Over the past few years, I’ve been helping more and more do-it-yourselfers cross the finish line on creating their own photo books using on-line vendors. Each client has expressed his/her belief that the value received using this “collaborative” approach has far exceeded the cost. Shutterfly, Blurb and My Publisher are three common vendors used for the endeavor, but there are many – including Iphoto and lesser-known companies. Each company and application has positives and negatives I can elaborate about in another blog. For today, I want to focus on where they describe the value lies in having a helping hand.
1. A two-hour consultation can save 10 or more hours of time:
Making photo books on line is time-consuming. Even if you’re familiar with the software, working on an application via the internet takes time and patience – especially if your internet service is particularly speedy. Experienced users learn their way around and know shortcuts that can make the process move more quickly. Just the process of planning your approach and how you upload your files can make a huge difference. There are pitfalls that can be avoided if you know where they are.
2. You don’t need to be an expert on the software.
Learning your way around a new application is challenging even when the software is intuitive. Each one is a little different, and they don’t all seem to be as user friendly as we’d like. On top of that, the best applications out there are updated FREQUENTLY. This means if you haven’t been in there working with them in a few months, boxes you clicked or checked in the past may no longer exist. It can be very frustrating. We are knee deep in pretty much every publishing option out there on a regular basis. It’s not worth time investment required to become that skilled on an application you may use only a few times a year. Just call on the experts, get the “Cliff Notes” version of reaching your goals and you’ll be in the sweet spot of productivity.
3. The right publisher for your projects may change over time.
If you find yourself familiar with a particular publisher because you’ve used them in the past, you might lean toward using them again simply because it seems easier. But photo book projects take so much time and effort, doesn’t it make sense that you create the very best book you can rather than just following the path you went down last time? We work with photo book creation software every day all day and stay up to date on the latest changes. We use custom software intended for professionals and publish through companies working for professional photographers, but we also stay abreast on the DIY options. It’s important to know not only the software, but because company offerings change frequently, we also keep up with what book styles, paper types and sizes are currently available. Maybe the best vendor for your child’s senior prom project isn’t the best vendor for creating your parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary book. We can help you know your options in minutes rather than your spending hours on line doing research which may or may not help you make the best decision.
We do make judgments on publishing companies every single day. We consider it our job to stay up to date on which vendor is doing what. What are their turnarounds like? Do they ship them in safe packaging? Is their support good if you have a problem or question? All those things matter and we believe staying “neutral” on the options is the best way to go. So, we stay open-minded about all the companies and gather data frequently. We create test books and use the software. This is time and effort you don’t need on a daily basis, but it can help you tremendously when you are ready to jump into your new photo book adventure.
The three things I’ve listed have come directly from client encounters. I’ve been pleased at how wonderful the team approach has worked. I want to encourage every do-it-yourselfer out there. Don’t be intimidated that you need a MAC or you need any particular level of skill to make your book super special. You can make a book by yourself. It will even look nice and you’ll be happy you did. But if you want to make it efficiently and maybe with a little more finesse than the standard options out there, tap into our knowledge and experience and you’ll be proud of the results.
You’ll beam with pride holding your DIY book and your family will be thrilled you took such time and effort to make them this precious keepsake. We don’t mind being your best kept secret because our goal is to make you look good and make your memories something the entire family can cherish and enjoy.
Best advice: Make a wish list of the book you want to create and then call us. We’ll help you find the best match at the time you’re ready to begin. We’ll save you time and money and your book will look more like a work of art rather than a something you created within strict limitations of your time and experience.