In 2018, well before CoVid19, I moved from the city to a small town. I decided to make a story photo-book of my early days in that new “small” world.
I gathered photos I had shot over that first year or so, and wove a troupe of characters, their adventures and some personal observations into a 60-plus page 11×8.5 inch photo-book.
I have made photo-books before and the key to success in the printing process, in my mind, is two fold. A quality printer and a reasonable price per book.
Printing photo-books has become easier, with more companies offering printing services. I have used Photobook Canada, Walmart Photo Centre and VistaPrint in the past to make my books.
Most book orders are based on a minimum number of pages, and as I was making a book that was over this base there would be extra costs, for this I was prepared.
Typically, one has two options when compiling the pages, the printer’s online or downloaded application. Each have their idiosyncrasies.
For this project, I started with Walmart’s Photo Centre online application. I had made calendars and mugs with their application and was pleased with both quality and price.
While I found it easy to use, it didn’t give me a clear viewing of what would be printed, it was limited in fonts and backgrounds and other graphics. I had avoided using the system fonts by building my own pages with photo and copy combined, adding these to the pages in the online application. This allowed me to select my own font.
Taking advantage of their discount, I ran two copies. While the imagery and copy was clean and clear, and the photos were sharp and within colour range of the original, the book’s pages were offset leaving borders of various sizes. The inability to see a final preview really limited this application. I decided I would try another printer.
My second attempt was with Vistaprint. I had used them for a small job and had been pleased with final product and cost.
Along with an online application, they have a downloadable version. I used the downloaded version.
I found the application flexible, easy to use and well stocked with additional graphics and backgrounds. I liked the ability to work on the project without having to log online. I could preview the book at every stage of the design. Once the book was complete, I placed the order through the application and the files were uploaded automatically to the server. There was no issues with files sizes and once the upload was complete, order placement was simple.
Most printers offer discounts at various times of the year, you have to be prepared to wait if looking for a larger percentage discount.
For the first order of two books from Vistaprint the discount was 50%.
I was very pleased with the quality of the book. There was no offset, no borders, the book looked just as laid out in the application. I would use them again. In fact, when another 50% discount was offered, I purchased another two books.