Book Printing

Are photobooks the new photo albums?

Hello,

 I feel really stupid asking this question since it seems all of you on these forums are either professional photographers or authors… but is there anyone on here who has made a photobook out of regular, everyday pictures?

I’m just your average, run-of-the-mill 22 year old girl who has a 7.1 megapixel Olympus digital camera she hates and a bunch of pictures stored on her laptop from college and beyond.

 Recently my old laptop crashed and I paniced that I might lose all my memories (even if they were taken with my horrible Olympus) so I decided to start organizing, printing, and burning them all to CDs.

 That’s when I randomly googled "photo albums" and came across blurb.com… I was looking for less-bulky, more-compact albums (I like to keep the amount of "stuff" I have to a mimimum) and saw that a photobook is just the answer!

I am confident I won’t be disappointed with the print quality or complain about the same coloring issues you guys all seem to have… I know absolutely nothing about photography and probably a good 10% of the pictures I want to print are blurry to begin with anyway.

The main thing about blurb’s photobooks that caught my attention (besides the low price) was the ability to have a custom cover and spine. Too bad I hate dust jackets though… I will go with a softcover when I purchase – which leaves me to ask another question: Is there anyone who IS happy with the softcover? Anyone whoes softcover HASN’T curled up? Has blurb corrected this problem yet?

But still, my main question is more important… am I crazy to make a photobook out of something as lame as a trip to Sea World or my 21st Birthday Party?

It seems as though BookSmart’s layouts are designed for artistic professional photographs. God knows I won’t be adding text to any of the provided boxes – "Here’s when Joe passed out drunk" doesn’t need reiterating.

I think I had more questions but it’s late and I’m sick.

Thanks in advance!

-Mckenzie 

 

Replytopic_b_normal
Posted by
KenzieNz24
Jan 6, 2008 5:00am PDT
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KenzieNz24
 

Dear Mckenzie,

You will not be the first one who will make Blurb photobook from everyday pictures. Many people including me do that, so don’t be imbarresed to start making your poject. I can’t tell you how it’s with softcover, because all my books are vith dust jacket (I also don’t like it, but I think it’s better than softcover), but since prices are not so high you can print softcover sample. Many people are complaining about print quality but I’m satisfied. Of course it’s not the sane as print from lab but it’s perfectly acceptable and since I live in Europe my books are printed in Netherlands. Only thing which bothers me is that pictures appears darker than originaly is (so it’s better if you prepare little brighter pictures and import them into BookSmart software. Sorry for my English.

Best regards,

Miha, Slovenija

Posted by
mbabnik
Jan 6, 2008 7:07am PDT
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mbabnik
 

Mckenzie,

I think the answer to your question is yes. This "Print On Demand" book bublishing business is in its infancy, and poised for tremendous growth. With that growth I think we will see big improvements in quality and functionality. I’ll bet that in a 2 or 3 years you will be able to walk into Walmart, stick your memory card into a machine, and design and order a "book" right there.

But for now, Blurb is a very reaonable choice. If you can live with the slightly lower print quality,  long order times, and a slightly awkward process. I can’t believe their prices.

 I just ordered a book with 100 photos. It’s 8×10, with images that are 6.2×8 inches. Total cost, hardcover with shipping, was $48. That’s 48 cents per print!  Less than half the cost of same sized prints from a cheap photo lab.

Posted by
redcrown
Jan 6, 2008 11:11am PDT
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redcrown
 

I say go for it. Using Blurb for photo albums is my primary usage, although I did also make a book with no personal images in it for sale and am working on another due to some requests from friends.  When I shot film, I used to spend a lot of money and time on scrapbooking my travels. With digital, I find it goes so much faster with Blurb and the price is right. Plus it gets so many of those images off my computer. I would also encourage you to use text while everything is still fresh in your mind. When you are 50 and look back at these, you want to remember that that passed out guy was Joe.  Good luck!                          – Diane

Posted by
drupnow
Jan 6, 2008 3:52pm PDT
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drupnow
 

I have 5 children, and I wish they had Blurb before my kids were born.  I went from bad/no scrapbooking to digi scrapping, which was fun but still costly.  Then I started blogging, and found it a great way to keep a family history.  Today I received my 156 page printed blog, which includes my best pictures and journaling!  I will make one every year, and I figure it cost me 33 cents/ page!!!  AMAZING!  Also, you ought to get an external hard drive to store your pictures, or my friend who is a pro photographer has some sort of drive that you can upload your camera card to without a computer!  Also, if my house burns down, guess what—I can print another copy on Blurb!  Why deal with storing cds and prints—I have a whole cupboard full of prints…maybe someday I’ll get to them, but for now it’s Blurb all the way!!! 

