July 20, 2011

Shutterfly - I'm Loving it!

My Photo Book Cover
Yesterday a package arrived in the mail. It was the photo book I created using Shutterfly, an online self-publishing service.

This particular photo book is a 43 page 8x8 soft cover featuring one of my sons from birth to adulthood.  It looks great!

Readers might remember that I've also used Lulu and wrote about my experiences with that self-publishing site in a previous post.

I have to say that I prefer Shutterfly. The user interface is easy to use. The templates are very nice and there are many choices.

 You start your photo book by choosing Custom Path or Simple Path.



Custom Path has more choices and you can have more photos on each page  but it is a bit more complicated. Uploading your photos is not quite as easy on Custom Path as on Simple Path.

I actually created two photo books, one using Simple Path, the other using Custom Path. Here's a little comparison chart to show some of uthe differences:

Custom Path
*1-25 photos per page
*max 1000 photos
*5 sizes of books
*priced from $12.99
*multiple text boxes per page
*lots of choice of layouts, fonts, backgrounds etc
*spell check
*stickers, word art, etc
*use own photo as background
*many font choices including colour, style etc
*upload photos via Shutterfly account, Your
computer, Share sites or Facebook
Simple Path
*1-4 photos per page
*max 400 photos
*5 sizes of books
*priced from $12.99
*one caption per page
*established layouts
*no spell check
*no stickers, word art
*can't use own photo as background
*standard fonts
*upload photos via Shutterfly account, Your
computer, Share sites,  Facebook or Picasa

I liked both methods - Simple and Custom Path but I preferred the creative control and options I had with Custom Path. The only drawback to Custom Path for me was that I couldn't use PIcasa to upload my photos. Using it made things fast and easy. But I found a way around that restriction by creating a Shutterfly account and using Picasa to upload my photos before choosing my book template.

Inside page of photo book
Creating my photo books was a snap. The first time I let Shutterfly insert the photos where it wanted and automatically create a book for me. Then I just moved photos around as I wanted. That proved a bit tedious so next time I had Shutterfly upload my photos but not do any arranging on my behalf. I found that much easier and less confusing as I could see all my photos in my photo tray.

When I used Custom Path I had fun switching backgrounds and themes until I found the one I liked best.  All in all it was a simple matter to insert photos, write some descriptive text for each one and then publish my books. I'll definitely choose Shutterfly over Lulu for my next photo book projects.

Christmas isn't that far away and I'm excited about creating some amazing photo books for my family.

Disclaimer: Shutterfly did not ask me to write this review, nor did I receive any compensation for writing it.

7 comments:

Becky Jamison, Secretary said...

I'm impressed that you got your son's life from childhood to adulthood in 43 pages! I'm just going to have to try this out. Thank you for the detailed instructions and your thoughts on the choices that are available. That helps a lot, Lorine. It looks like you created a wonderful keepsake.

Kerry Scott said...

I've used Shutterfly to create a book about the birth and early days of each of my kids. They LOVE reading them. When I have the time and money I want to create a bunch more about various events in their lives.

Sooo much cooler than those old "magnetic" photo albums they had when we were kids!

Genealogy Blogger said...

Becky, I should have mentioned that I was very selective in choosing what photos to include. I used approximately 200 photos and arranged them by "topic" or years. So I had 2 pages of Hallowe'en, 2 or 3 for Christmas, and so on. I didn't include all the photos I love but I like the book and perhaps later I'll create a larger one or... Volume 2!

Genealogy Blogger said...

I also shouldn't have said "to adulthood" I stopped at Grade 8! Sorry for the error

my Heritage Happens said...

Oh, it has been awhile since I have made a Shutterfly book! I made one for my daughter and her husband of each of their children's first year of life! We all loved them!

Cheryl Cayemberg said...

I love those Shutterfly books! My sister-in-law created one for my in-law's 50th wedding anniversary. When dad died the day after their anniversary and the week before the planned party we used the book as a memorial for him. They are cherished items.

I made one for my mom last year (and was bad and forgot to bring it home to give to her until this year). It was a copy of an unknown photo album that I scanned from my aunt. We knew which side of the family it was from, but nothing was labeled. I made sure the pictures were in the same order as in the original album so they could be viewed in context and we all made guesses as to who we thought the people could be. Now everyone can have a copy of the book.

Downside. They do get pricey if you add lots of pages, but you can catch coupons on Shutterfly for 40% or more off albums and we usually wait for one before buying!

Kerry Scott said...

Cheryl--I can't believe I never thought to scan an entire album like that. That is brilliant. You should do a blog post about that!