I posted about my baby shower photo book a couple posts ago. It arrived, looked adorable, then I popped it into the bookshelf without remembering to review my thoughts on it. As it happens, I had another free coupon code, so decided to make a book for our trip to Chicago. It was the last big trip that we took before Owen's arrival and it was 3 days of good eats, tons of walking, and beautiful architecture. It's actually a city that both Husband and I felt like we could live in, except for the ridiculous weather. We happened to be there at a beautiful time of year (end of May) but even then, the last day was crazy humid to the point of not really wanting to go anywhere and getting bug bitten to hell down by Lake Michigan. From a photography perspective, it was a dream. I wasn't actually sure that twenty 8x8 pages would do it justice, especially given how many pictures I actually took, but it certainly got the message across for the fantastic time we had.
As for the Shutterfly books themselves? I think it is a testament to the Shutterfly Custom Path software that I was able to put this book together in about 3 hours. I used preset pages through the template I chose, but could tweak those to look exactly as I wanted as each template has a good number of embellishments to play with. There's a range of photo layouts to use if you want to create each page from scratch and my only complaint in that area is that there's no option to just draw your own photo box where you want on the page. Instead, you have to decide how many photos you want and move the photo spots around accordingly. Not great if you suddenly decide to add a photo to the page late in the game!
I don't really have other books to compare to, but I found the quality of the book to be nice. The hard cover with title on the spine gives it a nice, professional finish, and I very much like being able to customize both front and back covers. The inside pages feel heavy enough and the printing is clear. There's also an extra protective page at the beginning and end, which I actually feel is a nice touch when opening the book. I do love the look of a beautiful, glossy photo in a scrapbook; however, I know my limitations and that I would never get around to actually scrap-booking by hand (and it certainly couldn't be done in 3 hours!) No matter what, better than the photos sitting on my computer.
My grand plans would be to create a photo book for each major vacation, and a more general "family yearbook" each year. I love how easy Shutterfly makes this. While I will possibly test out some other services for future books (Winkflash, Blurb, Costco), at least I know what to expect from Shutterfly and will definitely order again.
What's your preferred method of scrap-booking family photos?