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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.

Welcome, new readers!

It’s been a year since I’ve written a “welcome to Photodoto” post. In that time, we’ve attracted a bunch of new subscribers. Thanks for reading! For the benefit of new readers, here’s a brief tour of and some things you may have missed:

Some of our most popular recent posts:

Patience, a photographer’s ally

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Review: The Art of Black and White Photography

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Tiny Time-Lapse Digital Camera


This is kind of a neat idea. It’s a camera called the “Pet’s Eye View” that you clip to your pet’s collar. It takes still photos on an interval timer, like a security camera, so you can download them at the end of the day and see what your pet has been up to.

That might make a neat time lapse video.

They say it’s for pets but I bet it works equally well on children. Let’s see… if I stick one to each kid maybe I’ll finally find out who’s been leaving the kitchen such a mess…

Pet’s Eye View Digital Camera

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