January 5, 2012

Family Albums: The Nitty Gritty

Today I have a big, long post over at I Heart Faces about my album-making process. I discuss what I do include in my albums, and - probably more importantly - what I don't include in my albums. I talk about organizational tips (setting up files, etc.) and timelines (ummm, start NOW!) and the products I use and love.

What I want to do here is list the specific products I use along with their links. I'm not paid to promote these companies; I just love their products and service and am happy to spread good word-of-mouth :-).

First up: (I know, this is "duh" for most of you; my love affair with Lightroom is NOT a secret) Adobe Lightroom

snipit of whole album

Lightroom is my photographic everything. I can't fathom an easier way of organizing, finding, labeling, sorting, editing my photos.

2nd up: Lumapix's Fotofusion software

snipit2 of fotofusion

I use Fotofusion to design my entire album. I've saved out pages from past albums as "templates", so a lot of my design is "drag & drop" easy. I love & use Fotofusion's auto-collage feature a LOT. Oh, and they have a totally free demo of their software available - you can try it before you buy it (which is always helpful!).  Of course, you don't have to have Fotofusion to make this happen; design work can be done in Photoshop/Elements, Lightroom (in the book module), or even in album-makers own software systems (MyPublisher all by itself is drag and drop easy).

And lastly, but not leastly: MyPublisher photo books

collage of family albums
4 years' albums

I know there are about a gazillion awesome album companies out there.  But back in 2006, I made my first album with MyPublisher.  I've since made 6 more annual family albums with them. Simply a truly great product at an amazingly affordable price (wait for a sale - there's always a sale!). I can't recommend them highly enough.

So that's the inside scoop on my favorite album-making tools. Hope it's helpful!

In addition, here are the links to the album making articles (with tips & tricks & examples) I wrote for I Heart Faces:

Creating Your Own Family Albums
Photo Album Design Tips

Now go make an album!!  You'll thank yourself!

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Anonymous said...

I love MyPublisher, too. I'm taking a stab at a Blurb book this year and I'm a little nervous about it.

P.s. Lightroom is the bees knees!! :)

Stacey said...

Okay. I need Lightroom.

Life with Kaishon said...

I love your tips.
You are the best sharer : ) Really. Is that a word?

Kim Curran said...

nice post & your work is wonderful.

Anita Johnson said...

Your post at iheartfaces was excellent! This winter, I'm going to figure out lightroom...finally. And I use my publisher too...love the quality.

Mommy of KraftyGang kids said...

Hey, I need a little help. I read your post and I am feeling really overwhelmed right now being that I haven't done album pages since 2008 so I need to do 2009-now. So, I'm thinking of starting this year fresh and doing a book like this for the year and getting it developed at the end, like you do. I take a MILLION pictures though so I think that will be my road block, picking the ones to use. I have elements 9. Can I use that ok for my layouts? How do you do your layouts and then upload them? Do they have a blank layout in Publisher so you can just use your own to input in? Would I make single pages or full long page that would cover two pages in publisher?

Mommy of KraftyGang kids said...

Maybe I should look into the fotofusion to design my layouts might be easier, you think?

Skeller said...

MKG - I don't really know anything concrete about designing layouts using PSE. Here's what I can offer: if you're not going to use MP's existing layouts (and, really, they're quite good, and really easy to use ... I only use FF because I ALREADY have it for other work-related stuff). But, if you are going to design your own pages, you'll need to get the exact dimensions from MyPublisher (they have that info somewhere on their site). You'll need to make single page (not double or 2page spreads) jpgs and then load them into MP on a 1-picture (blank) page layout (that's the way I do it).

Good luck!

Mommy of KraftyGang kids said...

Thanks! I just downloaded MP and it does look pretty easy. Wow, not uploading all my pictures. If I stay on top of it, it might actually be pretty easy. Hows the finish in these books? Nice? Do you select anything special at the end?

Skeller said...

I've not yet seen any of the new options (thicker pages, high gloss, lay-flat, etc). I've always been happy with the quality of the finish.

Karli @ The Bonnie 5 said...

HI Susan! LOVED your article on iheartfaces! I tried to leave a comment but it wasn't going thru, so I thought I'd try here.

I do everything almost identical to the way you described; down to organizing in LR, etc. A quick question if you don't mind. I've always used MyPublisher too (it's so easy for someone who does NOT enjoy photo book making like me - LOL!)...but do you notice little grid marks across your photos? (I think they're called raster lines)? I always hear great things about MyPublisher....so I'm wondering if it's just me? I shoot with the 5D Mark II, and the files are pretty large. MyPub said the files need to be about 3600 px on the long size, so I resized EVERY single picture and had the book reprinted. SAME grid-like lines. Ugh! Their customer service is FANTASTIC, and I really want to use them. Just curious if you've noticed this too?

I sooo want to love them - they're so easy! I just can't imagine what I'm doing wrong...
Thanks for any insights!! :-)

Skeller said...

Karli - I wish I had the answer for you. I've never had that problem with MP books. Btw, your comment did go thru at IHF and I answered it there yesterday morning. I'll copy it here:

yikes, Karli – what you’re describing is NOT normal. I’ve not had grid lines in any of my images (not ones from my 5d, or Rebel, cheapie p&s, or phone pics), not from the full page jps I submit, or the individual pictures I originally uploaded in my first books when using MP’s layouts. I hope they help you figure out what’s going on! Just out of curiosity, what LR export print settings are you using in addition to the 3600px length?

Suzanne O'Brien said...

Hi Susan,
Just found your blog today via iHeart Faces. I loved your family album post over there - it was great to see you summarize everything I have learned about created photo books over the years. I recently started making books for other people (yikes!) and your post really validates what I'm doing for others so thank you so much!

Diane said...

Hi susan. I have just discovered your blog via Iheartfaces and your posts on Photobooks is exactly what I need. And perfect timing (its Jan 1 2012 here in Oz) to get a few years worth of photos into books.
Can I ask why you dont create your book in Lightroom? I have only recently bought it and thought it was a good way to go but maybe you know something I don't.
Thanks for getting me started on the right foot in 2013.

Diane said...

ops its Jan 2013 lol

Monica said...

I use Fotofusion and MyPublisher...both great places! I still haven't gotten the hang of Lightroom yet, though! I love my Photoshop Bridge though. Thanks for the resources and gentle shove to get us doing this!

Michelle said...

I've made several My Publisher books and love them. Great post!