iPhoto - publishing extras you've used?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by -hh, Dec 14, 2006.


have you used Apple iPhoto to publish books/cards/calendars/etc?

Poll closed Dec 20, 2006.
  1. Exceeded my expectations

    12 vote(s)
  2. Didn't meet my expectations, but was still good

    7 vote(s)
  3. Bad - burn them at the Stake!

    0 vote(s)
  4. Have found a better service (Specify; make 2nd choice from above)

    2 vote(s)
  5. Haven't tried

    10 vote(s)
  1. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    I've been secretly assembling a photo album of our summer's vacation as a surprise present for my wife, using the "Books" feature within iPhoto.

    I know I should have asked before I leaped, but figured that its not too late for others to consider using iPhoto to quickly make up a gift for a friend/familymember or a 2007 calendar, etc, for anyone looking for ideas.

    Personally, I was favorably impressed with the ease of use of the drag-n-drop into the iPhoto's "book" template, and while there were a couple of instances where I didn't like the limitations on creative control imposed by the tempates, overall, I think iteh project is going to turn out pretty well. FWIW, I chose the hardbound 8.5 x 11 and at ("only") 75 pages, it came out to around $90 after shipping.

    I know cost is a factor, but I'm mostly interested in the quality of the finished product and how good other people's experiences have been. The real reason I'm asking this question is essentially: "Do I need to open the box to do a final Quality Control check before I give it to her?"

    Survey Sez:

    a) Exceeded my expectations
    b) Didn't meet my expectations, but was still good
    c) Bad - burn them at the Stake!
    d) Have found a better service (Specify)
    e) Haven't tried

  2. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    The books were very good, the card was slightly more average. I've got a calendar on order now which has shipped but not arrived yet. Incidentally, in the UK, the last order date was 5 December so it's already too late; not that they told you that until after you'd put the thing together and clicked on buy.

    I would do a check before you hand it over. There have been instances where there have been pics accidentally misprinted reported although mine have always been fine. If you're using iPhoto 6, you'll find that the print quality should have been updated. If you were on 5, there's a clever little hidden preference file that you should update before you order so that a higher res file is generated.

    I'm not so bothered about the cost of the books. It's the shipping that gets me; it's ridiculous. The postage on my calendar is £4 - and if I order two, it costs £8. If you're ordering cards in the UK, you're better off ordering them in batches of 9 (single postage charge) than getting the volume discounts.
  3. oblomow macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2005
    We ordered 2 calendars with pictures of our kids for our parents. The quality
    was excellent. Better than expected. As mentioned above the shipping costs
    are (too?) high. Processing took some time too, several weeks.
  4. hikeNM macrumors 6502a

    Sep 29, 2004
    Somewhere close to a dairy in East Texas
    I ordered a book several years ago, maybe with iPhoto 4, and was really impressed with the quality. Even then, the process was smooth and everyting in the book was as I intended.
  5. m-dogg macrumors 65816


    Mar 15, 2004
    I used iPhoto to make a photo guest book for our wedding a few months back. We included pictures of us as children and as together as a couple and had our guests sign anywhere around the pictures. It was a big hit and encouraged people to write a lot of really nice messages that we enjoyed reading afterwards.

    We ordered 2 additional copies and then gave a copy to each set of parents as well.

    For our rehearsal dinner invitations, we used the iPhoto postcards with a jpg that we 'borrowed' from the interent for the front image and then listed details on the back side.

    Both were very well received by everyone that saw them. I had also made a surprise vacation album for my wife (then girlfriend) before we did any of this wedding stuff. Both of us were happy with the quality and were comfortable using iPhoto for our important wedding needs. My only wish is for an option to have thicker pages in the book. Usually this would be fine, but since we were writing in it, it would have been nicer to have thicker/heavier weight paper.

    On a semi-related note, prior to the wedding I bought a scanner and scanned in a ton of old/childhood photos and made a slideshow with those images and more current photos of us together and/or with friends or family. I had my powerbook set up on a table at the reception with ~500 images cycling through. This was a HUGE hit - There was a large crowd gathered around the machine the entire night and we received a ton of comments from people that loved it.
  6. -hh thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    Well, too late for this go-around, but I am still using 5 ... do you recall where this preferences file is?

  7. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    I suspect you'll be OK on the large hardcover. It was the mediums that people were complaining about more. If you google for iPhoto and Prefsetter, you'll probably find a few posts explaining more about how to do it.
  8. Buschmaster macrumors 65816


    Feb 12, 2006
    I ordered a calendar a while ago and it was GREAT! I love it! In fact... I was so confident that the book would be great that I made one for my girlfriend. I gave it to her today. On our one year anniversary. They are amazing products.
  9. kwajo.com macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2002
    Bay of Fundy
    I have ordered 2 books in the past, one from iPhoto, one from Aperture. Overall I was very impressed with boh, but the Aperture one was far higher quality. This was probably due to me using iPhoto prior to them increasing the book resolution, so I'll assume they are pretty much equal now. The service is pretty good to Canada, shipping is quick and cheap, and on the Aperture book I had a page come out wrong so I emailed Apple and they refunded me for the entire cost of the book, which I thought was very kind.

