I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve looked through my pictures and felt like I needed to DO something with them. But there’s always an excuse – time, space, money, whatever.
The idea of making one album that showed the entire year’s “best” pictures was definitely appealing. But every time I tried to sit down and do it I would get frustrated because I didn’t have all my pictures in one place or I thought “I could make this so much better if…” and then the project fell apart.
This year I was determined not to make the photo book a major project. I’d read an article comparing photo book services and was surprised when I found out that iPhoto’s service ranked pretty high (I don’t know why, I’m already a whore for Apple products, but I was). So when it came time to make this year’s album I gave it a try.
I went in thinking I should make my album, not fuss, and get out. It was going to be a learning experience no matter what because it was the first time I’d made one. Honestly, for my first time effort I couldn’t be happier with the result!
I had the advantage of taking most of my pictures on my phone this year so they were already loaded into iPhoto. I was able to sort by “last 12 months” to see all my 2014 pictures. I flagged the ones I wanted to use and iPhoto automatically filled the album for me by photo date. As you may imagine I didn’t like that at all!
I had to rearrange the pictures so they “told a story” so I grouped them by obvious themes to create sections. The few pictures I wanted but didn’t have I grabbed off Facebook (#noshame). To keep things interesting, I also included screenshots of text messages and wrote a little introduction to each section. Right now they all sound silly because 2014 just happened but I know years from now I’ll be thinking “oh that’s right!” when I read through them.
In the end, my “no fuss” album ended up taking a few hours over the span of 2-3 days to finish but I think the timing was perfect. I got all of 2014 in the book while it was still fresh and I remembered why these pictures were important to me.
The best part, right? I ordered the album on January 2, 2015 and it arrived on January 6. Gotta love that! It was packaged nicely and inside the box it was in a plastic envelope with a cardboard sleeve over the book like so:
The interior spreads are, of course, just as I made them. I didn’t have quite as much freedom to customize the layouts as I would have wanted but the results are fantastic anyway. The pages are high quality material and all the pictures look great.
And then of course, the back gives you space for a picture and some text as well. I was done being creative at this point mine isn’t too exciting but I loved that you had the option to remove the apple logo here. Aside from the sleeve it comes packaged in there’s no branding of any kind in this book.
Some of these are just plain obvious, but worth mentioning. The price goes up depending on how many pages you include so be picky. Also, if a picture looks grainy or blurry on your computer screen it’s definitely going to look grainy or blurry when it’s printed. Now that I see my font choice in print I am not in love with it so I would suggest picking a more neutral font and letting the pictures have all the fun.
I’m so happy with how this turned out! The value for what I paid is definitely there, and the pricing was actually a little better than using Shutterfly (though I didn’t have any discounts, which many photo book services offer this time of year). The quality of the book is really excellent, especially when you consider it was made in such a short time period.
My only complaint is that the binding is a little tight so the book doesn’t lay flat when it’s open which would have been a nice feature. It would also be nice if you could customize the layouts a little bit more but that takes away the “quick and easy” part, and is something I probably could have worked on if I felt like putting more time in so I’m going to let that go.
As soon as I finished making this book I was ready to jump into making books for previous years (the heart says yes, the bank account says no) so I definitely consider this a success!
Disclosure: While I do have a family member employed by Apple, this post is not affiliated with them or him in any way. I was not compensated or asked to write this post. I paid for my photo book out of pocket and am sharing the results with you because I just love it that much.