Posted by
sleepr
Jan 7, 2008 10:32pm PDT
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sleepr
 

I totally use blurb as photo album.  I am in fear of all my photos being lost due to a computer crash.  I just cannot afford that many blurb books…. because once I start I just get very into it and everything has to be organized so it has to be split up into so many books on so many topics… and then I start wanting to add text, but I almost never do.

Posted by
kazoodoctor
Jan 8, 2008 1:04am PDT
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kazoodoctor
 

Thank you everyone for all your input!!

Posted by
KenzieNz24
Jan 12, 2008 4:49am PDT
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KenzieNz24
 

Mckenzie,

First of all, welcome to Blurb and to your first self-publishing book project through Blurb.

Over the years, as I have learned. There are always some good and bad pictures taken. However, I notice that I take a lot more pictures with digital SLR Nikon camera more, faster and do a lot more, no matter what. It is just that professional-grade digital SLR cameras (including ‘point n shoot’ digital cameras) have the freedom to take more pictures, faster and more affordable way of taking pictures.

Why?

Back then with old, traditional 35mm film professional-grade cameras, every photographers’ mindset made them aware that every picture taken with film 35-mm camera, procuding/developing pictures with chemicals or taking film rolls to photo processing centers, it cost money… say 50 cents per piece of photo printed, depending on size of photo print you want.

The advantage with digital cameras we have these days, you can take as many as you can, you can decide on which pictures you like the best, discharge lousy, horrible pictures.

It is always a good idea to burn all of your photos taken to CDs or DVDs copies and put the best ones on one CD. Always a good idea to have backups, and keep the back up CD or DVD discs at secured place like bank or somewhere that is safe.

You never know what is going to happen with your computer hard drive, nor CD discs kept at your place.

As for lousy or horrible pictures or good ones, well, it depends on individual’s experience and skills. If you want to make your pictures taken as nicely, neat and being more creative, then it is a good time for you to hit some book related to basics of digital photography book and understand how your digital camera works, and what is not. Learn about how light and exposure works with your digital camera.

If you are very, very fussy or demanding, perhaps that 99 percent of your images are at least ok, only 1 percent is done the very best.

So if you want to take a better digital photo taken from now on, you have to observe, think and research ahead of time. You’ll be surprised with the result eventually. It takes lot of practice and time.

You mentioned that you are young. Well, it is a good time for you to learn something new. Taking photography can be challenging, but it is fun. Fun!

Posted by
brianbonitz
Jan 12, 2008 1:57pm PDT
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brianbonitz
 

Mckensie,

Go for it. I have made at least a dozen books with Mypublisher and just received my first two from Blurb. One of the Blurb books was 330 pages with sewn binding. You can make a book on any subject, or no subject. Fun to create and share. I have never had a fancy expensive camera or taken classes. All it takes is a good eye for composition, to make a perfect photo. Take several shots of the same thing, so if one doesn’t come out right, you have others. I am using a 7 mega pixel Sony Cybershot, and am constantly told how great my pictures are. Light is also important. Don’t take photos into the sun. Also, action is good. A photo of an animal or bird doing something is more interesting than it just standing there. If you have blurry pictures, try using photo software to make them sepia-toned, or old fashioned looking. Those should be blurry, so you turn something bad into something artistic. Anything goes!

Posted by
cliffy81056
Jan 13, 2008 10:31am PDT
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cliffy81056
 

Mckensie,

If you want to reduce of getting blurry pictures in broad daylight and evenings in the dark, you want to buy tripod.

Taking pictures in dark, low light pictures, tripods is essential. If you do not have “remote” control to take picture with your digital camera, you might want to consider to use “timer” and set it to 2 or 3 or 4 or five seconds, spending on manufacturer’s camera design and that comes with timer’s seconds configruation included.

It is important that you understand how and why camera works well in different light and exposure and shuttle and how that relates to daylight, night and all different scene.