    I was happy enough with my past purchases that I have used the service for most of my Christmas presents this year. I ordered custom calendars for my parents, and some mini-books of family photos for my extended family. They have shipped last week so I'm hoping to get them soon and I'll post my thoughts on them then if you'd like :)
  10. wmmk macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2006
    The Library.
    never used any, but may make a book for my mom's birthday.
  11. -hh thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth

    An update:

    First, I found Prefsetter and some background info on it. If I read it correctly, it sounds like the question of 150dpi vs 300dpi is moot once you move up to iPhoto v6, correct? Ditto if one upgrades to Aperature.

    Second, I got a chance this morning to open the box to quickly proof it this morning (will have to wrap it tomorrow, etc). My overall impression was "good, not awesome".

    As for my reasons why I gave them only a "B", I'd put them down as:

    - opinion bias. It irritates me to no end to so cavalierly "throw away" resolution, and in this case I knew about the 150dpi vs 300dpi issue before I looked at the finished product.

    - page weight/gloss. The pages were essentially "normal magazine" grade, which is a notch down from National Geographic. I did expect a heavier grade paper, and one with more gloss, so I'd have to consider the product here to be a moderate "lightweight". I'm not going to demand that Apple provide a choice of weights, but for the size & cost of the Large Hardback, I did honestly expect slightly better.

    - WYSIWYG. Apple gets good marks for not applying any obvious post-processing on my images ... which revealed that I should have spent some more of my own time on image processing to sharpen, saturate, and other forms of generic 'improvement' before hitting the buy button. This is something for me to fix, not Apple, but did affect my overall conclusion as to how in the end analysis, the project came out.

    - Template limitations (iPhoto5). I've mentioned that there had been a couple of instances where I was unsatisfied with the limitations of the templates, so I'm not surprised that I self-validated my negative reaction in the final product. I don't know if iPhoto6 has more template choices or not, but I didn't particularly care for being cornered at times by the sometimes very narrow choices in v5.

    My general feedback is:

    Physical: B-. for a ~75 page large hardbound that set me back roughly $100, I really did expect a higher grade of paper.

    Templates: C-. A great idea and generally well executed, but at times very frustrating to exercise creative control. For example, for the layout of 3 photos on one page, while its good in adjusting between horizontal & vertical, a frustrating instance was where I couldn't have a large vertical that did not have the template's artificial creases (to simulate that it had been folded up) imposed on the image.

    IMO, special effects such as this are not only a matter of personal taste, but are also trendy fads that can go stale very fast. My general beef here is that one's ability to get rid of this sort of "cute" stuff if you don't want it is very limited at times due to the lack of hidden advanced features. It also was a bit frustrating in that the template could *sometimes* be used to recompose an image without dropping back into the iPhoto database to crop it, but this performance was irregular, just as it also was possible to sometimes override the template through the workflow you used to drop images into the template & move them around. The good news is that there are a few more options available than is immediately obvious, but the way to get to them is ugly and unpredicable.

    Cropped images: A. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the crops of small birds came out (degree of effective enlargement), although this has to be tempered a little bit with the book's 150dpi resolution - - it is possible that if the book had been done at 300dpi that these strong crops would have manifested some amount of resolution weakness.

    Cost: B. I'll live with it, but it is high enough that publishing photo albums in this fashion isn't going to be a casual enterprise.

    My wishlist of things that's not obvious from the above is that a neat idea and nice touch could be to have a "DVD Pocket" page included in the templates so that the buyer could later insert their own iMovie creation inside the Album.

    I think my overall conclusion is that my wife will be thrilled, but I know that I could have done better and that Apple could have done better too.

  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Did anyone else get the recent Apple survey that included this as part of the questions asked?

    For what it's worth, I've only really used MPix. They were suggested by a lot of photographers at Fred Miranda and I had good experience with them, so it just stuck. :eek:
  13. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Yes, I believe so. I only picked up on this hint while trying to figure out something else on the Apple discussion boards.

    Agreed. Although there are a few 'hidden' things in contextual menus which I only found out about by reading the Apple discussion boards; it's well worth a dig through them.

    That would be a good idea. I've added a paper CD sleeve myself but it would be good to have it automatically added.
  14. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has used mypublisher and the iPhoto plugin for Mac. They keep promoting 50% off sales, which seem like they would be worth a try.
  15. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    I don't know if you will find this useful for your purposes or not, but one of the best iPhoto publishing extras I have found is PhotoUplink.

    While still in beta, it seems very stable and allows me to move photos around and publish them to people and various applications with ease.
  16. qua macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2006
    Exceeded expectations

    We just received our 100 page, hard bound, iPhoto book of my wife's paintings. After all the warnings we were almost scared to open the box. But, I give the result a 95 out of 100.
    I knew in advance to sharpen to the edge of tolerable. That worked. I also added (in Photoshop) thin white background strips on top/side of images mounted two per page to dis-attach them.
    The only thing I didn't get quite right on was saturation. I advanced saturation in Photoshop to my own visual limit. That isn't quite enough. I advise advancing saturation about 10% beyond what you are looking for.
    Then don't expect "perfection" - heck, look at any two books representing the same artist in a book store and compare images of the same painting - they can be vastly different.
  17. -hh thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    Gift Report

    The "gift report" is that my wife likes the book & familymembers were really impressed with its quality.

    I do know (more so in hindsight now) that part of my 'dislike' for my results was that I didn't spend a lot of time in post-processing and should have, mostly in the two items that Qua hits above (sharpness & saturation). Apple did not do any second-guessing postprocessing, which is a good thing.

    Huh? Can you please explain and/or illustrate this? TIA,


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