I also suggest using the Unibind system to make your own

http://www.adorama.com/FSUPBC.html

I comes with the heating unit, the paper, and a very nice linen finished 8.5 x 11 lansdcape hard cover book, you download the easy to use layout software with the supplied code.

I tried the starter system (too bad it was only $49 a month ago) and I am hooked. I just purchased 20 hard covers. You just print the layouts, insert the pages in the binder, place it on the heater unit, it auto heats and shuts off for the correct time and PRESTO!, a great book. You can later remove and insert new pages if needed by reheating the binder. Watch the videos on the Unibind site and Youtube.

If you go this way and want to make more of these Unibind books I suggest that you buy the hard covers from here...

http://www.thermobinding.com/shop/Unibind-PhotoBook/

A lot cheaper than anywhere else on the web, but you need to buy in lots of 10.

8.5 x11 linen finish landscape books go for $8 each, $80 for 10 and free shipping. If you need help talk to Patrick.

Bob P.

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Zone8
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Re: Photo Books
In reply to Doublehelix, Sep 4, 2012

Hi James. If you try a Search on this forum,. you would turn up lots of comments. Personally, I and colleagues have used blurb.com for excellent quality photo books at amazingly low prices. Provided you actually read the destructions on preparation of images - you can have excellent quality too. We have all preferred to use their own software - BookSmart, although they now offer a range of options, just a little exploration and it becomes relatively easy and straightforward to use. Personally, I cannot praise their service enough - very speedy (faster than they initially estimate) in production, delivery and of course, quality.
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Zone8: Although I am a handsome geniearse, when I stand in front of a mirror, I vaguely recognise the ugly idjit standing on the other side!

LINK: For B+W with Epson 1400 (and other models) using black ink only PLUS other useful tips:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/epson1400-B&W.htm
Cleaning DSLR Sensors, including Kodak DSLR Factory Cleaning method:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/KodakDCS-sensorcleaning.htm
Solving back/front focus problems on Sigma and most other DSLRs
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1027&message=35565277

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thill1111
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Re: Photo Books
In reply to Doublehelix, Sep 6, 2012

I've had good luck with Blurb, and now that the LR Book module works with them it makes for a pretty efficient workflow. It might make the most sense for you, particularly if you are short on time for this first book.

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MrScary
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Re: Photo Books
In reply to thill1111, Sep 6, 2012

I use Blurb and have found them to be Very Good so far.
Blurb Books from Booksmart in UK gets printed in Holland.

I am about to do my 7th Wedding Book.
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MrScary (DennisR)
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plasmo
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Re: Photo Books
In reply to MrScary, Sep 29, 2012

I'm also looking for a good online Photobook site to create a book myself.
There are a ton of sites out there and looking for recommendations as well.
Quality of photos, paper quality, and binding are the most important for me-

I found someone who reviewed 12 different companies here, but unfortunately it might be slightly outdated, as it was done in 2010. Does anyone have any other review comparison sites of online services that is more current?

http://thedailydigi.com/12-different-photobook-printer-reviews/

and from 2011:
http://www.digitalhomethoughts.com/news/show/97676/0/1/15

It looks like the most popular ones that people on dpreview forum have been citing are Adorama and blub... any other suggestions? (USA)

Thanks!

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Petruska
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Adorama...
In reply to plasmo, Sep 29, 2012

usually has a special coupon for a book at $10. This sampling gives you an idea of the quality.

I have used some top labs and Adorama rivals them at a much, much, lower price.

Give Adorama a try.

Bob P.

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plasmo
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Re: Adorama...
In reply to Petruska, Sep 30, 2012

Yes,
after doing much research and comparing the major Photobook companies,
it came down to Adoramapix (2nd choice was Blurb).

Adoramapix prices were a little more expensive, but it appears the quality has gotten great reviews compared to others. In addition, I really liked the lay-flat aspect, where Blurb did not have this option as I have several panoramas in my book.

I did find a 15% off and 20% off Blurb coupon though, but still went with Adorama.

Update: I finished my 38 page photobook last night around Midnight, and

to my surprise, they ALREADY SHIPPED IT OUT TO ME by Noon today. That's about 12 hour turn-around time! wow.

