The Photo Book Is Here

My photo book from the Maine vacation came in a few days ago. I am totally blown away.

It is 5×7″ with a soft black cover. The 25 pages contain 69 photos, ranging from full page to six on a page. It is a bound book.

I brought the book to work and started passing it around. The response was amazing for two reasons.

First, everyone who looked at them liked my photos, which was nice because I think I’m getting better as a photographer.

Second, nearly every one who saw the book was amazed something like this could be done by an amateur! That’s the part that blew me away. Nearly every photo site advertises this functionality, yet few people realize it can be done cheaply and easily.

I originally started on Winkflash, but found the interface clunky&#185. I moved over to Shutterfly, which was much easier to operate. That’s where I completed the book.

There is one pain in doing this. You have to upload all your photos. Uploading takes significantly more time than downloading!

I wanted to use full size files wherever possible to maintain quality. I uploaded over 120. You really can’t tell how many you’ll need until you get going.

My suggestion is to do the uploading while you eat dinner or sleep.

Once the photos were online, they were available to drag and drop into templates. I chose different templates for each page. This created the structure of the book; how many photos would be on the page and in what physical alignment.

Some templates allow for text, which is a good thing. I used a very casual font, reminiscent of a felt tipped pen, and kept my captions short.

The minimum book size is 20 pages. I got to 20, but still had plenty of photos I wanted to include.

I really had no idea how it would all turn out. It wasn’t until I had the book in my hands and began thumbing through that I realized what I’d stumbled upon.

OK – how much? Believe it or not, the book was printed and shipped to my home for less than $20. Amazing.

It took over a week to get here via the ‘standard’ ground shipping. OK, I’m cheap. So shoot me.

Helaine and I are getting set for a trip next week which is more like an adventure… a photo adventure. I can guarantee there’s another book in my future.

Blogger’s note – Before I wrote this entry, I sent a fan letter to Shutterfly. I wanted them to know how happy I was with my photos and how few people seemed to know about producing these little books. As a thank you, the person who wrote back credited my account with a coupon. I have no idea what the value of that coupon is.

Since I’m writing something nice about Shutterfly, I think it’s only fair to reveal my gift.

&#185 – I did have some 5×7’s and 8×10’s printed at Winkflash and they did a very nice job for very little money. Since they’re nearby, in Rhode Island, the photos came back in a few days.

The New Camera’s First Assignment

Over the past few years one of the major uses of my digital camera was to accompany Helaine and Steffie (aka – the cult members) when they went to Rick Springfield concerts. The Fuji S602Z has taken hundreds… maybe thousands of photos at his concerts.

Some of Steffie’s best were published in his calendar and tour program. She has developed a very good photographic eye.

Before they leave for the show I set the camera manually so its shutter is fast enough to reduce any motion (of picture taker or subject). Then I set the film speed equivalent. The camera looks at the light as the pictures are taken and decides how wide to open the lens.

Now they are going with my new Canon Digital Rebel and a Sigma 18-125mm f3.5-5.6 lens. The camera and lens are much better than those on the Fuji, but the lens is ‘slower.’ That means I need more light with this camera than with the Fuji.

I can make up some of the difference by increasing the equivalent film speed from 400, where it was with the Fuji, to 800 or even 1,600. I’m afraid if I up it too much there will be too much noise (though the Canon is known as a very quiet camera).

It is a quandary.

I went to the Canon Rebel forum on, a great photo site and was told to buy a different lens. Others there said there wouldn’t be enough light. I’m worried, but I think it will be OK.

The concert is Friday night. Sometime Saturday afternoon I’ll know.