Shutterfly Photo Books

Delta Skymiles is running a promotion where you can get a 20-page photo book from Shutterfly for free, just pay shipping. This seemed like a good deal to me, so I decided to make a book documenting all the business trips Terry and I took together while he worked at Sungard.

I went to their site, and watched the quick tutorial video about how to make the book. Then I clicked "get started" and I was underway. It took me about 20 minutes to select and add the photos I wanted to use. It wasn't immediately clear to me that I first had to create an album, then upload the photos, then select the photos and add them to my book project, but I figured it out. The photo-selecting process was a little cumbersome, but part of the problem was that I was selecting from many different folders on my computer. If I was selecting all photos from one folder (if I was making a book for just one trip, instead of trips spanning 18 months) it would have been quicker.

Once the photos were in the book project pane, it was a simple matter of drag-and-drop to place them in the pages. It was easy to choose the layout for each page-- first choose how many photos you want on that page, which filters the templates, then choose the template you want. Then place the photos. Actually, you can place the photos first, THEN switch the layout. It's convenient to try different layouts without having to select and re-select the photos for each page, they just get automatically transferred to the new layout.

Unfortunately, the internet connection was really flaky. Sometimes I was cruising along, other times I got a "server not available" error. I spent over an hour on the total process before I got fed up. I don't know if the problem is with Shutterfly's servers, or my own internet connection. But it's irritating enough I need to take a break. I'll update the post when I've finished the process. I haven't tried rearranging the pages yet, or choosing different backgrounds, but I anticipate that I will have to do those things to make my book look nice.

I have until August 31 for the free promotion, and Shutterfly saves projects indefinitely, so I'll probably just try again another day.

I got the finished book

I got the finished book today-- it looks great! The background images look better on paper than they did on the screen, and the quality of the photos is satisfactory.

I don't think I'd use this particular format (8" x 8" photo book) for a formal wedding album or as a coffee-table book of beautiful photos since the resolution is significantly less than the resolution of an actual printed photo.

But for casual photos of your annual vacation, birthday party, family reunion, etc., I think it's a lot more interesting to look at than just a flipbook of plain photos.

It's not as beautiful as real-life scrapbook pages, but for those of us who have scrapbook supplies but never actually find the time to sit down with scissors and glue, it's a heck of a lot better than nothing or even a plain photo-only album.

I finally finished putting

I finally finished putting the album together by the deadline, and am eagerly awaiting its arrival. I think the internet problems I was having the first day were on my end, not Shutterfly's. Editing the book and adding more photos from my computer became even easier with practice.

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