Saturday, 20 June 2015

Photo books

Since the end of 2010 I have been putting together hardback books of the photos I take on our major vacations. Initially I did this because my partner was then a bit averse to using her computer to look at Flickr. Later on she got an iPad - but even then she doesn't like reading books on it. For her birthday this year I bought her matching editions of the first two parts of the Thomas Cromwell trilogy by Hilary Mantell, something she already had as ebooks, but had not opened.

The process of making a "dead tree" book from a Flickr "album" (as they now term sets) ought to be easier than it is. They have integrated their system with HP's Snapfish. Initially I was less than pleased to find that I had to upload much better quality images than I usually shared. Frankly I found that one of the few effective ways to cut down outright theft of my pictures was to publish only low res versions. But to get good quality prints, you need the highest resolution you can manage. So everything then depends on the quality of the internet connection, and the amount of traffic on the Flickr site. They have never ever managed to keep up with growing traffic and are regularly knocked offline by sheer volume of use (not denial of service attacks).

The last book Snapfish made for me was of the Grand Canyon trip. The finished volume was of such poor quality that I complained and they refunded my purchase price.

London Drugs offers an online printing service, but for Mac users the software is hopeless. It simply cannot cope with the new Photos app. That is a shame since it would be more convenient to pick up a book from their store than go through the waiting for the FedEx delivery frustrations.

Photos has its own built in printing service linked to Apple's online store. As you might expect, it is very easy to use if you have a MacBook Pro. Just look for the Project tab in Photos. The first product arrived yesterday. The price was roughly the same as I had got used to paying for Snapfish, but the quality is outstanding. That may be due in part to the 16 megapixel images I now get from my PowerShot A1400. Most of the images had been uploaded to Flickr, but I used the originals from the hard drive. Uploading to Apple did not take nearly as long as I feared. The book comes with both an illustrated dust jacket and a slip cover. I used as few words as possible - as the typos that crept into earlier book drive me nuts now.

I recommend Apple as the printer to go to for Mac users.

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