Everyday Little Moments » Oliver, BC Family and Children's Photographer.

Our Family Photo Yearbooks: Blurb Book Review

I have been meaning to create and order family photo yearbooks for over 5 years already.  This January I was determined to finally make it happen.  No more excuses.  After lots of research I decided to go with Blurb photo books.  It only took me three days to create my 2013 album, so feeling encouraged with the process, created my 2012 album.  I have also finished up my 2008 and 2009  albums (just waiting for a great coupon code to order those), so close to being all caught up!  It’s not ideal to back track, but this is important to me and it really hasn’t been that bad (thankful that my photos are all well organized on the computer).  It’s amazing how much I can get done when David is on the 3-11pm shift.

I just received my 2012 and 2013 family yearbooks and couldn’t be happier.  The books are gorgeous and only make me question why I didn’t do this sooner.  I love the idea that all my favourite images from the year are together in one album.  Just holding these books makes me happy and thankful!  My books are 240 pages and contain over 1200 photos each. **Update: I have since posted my 2014 Blurb family yearbook and others, feel free to check out that post here.

Why I choose Blurb:

-Ability to create a book with a maximum of 450 pages.  Many of the other companies have page limits.  Since this album was going to have photos from an entire year, I needed to be sure that it was able to be huge, I take A LOT of photos. (My Publisher has a 100 page limit).  The page limit for upgraded paper is 240.

-Large 12×12 size available.  Love this for a good size coffee table book!

-Blurb gives your the option to download their Book Smart software directly onto your computer. This makes photo uploads super fast and easy.  This is super important when you’re creating a photo book with over 1000 images.

-Ability to upgrade papers.  I like choices and quality. I upgraded from standard paper to the premium lustre paper.

-Blurb hasBook Smart” software, allowing me to easily create several of my own templates.  The best part of the Book Smart software is that is allows you to upload your photos directly from your computer, saving you a ton of time!  This is a must when you’re uploading over 1000 photos for an album!!

-Blurb has the ability to directly download your blog for print.

-Beautiful print quality (not pixelated at all), love how the colours are correct and vibrant and the blacks are dark and true!

-Great quality binding and paper.  I feel confident that these books will last a very long time and will hold up well to all the little hands that hold them.

-Fast printing/ shipping and great customer service (was emailed back within 20 minutes on a Friday evening when I made a mistake ordering).

The Details/ Text:

-When I used to scrapbook I would try to always write photo explanations and back stories for the images I displayed.  I would love to be able to do this with our photo books. However, I’ve realized that I would never finished any of them if I tried to add text to everything.  Therefore I kept it simple and only added simple headings or short paragraphs occasionally. There is very little text in the books.

-I included the months in text throughout my books.  I debated doing this, however I like how it adds context to the images.  Some months there are a lot of pages and others just a handful.

Design/ Layout:

-You can design your album however you wish, however I wanted to keep mine nice and simple.  Since my photos are from a whole year and obviously had  lot of different colours and themes, I kept the backgrounds white.  I love how the simplicity really features my photos and no little stickers or graphics.  I really wanted the simplicity of the design to make my photos be the feature rather than distracting elements.

-Love the ability to have a combination of a variety of images in a variety of sizes for a spread.  I love big photos, so there are also a lot of enlargements in my books!

-There are a lot of collage options available with the Blurb software, these were my go to collages.  Even the collage sheet of 16 squares on a sheet are a good size, not tiny at all.  Super impressed!

Blurb offers Book Smart software that allows you to create your on page layouts. Loved this feature!  I created about 6 extra pages that I used throughout my books.  Blurb saves your layouts so that you can use them for any book you make.  Awesome.  One of the things that one me over as the fact that I could download the program onto my computer rather than uploading all my images onto the Blurb website, saved a ton of time and way easier!!

Cost:

-Like most other photo book companies, Blurb’s 20 page book has a base price and then adds on pages.  For their 20 page, 7×7 soft cover book the cost is $12.99 (without discounts).

-Discounts are offered regularly.  I waited until there was a 25% off sale. Just sign up to Blurb and they’ll send you discount codes regularly.  I created my books and waited for a sale.

