Have you seen those fun questionnaires floating around Pinterest… the ones where you ask your kid questions about their mom/dad and record their answers? Here’s an example of one and here’s another one in photo book form. I put together some questions, sat down my 4-year-old, and held a little interview. Some of her answers were so fun and I’m glad I decided to tackle this project. What a treasure this will be years from now (and even now). One of the questions I asked her was, “If Daddy was a superhero, which superhero would he be?” After that, I decided I’d make a whole photo book/mini album with a superhero theme. I am thrilled with the result and I can’t wait to have my daughter hand it over to her daddy on Sunday! She’s so excited that she got to help and she loves the book too.

I used this SUPER FANTASTIC kit – Masked Marvels by Julie Billingsley at Sweet Shoppe Designs. It was PERFECT for my mini album! Looooove it.

 

If you’d like to see the whole book, you can view it right here. If you’d like to see the large version so you can actually read all the Q&A’s, click here!

I created a 14-page 8×8″ customer hard cover photo book from AdoramaPix (they are only $9.99 through June 19th – coupon code posted here). I ordered it Tuesday and it got here on Saturday… SUPER FAST! They estimate 4 days in-lab time, but it was out of the lab after a day. I love when stuff comes so much faster than you expected! Amazon and their 2-day Prime shipping have ruined me for life. I can no longer handle waiting more than a few days for something I order online. bwahaha!

As always, the AdoramaPix book is just gorgeous! The cover is printed using pearl/metallic paper so it has a bit of a shimmer to it. The quality is top notch! These aren’t your average photo books… these are created by printing on Kodak photo paper and the difference between these books and press printed books (from the likes of Shutterfly and such) is drastic! Colors are more vibrant. The contrast is perfect. And the clarity and detail is amazing. Seriously, they beat press printed books by a mile. Have you ever printed scrap pages out on photo paper through a print lab and then printed the same pages in a press printed photo book? I’m sure you noticed the difference in quality. I love AdoramaPix because they offer the best of both worlds: the quality of real photo processed prints in a bound photo book. These prints will also resist fading far better than a press print book.

I just love the lay-flat spreads. There are NO gutters in these books… this means you can design 2-page spreads and completely forget about the trouble caused by gutters. I designed my spreads crossing right over the center fold and I didn’t lose a single thing. I seriously love that about these books!

Haha… that’s me, being a total goober! My 4-year-old helped me take that picture. That was a super fun adventure! My hubby was due home from work at any moment and I needed to order this book that same night to ensure I got it in time for Father’s Day. I was scrambling that day putting this together! Imagine my intense fear as I let my pre-schooler sit on the dresser and snap photos with my beloved Canon 5D Mark II on the tripod. I was terrified she was going to knock it over. It was all good though. :)

Here are some detail shots so you can see the clarity of the prints in the book. Just perfect!

He is so super handsome, huh?! Mmmmmhmmmmm! Be jealous, ladies! ;)

Here’s a shot that gives you an idea of how THICK the pages are! There are only 7 spreads in this particular book… (and yes, you can order larger books)

I hope this post helps you better understand why I LOVE AdoramaPix so dang much. But really, seeing is believing… so try one out sometime!

Did you know you can print your blog into a book with Blurb? Isn’t that just the coolest thing ever? Well, maybe not ever… but it’s pretty darn cool, I think! I’ve been meaning to do this for nearly TWO years now (seriously, I started a Blurb book back forever ago and never finished it) and I finally got it done! There was a Groupon deal for a $45 voucher to Blurb and I snatched it right up. This deal is available again TODAY ONLY. EDIT: It is available AGAIN on Groupon (on Midland/Odessa’s page) and will only be available through 5/6/11!!

This book is all of our posts from my family blog from 2009 and 2010 – it’s 95 pages! I decided to go with the 8×10″ Standard Portrait Hardcover ImageWrap book. I also upgraded to the premium lustre paper. The pages are thick and aren’t too matte – yet they’re not too glossy. The quality of the book – and especially the cover – is really impressive. As many of my followers know, I’ve printed lots of books and press printing isn’t *quite* as good as real photographic prints, but I think Blurb’s press printing is better than Shutterfly and the other press books I’ve received.

I highly recommend you other family bloggers get your blog printed! It is SO FUN to see it in print with all our pictures! Our blog is my journal, so I thought it would be great to have a hard copy around and I think we’ll love looking through it years from now. It’s a great addition to our printed scrapbooks because there are some small events and lots of pictures that never end up getting scrapped.

Blurb has software that “slurps” your blog up if you use Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, or WordPress.com. Unfortunately for me, I have a self-hosted WordPress blog on my own domain so they couldn’t “slurp” mine. lol BUT, I did try it back when I still used Blogger and it really did just “slurp” up all my posts and pictures and then you can go through and adjust the layout. If you upload resized web versions of your photos, you’ll need to replace them though because small 600px photos would not be large enough for good print quality. It took me a bit of work over the course of a couple days to get it done since I had to copy & paste all our posts (most people use Blogger, so you won’t have to copy & paste your posts) and go through my hard drive to find all my pics. Totally worth all the work though!

