I am a technology geek, per say.
So, when a church friend asked if I could go to Shutterfly and create a photo book for a Pastoral couple that is moving to India, I agreed to make it. We decided on getting the hard cover book and paying more for that version in an 8"x8".
It's nice because the photo book allows for a photo on the front and back and you can put text on the spine too.
I found Shutterfly easy to set up but when it came to arranging the pictures, I was tormented. I selected a hard cover book and made the inside pages different designs and colors, so they would match the theme of pictures on the pages. This feature to change the pages is similar to what you would do if you were Scrapbooking.
I at first decided I would use the feature to create my own pages and set them up how I wanted. But, after trying numerous times to get the pages in the correct order and feeling a bit overwhelmed because it was taking so long, I opted for Shutterfly to put the pages in the layout they chose. Now, you can go into each page and change how the pictures lay out, but I noticed the template they use had cut off many of my photos. I was able to adjust the images a little and due to time constraints and after playing with this for a few days, I did the best I could and left the photos and pages as they were.
My book ended up with 130 photos, even though I could have put 400 or close to 1000 if I wanted to lay them out by myself. But I just can't imagine how long THAT would have taken to set up. Not only that, the more pictures you put, the smaller they become. I think it's best to leave it at 3-4 pictures per page, maybe 6. I added an additional page to the 20 allowed including the blank page, so the book came to 22 pages. For the additional $1.00 page, the shipping was free since the book went over $30.00. I only had to pay state tax.
I will say that when the book arrived, it was processed quickly and came wrapped in a cardboard orange box that fit perfectly around the book. The book itself was wrapped in clear plastic and when I took it out to view it, I really was impressed at the cover and page quality. The cover was a high gloss and each page felt like high quality and brilliantly colored pages.
Overall, I am very happy with this book of memories for my friends. I am sure they will enjoy looking at it while they continue in their ministry in India. This book holds pictures of their past 7 years in the area here and is a small representation of a DVD I also created for them using Magix.
I would recommend Shutterfly but do caution you that it can become overwhelming at times in the creation of the book.So allow plenty of time or just use less pictures. I think since I was trying to utilize the maximum pictures allowed and the program kept changing the order due to so many pictures, it's really best to do less.
Update On Mar 07, 2010: We gave this Shutterfly book to our friends last night for their farewell party. I had to present it, which I wasn't prepared to do. But my friend told me this morning at church that she sat down when she got home, read her cards and looked through the book. She also cried the whole time. THAT's what memory books are all about. It's not the sad tears you get, it's the happy tears at all of the people whose life you impacted and whose lives impacted your own.
These books are worth every dollar.
Update On Aug 31, 2010: I finally got a code from Shutterfly that allowed me to create a free hard cover book. The book is 8"x8" in size and had 20 pages. It was a little easier creating the book this time around than the last time.
You can still decide which layout you'd like - I ended up going for black pages and a hard black cover. This book will be for my hubby's birthday in October and contains some of our favorite photos of our Dachshund and Persian cat.
The code that's good until tomorrow, September 1, 2010 is "8PBA91" and can be applied at checkout. The only cost was for shipping and tax, which came to $8.55. The total savings was $23.99, which is what the book would have cost.
The cover picture on this book was our Christmas card picture from a couple of years ago. That was no easy task getting them to remotely look forward!