There are multiple ways to build photo books ranging from incredibly quick and easy to very time consuming and complex. This article will discuss the various methods and the pros and cons of each.
OPTION #1. The first option when you choose to build a photo book is our Quick Build Tool. This will literally allow you to build a beautiful photo book in less than a minute. The quality of the book is as good as that made by any of the other methods available and you can choose from a raft of styles created by professional designers.
The workflow is simple - You choose from a list of styles, you upload your photos, and the book is built for you. If you aren't a fan of some of the layouts chosen for you, you can cycle through various alternatives. You can also recompose your photos, swap their placement, or add your own text captions.
So what's the downside? Simply put, the speed and simplicity comes at the cost of limited options. The tool only supports square book sizes at present, and must use one of the supplied design styles. You also have very limited ability to customize the layouts - for example you can only have one text caption per spread.
It should be noted that even though you can't customize layouts in the quick-build tool, you can export your books to our PixPublisher editor (next option) and edit them there. In this fashion, you can mitigate some of the limitations of this option by getting the quick build tool to do most of the work, then exporting it to PixPublisher and applying the remaining customizations yourself.
OPTION #2. The second option is to use our PixPublisher editor. This is a Flash-based editor we have been developing and improving on since 2008. Despite being extremely powerful, it is surprisingly easy to use.
The workflow for PixPublisher is similar to the previous option in that you choose a design template that matches your desired style and load your photos. This is where the two methods diverge. Instead of building your book and allowing you to tweak the finished product, PixPublisher loads the empty template and allows you to finish building the book yourself.
Now, in all fairness, it's easier than it sounds. We're not giving you a blank screen surrounded by hundreds of icons and a 3" thick manual and saying "Get to It!". You can add your photos to the template by dragging and dropping them into the placeholders provided. Don't like a page layout? You can pick a new one from a list. Don't like the positioning or shape of a placeholder in your layout? Grab the edge and stretch it, or simply drag it to a new spot... You can customize just about anything in the template to suit your needs.
What's the downside? All this flexibility does come with a learning curve if for no other reason than the sheer number of things its possible to customize in a photo book. The good news is, you don't have to learn all of it at once. The basics like adding photos and text, and moving stuff around are pretty simple, and you can pick the rest up as needed. We even offer free online classes to help you get up to speed.
OPTION #3. The third option is to use someone else's software to build your book. There are several options available that will allow you to build your book and then export the results in either PDF format, or as individual jpeg photos for each page spread.
Using these options you build the book offline, then import the results into pixpublisher. For PDF files we offer an import from PDF option. For spread-photos, we have some templates called pre-constructed that are cover-to-cover full-spread photo placeholders your spreads can simply drop into.
The advantage of these methods is that you may already be familiar with the software and don't have to learn ours. In addition, some of these software suites have powerful options for building books that may be unavailable in PixPublisher.
The downside to them is that at the end of the day you'll still have to pull your content into PixPublisher in order to print it, and imported content won't be editable in our editor. In other words, if you have to make any changes or edits, you'll have to go back to the other software, fix it, re-export, re-import to PixPublisher - each time. This can make for a tedious workflow. In some cases there may be a quality degradation as well - for example, fine text in an exported jpeg may be 'softer' than text created in our editor.
For those who need them, we also provide a selection of Photoshop Templates for Photo Books.