Those times of rewinding your celluloid films before opening the back of your camera are long gone. Infact, still cameras with celluloid film are very rare sight, with manufacturers stopping mass production of the films. The advent of digital cameras and high resolution cameras on mobile phones have fueled their decline. Of course, old time professionals and die hard fans still swear by it. But the younger generation has born in the digital age and accepted it rapidly. I, neither am from the older, nor the younger generation. I belong to the generation which witnessed this change and was a part of it.
That being said, the methods of printing photos have also changed. First, it was rewinding the film and handing over to the studio, which developed the roll and we could print whichever photos we wanted. To save the hassle of going twice to the studio to select the photos, I used to just get the entire film printed. Now, printing is so out of fashion. It’s the age of sharing online. That way, we spend less, the photos need no preserving/salvaging, and they are accessible to friends and family, anywhere, anytime.
But people who like to have print handover the digital copies on pendrive/cd to the studios and get them printed. The prints either plain photo prints or artistically designed albums. Since quite some time now, photo editing softwares are being used to mix and match and create albums which add a better perspective and visual appearance to the albums. But it can be a rip off for your wallet if you want to create albums with lots of photos.
A cheaper alternative to this is getting the albums printed online. I’ve been using this for quite sometime now and I get excited when I see the results. It requires bit of work on my part, but then I get the album exactly as I want. Couple of site offering this service are Zoomin, Snapfish, Picsquare, Myprint etc. Personally I’ve used zoomin and snapfish and I am satisfied with both.
Upon registering on these sites, you will either receive coupons or few free prints as a welcome gift. You need to upload the photos using their photo upload utilities, or if you have uploaded on picasa, zoomin has the feature of linking the account, thus “pulling” your photos from picasa on to zoomin. The user interface for creating the albums is quite user friendly. You can customise according to your choice and budget. It gives you an option to choose from a plain paper flipbook, to hard bound and leather covered album for a premium.(which, I feel is less then what normal studios would charge). You can select the type of paper used, the number of pages, size of the album etc. You can allow the software to automatically arrange the photos, which normally doesn’t give good results, or manually insert individual photos. The theme for the album can be selected from the available options and if it does not satisfy you, you have an option to individually design the pages with individual background from the available choice or even your high resolution photo. Then there are lots of cliparts to decorate the photos, just like the ones shown below. While organising the photos, they can be cropped, resized, rotated inplace thus getting the actual effect of the final finished page. Captions can be added to the page as and when required.
For Zoomin, this entire activity has to be done online and hence requires a stable internet connections. Snapfish used to provides a downloadable software which could be used to create the album offline and then uploaded. I found the offline utility tedious to use and while uploading, it would be a very big file at a time. I highly doubt they still provide it. Check it out. Zoomin on the other hand has the feature of saving online so that the album can be worked on at a later stage.
Once completed with creation of album, the user needs to just pay for the print, give the delivery details and the album reaches in major cities within 3-4 days. (I created the album below and applied 40% discount coupon available online.I got a discount of about 600 rs. and paid some 1300 rs. for the below shown, 45 page album.
For people looking for a home project to spend time on something creative, this kind of job is exciting and a standard 2 hour job for about 130 photos. The pleasure and satisfaction you’ll get after you receive the album is worth the 2 hours.
Front of the Album
A random page inside
P.S.:The project need not be just for albums. There are lots of other products on offer on these sites like tea/coffee mugs, calendars, collages, name tags, cards, keychains etc.