Making a Family Album with Shutterfly

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Okay! Now for the fun part of making the album. But first let’s recap:

Step #1 – Gather your photographs, prints, slides and digital. Do a preliminary sort. Consider, is everyone involved accounted for? Think about which images need sprucing up (brightening, adding contrast or color correction). We’ll look at that next week.

Step #2 – Scan slides and prints. Put everything in neat, orderly digital files. (Hear me laughing. I still have way too many pictures!) Copy all the pictures you think you want to use into a separate file, named shutterfly book.

Okay, we’re ready to start. Let’s take a preview walk-through of the Shutterfly online system that I always use. There are other systems out there, and mybe you’ll choose on of those, but I’ve found the quality with shutterfly is excellent and any customer support we’ve needed has been fast and efficient.

BIG HINT – if you are ready to go and can get right to it, the price discounts usually increase (prices go down) towards the end of every month, so try to have your project ready to push the print button at the end of the month. Also, look for online coupons.

It is the busy Christmas season, but you might be able to get your book done, printed and delivered before Christmas if you start right away. I regularly have them sent to Canada, no problem, and have even sent a wedding book to Australia.

Now, to start. As you’ll see, Shutterfly makes many other products besides photo books, but try to stick with me and not get lost.

  • Go to www.shutterfly.com and open an account
  • Click on Photo Books under the shutterfly tab
  • Click on About Photo Books
  •  Scroll down to read about the three ways to make your book. We are going with the middle, Custom Path, but if you feel you’re in over your head, you might want to give the new Make My Book service a try. Or if your photographs are in chronological order (like from a trip), you might want to use the Simple Path and adjust them on the page later. (It will load them chronologically and then you can drag and drop to where you actually want them.)
  • Click on Custom Path.
  • Choose your book size. We started with 12″ x 12″, a nice size to hold, and now always get our books that size. being the same makes them nice and orderly on the shelf. Hold some other books and try to visualize the result and make your own decision. At this point you are not locked into anything and can make and abandon the whole book for no charge – but you won’t want to when you see the great results!
  • You see the percentage discounts kicking in. It will probably go back to full price at the start of the month.
  • Click on a size and go to the Book Ideas section. Again, you can switch it later. I usually stick with Modern Black, a traditional/portfolio black, but I’ve used a grey theme for a winter wedding and a brown, gold and green theme for a fall wedding.  If you are wilder than me, one of the other themes might appeal to you. Different themes have different “embellishments” built in, but you can choose other embellishments from outside your theme later if you want.  WARNING – Your photographs are the star of this show, don’t let the do-dads overpower your story.shfly-2
  • Click on a theme and click through the tabs above the sample book to see the different backgrounds and embellishments available with that theme.
  • Click on the arrows at the sides of the book to scroll through a few pages to get a feel for the theme. when you find one you like, select it.
  • Take the tour. The every-10-minute save is a great feature. More than once, on my old computer, it crashed and I lost all my work.
  • Click Add Photos, from the prompt. If they are on your computer choose Upload.
  • click Add photos, or Upload.
  • navigate to the Shutterfly book folder on your computer and open it. If nothing shows up, click the image/jpeg(*.jpeg) menu and choose All Files.
  • Select your pictures to upload. Try 10 images to start. To add multiple images at one time, hold the ctrl key and click on the images shfly5you want, or if they are all in a row, hold the shift key and click on the first and last to select. Once selected, click Open.
  • Here my photos are moved to the new page.
  • For this demonstration, I’ll click the All button at the bottom of the screen and little check marks appear on each  image selected, then I’ll click done
  • I’m going to place them all on the pages myself. I think it’s fun. You can decide for  yourself.
  • Here are my pics at the bottom of the book page, uploading one at a time. (1 left to load)shfly6
  • Click the little arrow to open the book.
  • Scrolling through the Layouts tab on the far left side of the screen, I see that it is not showing me very many layouts. I could go to the + Get More Layouts section on the menu at top. 
  • Click Photos on page and click on all the numbers. I see my old favourites come shfly8up already checked. You may have to choose yours. Then click Add to Project. After a minute of loading the layouts, you’ll see this Number of photos bar appear (Image below) and can choose the layout you want. Then drag and drop your pictures onto the page. Not happy with the result? Click on another layout template. Drag and drop to your hearts content.

Think of it as creative play and remember to HAVE FUN!

  • Double click on a photo on the page to open an easy editor page.
  • Click the Pages tab near the bottom left to drag pages into another order.shutterfly
  • The faint green outlines of boxes on the page are for text. Click on one and a typing box will appear. The green line will not show in the finished book, so you leave them blank, they will disappear.
  • Check out the Storyboard, Arrange and Book tabs at the top.
  • If you’ve chosen Simple path, you will want to check each page carefully. The pictures are placed on the pages by the computer and I’ve seen people’s heads cut off by mistake. You may also want to change the layout, highlighting different pictures or eliminating some completely by dragging them off the page.
  • Remember to SAVE before you close up.

Now I’m going to continue with my own book and upload more photos.

Next week I’ll talk about easy ways to fix common photo problems.

I’d love to hear how your project is coming along!

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