I've never been much of a photographer. Growing up I had a some low-end point and shoot camera that took Kodak 110 film. My parents were oddly stingy with the film so I never developed any real proficiency. I do love my digital camera (a Fujifilm SD2000HD) but because it's digital, I now have the opposite problem - too many photos. I tend to dump them into iPhoto, pic one or two to post on Flickr or Facebook - or actually email them to family/friends.
I'm also pretty haphazard about organizing pictures people send me.
And by haphazard I mean I look at them, and then file the email in the "Received" folder. And hope that if I ever need to find it again my email's search function is up to the task.
Because of my poor photo-organization skills, I've been a little skeptical of photo books. I tended to lump them in with my mental category of scrapbookers - something that seemed like a nice thing to do if you had kids but not a realistic goal because it was so time-consuming.
So when Elephoto, a new Canadian photo book service from TPH, offered me a free photo book for trying their service, I was a little hesitant - why would I ever make a photo book? I certainly didn't want to contribute to Emmy Lou's (our Sharpei) princess complex - so no tribute photo book to the dog.
Since I figured I wouldn't have enough really good photos to create a book all by myself (the basic photo book has 20 pages), I thought it might be nice to do a book for a family member. So I put out the call to a few other folks and asked them to send me their best pics.
While waiting for them to sort though their photo stash, I went ahead and started my book. Details of the experience:
- At first, the interface was a little clunky. Instead of just clicking a button to start a project, you have to click it and then choose "Next". Ironically, getting started was the biggest interface hiccup in the process.
- After choosing a size for your book, you choose the theme. This was a little overwhelming because there are a lot of choices up front. What I didn't realise was that I could change the theme when I was editing the book as well as choose a single layout from a theme to include in my book. So, I was able to mix and match layouts from the different themes. This is great because a lot of the themes (e.g. baby, wedding, sport) are graphically quite busy. I can see having one or two of these layouts in the book, but a whole book of them might be overwhelming. I really like that you can do this.
- You can also tweak the layout once it's in your book. You can remove a photo slot from layouts with multiple images, add effects, resize photos, re-layer photos. Very flexible. Below I've put before and after shots where I started with the same layout on facing pages and then a shot of how I edited one.
What else ...