2014: on spending thoughtfully

A few years ago I made photo books of Javi’s first year via MyPublisher. Though the price was right (they have great sales all the time), the experience was frustrating and made me miserable and crazy. I vowed never to use them again.

Two years later, I have yet to make another photo book. My good (and not so good) pics live on various computers and hard drives, a terrible situation for both longevity and viewing. I flip through photo books at my parents’ houses all the time, but I cannot recall one time I randomly picked up a VHS tape when I had five minutes to myself!

Determined to catch up on two year’s worth of photos before the whole shebang got too overwhelming, I fired up my computer… and after an hour of looking at options, ended up with MyPublisher. One, in my head I pictured a stack of matching photo books over a ten year period. Awesome! Organized! Matching! Two, the sales got me again. Buy one get one free! 50% off all orders until tomorrow! I can give one to all the grandparents again, like I did that first year!

After an hour, I wanted to throw my computer across the room. The software is maddeningly clunky, performance is slow, and I JUST HATE IT ALL EVERY BIT GAH. HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE.

And then I remembered my vow to never go through this again, no matter how great the price. Why don’t I learn my own lessons?

My theme for 2014 is feeling comfortable, not spending the minimum or doing it all myself or going the “quick” route only to spend twice the time and money making it okay in the end. To feel comfortable with these damned photo books, I need to not hate every second of the creation and be fairly happy with the outcome. I want to be able to edit a photo easily, not have too many options to make me crazy, and have access to design-y templates to improve the end result.

I tried Pinhole Press this morning. Beautiful, beautiful, simple and high impact results were quick and easy, but my photographs aren’t good enough and my willingness to edit isn’t great enough to stick to one photo per page. I like to tell stories with photos so I’m more drawn toward filmstrip-like layouts than singles. Beautiful, though. Totally gorgeous. And although the price made me pause, I remembered that a hundred bucks isn’t too much to spend once each year for a great photo book.


The Flickr photo book feature sucks. Three clicks and you get a photo book, sure, but it does one photo per page, pulls every single photo in a set, and doesn’t allow any editing features that I can find. Shoot me.

So now I’m trying out the photo book feature from Shutterfly via Tiny Prints. Yes, yes, I got suckered in by the photo of the books all lined up, and the simple book option just didn’t do it for me, but so far the Custom Path with Storytelling option seem to be working for me.

I’ll let you know if I make it all the way through the process.

Update: I’m smiling! While creating something requiring me to choose from options! And having a great time!


5 thoughts on “2014: on spending thoughtfully

  1. I don’t import from any other sites, but I also second the praise for Shutterfly. My son is about the same age as Javi, and I’ve made a book for each year so far. It takes some time, but it’s not too frustrating and they turn out great.

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