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  1. #1
    wimama's Avatar
    wimama is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Default Digital Scrapbooking vs. Photobook for the Paper Scrapbooking Flunkie

    Before DS was born I was an aspiring scrapbooker. I bought a bunch of scrapbooking stuff and decided I was going to start scrapbooking starting with my DS baby scrapbook. Well, that didn't really happen.

    I want to start making some photobooks at least either using some digital scrapbooking software or a photobook website. Most of our photos are stuck in our computer, so I really need to start doing something with the photos.

    I prefer pretty simple layouts and I would like a decent amount of space to journal in. I wouldn't mind some cute embellishments, but I don't really like to go overboard with that stuff.

    We are planning on going to Disney and I have decided I am going to make up a photobook for ourselves and my parents, which whom we are vacationing with. Disney has their own photobook available on their photopass website. We are planning on pre-ordering a photopass CD. The Disney site has some cool backgrounds, embelishments, borders and such, but it seems like it would be very pricey to make 2 books on Disney's photobook website.

    Which photobook websites allow the most customization?

    I would like to use some pictures as backgrounds for the page and fade them out. I don't really have any photoediting software on my current computer. Is there a website that allows that type of photo modification?

    Are scrapbooking programs like Creative Memories Storybook very complicated?

    I really just want some fun backgrounds for my pages, and the easiest way to go about making photobooks. I know if I buy some software that is too complicated, my photos are going to stay where there are now, unloved, stuck in my computer.

    I am confused as you can probably tell by now.
    Amy -
    J - Spring 2006
    E - September 2011

  2. #2
    larig's Avatar
    larig is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    I'll try to answer a couple of questions, but I know there are others who are more into scrapbooking than I. ETA: I don't consider what I do scrapbooking.

    I make 1 annual book for DS (ETA: not really photobooks--more like a yearbook with lots of pictures and pages full of text). I give them as gifts and they go from birthday (June) to birthday and I order them in November.

    I have only used 2 companies to make my books #1 was apple's printer through their iphoto software (I'm not sure who they use). It was beautiful, but I didn't think that there was enough flexibility for my annual books. I needed pages with text only that I could change fonts, etc.

    So, I did a lot of searching and found blurb. The attractions were many--it would "slurp" in my blog text and pictures and make a book. (Really I only wanted my text, because the pictures were better when I just placed my originals from iphoto in the book.) They have many different templates for all the different kinds of pages you'd want. pages with 20 pictures, pages with 1 picture (full bleed), pages with text and pictures, etc. PLUS, you can create your only page templates from scratch--putting whatever size picture you want where you want it, adding text boxes, fonts, titles, annotations. I also needed a company that would allow for LONG books. Mine are usually 140 pages or so. I spend about $40 and am happy with the quality. They have their own software that is free to create the layouts, or you can use their online software. I would guess that there is more customization in the desktop version, but that's only a guess. On my mac their software plays very nicely with iphoto, which I use for photo organization.

    As far as fading out the pictures...you should be able to do this in picasa or whatever software you use to organize your images. I find this trick effective if you convert to B&W picture--you can reduce the contrast (so the blacks and whites are less stark) and then turn up the brightness to wash things out so the text shows up better--or turn down the brightness and use white text. Picasa is free, if you don't already have it.
    Last edited by larig; 04-06-2011 at 05:46 PM.
    L, mommy to my one and only, super-sweet boy, G 6/08

    I'm pro-big bird, and I vote.

  3. #3
    BayGirl2 is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    I do digital scrapbooking and I'd say that I am more on the advanced intermediate end of the spectrum. Not that I'm that great at it, but I like to try more complex techniques. I work in Photoshop Elements (and recently Lightroom for Raw photo editing) and buy digital materials and templates. I like the flexibility this allows and it gives me a creative outlet. I've made very customized scrap books as gifts for friends/family. I consider digital cheaper, easier, and less messy than paper. That said, its a hobby, and it does have a learning curve. If you are looking to get into a fun way to make personal keepsakes, then I'd suggest it.

    But from your post, it sounds like you are looking for a quick and easy way to create a book, so Photo Books may be a better fit. There are so many easy photo book sites out there now, and I haven't used enough to rate them. I used SnapFish for a couple calendars and I wasn't impressed with the quality, but Shutterfly for a photobook came out ok. You will not have as much custom flexibility with photobooks, but there are still a lot of good options available. I haven't tried the Creative Memories scrapbooking program, but I don't think those programs offer that much flexibility. I believe they have simple templates available where you can just pop the picture in the slot. IMO if you are going to use all standard templates anyway, a photo book solution will get you what you want for less $$.

    Another option is to use a pro photo processor's album templates to create an album. We did this for our wedding album - the photographer gave us the images and I used their developer's tools to create a professional album. (bayphoto.com was local to us). The quality was very high and the templates were easy to use. Of course it cost much more than a Shutterfly album, but much less than having a wedding photographer do it for us.
    Amy

    DS - June 2009
    DD - September 2011

  4. #4
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    Check out Mixbook! I have used something like this and LOVED it - super easy, which is key for me
    "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, "What? You, too? I thought I was the only one." C.S. Lewis

  5. #5
    Karenn is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    I use the creative memories software and I really like it. It was really easy to learn to use. Photoshop was way too complicated for me- and I'm usually pretty good at figuring out software. Photobooks like shutterfly weren't flexible enough for me. I wanted to be able to rotate pictures and switch things around a little. The creative memories software lets me do as much or as little of that as I want. I can make it all from scratch with digital "paper" and digital "embellishments." Or I can buy ready made templates where I just pop in the pictures. The thing that I love about that is that I can tweak the templates just enough to make them work for me- change a frame size, add a picture to the page, put in an extra embellishment etc. I also love the fact that once I own a template I can use it over and over again and can even "borrow" papers and elements from a template to make my own stuff. I've been really happy with it.

    Also- the creative memories software does let you fade the pictures and use them as background. I've done it before and it turns out neat. You can tint them and edit them in other ways too.

  6. #6
    wimama's Avatar
    wimama is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I think if I do buy any scrapbooking software it would be the Creative Memories software. I need something simple. But, I might stick to one of the photobook websites for now.
    Amy -
    J - Spring 2006
    E - September 2011

  7. #7
    mackmama is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    If you have a Mac, iPhoto actually offers a pretty easy picture book option with lots of room for text or customization. I also like smilebooks and blurb.

  8. #8
    wimama's Avatar
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    No Mac, no Ipad. So, IPhoto is isn't an option.
    Amy -
    J - Spring 2006
    E - September 2011

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