I have been wanting for a long time to gather all the photos I have been taking, and bring them to life in a more realistic format: paper. I grew up in a culture of documenting life. Both my mother and my grandma kept detailed photo albums that span in many volumes over the years. I myself have thought multiple times of printing out my own photography, and assemble them into a classic album, but I didn't want my photos to become damaged with years. Also, I find photo albums to be missing the narrative that scrapbooks may offer; that combined to the fact that it is easy to lose photos with changing climates/temperatures, not to account for moving places. Instead, I wanted to do something out of the ordinary, something pretty unique that would be easy to put together and to showcase. That is how I decided to make a photobook.

The idea of a photobook came from reading Ronnie's website on memory keeping: Life Captured, Inc. I didn't want to just have pictures printed out, I wanted to tell a story by adding words and memories. I could have subscribed to the whole idea of scrapbooking, and establish a Project Life scrapbook - but I didn't want to spend too much time or money archiving my life events. 

After doing my research, I found many companies offering to build my photobook. I long time hesitated between Artifact Uprising, MILK books and Blurb books. In the end, I decided to go with Blurb books. The choice was mainly due to the fact that Blurb books directly prints out from my Adobe Lightroom and the website offers various templates and discounts. For my first order I ended up paying less than $30 with shipping after a 40% discount was applied at checkout. 

The Theme

This first book was mainly designed to be a print test. I wanted to go through my photos as fast as I could without losing the story. I thus decided to make a book on my trip to Boston, back in May 2016 where I had gone for a conference. Knowing what the main topic would be, I knew how to shape the story, and how to commemorate my time spent touring and talking science all day. 

The Process

Creating the book was pretty straightforward with Blurb. The hardest part I think was sorting out through the myriad of photos I had captured and deciding on which to include. I wanted a book that would be roughly between 50 and 80 pages. In the end I settled for 52 pages. After processing all my photographs in Lightroom, I started populating them inside of the Blurb app, picking out page layouts according to what I had for vision. I then proceeded to type up my texts, making sure to add some travel related quotes and anecdotes from the trip. I also added addresses of the places we ate at, and facts about the city and various places we'd visited. When all of that was done, I just populated the pages, making sure to structure them as I envisioned them. Once completed, I uploaded the generated PDF onto the Blurb server and placed my order. The end result is a beautiful 10x8 Soft cover book ready to be gifted!

What I liked

  • The ease of use of the app. Creating the photobook was less stressful that I originally thought it would be!
  • The discount codes. I noticed that Blurb does offer many discount codes trhoughout the year, which make these books pretty affordable and great gifts!
  • The quality. For this first book I settled on a soft cover book, and all my pictures have been processed as I usually do for the blog. They came out looking exactly as on my computer screen, which made me happy. At some point I had some resolution errors that popped when I tried to make one image span over two pages, but I ignored them and went ahead and ordered the book as is. I am happy to say that the photos didn't come out blurry or pixelated!
  • The word proof. Before you submit the book for print, Blurb will flag some typos and offer to correct them, which is great as it is easy miss a misspelled word!
  • The turnover is pretty fast. From the time the order is received and shipped, it didn't take long. Less than 10 days.

What I didn't like

  • The book does not lay flat. It not something that bothers me much, especially when each page has its own individual photos, but it can be annoying if you plan on having many 2 page long phtographs.
  • No bold formatting. I had bolded some words in the book for aestetics purposes, and although the formatting did translate in the proof, I was sad to see it missing from the actual printed book.
  • No shipping confirmation. I never recieved an update on the shipping status of my book. Only a confirmation of placing my order. Consequently, I had to check myself by logging into my account.

Last words

Overall, I can say that I am very pleased with my first try at photobooking. I will definitely be making more books in the future, and might even put some for sale - if anyone would be interested in purchasing travel diaries. What I love about this form of memory keeping is that I still get to keep all of my digital proofs, while also being able to print many copies of the same book to be gifted to friends and family. Can you imagine having to recreate each photo album or even a scrapbook??? Thanks, but no thanks. 

I hope this post has given you an insight on how to create a photobook. As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask them in the comment section!

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