Here's a simple idea for using your photos: make a book. Isn't that the same as making an album? you ask. Well, yes, but without having to first print your photos, then buy an album, then choose an adhesive, etc. etc.
With digital photos, it's so easy to take them and then never look at them again. They don't even fill up a shoebox, just a hard drive (which hopefully is organized and has backups lest disaster strikes). Wouldn't it be nicer if they sat on your coffee table or had a prized spot on your bookshelf? No disrespect to those bulky three-ring binders that are so popular for scrapbooking, but they are too deep to fit in my bookshelf. Imagine, instead, a collection of little 7 x 7 inch professionally printed books that feature your favorite things, people, places, or whatever else you choose.
My latest personal "book project" is a Blurb book of all my favorite foods in Paris. A square version of the photo above was for my religieuse "best of" category until I found an even better one at Carl Marletti (look at the amazing food photography on his site). People are always asking me what they should do when they visit Paris, and I always respond with food suggestions. I mean, they're going to visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d'Orsay, Notre Dame, and other main attractions no matter I say, but they might not know about Hermé macarons or the amazing pâtes à choux at Marletti. So making a book is fun for me and a good gift idea for my friends.
But why Blurb? For me, it's about the best price/quality option. With unlimited resources, I would use Asukabook. Their printing is the best I have seen. I use them for wedding albums for most of my clients. But Asukabook is many times more expensive than blurb (and only for pros). I will use Asukabook for one-offs of special projects, but I can't afford to make a series a books for myself with them even at wholesale prices. Blurb books, on the other hand, are cheap enough to use as alternative to those plastic albums that hold 4x6 inch photos and they look a lot nicer.
I have only made two Blurb books so far, but here's what I can tell you based on my experience:
- You download their software to create your book, which is convenient because you don't need much skill to get a good end result, but inconvenient because you can't get it printed anywhere but on blurb.
- Keep it simple or you will be frustrated to no end. We did a 250 page book of poems (and drawings) that was a layout nightmare. The program was slow and buggy, and I swore I would never do another Blurb book after that. But I have learned my lesson. The end product looked better than expected, so rather than give up on Blurb, I will avoid text-heavy work and keep the layout simple.
- The page limits are extremely flexible. You can do a short book (I did one as a Valentine a couple years ago) or a really long one (440 pages long!)
- The site makes the books look higher quality than they are. Don't think this is going to compete with high-end coffee table books, but I do think they are nicer than what I have seen offered at comparable sites and stores.
- When your book is done you can order a copy for yourself and/or others can order it from the site. This doesn't mean you can't protect your privacy (there are options for that). In my case it just means that the next time someone asks me what to do in Paris, I can tell them to get my book.
- If you want to sell your book for profit you can do it, but I think Blurb is more of a convenient way to make a book than a good way to make money.
- Finally, until Nov. 24, they have a -20% and free shipping offer that looks pretty tempting.