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MyPhotoCreations Ashbury Photo Book Review (Win One For Yourself!) ENDED

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I first learned of MyPhotoCreations last fall when they contacted me to see if I’d like to check out their newly launched consumer site.  Some of you may know MyPhotoCreations as the consumer site for DigiLabs, a pro printing service since 1997.  Pros should check out the DigiLabs Pro site for more features such as web galleries and other professional products.

In my prior review of MyPhotoCreations, I told you all about my first flush mount album called the Anza.  You can find my flush mount and MyPhotoCreations Software Review here.

In this post, I check out the company’s Ashbury photo book.  This book is in the mid-range of MyPhotoCreations’ product line up. It’s less expensive than the flush mount Anza and Marina books, but more expensive than the Fillmore and Portola books.  The Ashbury is a very high quality photo book printed on archival quality coated paper real photo paper and the heavy 110 lb. cover pages lay flat.

Here’s the specs:

Book size: 10 x 10 (width x height)
Cover: Hardcover – Custom Cover (Matte Finish)
Pages: 52 (double-sided), 110 lb. cover photo paper
Binding: Lay Flat – hinged
Price: $148.99 + $13.99 (FedEx 2-Day)Total: $162.98Provided complimentary by company
Ordered/Received: Feb 22 / Mar 3

MyPhotoCreations SOFTWARE

Since I’ve already reviewed MyPhotoCreations software in my prior post, I’ll just give a brief summary and update.

The software is downloaded and works on both Mac and PC computer. The software is free and easy to use and you can fully customize your own layouts.

Other top features:

  • You can get a quick start, there’s no lengthy upload before you can begin designing (the upload occurs when ordering);
  • Instant “fit to page” and “fit to spread” functions allow you to place a full bleed photo either onto an individual page or both across pages (the spread);
  • Stretch a photo box across the spread for other design effects (the photo doesn’t have to cover the full page);
  • Multi-select photo boxes to make changes to all the items at once – a time-saver;
  • The coordinates, measurements and resolution of the individual photo boxes and elements are instantly visible at the bottom of the workspace when you hover over each element;
  • The one-click “Perfectly Clear” button can enhance any photos that need a boost for a quick fix. The result is surprisingly good.

Here’s a screenshot of the software specs:

I would prefer if the software had more plain background color choices.  I’m not into crazy backgrounds, so I’d like to have more options for the solid colors.  Most of the backgrounds I ended up choosing were neutrals and I varied them by using the opacity controls.

PRINT QUALITY AND CONSTRUCTION

Here are the specs on the Ashbury book itself.  All of MyPhotoCreations’s photo book and album offerings are in my searchable database.

The book came in a big box surrounded by layers of bubble wrap which meant no dinged corners! Yea! I was very impressed with the look and feel of the book at first glance.  It was neatly constructed and looks like a quality book.

I am partial to matte covers, but you do have the option to choose a glossy cover.  I chose this photo for the cover because of how it really pops out at you.  Turned out to be an eye-catching image that brings me back to my beach wanderings.

A shot of the titling on the spine. You can also add an image to the spine. I was able to perfectly align the image from the front separately, but the back cover creeped in a bit.

The lay flat binding is hinged – very similar to MyPublisher’s lay flat binding.

The inside cover is a plain black end sheet.

I always like these vellum end sheets – adds a finished look. Having both the black inside cover and the vellum sheets adds a nice polish.

The following are some inside spreads. I love the beach and the ocean and all the wonderful creatures in it. Looking at this book brings me back to Malibu – in stark contrast to the snow covered trees currently outside my window!

I’m not a big fan of unusual masks or lots of embelishments to my photos, but I did like this auto grid feature.

This negative clip art was also in the software.

For something different, try shooting through unusual objects – these are my sea urchin lenses :)

I think this artistic frame I selected in the software works well.

One of my favorite layouts. We look like we’re talking prom pictures on the beach – but we were on our way to a wedding.

