This review has been a long time coming, but I’m happy to jump right in! As you probably know, last year we went to Europe with our shiny new camera. My plan was to forego some of the cheesier souvenir trinkets in favor of ordering a photo book to remember the trip by. So, instead of buying (and carrying back) too much (we did get antique magazine ads) we took photos. Lots of photos.
I used Photoshop CS4 on a mac, along with the Blurb software to create the book. One can get as creative as can be imagined–creating scrapbook-style pages or adding words, poems, stories, etc. I chose to simply include full-page photos. I alternated between three layouts: one with a full-bleed photo, one with a chunky black border around the photo, and one that included two photos on one page (great for vertical shots).
I ordered in July or August 2012 and it took about ten days to arrive–I would love to see their book printing facility, that prints hundreds of books on-demand and ships them all over the world. I am so happy with the quality of the paper and printing, and flip through it often. I selected a plain black cover featuring a list of the places we visited. This will make it easy to add more editions to the collection and maintain continuity. Spoiler alert: the collection has already expanded!
The book has become especially dear to me now that our hard drive crashed taking all of our photo files with it. (I may make a second attempt to have them recovered, though.)
To hold up basic tenets of the Scientific Method, I decided to give it another go, you know, just to ensure the quality was still up to snuff these days. I jumped into my time machine and dredged up all my photos from my study abroad experience in Morocco, and the subsequent week-long trip to Rome and Paris. I was especially interested in how the book would turn out when made from photos taken by a simple point-and-shoot (when compared with photos we took with the DSLR in Europe).
For the lower-resolution photos, I took them into photoshop and upped the DPI (dots per inch) from 72 to 300, for a stab at best results. Therefore, I can’t say how a book would turn out with lower-resolution photos. Example of photo quality: it’s much easier to tell in person (duh) but the shots of the coliseum and the pizza above are quite pixelly/grainy in person as a result of using a basic camera in low-light conditions. On the other hand, the photos taken outside under bright sunlight look nice (see two photos up). Although I made my adjustments in photoshop, the photos definitely aren’t as nice as the Europe book, and I’m not surprised or disappointed–it’s a result of the original photos, not Blurb or their printing. Either way, I’m happy to have a book to hold in my hands and flip through, as opposed to a facebook photo album.
Now I’m eager to fill in the gaps with photo books from 2010 and 2011, as well as compiling one from Salvation Mountain and Palm Springs! I’m addicted!