-My books are 12×12 (largest size), 240 pages, Image wrap and I upgraded the paper to the lustre finish (very happy with the quality of the paper and finish).  With shipping and a 25% off discount, they came to $146.50 each.  This may sound expensive, but let’s do the math.  If I were to print 4×6 photos at 10 cents each the cost would be $120 without tax. I would then need to purchase albums for my 1200 photos and then put them all together.  That would easily be much more than the $146.50 that I paid.  Of course, there was a part of me that cringed as I thought of what else I could do with $300 (2 books).  But honestly, what’s the point of taking so many photos if I never print them?!?  I could have saved some money if I went with standard paper (about $25 less per book). But I figured that I put this much effort into my photos and my album and really wanted it to be perfect ( I upgraded to the premium lustre paper).  You can only upgrade your paper if your book is 240 pages or less. Therefore in the future, the upgrade may not be an option for me.  Since both of my books just happened to work out to 240 pages, I wanted to give the upgraded paper a try.  I love the upgraded paper and will order it again whenever possible, just so beautiful and a great weight.

Therefore, the cost is really reasonable.  These images are priceless to me, so… incredibly happy to have them all in print!

Why create a Photo Book:

-When looking at photos, there is nothing better than a lovely printed album

-Photo books provide an awesome form of back up for your images.  Once you order your album, Blurb backs up your book so that you can order additional copies anytime  you wish.  Love this peace of mind.

-As someone that loves photography, it is incredibly satisfying to see my images in print.  This is really the best part of it all.

-We don’t sit at the computer and look through files, but we will sit on the couch and look through albums.  My kids LOVE looking at past photos, talking about past trips, toys, their clothes and things they remember.

-They are cost effective.

-I used to scrapbook before having kids.  Now, there is just no way that I have the time.  I love how much faster I can create photo book and how much more cost effective they are.  Also, love how much smaller and lightweight they are.  My scrapbooks are so big and heavy.  There would be no way that I could make one album with 1200 photos.

Looking through photos from the past always makes me feel so thankful for all that God has blessed our family with.  The photos in these books tell the story of our life, the little insignificant moments and the grand adventures.  It is impossible not to feel overwhelming gratitude when looking through the pages of these yearbooks.  It is so important to me that our photos don’t just sit on my computer, that they are accessible and can easily be viewed by all.  Printing a yearly family album is something that I would recommend to everyone.  I am so happy to have these books and a photo tradition for our family!

I have also printed several travel photo books in the past through Shutterfly and Picaboo.  Shutterfly is better quality than Picaboo, but Picaboo sometimes has deals that just can’t be beat.  I try to always take advantage of Shutterfly’s free 8×8 square album that they offer 1-2 times per year. I also print out yearly calendars through Shutterfly, which I have been very happy with . They usually have a free calendar offer each November as well.

I have zero regrets about going with Blurb for my yearbook albums, seriously, so happy!  Looking forward to ordering my 2008-2011 albums soon.   If you don’t print photos but have thought about it in the past, I would really encourage you to give this option a try.  You won’t be disappointed. You can sign up with Blurb to receive their regular emails and discount codes.

 

Photo books

melody - Hey Shari, how is the binding on the outer cover? I got blurb books before but they bubbled on the spine, got replacements and they bubbled too. I love the look of blurb but ive stayed away cause of that. let me know what yours are like:) would love to know:)

love ya

Sonya - This is right up my alley! Your yearbooks are beautiful! I got a free 4×6 album from Shutterfly and I was very disappointed in the quality. But Blurb sounds amazing!

Melanie - I think you’re absolutely brilliant. I love how you always do your research and put so much thought into your projects. I enjoyed reading your reasons behind blurb and I LOVE your photo books! Well done! 🙂

everydaylittlemoments - Hi Melody, the binding is beautiful and great quality. I’ve never heard of a bubbling issue, was it a long time ago?

