I can’t remember when I got my first digital camera. It was certainly long enough ago that I’ve built up many gigabytes of photos of family, holidays, failed attempts at “arty” shots, and everything else. The trouble is, apart from the few that I use as desktop wallpapers, they hardly ever get looked at.
I’m one of those people who won’t let people go through all of the photos that I’ve taken on a trip. I want to sort the wheat from the chaff, take the best 10%, crop them, fix the colour balance and then let people see them. That effort makes for a nice slideshow, but it probably doesn’t get shown more than a couple of times.
I think that by far the nicest way to present a collection of photos is in a photo book. There are lots of places you can get one; in fact the options can be quite daunting. When I was looking to create a photo book of our family holicay in Orlando as a surprise Christmas present to the kids, I asked around a bunch of people, but nobody could really suggest any supplier in particular. In the end, I went for the winner of a recent Gadget Show “Top 5″ – albelli.co.uk.
Albelli offer a desktop client that comes with a number of pre-defined page layouts, but with the option to control them manually yourself and a handy feature which lets you drop any number of photos onto a page and press a button to have them arranged into a grid that fits the dimentions of the various pictures (you can click multiple times to have them rearranged). The client also handily tells you if a particular photo is too low a resolution to look good at the size you’ve set it to – I followed its advice to reduce the size of a couple of shots and they ended up looking great.
Once you’re happy with your book layout, the app deals with uploading the photos and then feeds you in to the options you have to enhance the book, like glossy paper or a “lay flat” binding. I ended up with a book that cost £40 (discount codes are sometimes available), but the opinion of everyone who has seen it has been that it is worth it.
A nice little bonus is that they include a free online version book that you can share or embed, like this (it uses Flash, sorry)…