With smartphones and digital cameras, it’s simple now to snap photos wherever we go. Creating custom photo books is a lot easier today, too — even if you’re not artistic and design is not your forte — thanks to the wealth of online photo book websites.
But with so many to choose from, how do you decide which to use? One way to start is by reading website reviews, such as those at Tech Media. Also, ask friends who use these services which ones they like and why.
Once you’ve got a list of top contenders, keep in mind the following as you make your choice.
1. Tools. Check to see that the site offers the core tools you’ll need, including high-resolution photo upload, automatic organization options, simple drag-and-drop editing and the option of adding as many pages as you want to your album.
2. Formats. Make sure you can choose from a variety of book shapes and sizes, typefaces and design templates.
3. Ease of use. Putting together your travel memories should be enjoyable, not a chore. The service should be intuitive and easy to use.
4. Customer support. The best online photo album sites provide real-time help in the form of FAQs, online user forums and customer service by email, instant chat or telephone.
5. Guarantee. The service should guarantee your satisfaction with the quality of the finished product. Will it remedy any printing defects and correct other publication errors quickly, without additional cost to you?
Once you’ve selected a service, you’ll create a (typically) free account. All this usually entails is providing your name and email address and choosing a password.
Now comes the fun part — creating a treasured keepsake of your vacation. Here are some tips to make the process go smoothly.
Before uploading your pictures, do a little editing of your collection and only upload your best shots. Many programs will automatically arrange your photos in various ways, according to the options you choose. So for easier sorting, you want to upload a manageable number of images.
As you edit, think about the story you want to tell. A chronological arrangement can help viewers relive your trip with you. Or you might want to use various family members or events as album themes. For example: Little Izzy’s Take on Tokyo; The Temples Were Amazing; What We Ate — and Where.
Keep your pages simple and focused, and let your photos take central stage. For each page, pick one picture as a focal point. Then, if you want, add in smaller, supporting images. But bear in mind that a fussy layout can be distracting.
Don’t repeat the same layout page after page. Variety is the spice of life — and that’s true for your photo album as well. For example, if a left-hand page displays one large photo, use the right-hand page to display two or three images. Then mix it up on the following pages.
Personalize your pages. While many programs will arrange your photos for you, moving them around and editing them is up to you. Adding captions to explain your pictures or to jot down your thoughts and impressions will make your album fresh and engaging. You also can layer in graphics, but be sparing. While these can be fun, drop in too many and your pages will look cluttered.
Once your album is finished, it’s time to show it off. Websites will save your project indefinitely, so you can order print copies immediately or later on. At many sites, you also can invite friends and family to view your album for free online. Ask your loved ones to add their impressions, and you’ll turn your personal memories into a place for a lively conversation about the things that matter most!