You “ARE” encouraged to do some experiments with your camera. Fun!

Posted by
brianbonitz
Jan 13, 2008 3:55pm PDT
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brianbonitz
 

cliffy81056,

As for fancy expensive camera or taken classes, you are right. You are also right about the importance of light.

If you understand essential functions, the primary purpose of shutter, aperture and light as well as exposure. Once you understand how that works, then you’ll do just fine with any kind of digital cameras, whether it is basic “point and shoot” or advanced, professional-grade digital SLR cameras. Speaking of which, there IS big difference between ‘point and shoot’ digital cameras vs. professional-grade, dSLR cameras, where individual have more control in dSLR camera than ‘point and shoot’ camera.

There are few camera manufactures recently introduced pretty nice semi-professional cameras still as “point and shoot” but acts like almost like a dSLR cameras such as Nikon P51000 or Canon S7 or S9, I think.

It is matter of an individual’s want, desire and the specific purpose.

Posted by
brianbonitz
Jan 13, 2008 4:02pm PDT
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brianbonitz
 

Hi cliffy81056,

I realized that I left out one essential different feature in professional-grade dSLR cameras such as Nikon dSLR D200 as opposed to any ‘point and shoot’ cameras’ handling ‘original’ photo format.

When I say “original” photo format being produced in any cameras, it IS, in fact, very important factor. Maybe it might not that important for some people. But when it comes to professional photographers’ view and to their standard and requirement, it IS very important factor.

The reason is for this feature of ‘original’ photo format is being produced in any ‘point and shoot’ camera, they produce photos as JPG format. When it comes to true, “straight” originality of photo capture is truly at big loss is because JPG format “compress” and bypass the true, original photo capture. So the original of your captured picture is totally different than what you saw with your camera and what you saw in your computer monitor or printed photos. You might not notice the difference.

However, there IS a big difference with professional-grade, high-end dSLR cameras, where the dSLR cameras save raw, native files as .NEF or .RAW format. What they meant by ‘raw’ format, when the file are saved as in “original,” and truly and totally IS uncompressed format.

To make a simple analogy example, it is like as if you are taking pictures with old fashioned cameras with 35mm flim-based traditional cameras taking true capture of that very moment picture taking. To process film from rolls, you have to take it to photoprocessing centers or developing your own photos with chemicals in dark room downstairs at home. The idea of raw, native formats is pretty much like old fashioned darkroom process. The difference is that there is no chemicals or old-fashioned chemicals involved in darkrooms. It is what’s called today’s digital darkroom toolbox called Photoshop, and RAW native formats working with professional-grade dSLR cameras.

Hope that be of an interest and helpful education for anyone who are not familar with the difference between point and shoot digital cameras and professional-grade cameras, and how it relate to JPG compressed formats as opposed to RAW native original format per se.

Posted by
brianbonitz
Jan 13, 2008 4:30pm PDT
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brianbonitz
 

Dear Mackenzie:

I still scrapbook the old fashioned way but I take way too many pictures so for Christmas did a 384 page hardback with dustcover from blurb that had about 1,000 pictures in it. I gave them out as Christmas gifts. I am not a photographer and use a point and shoot Kodak and now a Sony H3 ( a christmas gift from my husband). The first shipment the bindings were coming loose on the book. I contacted blurb, they reprinted and emailed me a label so I could send back the books. 

 My family loved the books and told me they were priceless even if blurb hadn’t fixed the bindings because it contained our memories.  I included a few out of focus and blurry photographs but no-one cared because they wanted the memories.  You can’t go wrong.  The quality of the photographs I thought was amazing but I’m an amatuer who has scrapbooked and allowed scrapbooking to teach me how to take my pictures.

 Good luck with whatever you do.

Susan

Posted by
susanht9
Jan 16, 2008 11:36am PDT
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susanht9
 

Kensie – of COURSE do a book with your 21st birthday and your trip. Here’s something I have learned – taking shots of the Big Things is fine. But as the years go on, it will be the shots with the little, dull, daily details of your house, your room, your family – things that don’t seem all that exciting now will be the heart of your memory later on. The mundane. The unremarkable – that’s what our lives are really made out of. And that’s what I have found the most moving, the most passionate, the most important of all my pictures.

Posted by
murphyspubli
Jan 18, 2008 6:05pm PDT
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murphyspubli