We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Photo Books

Los Angeles
Level Contributor
1,992 posts
35 reviews
Save Topic
Photo Books

On another thread, I mentioned that I was working on a "coffee-table" style photo book of pics from our February safari. Several people expressed interest in the process and asked me to keep them abreast of developments.

I've just finished compiling and editing several hundred photos in a 189-page 12" x 12" hardcover book. My husband and I are each going to do one more edit tomorrow and then order three copies -- one for ourselves, one for the couple who accompanied and one for our guide in Tanzania.

It's fairly costly to produce such a large book, so we wanted to get some idea of the quality we might expect before placing an order, so I put together a 30-page, soft-cover version and sent off an order for it last week. It arrived very promptly and I'm delighted to say that the quality is really excellent. The colors are great, the paper is high-quality and the resolution much better than I expected. We're pretty impressed, as it happens.

I had begun the process first with Shutterfly, but soon discovered that they have a 111-page limit and we really wanted to go beyond that. So we did some further research and discovered that the best-reviewed online site for this kind of "publishing" is "Mixbook.com." They are a little more expensive than Shutterfly (the first 20 pages are included in the price of publication, with $1.25 per page following that, as opposed to roughly $1.05 per additonal page at most other sites), but the reviews convinced us that in pretty much all other respects it's the best choice out there. It's pretty user-friendly, though it does require some practice, and -- most importantly -- the results are impressive. Even the soft-cover version looks very professional. I'm rather excited to see what the completed book will look like. It's a considerable expense, but it's going to make, I think, the best of all possible souvenirs!

When we receive the final version, I'll report back. Meanwhile, for those interested in a soft-cover book, I can attest to the beauty of Mixbook's product.

Easy Travel & Tours Ltd
Nature & Wildlife Tours, Cultural Tours, Safaris
Gosheni Safaris Africa
Safaris, Other Outdoor Activities
African Scenic Safaris
Climbing Tours, Hiking & Camping Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Safaris
Honolulu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
864 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Photo Books

Very exited for you.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
37,532 posts
360 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Photo Books

Thanks for sharing. I also do "Books" and have used Blurb.com to date. I would be interested in trying Mixbook so let me know how it turns out.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
368 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Photo Books

Photo books are definitely worth the time and effort it takes to create them.

I'm sure the others will love it ,a great momento.

I have created photo books of each of our trips I have used Blurb and been very happy with them.

Would love to see yours !

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
10,859 posts
137 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Photo Books

I have used a number of companies. Blurb for one that was more journal than photo book. Shtterfly for several including my latest - Galapagos Islands. I think they did a great job, except on one side, every page, they did not take the black ink bleed far enough and when cut, every page has a narrow strip of while at the top. I expect that was due to the 12 x 12 size. I have no other complaints and no one else noticed it until I mentioned it, so in a conservation mode, I will keep it rather than return it.

Do have someone read ever caption for typos. I was in a rush, and the result are two typos.

Level Contributor
2,041 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Photo Books

Just be careful, as there are many other companies and sites which offer special deals and discounts, but the ease of use and extra formats/embellishments suffers. I used Shutterfly 2 times, and the books are beautiful, and they run sales and are also offered on Groupon and Living Social from time to time.

Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
85 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Photo Books

Good for you for taking the time to make the books, definitely worth it! Big books too!

I make books for trips but I also make one a year of my sons life, I have been doing it since he was little, now 14yrs old. I make three copies( grandparents both sides and for me). Grandparents love it! My mum sits by the Christmas tree asking to open that present first! I use Shutterfly as you can manipulate the page layouts to your liking.

In this ditgial age, photo books are the way to go, otherwise you rarely see your pictures.

Another great device is Apple TV, one of the features is it conects with your computer and plays a slide show of all your photos on your tv. Also can play your music at the same time. Much better to see and show your shots on the big screen that the computer!

Alameda, California
Level Contributor
802 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Photo Books

Funny to see this thread, as I started yesterday on my photo book from my safari exactly one year ago! Luckily I had already uploaded all of the pictures I wanted to choose from to Shutterfly, so yesterday I just had to start the task of picking pictures, page layouts, background colors, and captions where necessary. It takes a very long time. I think I am only on page 6 or 7! But I re-live the safari all over again when doing this, so it is mostly a lot of fun. I have made smaller picture books from other trips we have taken, and they are beautiful. This one will be an 11x14, and although I will not limit the number of pages, it will not be nearly as large as Sandy's and others.

I want to ditto Sciguys remark about Shutterfly offering coupons and discounts often. I am going to get my book all done but only send it off when a 50% sale comes (there is one now and it shows on my "project", however I have no clue if it will still be offered when my book is ready). The next sale prices and discounts will certainly be around graduation coming up. They do it around all of the holidays.

Remember to save your work when you close out of the program!!!! You learn that lesson at the beginning the hard way!!! Since it has been a while since I have made a photo book, I ALMOST forgot that dear lesson yesterday!

Level Contributor
1,352 posts
109 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Photo Books

Good to have some updated info about another company. Seems like a while back, we all started a thread about photo books. I have typically done a 2 volume "traditional" scrapbook after each trip because I like the personal embellishments and papers that are available. Then I do a very short 8 x 11 with just the best photos (not much journaling). Two days after I returned from this past trip, I had the 8 x 11 book done (sorting through 6739 photos) so I could use my free Shutterfly coupon. They do a good job with the colors. They even now have an African themed book. I'm currently working on the journaling portions to use for a 12 x 12 more detailed book.

I also had outstanding results with Printerpix but their software program is really limited. They have the best colors on the photos I've used to date, but I like more flexibility.

Thanks for the info on Mixbook. I'll check that out.

Level Contributor
2,745 posts
73 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Photo Books

Hi, this is all great information. In the past I have used Snapfish for my books and have generally been pleased with the results. I have learnt not to put anything too near the page edge as sometimes the margins are not quite as large as shown on the previews. However the books are good value for money. Like Shutterfly, Snapfish always have offers so you never pay full price which is a bonus if getting several. Certainly the quality of the photos is very good. I have done several of these books as gifts and everyone has been pleased with them.

Now this time I have done a blog and have the opportunity to turn this into a book so (after some editing) I might give that a go.

I certainly agree with QM about getting someone else to do the "proof reading". I have ended up with typo's in the past even after getting my husband to read it through!! Also Sparks is right to remind everyone to save their work. It sounds obvious, but as you say, you learn the hard way!!

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
37,532 posts
360 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Photo Books

Just a word more. blurb has a gizmo that shows the allowed margins so no worries about losing edges of text and photos. "it" also shouts at you if you try and put stuff too close to text boxes or edges. I like the way you can make up your own layouts too, to suit what it is you are trying to achieve.

As to back up , it does so automatically as you close each session.

Proof reading. Another story.

Run the spell checker of course but DO read and re-read several times before uploading. Nobody can proof read their own words as they know what they have said.