Dawna - Just wondering why you choose 12×12.
I have always done 8×10 books. Is there a benefit to the larger size (other than more photos per page). 🙂

everydaylittlemoments - I really wanted a bigger book, more photos and more enlargements. I also wanted our yearbooks to stand out from the other travel and keepsake albums that I’ve done. Size is really just a personal choice.

Nancy - Do you touch up your photos before you put them in the book? I’ve done my kids 1st year books through Blurb and some of the photos ended up quite dark, but I loved them overall.

everydaylittlemoments - Hi Nancy, I do edit most of my photos, however that wouldn’t make a big difference as far as dark printing is concerned (unless the image was dark to begin with). The only images that I had print out a little dark/ grainy were those that I took when I was just starting to learn about photography, exposure and Lightroom. Sorry, this probably doesn’t help you, just an observation that I made about my own images. I didn’t edit any of the photos in my 2008-2010 albums, so I’ll take note of any possible differences in colour/ brightness.

Leslie - Where did you find the templates in their software for more than 4 photos? I don’t see them and I do want to add more than just the 4. I love your pages with lots of photos and the white space between them. Thanks!

everydaylittlemoments - Hi Leslie, once you download the Book Smart software you should see all the templates come up together. I created some of the templates that you see in my books myself using their software as well. I’ve now created six yearbooks for our family, so I’ve become pretty fast at it all (thank goodness). Hopefully that helps.

Leslie - This has been a huge help! Thank you!

heather - This is great!! Do you still do the small books, even though you do the yearbooks? How do you decide what to do the smaller books for vs including that in the yearbook? Thanks!

everydaylittlemoments - Hi Heather
Yes, I still print small books on occasion. Generally, my smaller books are of vacations and/ or special occasions (ex, Disney books for each of our kids, cruise photos, camping, baby shower, baby books, etc)

Judith Sagan - Thank you for this information. Your photography is beautiful. I have a 64 page book that I am ready to create with Blurb, however, I have not yet downloaded BookSmart. I created all my spreads with a crossover image (I included appropriate bleed). My files were created in PhotoShop then flattened and made as CMYK jpegs. I plan to make a 7 x 7 inch hard cover book with premium lustre paper. A fellow professional advised me that Blurb’s bindings do not hold up, so I am leery about pursuing Blurb.

What do you think of the binding issue and the full spread crossovers? Thank you!
Judith

everydaylittlemoments - Thanks Judith! I’ve never had a problem with Blurb’s binding (I now have 7 blurb books). They are likely not going to be of the same quality that you would get from a higher end photography print shop, since they are meant to be ordered by anyone (photographer or not), but that doesn’t make it poor quality in any way. I’m sure the company would stand behind their product if there was a problem. I’ve never done a full spread crossover, but I would think that would work well.

Family Photo Books: Our 2014 Blurb Family Yearbook » Everyday Little Moments - […] start putting together the images from the beginning of the year.  If you haven’t read my Blurb album review from last year, you can read it here.  I write these posts to simply share my passion for printing photos and seeing the beauty in your […]

Jessie - Hi there! You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing all of this information. I am ready to start my family yearbooks, starting with 2009, so I have a long road ahead of me. I’m glad that they will have the same look and feel. I am going to download Booksmart tonight. Do you know if they make you purchase your book in a certain amount of time after you’ve completed it? I’ve come across other book companies that will send you an email saying they will delete your book if it’s not purchased. Thanks so much for your help!

everydaylittlemoments - Hi Jessica, thanks for your message. I totally understand how you feel, I went back to 2008 when I started. Took me a year but I’m all caught up, you can do it!! I don’t think there’s a time limit with Blurb. I’ve had completed books in my cart for up to 6 months before purchasing so I’m guessing that there wouldn’t be a problem. I like to work ahead and wait for sales as well.

Pamela Daily - Are you able to use school pictures in the family yearbooks. Do you need a copyright release?

everydaylittlemoments - I’ve always taken my kids school photos myself. Generally, if you have been given the digital images from your photographer you should have the copyright release to print the photos (either in paper form or verbal agreement). Blurb has never requested a copyright release of any kind from me.

Nancy - I started my family photo book and it seem greet but i do not know how to save in order to finish it another day. Please help

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