***Update: 9/6/2010: The amazing 67% off Shutterfly 8×8 hardcover Groupon is available today (9/6) and tomorrow (9/7) in many major U.S. cities!
Make your own photo book like the one you see here. The link above or picture ad below will take you directly to the Groupon page to get your Shutterfly Groupon! You can also check out more info and tips on the Shutterfly Groupon.***
About a week ago I reviewed the free 5×7 softcover book offered by Shutterfly. Some of you may have seen my post and jumped on it to get your own free photo book too, but the deal went fast! (You really have to pounce on some of these offers, so don’t miss out! Follow me on Twitter and fan my page on Facebook.)
Shutterfly, as with many other companies, understands the power of a free sample. It’s like those food samples at the grocery store – you taste a little yummy morsel and you can’t resist buying a whole box of cookies. Around the same time as this 5×7 promo, I happened to get an e-mail for a Father’s Day promotion for a free 20-page 8×8 photobook. (Don’t tell Dad that I used “his” book for something else – a book of our cruise that we took last fall for my husband’s birthday.) My book turned out to be 39 pages, so I just paid for the 19 additional pages. Luckily there was a 20% off sale, so I got the pages at $.80/page instead of $1.00/page.
Since I reviewed Shutterfly’s software in the previous post, this post will be a review on Shutterfly’s 8×8 hardcover book itself.
Here’s the stats:
|Book size:||8×8, Actual measurements: 8×8 cover, approx. 7.75×7.75 interior pgs|
|Binding:||Case bound, glued|
|Price:||Normally $48.99 for 39 pgs (20 pgs. free with promo & 19 pgs. at $.80/pg due to 20% sale) Shipping: $7.99;Tax $2.38 = TOTAL: $25.57|
|Order/Shipped/Received:||June 21 / June 25 / June 29|
This hardcover book feels solidly constructed. As with other case bound books, the pages are glued and attached to its hardcover case.
The cover is glossy and you can customize the front, back and spine with custom photos.
A white waffle-textured cover page is the first page in the book. I like it when hardcover books contain these cover pages – it adds a nice finishing touch that gives the book more polish.
The interior pages are 100 lb. gloss coated, acid-free text weight paper and appears to be the same interior paper used for their softcover photobooks.
As with my other Shutterfly photo book, I should have turned off the VividPics function – Shutterfly’s auto color enhancement tool. My photos printed redder than what I saw on the screen. That actually was an unexpected a side benefit for my sunset photos, but not for photos of our faces.
The photos as a whole still came out fine, but in a few photos where our faces were already on the darker side, they came out even darker due to the reddish tint. Read my prior post to learn how to turn of VividPics. Note, it is very difficult for a digitally printed photo book to replicate what you see on your computer screen, as your monitor often shows things brighter than what prints out. Some folks increase overall brightness and saturation on their photos to more closely match what they see on their computer screens, but that’s just a best guess. Some companies offer monitor profiles that you can use to calibrate your monitor to adjust the brightness and color of your screen to match the printer’s output. When you find a photo book company that suits you, it will be well worth the effort to calibrate your monitor to that company’s printer profile.
Regardless of the color shift, the overall print quality was very good and the photos were sharp and vibrant.
I still wish there were an option to turn off page numbering though!
Printing on the Spine
You can choose your own image for the spine, but you can’t title the spine as with some hardcover books. (Update: You can now title the spine!) This image can be different than either image on the front or back cover. I tried to line up the spine with the front image and came really close to getting right, but the alignment is slightly off and the colors don’t exactly match.
Next time, I’ll probably either choose a complementary or neutral background color like black, or choose a completely different photo for the spine that can stand on its own. It’s too hard to line up the spine exactly and it doesn’t match the back photo anyway.
The Shutterfly logo and bar code is printed on the last printed page of the book. Another bar code also appears on the back cover.
One of the hardest things I find in making photo books, is getting proportion and font sizing right. Oftentimes, our computer screens are not big enough for us to tell whether a caption or title is sized appropriately for readability and proportionally.
Shutterfly defaults its 8×8 book font size for interior pages to 14-point font and its 12×12 default font size to 16-point font. In this book, I used very little captioning. For the most part my captions list the place where the photos were taken and then I allow the photos to speak for themselves. If you’re interested in the sizes I used, my captions are 20th Century font at a 12-point size. The captions were very readable at 12-point size and I think they would have been too large in a 14-point size for my taste. For the cover and title pages, I used Liorah font. The cover is at 20-point size and interior title pages are at 14-point font.
1) Consider your audience – children and seniors may benefit from a larger font size;
2) Make sure you have enough contrast between the background you select and the font. Use dark fonts on light backgrounds and light fonts on dark backgrounds;
3) Remember that font sizes vary from font to font and printer to printer. A 12-point in one font doesn’t mean 12-point of another font will equal the same printed size.
As mentioned in my earlier post, Shutterfly is a solid choice – with easy to navigate software and very good print quality and construction. For more information on Shutterfly check out my Shutterfly overview.
Show me the latest Shutterfly photo book coupon. (Shutterfly is providing FREE shipping for all orders $30 or more. Promo Code: SHIP30)