Thursday, September 15, 2011


I just discovered photo books. And I'm hooked.

Just like most moms, I've taken lots and lots of pictures of my three children. But in this age of digital photography, most of our pictures have not been printed, much less placed in albums or scrapbooks. They are just posted on Facebook and saved in my computer's hard disk.

That was until I found out about photo books. To put it simply, a photo book is like a coffee table book and a personalized photo album rolled into one. And since my baby B's first birthday is fast approaching, I felt that this a good time to give photo books, which I intend to show around during the party, a try.

Edit Your Pictures. I read somewhere that it is important to edit your pictures before using them for your photo books. I edited mine using Picasa, a free photo editing software from Google. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a techie. The extent of my editing prowess is limited to crop, highlight, fill light, increase shadow, and sharpen. But the pictures came out a lot better even with my minimal editing.

For my initial venture, I tried two photo book makers, one of which is Photobook Philippines.

1. Software. As a newbie, I want a software that is ultra user-friendly. Photobook's software meets this criterion. In fact, it even offers a number of ready books--photo books that have pre-designed templates.

A sample of a ready book. All you need to do is add your pictures.

Since I want a personalized photo book, I decided to make my own from scratch. I never had trouble with Photobook's software. It was very easy to use. The instructions were clear and even a non-techie like me had no trouble following them.

Just drag the page style of your choice to the page you're making
then add your  pictures.

This is another page style that I like.

It was also easy to insert text. Just click then drag the text icon (A+)
to the page you're editing. 
You can also change the color of your page background.
You can also use a picture as your page background.
Unfortunately, and this is my only beef so far with Photobook, it does not have readily available page backgrounds to choose from. (Or it may have but it was not apparent to me.) I still need to ADD images that I can use as background. Contrast this with Picturebook, the other photo book maker that I used, which has lots and lots of available backgrounds in solid colors and in prints. But I guess this is a small price to pay for a stable and error-free software.

Just drag your chosen background (right side) to the page
you're editing.
Picaboo, another photo book maker, also has lots of wonderful backgrounds. However, I didn't want to pay US$24.99 for shipping alone so I said adios to it.

The other thing which I wish Photobook has is the online sharing capability that Picturebooks and Picaboo have. The best that Photobook could suggest is for the client to create proof files which can be combined into a PDF file and then emailed to family and friends.

A sample of a proof copy.

But as you can see, with the words "Proof" prominently appearing on the page, it was easy to understand why I decided not to email the proof files.

 2. Customer Service. I am pretty impressed with Photobook's service. I called its Philippine office and requested if it's possible to have my photo book delivered by Friday, or barely 4 working days from the day I sent my order online. The girl I talked to politely said that it normally takes 7 working days to finish the book and another working day to deliver it. However, she said that she would take note of my request.

And guess what? My photo book has just been delivered to our house this afternoon, 3 working days from the day I made my order. That was fast, really fast!

I can hardly wait to see my photo book!

(To be continued. My next post would be about the photo book's quality.)

*I added an image zoom effect on the pictures. I hope it works. (It does work!)
** I paid for the product mentioned here. I don't personally know anyone from Photobook Philippines. I have not received any compensation to write this post.
*** I've already discovered how to download the frames and images which I could use for the background. Upon opening the Photobook software, click the "Check for Updates" tab, then click "Start". A list of frames, images, etc. will appear. Just click those you want to download. Note that you have to be connected to the internet to do this. (Updated on 08 November 2011)


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