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Screencast: Creating a photo book

This is the fourth or fifth book I’ve created at Shutterfly. I really like their book maker. It’s easy to use, provides a good selection of layout choices, has a couple of different ways to pre-fill your book to get you going quickly, and there is no software to install—all the magic happens in your web browser. This video shows me creating my latest book (at about 6x speed). Highlights below.

(Larger version of this video here.)

Some highlights from the video:

Music by duckett (cc-by)

0:00 Choosing the overall style…

0:18 Choosing photos…

0:33 Using the storyboard to do a first-pass guided layout. The storyboard lets you choose which photos go on each page and then Shutterfly automatically picks an appropriate layout. Later you can tweak the layouts for each page by hand.

1:20 I was having some trouble getting a wide panorama photo to fit on the 8.5×11 page without cropping. Shutterfly doesn’t seem to offer an option to fit without cropping. So…

1:40 I fired up GIMP to alter the canvas size to 8.5×11 and re-upload. And while I was at it I did the same with a square aspect photo that I knew would also give me trouble.

2:21 Added altered photos to book in progress and continued.

4:30 Trying out different border styles.

4:49 The book is done! In real time it took about 33 minutes—not counting the time it took to upload the photos or select just 60 photos from the entire year. I ordered two copies of this 25 page, 8.5×11″ book with the leather cover:

  • First copy: $44.99
  • Second copy: $22.50
  • 2nd day shipping: $19.99 (ouch!)

If I hadn’t procrastinated I could’ve saved $10 on shipping. Next year I’ll get these earlier—yah, right.

John Watson

John is the original founder of Photodoto, but after running it for 4 years he had to focus on different things. If you're interested in what John has been up to recently, you can check is personal blog or browse his photo blog.
  • John B

    All I can say is – “Holy Alert Dialogue Boxes Batman”

  • I guess it seems like a lot but it’s 30 minutes. And most of them are for sensible things like “are you really sure you want to delete that page?” and “enter a name to save your project.” There was an annoying full bleed warning about cropping the edges of the photo that I wish I could have turned off though.

  • Ha! Seems like forever. Favorite parts are manually calculating aspect ratios :)

    • It’s that mind-bending soundtrack. You noticed the calculator, eh? :-)

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