Snapfish.com is a well known online retailer of photo based gifts and other products and services. Despite offering a plethora of photo printed products, like calendars, traditional prints, and even drink coasters, Snapfish seems to be best well known for their exquisite photo books. Photo books are created by the user, who uploads a set of their own digital photographs from their hard drive to the Snapfish website, and uses their robust editing software to assemble them into a bound hardcover book with text, backgrounds, borders, and other fun and appealing features. Photo book prices start at a low $19.99 for an 8×11 hardcover photo book with a linen cover, and 20 full color pages.
Before you can start designing a photo book with Snapfish you must first register on the website. To create a photobook, navigate to that section of the website and select the size you want to go with. For hardcover options they offer 8×8, 8×11, and 12×12. There are two different options for the 8×11 available – Leather or Linen covers with a “window” (showing a portion of the image on your first page), or a printed cover or jacket. You make these selections before entering the designing software, but you can change it later if you desire.
Before you start designing your photobook, you should first select and upload all of the images you want to use in that photo book. Once all of your images are uploaded, Snapfish offers to automatically design and fill in the photobook for you. While this makes your job super simple, it may not do things exactly as you would. Images are filled in in the order they’re uploaded, and page layouts are somewhat random. The design system will lay out your images in plenty of different ways. Sometimes it will put two images on a page with a text area, or one full page image with no text, or sometimes three images on one page and a page of text on the next. This is a great option for people who don’t want to spend a ton of time working on the book, but takes some of the personal touch out.
If you really want to dive in and make the best photo book you can, then you’re in luck – Snapfish’s design system is extremely robust. If you try to insert an image that is low resolution and won’t print well, you will be warned. You can also do photo adjustments from the design area, like resizing and cropping, flipping, rotating, red eye removal, color enhancement, brightness and contrast, and even color conversion (black and white, sepia, colorize).
You can also select page backgrounds and designs. You choose a “theme” before entering the designing area, but you can change every page individually if you prefer it that way. Just select the “Backgrounds” tab and drag and drop what you want onto the page. The “Layouts” tab is where you can choose how many images you want per page, if (and where) you want to place text, and the size and placement of images. There are a total of 78 different layouts to choose from, as well as “magic” layouts that allow you a much more customized layout experience. You can even add borders to your images here, but that option isn’t necessarily compatible with all layouts.
The hardest part of designing photo books is keeping track of which images you have and haven’t used, so that you don’t end up with duplicates, or leave some out. Snapfish makes your image management easy, however, by placing green checks next to images you’ve used. The full list of your images (and these checks) is found on the right hand side of the design area. If you decide you want to remove an image from use, or from your list, you can do that in this area as well.
Once you’ve completed your photobook, you can view a 3D rendering of what it should look like by clicking “Preview” at the bottom of the design area page. This is a navigable preview that lets you view pages in order, like you would if you were looking at the real book.
Snapfish.com makes some of the best photo books on the web, and hopefully with this article you are now better prepared to navigate their website, and design the best photobook possible.