Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a standard Medium Hardcover Kodak Gallery Photobook. However, we opted to upgrade to a Large photobook with extra pages and paid the difference ourselves.
Almost five months ago, I married the most amazing man. Five months may not seem like a long time, and I’d agree with you. It’s flown by so fast, I feel like we’ve been time traveling. We finally received the pictures from our photographer and I figured they would sit in their beautiful case for ages before I actually got around to arranging them in a photo album.
Serendipitously (totally a word, I say so), right after we got our photo disk, I got an e-mail from Foodbuzz offering a free Kodak Gallery photobook to review, as long as I got a post up by a certain date. Photos in hand, free photobook, AND a deadline? The universe wanted me to get this done.
I had actually been dreading making a photobook because there are so many places you can build one, it can get pretty expensive, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing in terms of page layout and design. I am an engineer. We deal in straight lines and numbers. No artsy photo arrangement skills.
For those of you who upload your photos to Facebook into nice little albums, you can import your photos from Facebook straight into you Kodak album. If, like me, you keep them on a hard drive, it’s also super easy to upload them from there, too. Just be warned you can only upload 400 at a time. Yes, this sounds like a huge amount of photos, but I did some serious picking and choosing and just barely got under 400 photos before putting them in the album. And even then, some got cut in order to keep the page count reasonable (remember, we paid for any pages over 20) and so there weren’t dozens of photos crammed onto one page.
Once your photos are in an album, you can start assembling your photos one-by-one on a page and keep building from there, or you can let Kodak auto-arrange them by date taken or file name. There are some default setting built into this step – like using 6 photos per page and using a standard layout – that you can change easily. Because I knew I wanted our photos somewhat arranged according to the flow of our wedding day, I went ahead and gave Kodak first crack at a layout.
I don’t know if you can see, but the cover would have been a picture of my wedding dress (which was lovely, but not really representative of the wedding as a whole) and the photos are kind of jumbled across the pages. Part of this is because Kodak kept to its 6-photos-per-page rule and also because we had two photographers, so the timestamps on the photos are a little mixed up.
Then I started moving things around and deciding what I wanted each page to look at. I think this actually saved me time, since it was easier to see what to keep and what to take out of the album once everything was in front of me. I tried not to go overboard on the photos of me, and I tried to keep an “event” to a page (getting dressed, the guys together, the girls together, first dance, etc.) This strategy worked out pretty well, but sometimes I loved all the photos too much and spread them out over two pages. When possible, I tried to do it so they were on facing pages so the whole moment would be “open” at the same time.
(This is one of my favorite pages because one of the first things I did during our “first look” was show Travis my wedding shoes.) Once I whittled down which photos I wanted on a page, I used the Layout editor to arrange them. You can also drag-and-drop photos to swap places and drag them between pages. The one thing I didn’t like about this auto-function was that sometimes I would add a photo to a page, the layout would get all weird (too many vertical photos and not enough horizontal ones to make a good fit), but if I took the photo out, I couldn’t get it to go back to the nice, neat layout from before. On each page, you can manually move photos, size them, and even have them overlap. If I had the patience, I might have done this for each page because you really get to customize the look of your album.
You can also decide if you want frames around the photos or if you want them to be seamless. I preferred the look of a border around each photo, but the frameless option looks really nice when you only have one photo on the page. It also turned out nicely when I set two black-and-white photos next to each other – because they’re both well-framed by the darkness, they just melt into each other.
Another thing I liked about building this photobook: once you add a photo to an album, if you remove it from a page, it goes into the bottom bar. So, it’s never really gone and if you want to put it back to see how it fits into a newly-arranged page, you just drag it back in.
It took me a while to figure out the best way to upload the photos, but once I started arranging them and editing out extra pages, it probably only took me 2-3 hours. I figured that once I had it done, I could just show Travis, have him nod his head, and then get it ordered.
Ha! I forgot that Travis is sneakily involved with his opinions. He says he doesn’t really care, but if you gave him a moment to really look at something and think about it, he starts offering suggestions for improvement. One of his first comments was that some of the pages had too many photos. The other was that perhaps a Medium book would be too small. What would it look like as a Large photobook?
Kodak must have known about my sweet husband, because they added a “Save” button that also has a “Save as” function. You can essentially save a copy of your photobook as a different project. This way, you can mess with it and if the revisions come out all wonky you still have your original layout untouched. Smart!
As I mentioned, we ended up going with a Large photobook (yes, it’s a much nicer size and my husband was right). For some of the pages, I just added a page and spread the photos out. For others, we went through each photo and he decided which one stayed and which one would go so there weren’t too many repetitive scenes. Except for our pie cutting (no wedding cake, just Julian Apple Pies!) I call it our pie montage and I kept just about every photo from that moment because I love remembering it. I especially love the photo that captures us looking at each other, silently reminding the other that we agreed to no pie-smushing.
So – 2 more hours editing the photobook side by side and then we put in the order. I think we did it on a Saturday, the following Wednesday the book was sitting on our front porch, ready to be unveiled. I bet you’re wondering how it came out?
Well… it came out great and not so great. Because I was tired of looking at 50 pages of photos, I forgot to switch a couple of photos around on a couple of pages so the bigger photo on that page is not my favorite (totally my fault). On some of the pages, though, the colors look a little weird, which is not how it looked on-screen. I may actually go back to Kodak and ask about that. But, overall, I love it! I love being able to flip through our wedding and stare at a certain moment for a while. I love looking at all the details that I certainly didn’t pay attention to during our wedding. I love asking Travis about photos of him and his friends and what they’re doing, since I feel like we hardly spent any time together all night (where were we??) Between this and our photobooth pictures, I can carry that day with me anywhere.
I’m also really pleased with how easy it felt to put the photobook together. I know it took countless hours, but I honestly thought it would have taken even more. Maybe if I was more detail-oriented, it would have. But I really liked how I could spend as much time (or as little) on each page as I wanted; how I could use the auto-arranging functions to do to sizing and layouts for me or do my own moving around if I didn’t like the pre-set look.
Now that my confidence has been bolstered, I want to make photobooks of all sorts of things! Our vacations, our honeymoon, house parties, the dogs! I think it would also make a nice cookbook of sorts – you can arrange photos on one page and the recipe in text on the other (or do it all on one page!) If only I could afford to make hundreds of these! Speaking of which… through the end of the month, Kodak is offering you a break on their photobooks:
Kodak has offered to provide all of you with 40% off a medium hardcover or large photobook of your own through the end of the month! Head over to www.kodakgallery.com/creativity to redeem. The offer is available through 8/31/11.