Monday, October 18, 2010

Review of Shutterfly Photobook and Template Freebie #12

I got my 12x12 Shutterfly photobook of our June 2009 Disney trip and have spent days and days just looking at.  It was my first photobook that was 100% digital.  I learned a lot about my layouts, about page creation and the photobook process.  So I thought I would share what I learned.  Maybe it might be helpful when you're working on your photobook.

Shutterfly Photobook Quality:
  - Absolutely thrilled with their high quality!  The hard cover is very thick and firm.  The pages were very thick and felt substantial when turning them.  I never felt I had to be delicate when turning the pages so I wouldn't rip them.  The colors were brilliant.
- Some photos seemed just a little bit dark.  Which means I need to learn more about photo editing and how to quickly enhance the brightness of certain photos.  If it looks a tiny bit dark when you're looking at the photo, then yup, it prints dark too!!  Learning to edit your photos is almost more important than learning to create layouts.

About Layouts:
  - Spell check!!  I'm embarrassed to say that I had SO many typos in the journalling of my layouts.  I reviewed all my layouts before I submitted them to Shutterfly and corrected probably 12-15 pages.  After I received my book, I still found 3 typos.  Reviewing 96 pages in my book can be very boring and tiring, so you tend to get lazy and quick in your proofreading.  Spend the time spell checking over and over again!!
- Check your page size.  I've used lots of templates for my layouts.  Oddly enough, some of them had very strange sizing.  Even though I thought they were 12x12.
- Verify the page template from the photo developer for what size they recommend for bleed and for trim.  On Shutterfly, the trim area is 11.75 x 11.75 inches.  Which means lots of stuff gets cut off on the edges.  I love to double and triple mat my papers around the edges, but most of it gets cut off for printing.  So I ended up creating a .25inch border on a template page, and placed my layouts inside that so nothing got cut off.
- Make sure your journal fonts are readable.  I found out a few fonts were better than others in terms of reading them clearly when the page is printed.
- Determine 'who' is the author of your journalling and be consistent when writing.  Some of my layouts I referred to myself as mom.  Other times, I'd say "I did this".  Sometimes I'd say 'the boys' other times I'd refer to them by their names.  Next book, I'd like to be more consistent.  It just flows better from page to page.
- Journal more - While it's great to see all the pictures, it's the stories in the journalling that bring them to life.  And the silly things you write in the journalling are the things you want to remember.

About the Photobook Creation Process:
  - Each page needs to be "prepared" to remove automatic photo enhancements and to use custom cropping.  You need to do these 2 steps in order for your pages to print properly.  Here's the video tutorials I used from Scrapper's Guide HERE as a great overview of how to get started and to prepare your Shutterfly photobook.  Thankfully, I did some lots of research on this, otherwise I'd be frustrated with the photobook process.
- Once you've loaded and prepared your layouts, it's very easy to drag and drop into the book.  Then you can preview the book, which is SO much fun.  Again, here's another chance to proofread your text!!
- The book was shipped out very quickly!!
- Photobook prices are outrageous!  Very affordable if you have a 20-page book, but once you start adding more and more pages at $1 a page, you realize that a 96 page book will bankrupt you!!  Search for discount codes on the internet!  I found several codes that were stackable.  I got free shipping, a $10 off coupon, a 10% off your order coupon and ordered my book when Shutterfly discounted all photobooks by 30%.  Still it was pretty pricey!

Just thought I'd share my review of the photobook, hope you found it useful.  I really do love my book and I'm so proud of my first digital attempt!!

And now some fun stuff!  I have another template for you today.  It was the final page of my photobook.  A single photo with lots of matting strips.  Here was my inspiration:

And here is your template.  Enjoy!



  1. Thank you so much for the tips on creating a photobook! And thank you for sharing another wonderful template!

  2. Great tips Linda, I´ve printed so far 9 digi books and always had problems with the bleeding esp when using templates, very clever of you making a temp page for it!!! I´m lifting your idea, and thanks so much for the template too!!!

  3. Thanks so much for the template - we're going in less than 2 months so I know I'll be using lots of templates I've downloaded. A super thank you for the self-review of the Shutterfly book. I've only done one 4" x 6" booklet of my first granddaughter's first few months and I just used whatever was on the Costco site, not having stumbled into digital scrapbooking at the time. I hope my next effort is better!

  4. You did an excellent review for shutterfly books. I made a few in past years and it was a hard process. I'm wondering if you've discovered Artscow. They have excellent quality books and give free and discount codes all the time for various size books and a host of other things. I'm always very pleased with the things I make there and it's very easy they way they have it set up. You can see exactly what will be cut off around the edges so no guessing. When you sign up on their site, they give you all kinds of free goodies where you just pay the shipping. They are in China so shipping takes between 2 and 3 weeks, but well worth the wait. Check them'll be amazed!

  5. Thank you for this template!

  6. Another company you may want to look into is Their books are much cheaper with a very similar quality. For an 8x8 book I pay 4.99 for binding and about 30 cents a page! Their turnaround time is less than two weeks. 12X12 books are about 14.99 for binding and then about 90 cents a page. I have bought three books from them and their quality is GREAT!

  7. merci beaucoup!!! il est magnifique