Review of PhotoInPress
While on bedrest for a difficult pregnancy, I've been exploring digital scrapbooking. The tutorials here have been a great help. I just had my first project printed out, a photobook from PhotoInPress.ca. I really appreciated reading other reviews of photobook printing services before choosing to deal with PhotoInPress, so I'm posting my review here.
- Excellent customer service. I sent two e-mails with questions while creating my photobook, and both questions were answered within two hours.
- I submitted my book electronically late Wednesday afternoon, and received the hard copy in the mail on Friday. Classic photobook, blue, with custom jacket, 61 pages. Total cost, including shipping and taxes: $93.19 CAD.
- It took about 20 minutes for the electronic transmission of the book to the publisher, over a high speed cable internet connection.
- The book was well packaged in a ziplock bag within a cardboard box.
- Very easy to use. Did not crash a single time even though I was running multiple other programs in the background.
- The program saves automatically (there is no save button) which can be annoying if you make a change that you don’t want saved.
- There are many photo layouts available, and they are very well organized. However, for some picture combinations, notably “1 horizontal and 1 vertical” there aren’t enough choices, and so I will be scrapbooking these particular pages next time (more on scrapbooking below).
- You can only delete two pages at a time. For example, if you decide to remove all the photos on page 2, then you will have to manually move all the remaining photos back by one page, or have a blank page on page 2.
- The only photo editing offered in the software is “zoom, position and crop”, “rotate”. You cannot adjust the colour – I used GIMP to adjust the colour on my photos before putting them into the photbook.
- I included borders on some pictures, but they are a bit too thick for my liking and I will go “borderless” for my next album.
- The paper feels thick. Compared to National Geographic magazine, the pages of my photo book are thicker and heavy, but lower gloss. I think the resolution is lower than for National Geographic, but under normal reading distance (and even under close scrutiny) this is not an issue. I’m very satisfied with the photobook resolution. You have really stick your nose to the page to see the “dots”.
- The binding is sewn.
- The cover is thick cardboard (about 3 mm) and very rigid. It is covered with a somewhat silky feeling paper with the slight suede texture. It is nice to touch.
- The optional book jacket looks great. It is cut a bit oversize. It is very high gloss, and I’ve already put a scratch in it. It feels like glossy inkjet photo paper. Like any book jacket, I do not think it will withstand much handling, especially by the kids. I bought the jacket because I wanted the album title on the spine. The text printed on the cover is crisp, but if you look really closely, there are some breaks in it (I’m being really picky here).
- The cover lies flat when the book is opened. The pages stay open without being held down, so you could browse the book with one hand while drinking your coffee.
- The photos printed as they appeared on my computer screen, for the most part.
- However, some pages have a slight reddish tinge. Where the photobook pictures are reddish, the original photos did have more red in them, but not as much as in the printed photobook. For my next album, I’ll be more careful to desaturate the red from certain pictures (e.g. newborn babies, slightly drunk relatives).
- I added background colours to some pages. The “light green” printed more minty-yellow. The rich cream printed a “lighter beige”. The “soft blue” printed a bit more grey. The brown is a bit more “charcoal grey”.
- 2592 x 1944 pixels: Gives good results with a full page bleed
- I have quite a few lower quality and lower resolution pictures (taken with my video camera, or received by e-mail). The final photobook result looks the same as on my computer screen, so long as I kept them small, but I enlarged some of these poorer quality pictures too much, and they have a mottled appearance in the photobook, which was visible on the computer screen, but not quite as striking.
- I scanned a number of 4x6” photos at the highest dpi possible without going over 3000 x 3000 pixels (as per the suggestions of PhotoInPress). I generally scanned at 450 dpi. Some of the glossy photos that I scanned have a white sheen on them that I couldn’t remove, and so they look a bit washed out in the printed book (this is not the fault of PhotoInPress – glossy pictures just don’t scan well). I also scanned a Christmas card – it turned out well enough that I will be including more Christmas and birthday cards in my next album. The scanned photos are not as crisp as the originals, but I’m still pleased with the result, and it’s nice to no longer have an envelope of printed photos lying around collecting dust.
- I used GIMP to make my own page layouts for two pages. This was my first ever attempt at digital scrapbooking, and I’m quite pleased with the results.
- My scrapbooked pages measure 3300 x 2475 pixels (as per instructions on PhotoInPress webpage). I saved my scrapbook pages as jpg files, then imported them into the photobook, and used the “1 photo per page” with a full bleed layout.
- The resulting print quality of my background papers and photos are the same as elsewhere in the book. The large sized text (111 pixels high) has crisp smooth edges. My 12 point Palatino font (49 pixels) is very good, but not quite as good as the text that I entered directly into the text box in the book designer.
- Note: the book with the cover measures 8.75 x 11.25”. However, the individual pages measure 8.5 x 11”.
- I will certainly scrapbook more pages in my next album.