The software allows you to play with the layout or use their premade templates. You can also use any fonts installed on your computer!

You don’t have to do a blog book with Blurb. You can do a regular photo book and even get your scrapbook printed through them! Their blog books are just one of their more unique offerings! :)

I was contacted by someone with Adoramapix with an exciting opportunity to try out one of their photo books. As my blog readers all know, I love trying out different printers – and I’ve got a number of other books to compare this one to! ;)

AdoramaPix is a photo lab geared towards photographers, but anyone regardless of their photographic expertise can print with them. What I found most intriguing about their photo books is that THEY ARE NOT PRESS PRINTED! They create their books with Fuji Crystal Archive paper. *insert excitement here* If you’ve read my other reviews, you know that I love the sleek look of bound photo books, but always complain about the print quality and that I prefer the quality of real photographic prints. Could I really have the best of both worlds?

Apparently the answer is YES! ;)

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But before I tell you how much I love this book, let’s talk about a few other things first…

Options and pricing: They have many sizes of books to choose from. As a digital scrapper, I love that they offer 6×6 (that’d be an adorable gift), 8×8, 10×10, and 12×12. However, you are a little limited in the number of pages you can have in each book. You can choose from 14, 26, 38, 50, and 76 pages. Press printed books usually give you more flexibility with the number of pages, but these pages are MUCH thicker than cardstock pages, so I can understand why you can’t go above 76 pages. The books really aren’t as expensive as I was expecting… As of right now the 8×8″ 26-page book is on sale for $26.98 (I’m not sure what the usual price is on that, I’ll update this when I know). At Shutterfly (which I feel is overpriced), a 26-page press printed hard cover book would be $36.99 ($29.99 for 20 pages plus $1 for each additional page). In this instance, the Adoramapix book would be less expensive (and way better quality, in my opinion). If we compared a 26-page 12×12 book from both, the Adoramapix book would be $74.95 and the Shutterfly book would be $63.99. So, as you can see, the Adoramapix book would not always be less expensive. You can do the math yourself if price is your main concern – but I, for one, like to consider VALUE and I believe that despite the price, the Adoramapix book is a better value since it is a higher quality book and the pages won’t fade like in a press printed book (photographic prints have a longer life than press prints).

Uploading and online software: Their book maker is easy to use and self explanatory. You simply upload your pages/photos and then drag and drop them onto the pages in the book. They don’t automatically fit to the page, so I clicked “Fit to page” or “Fit to spread” along the upper toolbar. At times, however, the software was a little “buggy.” Every now and then the pages I was trying to add wouldn’t plop on the page and it wouldn’t work again until I exited and logged in again. That was a tad annoying… and it may have been a browser issue – I don’t know (I use Firefox).

The cover: As scrappers, most of us like to create a custom cover ourselves in Photoshop for our photo books. This always requires a template. I looked all over their site for a template and couldn’t find one, so I emailed them and they sent me the template over email. What I found interesting about the template is that it didn’t have guides along the edges for the portion of the image that would get wrapped around. So, I just made sure to keep my main design away from the edges to avoid any chopping or wrapping of important elements. When I got my book, I noticed that the cover is almost shimmery looking… like it was printed on pearl or metallic paper. GORGEOUS!

2-page spreads: I usually don’t do 2-page spreads – but may start doing so now! With a Shutterfly/Viovio/MyPicTales book, you have to be really careful when you do a 2-pager so you don’t put important stuff in the gutter because it will get bound into the book. When I saw that the spreads in the Adoramapix book lay flat and there is NO GUTTER, I decided to try a spread. I didn’t even bother cutting the image in half – I could just upload the 8×16 image and plop it in the book and click “fit to spread.” Resisting the urge to leave room for the gutter was very hard for me, since I’m usually really worried about stuff getting chopped off… but I was adventurous this time and even put text crossing from one page to the other. I like to walk on the wild side every now and then. :p

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The spreads lay flat and there is no gutter! Love it! There’s just a fold at the center. :) I’m a fan of the lay flat spreads because I hate adjusting my pages for the gutter.

PLEASE NOTE: You should still leave about 1/4″ around the outside edges for bleed. You should keep important elements and journaling away from the very edge. A little of the outside edges were cut off to create full bleed prints.

The binding: Looks good!

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Print quality: Oh my word. The printing and colors are SPOT ON compared to my calibrated monitor. I have absolutely no complaints about it. The colors are perfect, the brightness and clarity are perfect, the prints are beautiful. I LOOOOOOVE it! Seriously. The pages are super thick and seem durable. The prints have a beautiful finish. I LOVE IT! Did I tell you, I love this book? lol When I opened up my package I was very, very impressed. I sat there and flipped through the book like 5 times. haha! Please forgive my photos; I am not the best product photographer and I just got a gray card and I don’t know how to use it yet to set my white balance…now that I’m looking at my photos of my book, they’re too cool. The book is warmer than my photos… and matches my monitor’s output. It is really beautiful in person!

