Monday, 7 May 2012

Pixum Photo Books

Back in the days before digital photography, I would carefully compose each shot on my 36 exposure rolls of film before sending them off for processing. It could be an agonising wait for the prints to be delivered if there were some pictures I was particularly excited about. Sometimes the photographs exceeded my expectations, sometimes they were a disappointment. I never threw any away. I could never quite make up my mind how to organise them.

Nowadays, I take hundreds of digital photographs. Sometimes they exceed my expectations, sometimes they are a disappiontment. I rarely delete any. I still can't quite make up my mind how to organise them.

When I was offered a Pixum Photo Book to review, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get me thinking about my collection of photographs - what is the purpose of it and what do I actually want from it? Establishing that might just help me to decide on how best to organise it.

It can be a dangerous thing - looking back through old photographs. Time slips away and before you know it,  your children are hungry and demanding to be fed. The housework remains undone and you have not the least idea what you are going to give the kids for dinner that can be prepared with super speed so you are still on track for a reasonable bedtime.

There were lots of themes that presented themselves as possible subjects for a Photo Book - selections of photographs from recent holidays, the stages of development of my growing children, special days, celebrations, DIY projects documenting the before, during and after.... I even considered a colour themed Photo Book. In the end I opted for an eclectic mix of images that I had used in this blog over the course of the previous 12 months. All the images meant something special to me and they could be tied together by simply titling my book: QWERTY Mum Blog - A Year in Photos.

I put the pictures together in a folder for ease of uploading and decided to not think too hard about the ones I wanted to include - to go with my first instinct.

Then came the tricky bit.

The Pixum website gives lots of different options for uploading photographs, including one specifically for Mac users.

I have never come across an online system that is as simple and quick for uploading photographs as they would have you believe. It is a fiddle and it is time consuming but with perseverance, you get there in the end. The Pixum site was no different.

Once my album was uploaded, I had decisions to make about format, design and layout for my Photo Book. I went for the A4 portrait format for ease of fitting onto my bookshelf. I chose a simple, plain black design to showcase the images without too much fuss. As for the layout, by now I was really running out of time and energy, so I decided to leave it in the hands of the Gods and opted for the autofill.

Could I have done better  by manually inserting each of my photographs? Possibly - but the autofill took seconds whereas I would have agonised for hours. The autofill did a pretty good job.

One thing that I possibly should have changed was the front cover. Some cosmic influence meant that the A3 sized image splashed across the front and back cover in glorious colour and perfect focus was the photograph I took during my husband's vasectomy operation. I thought about changing it for about a microsecond! It was far too funny to undo.

My Photo Book arrived within a few days of placing my order. The images were beautifully printed on high quality paper and the front cover looked amazing!

As well as being a great way to enjoy your own photographs, a Photo Book would make a truly unique gift.

I still have no idea how I am going to organise my collection but I do have a shiny new hardback book of memories to treasure.

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