Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2015 Photobook! A Blurb Review

One of my goals for 2016 was to make at least two photo books with the hundreds of photos I've taken over the past few years. At the end of February I finished my first one, not too bad! I worked on it on and off for several months, so I'm not sure how many I'll be able to get to this year, but I think I will at least meet my goal of two!
I decided to make each book cover one calendar year and started with 2015. I didn't feel like I took that many photos last year, but this book ended up being three hundred and eight pages! Woah! I was so nervous waiting for it to come in the mail, hoping the quality would be good. I have used Blurb before to make two smaller books, but never something I invested so much time into. Here is how it turned out. Spoiler alert: I'm in love!
I went with an 8x10 hardcover book because of the size. I had a really hard time trying to pick something for the cover! If the book is about an event or a trip, you just pick a favorite image from that, but what kind of photo can represent an entire year? I googled lots of examples, and in the end decided to go with some of my favorite instagram photos from the year in a grid. Next time I think I'll add the year as well.
One of the few things I'm not happy with is how the title isn't centered on the side. When it is on the shelf that is all you can see, and I think it looks silly.
I picked a few more instagram photos for the title page as well. Since my book was so long I couldn't upgrade to the premium luster paper, but the standard paper feels fine. It is thick and my photos printed really nicely. Even the instagram photos! I was concerned they would be pixelated, but Blurb warns you if you are making something too big. I left one photo even though I had a size warning, and it was fine. I have only noticed one printing error, a tiny white spot in one photo (on Travis' face), but that is no big deal.
The templates were easy to make and use as well. I edited a few of the ones provided, then saved them and used them over and over in the book. Next time I need to name them better so they are easier to pull out, but that is my bad!
I did full bleed photos (up to the edge of the page) on every layout. Most of the examples I saw online had more white space and I worried about how it would look once it printed. I love it and I'm going to do something similar with the other years. The important thing for me is the photos, and I want to fill each page with them. The only text I added was a date and what was going on at the beginning of each section.  I also did a "best of" instagram at the end of each month. That app has become such a part of my life, I wanted to include it.
Another layout I love. Maybe I should have titled it Rae and Travis (and Crystal and Marc) 2015. They are in most of the book!
Some reviews I read complained that the sides of the book weren't white when you did full bleed images. Who cares?? Another thing I was worried about was if the book was really thick, would it be hard to flip through, or flimsy. That was something I couldn't find much about online for some reason. It worked out great at 308 pages and the binding feels very strong and sturdy.
Another thing I agonized over was picking too many photos from each event or place. This book is for ME! Why do I care? Haha! I did a full page of photos of us standing in front of that striped wall because I loved them all.
This month, July I think, there were too many good instagram photos to choose from, so I did a two page spread. Over the years of blogging I've learned that I love looking at photos of the little things, like what my house looked like, things I saw at the flea market, pictures of our street. In ten or twenty years I'm going to like seeing those things just as much as seeing photos of big events so I tried to include a lot of those kinds of photos in the book.
The biggest complaint I have is that one of my photos just didn't print at all. That left page was a full page image (one of my favorite from the year) and it just didn't show up. It is in my file that I sent to Blurb, so I don't know what happened. I'm going to email them about it, and if it comes too it I guess I'll glue it in? Not a HUGE deal but still annoying.
But all in all I'm really really thrilled with how my book came out. I finished it right when Blurb was having a 35% off flash sale so I got it for $79 including shipping. Not bad at all!
As far as shipping, I picked the standard shipping which was $5 I think. The book came almost a week before the projected delivery date, which made me really happy! I might have screamed when I saw the box waiting for me on the kitchen counter.
I think this book will last for the rest of my life, and now I have a way to see what I got up to last year without digging through my external hard drives. This book makes me feel so happy and I can't wait to complete a few more, and maybe even finally do something with our wedding photos!

And just in case anyone is wondering, this isn't a sponsored post or anything. (I wish!) I made this thing on my own time with my own money. Even with the little mistake I'm giving Blurb an A+!


  1. Love the book, I have plans to do one but have never gotten round to it. Maybe now you have motivated me!! :)

    1. you have to! This one took me SO LONG. I should track the hours next time. i bet 24+ but I really love it.

  2. I love these books. I just made ones for Fry and Tuvoks first year

    retro rover


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