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I do believe I have found the solution to my photo book dilemma! I highly recommend giving their books a try if you love the quality of photographic prints and want the finished look of a photo book! Two thumbs up from me!

NOTE: At the time of this writing, I received the book for free, but the review is 100% true to my opinions! I was not an affiliate for Adoramapix at the time. In 2012 I became an affiliate because I LOVE their product. This post contains affiliate links.

I was contacted by Chari at Persnickety Prints to try their prints out. I remembered reading the review over at The Daily Digi and was super excited to try them out!

First off, I had absolutely no troubles uploading or ordering… I found their online ordering simple. I always like that. ;) Second, their customer service is fantastic. Chari is wonderful to work with and super quick to respond to all your questions and concerns.

Their shipping is fast. Their prices are fantastic – some of the very best in the biz for scrapbook pages. 12×12′s are just $1.99 and 8×8′s are $0.99. That’s $1 cheaper than Costco for a 12×12… and I think their prints are better than Costco.

Now, onto the quality of the prints… Let me start this off by informing you that my monitor is currently properly calibrated using the Spyder3Elite calibration hardware. I think this bit of information is really important for you to know since I can now properly judge if a printer can reproduce the color I see on my calibrated monitor.

The prints:

The prints are really beautiful and I LOVE the matte finish on their matte prints. I never, ever order glossy… I’m a fan of matte. I think the finish looks more professional and it helps avoid fingerprints and glare. The pages are full bleed and I had NOTHING cut off. I always hated adjusting my pages for printing when I printed through Costco because I could lose 1/4″ of my edges… I didn’t have that problem at all with Persnickety Prints!

Brightness: I found that the prints were just ever so slightly brighter than my monitor… but it wasn’t a huge difference. I made sure to turn my monitor’s brightness down when I calibrated and it matches the pro lab I use for printing my pictures.

Color: The colors are nice and rich… although I did find the pinks to be a little less vibrant than what I see on my screen. The greens and blues seemed to be reproduced very well in their prints – I only noticed a difference in the pinks (and I do love me some PINK…hehe!). I would not have noticed this if I had not held the prints out next to me and compared them to my screen. It is not something I noticed when I looked at them right out of the box – which is pretty darn good!

So, there ya have it! I think their prints are great!

Would I order prints from them in the future? Definitely.

I ordered my first prints from Scrapping Simply last week and they are beautimous! :D If you’ve read my reviews about photobooks, I have always complained about the print quality… that they just aren’t quite as good as photo processed prints. While I thought Viovio was my fave of all the books I’d printed, I still recognized that the prints just weren’t quite as beautiful as I knew they could be. After spending so much time and effort on these pages, it would bother me to not see them exactly as I’d hoped they’d print. In my opinion, press printed pages do not look as beautiful or as rich as photo processed prints.

I used to be a die hard Costco fan for getting pages printed. But the last time I printed through them I think their calibrations were off because things did not print correctly and my prints were really dark (browns printed black… boooo).

Lately I have heard really fantastic things about Scrapping Simply. I decided to give them a try during their last sale, especially since their regular prices are lower than Costco’s ($1 cheaper for 12×12′s and $0.50 cheaper for 8×8′s). I mainly wanted to print a bunch of photos from our recent session with Ash Photography (she’s crazy talented… I adore her work), but I also decided to try and print a few pages.

I really wanted to print 10×10″ pages. I think it’s the PERFECT size. I think 8×8′s are too small and 12×12′s seem really big after seeing my pages in 600×600 px online all the time. lol But I have been completely unsuccessful at finding 10×10″ albums to put 10×10″ pages in. :( So, I went with 12×12″. If any of you find albums for 10×10′s, please let me know!

ANYWAYS…. I got my prints and they are really pretty (I chose the matte finish…I prefer it over glossy)! They did print a little darker than what I see on my screen… and the blues aren’t quite as blue. I’m not really sure if it’s my monitor calibration though. I’d have to view my pictures on a monitor that’s been properly calibrated to really know whether the colors and brightness are “on.” I didn’t really notice the difference until I brought my prints right next to my computer to compare.

One thing I LOVE about these prints is that I didn’t have to adjust or resize ANY of my pages. I journal along the edge of my pages a lot and nothing was cut off. I hate adjusting for bleed and cut off… and that can get really time consuming. With SS, I just saved my original layouts as 12×12 .jpegs and uploaded. I didn’t adjust them at all. Woot! :D I did have a problem with cut off at Costco, but not with SS. If you scrap in 12×12 but print 8×8, you don’t have to resize. Isn’t that nice? :)

Give them a try if you print pages off individually. Can’t beat that price for photo processed prints! :)