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Doublehelix
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Re: Photo Books
In reply to Doublehelix, Oct 1, 2012

I ended up going with Lightroom and Blurb as I wanted to try out the Lightroom implementation. I must admit that I am very pleased with how LR allowed me to control the layout (although I am glad that I have Scott Kelby's LR book to help me through the basics).

There were a few things that were not immediately obvious (like how to add an image to the Lightroom book once it has already been created/saved), but once you learn the tricks, the program is very powerful and full-featured. I have nothing else at this point to compare it to, and I should probably try creating a book using another method just so I have another data point, but there was nothing that I wanted to accomplish that I could not do.

I uploaded a 40 page 12" x 12" book on Sept. 23rd, and it shipped on the 28th (5 days). I saw the previous post about Adoramapix shipping a 38 page book in 12 hours. Impressive!!!

It is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, and I will report back on the results/quality.

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James

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Petruska
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Yes, the lay flat is a great feature
In reply to plasmo, Oct 1, 2012

from Adorama compared to the others that I used. They use a unique system of printing your entire book in one long accordian style sheet to allow the pages to lay flat, it works well.

Bob P.

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kittykat23uk
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Re: Albelli v Blurb- UK
In reply to plasmo, Oct 1, 2012

Hi folks,

I have been creating photo books for a few years now and have so far produced 1 with Aldi photo (my first one) five with Blurb (trying out a variety of paper options and two different sizes). Having just returned from another trip I received a coupon for Albelli. They have always semed very expensive to me compared to Blurb, but if I limited the size of my book i thought it was worth giving them a test out. After all this is the company that got best buy in "the Gadget Show" a while back and I wanted to see if the quality was significnatly better than Blurb.

Well my book arrived today and I can categorically state that the print quality is no better than blurb. In fact I would say the quality is somewhat worse. I will need to do a side by side comparison with my blurb books but from first impressions, looking from a distance it looks nice, brig and true in terms of colour reporduction. But looking closer I can make out all the individual dots that make up the image, giving my pictures a less than sharp appearance nd a "pointelistic" look. The price compared to Blurb is staggering.

I ordered a large photo book. looking at the sizes, it it actualy not much bigger than blurb's standard landscape format at 28 x 21 cm vs 25 x 20.

The Albelli one has 70 pages. I chose standard paper, not high gloss, image cover and no lay flat option. The total cost, without applying the coupon would have been £64.79.

In comparison, a standard L blurb book with up to 80 pages, image wrap and lustre paper (which I would say is equivalent to the albelli paper) would have set me back 38.99.

Now I usually end up getting a much thicker book than that and this is where Blurb really delivers as a 200 page book costs only £43.95 plus 4.99 postage.

I have tried Blurb's premium uncoated paper, but found it had too much tooth for my liking. I preferred the lustre finish for photos.

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bobh121
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Do you use Fotofusion
In reply to Petruska, Oct 2, 2012

with the Adorama albums? Looking at a 10x10 album design template for a blank cover looks like it is 22 inches by 11 7/8 inches. Do you find these dimensions to be accurate or do they have a PDF or link indicating the exact measurements? I was unable to find either.

Bob H

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Zone8
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Re: Photo Books
In reply to Doublehelix, Oct 2, 2012

Doublehelix wrote:

It is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, and I will report back on the results/quality.

Hi James. Blurb make excellent photo books - Provided! - the image files are prepared as they describe in their destructions, so if you followed those, you will not be disappointed. I and colleagues have used them for quite a lot of photo books between us and the quality has been excellent. I did not post before because on this forum - in many previous posts about photo books - it has all been covered in depth in a number of messages.

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Zone8: Although I am a handsome geniearse, when I stand in front of a mirror, I vaguely recognise the ugly idjit standing on the other side!

LINK: For B+W with Epson 1400 (and other models) using black ink only PLUS other useful tips:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/epson1400-B&W.htm
Cleaning DSLR Sensors, including Kodak DSLR Factory Cleaning method:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/KodakDCS-sensorcleaning.htm
Solving back/front focus problems on Sigma and most other DSLRs
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1027&message=35565277

PDF format list of lenses you can print or download - covers Italian Flag YES/NO for DCS 14n but applies to others. http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/ItiFlagLensList.pdf

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Doublehelix
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Re: Photo Books
In reply to Doublehelix, Oct 2, 2012

I received the photo book today from Blurb, and the outside looks AMAZING! I am very happy with the quality. As I mentioned in my original post, this is wedding gift for my finance, so I did not unwrap the shrink wrap to check out the inside yet, but if the cover is any indication, I am sure I will be very happy.