There was one photo that didn’t upload right – it’s the vertical one. I’m working with MPC now to figure out what happened. Looks like an uploading issue. UPDATE 3/9/11: Happily, MPC is going to reprint it for me at no cost. There is a 100% quality guarantee.

The recommended resolution is 300dpi (which you can easily check at the bottom of the workspace within the software), but I pushed it with this one at only 164dpi. But as you can see it came out great.

There’s no logo anywhere in the book, but a small bar code is on the last page.

The back cover – I think it was mounted slightly off center, but it’s not too noticeable.

SUMMARY

Overall this is a high quality book.  It’s printed on heavy archival photo cover paper and the pages lay flat.  I did not notice any image loss in the very narrow gutter. The pages are very thick and they flex, but you wouldn’t be able to crease these pages unless you forcefully were trying to do that.  Remember that that 110 pound cover stock of the Asbury book is drastically different from 110 pound text stock. (Text stock is more common for the average photo book.)  The print quality was very good, colors were vibrant and images were sharp.

This was the first time I tried a book in the 10×10 size and I think it’s the perfect size – it’s not too big and not too small.  These images were taken with my point and shoot Panasonic Lumix and my underwater Canon D10 cameras as I didn’t yet have my DSLR yet.  With this size book, two page spreads give you a sizable 20-inches across for your full spread images.  I had no issues with the photos being of too low resolution.  As shown in one of the photos above, I’m currently working with the company to find out why one of my photos uploaded incorrectly.  Other than that, the other images and pages came out beautifully.

At about $150.00 for this 52-page 10×10 book, this is not a cheap book, but it doesn’t look like a cheap book.  It’s made with high quality materials and it will definitely stand out when comparing it to photo books printed on standard text weight paper.  I think it would be ideal for a parents’ album, as a less expensive alternative than a flush mount, but of higher quality than a standard photo book.

UPDATE: 3/9/11 – I wanted to correct a mistake I made when I first published this review.  I had mistakenly thought that the Ashbury was printed on photo paper (which is a compliment to the company and the product I suppose!)  I was thrown off by the finish and thickness of the pages and thought it was printed on real photo paper which it is not.  It is press printed.  The album products (the Anza and Marina) are printed on real photographic paper.  I apologize for any confusion.

AN EXCLUSIVE PROMOTION

In addition to the giveaway I’ve been talking about all week, MyPhotoCreations is offering two great promos exclusively for PhotoBookGirl.com readers!  You can get an Ashbury book like mine for 20% off!

Deal #1:

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOBOOKGIRL DEAL! 20% off sitewide (including the luxury albums Anza & Marina)!

Coupon Code: PBGIRLMPC

Deal Expires: 2/28/13

20% off an Ashbury book!

Coupon Code: PhotoBookGirl20

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Deal #2:

Buy an album get an Ashbury book FREE!

Coupon Code: PBGAlbum

Deals Expire: 3/20/11

Click here for more details on both these deals.

Don’t forget!  The folks at MyPhotoCreations is once again generously sponsoring an awesome GIVEAWAY so don’t delay in entering – this is your last weekend!  You can win a 20-page Ashbury in the 10×10 size like mine!

By the way, the folks at MyPhotoCreations would love it if you followed them on Twitter!

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The Ashbury book was provided complimentary by the company for review. My opinion is my own and no other compensation was received for this review. (UPDATE: 9/11/2012 – I am currently an affiliate of MyPhotoCreations which means if you buy a book from MyPhotoCreations via the promo codes listed at the top, I will receive a commission. As always however, my opinions remain my own and I give my honest review regardless of affiliation.)

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Be sure to check out my CANVAS DEALS!

13 Comments

  1. Posted March 5, 2011 at 8:21 pm | #

    Wow, I am always impressed by your photo taking AND book design skills! And I LOVE the grid feature, awesome!

  2. Ann Pham
    Posted March 5, 2011 at 10:37 pm | #

    Love the colorful photos!

