By plan, I make four photo books a year - one for each set of grandparents as Christmas gifts and one book of each of the kids for that particular year. However, plans don't always work out and I end up making more and more. Last year I made one for my sister of her wedding photos (bridal showers, rehearsal, the morning after brunch - basically the stuff that the wedding photographer wouldn't catch), and one of a special birthday party as a gift for a cousin. I always use Shutterfly because I like their quality, and I always order 8.5x11 hardbound books, giving our shelves a uniform look when the books are stacked together. Typically I'd spend hours on each book, changing the backgrounds, resizing fonts, and always getting upset over the layout restrictions. It would almost be like a game of chance: I'd open the layout options hoping that the right combo would be there. "I need two verticals and a horizontal! No?! (Bad word, bad word, bad word)." The cursing would go on and I'd wish aloud that the layouts could be tweaked just a little to make them work for my photos.
My wish came true in April when Shutterfly asked if I'd like to test the new beta version of their Custom Path photo books. I didn't quite know what they'd be unveiling and I assumed it would be more backgrounds and themes, which would be nice, but I was overjoyed when I got to play with the new Custom Path and found it to be a lot closer to Pagemaker. I started playing with the different layouts immediately, before their explanation of the new features was complete, because I loved it so much. It was hard not to play with different layouts. Not only are there more layout options, but the options are now almost limitless because the user can move around the photo boxes on a page and add text boxes wherever needed. While I've never been a scrapbooker, the embellishment addition is a lot of fun and brings a new layer to the design. Another feature that I love is the as-you-go pricing. In the upper left corner, is the price of the book in its current form. I like to start with a standard book, then add a handful of pages at a time. The as-you-go pricing means I can just look up to see how much the book will run me, rather than waiting for the surprise at the end.
Before I knew it, I'd completed two new books in no time at all.
Now that Shutterfly has made photo book-making so simple, the hardest decision is only which photos to use.
Interested in trying it out? I've got good news...
Giveaway! Shutterfly is letting me give away a code for a free 20-page 8x8 custom path photo book, plus free shipping! Woo! The code is good through the end of the year, so you could make a book of the school year now, maybe a summer book in August, or save it for a year-end book in December. To enter: leave a comment below by midnight June 15. For extra entries, follow me on Twitter @tippytoes, and leave a comment letting me know you did. A winner will be picked randomly from the entries. Good luck!
Update: We have a winner. Random.org picked JI Johnson. Congratulations!