Thanks to everyone for all of the advice.

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James

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adobe101
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Re: Photo Books
In reply to Doublehelix, Oct 18, 2012

Just checked out Blurb - their stuff does look like it's got some proper quality! I might recommend it for a mate who's just going to open up a restaurant, those books for menus will really class up the place. Reasonable price too, I would say. Has anyone had any experience with printing other gifts? I'm being super prepared for Christmas and I'm thinking about designing a calender for my parents, I've found this place that does Calendar Printing but just wondered if anyone else had any recommendations?

Any help would be appreciated!

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Doublehelix
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Re: Photo Books
In reply to Doublehelix, Oct 19, 2012

As an update (and to close the loop on my original post), the Blurb photoboook was really superb. Now, I have nothing really to compare it to however, so take that comment with a grain of salt. My wife loves it, and it has truly served its purpose.

We also are getting a photobook from our wedding photographer as part of the package, and I will be able to compare the quality of that book to the one that I made through LR from Blurb.

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James

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joeybob
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Drop ship? Need quantity
In reply to Doublehelix, Feb 25, 2013

Figured I'd revive this thread in the hopes that someone may know of any service that would be able to "drop ship" a photobook...

Probably a long shot request but I have the opportunity to sell a fair quantity of photobooks and it would make my life much easier if I was able to compile the book in a fashion similar to Blurb's software, upload it and then share a hyperlink - allowing folks to enter their demographics/shipping info as well as billing info (credit card and/or paypal).

I've used blurb before but don't believe I can create a book and then have them drop ship. I've also used Costco and was pleased with the quality and turn around time from both.

It would be awesome if there was a way to create the book and then allow others the ability to order and drop ship. As of now I am hesitant as all I can do is take orders, re-ordrer the book from Blurb over and over and then re-ship it once received.

Anyone know of a company/service/printer that can drop ship?

Thanks!

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John W  Hall
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Lay flat for panoramas?
In reply to Petruska, Feb 25, 2013

Petruska wrote:

from Adorama compared to the others that I used. They use a unique system of printing your entire book in one long accordian style sheet to allow the pages to lay flat, it works well.

Bob P.

Lay-flat looks interesting. I've been thinking about ways to print some panoramas, about six feet to 20 feet wide, in an elegant but easily-transported format. (my car maxes out at 9 feet for a stretched canvas).

For easy & damage-resistant transport I've been having some laminated (between clear vinyl(?) sheets), so can roll these up and keep them handy on the back seat, and show them as examples of my images, but they are not hang-on-the-wall elegant.

One idea is inspired by the Jewish Torah: Scrolls on a pair of rollers, but I think that would be difficult to handle when viewing.

With Adorama's (or other) lay-flat options, are individual images limited in width to the width of an accordion fold, or can an image extend over a fold?

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Zone8
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Re: Drop ship? Need quantity
In reply to joeybob, Feb 25, 2013

joeybob wrote:  Anyone know of a company/service/printer that can drop ship?

Must admit I use Blurb - excellent quality provided the image files are as required!

Regarding drop shipping - "why" is the question.  I have always found it simpler to let anyone wanting a copy to purchase direct from Blurb - they handle everything, do the mailing out and then pay  you the added-on mark up that you decided to get the selling price at regular intervals - raking a small commission exactly as laid out in their destruictions.  Surely that means you don't have to order and sit on quantities - just need to purchase the first copy yourself - then provide the necessary links on websites or whatever.  That makes life very simple.

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Zone8: Although I am a handsome genius, when I stand in front of a mirror, I vaguely recognise the ugly idjit standing on the other side!
LINK: For B+W with Epson 1400 (and other models) using black ink only PLUS other useful tips:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/epson1400-B&W.htm
Cleaning DSLR Sensors, including Kodak DSLR Factory Cleaning method:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/KodakDCS-sensorcleaning.htm
Solving back/front focus problems on Sigma and most other DSLRs
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1027&message=35565277
PDF format list of lenses you can print or download - covers Italian Flag YES/NO for DCS 14n but applies to others. http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/ItiFlagLensList.pdf

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