  3. Thomas
    Posted March 5, 2011 at 11:42 pm | #

    post a comment on the march 1st picaboo one.

  4. Thomas
    Posted March 5, 2011 at 11:45 pm | #

    post a comment on the 18 feb entry

  5. Laura King
    Posted March 7, 2011 at 12:13 pm | #

    Awesome job! I love the grid feature…you’re photos are always sharp and full of color!

  6. ERICA
    Posted March 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm | #

    Love all the photos and vibrant colors! I love grid effect as well, is that a feature in the myphotocreations software or are they actual separate photos?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted April 2, 2011 at 6:57 pm | #

      Sorry, just saw your question – they are not separate photos, it’s a mask you can use that instantly turns a single photo into a grid, so it’s super easy and I like it!

  7. Nicole
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm | #

    I want to make a lay-flat album with our wedding pictures and can’t decide between Adoramapix and the MyPhotoCreations Ashbury album. Which in your opinion has better (or thicker) paper and print quality?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted July 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm | #

      Both have great print quality. AdoramaPix is printed on real photo paper and has no gutter. MyPhotoCreations is not printed on real photo paper, but it fooled me initially – cause it did look very clear. Both companies have very good software. I think MPC’s paper is thicker, but I would need to check. Unfortunately all my books are packed so I have to find where they are to confirm, but if you ask me, I think it comes down to price – unless money is no object. MPC’s Ashbury is about 2xs as much as the AdoramaPix in cost. Check out my Photo Book Wizard and you’ll see them compared side by side – just put in the inputs and the page count. Hope that helps!

  8. Deb
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 8:12 am | #

    From what I am seeing in your photo’s of your Ashbury book, the pages actually do lay completely flat. Am I correct? The one I just had made lays flatter than a traditional photo book but it still does not lay as flat as the sample on the website or yours for that matter. I sent them photo’s and they did a reprint for me which I was very impressed by but it still doesn’t seem to lay as flat as the sample on the website or your book. Do you think I am being too picky? One of the reasons I paid $100 for this book is because I wanted one that lays flat.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted March 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm | #

      I guess I can’t see how yours is, but mine doesn’t lay 100% flat, meaning I can’t put a level on it and have the bubble be completely in the middle, but I would still consider this to be a lay flat book. There may be a little lift or curvature to the pages, but I don’t think it’s a design flaw. If you compare it to a regular book, the pages on the Ashbury definitely lay flat – they don’t have to be held down for you to view each page right? If you look at the images in my post you can see there’s a bit of “lift” to the left side of each spread. Is yours more than that? It could be due to the tightness of the binding or the number of pages, but but as mentioned I don’t see it as a flaw. I think my book looks like what I intended it to be. I wouldn’t say that you’re being picky – you perhaps envisoned it differently. Maybe it would help if I took a side angle for you. Ashbury My Photo CreationsHope that helps!

  9. Samantha
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 9:31 am | #

    Hi! I know this is an older post so I’m not sure if you will see this or not, but thanks to your website I have decided to go with the ashbury book for my Las Vegas wedding I had a few weeks ago. I did have a few questions about the layouts you have. For the rounded corners did you use the mask in the software? When I use that the corners look a little rough so it would be nice to know if you did use the software because yours look fine. Also how did you change the number of sections for the auto grid mask? I cannot figure it out for the life of me.

    Any help is appreciated, thanks for all the information on this website!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm | #

      Hi Samantha, the Ashbury is really nice – great choice! All of the layouts were done in the program, so the masks you see should be there. It is kind of hard to find all of the different masks but I didn’t use an outside program so it might just be a different variation of what you chose. I usually just keep clicking on different ones until I see one that I like. I don’t think you can change the number of sections in the auto grid. I think it’s fixed although you can change how much of the image is shown in the grid. Hope you love your book – don’t forget to use the coupon code for a discount. It only goes to the end of the month!

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