Digital pictures make it easy to capture every memorable moment. But after a while all those pictures are sitting on your hard drive waiting to be shared, printed and enjoyed. There are lots of ways to do it these days from creating slideshows and screensavers to digital frames and shared online albums. However nothing can compare to an actual printed photograph, or better yet a photo book.
I have been printing photo books using several online photo labs:
Mpix. Great for photo portfolios and professional looking photo books.
Shutterly. Comparatively inexpensive, great looking photo books, with lots of customization. All you have to do is to upload all the pictures to online album, create a photo book project, add your pictures and arrange them on pages using variety of layouts, backgrounds and text. You can even browse shared books for inspiration. Their tools improved a lot over the years, giving you many tools to customize your book.
Blurb. I have never used this service before, but the upgrade to Lightroom 4 included a built in functionality to print directly from Lightroom to Blurb. An avid Lightroom user I was excited to give it a try. The process of creating a book is very smooth. You can navigate between your library/book/develop modules with one click (or shortcut) when you have to go back to edit a picture, add another one as fast as you can think of it. It looks great, it’s all in one place and the workflow is natural and easy. When you are done modifying it uploads everything to your account at blurb.com and opens the book for preview.
The only thing that left me wishing for more are the printing options at Blurb. Wishing to have all my books in one size and style I went back to uploading them to Shutterly. This time it was easier with a saved photo book in Lightroom; all I had to do is to recreate the layout of the book I designed.
Hopefully Lightroom will include more printing options in future to make this even easier!