Saturday, April 12, 2014

Finishing Book #6

A couple of weeks ago, I came to an unsettling realization...

*** pardon this interruption...  I'm sitting on the couch and suddenly, inexplicably, I'm wheezing for my breath.  No exercise involved.  Totally random.  I'm just having a little trouble breathing right now.  Hey, asthma, I hadn't heard from you in so long I thought you were gone.... ***

Anyway, the realization was this: I'm going on another trip soon, and I'll be once again, taking LOTS of photos.  On my Italy trip, I took about 4000 photos.  When I downloaded them all onto the computer, I realized that putting them in a printed book would be a rather daunting task.  I've put together / created / written five books already.  They are all full of my photos, and every single page created from scratch by yours truly.  I didn't do Shutterfly instant books, because I wanted creative control over every single word and photo, and the automatic templates don't allow for the degree of customization I crave. 

I prefer creating my own backgrounds, when I have time to do so, but otherwise I just need to put a crazy number of pictures on each page.  I created my own page templates and just use clipping masks to arrange and edit the pictures onto the pages.  I used to sell them online, but there came a point when I was expected to spend too much time advertising for the website's growth and really not seeing a return on it in my own sales.  So I quit selling them, but continued to make them whenever I needed a certain look for my page. Now I have quite a stash of them for my own use. :). And nobody telling me that after my full time teaching job, I should be spending the rest of the day making them money.  One too many times I was told that I wasn't making the site enough money, and for my hours of work each week, I was making pennies per hour when all was said and done.  No more pyramid schemes for me, thanks.  I was feeling like a hooker, nagged to get out and make the pimp some more money.  Somebody was on a power trip.

So now I just work for me, and lemme tell ya, I've got enough photos of my own to keep me busy for years to come.  :)

This is what I've learned from creating my own digital scrapbooks:
1.  I'm bad about snapping far too many pictures, because I'm afraid I'll miss the perfect shot and live forever in regret.  
2.  I have a hard time discarding photos that aren't great, because it feels like I'm erasing a memory. I'm too nostalgic.
3.  Although you can make a pretty page featuring just one or two very large photos, most snapshots aren't good enough to warrant enlarging to that size.
4.  You should allow for a half-inch of gutter space all around on a professionally printed book's pages. They sometimes get cut off.
5.  I can shelve five of my professionally printed scrapbooks in the space one traditional scrapbook would need.
6.  I don't like it when glue loosens photos and decorations from traditional scrapbooks and they fall out.
7.  Getting another copy of a Shutterfly book is easy.  Not so with a cut-and-glue traditional scrapbook.
8.  You can't automatically get good results from having a 12x12 book printed as an 8x8 book.  Things get too small sometimes.
9.  Having a stash of page templates (that I created to suit me) makes starting a 4000 picture book less anxiety-inducing.
10.  iPhones geotag photos, even in airplane mode on other continents.  
11.  Facebook will use those geotags and show you a map of exactly where each photo was taken.  So if you wanna go back, or you forgot where you saw the Swiss Guard do a forbidden double-take at a tourist...
12. All those Photoshop templates I created can be modified fairly quickly to vary page layouts.
13.  Captions on top of white-framed photos gives an old-fashioned postcard flavor to pics and saves tons of journaling space.  You don't have to use complete sentences.  :)
14.  If you didn't do it elsewhere, you can make a page in the back identifying the people in your book.
15.  I don't enjoy making, transporting, or storing bulky scrapbooks.
16.  When people admire your photo books and say that they wish they could do that, what they really mean is that they wish you would do all that work for them.  They have no idea how long it takes when you have to scan every photo, arrange them, make adjustments in size, color and brightness, nor how much any of this might cost for someone to "take care of it for you". (Hey, I could do it... But I will charge by the hour, and that's not a minimum wage skill set.)
17.  Family members will expect you to "redo" a printed book to exclude a former relationship of theirs, or will turn up their nose at a book of their children if the photos include a former anybody. (Don't do it.)
18.  You can scan or photograph bulky "stuff" and include it in a book as a photo, because ultrasound pictures don't always last and pregnancy test sticks someone peed on are just disgusting things to hold onto.  
19.  Resizing prints in a traditional scrapbook is a chore, but in Photoshop, you can zoom and crop all you want.
20.  If there's a fire, traditional scrapbooks are just gone forever.  Using an online book printing service allows for reprinting your hard work, and you can share it easily.
21.  This one doesn't apply to me, but you can save your kids' artworks by including them in photo books.  You can put more than one painting on a page and have them neat and tidy forever. :)
22.  Finish your photo book, upload it to Shutterfly, and wait for one of their glorious 50% off sales to have it printed.

I'm glad I finally got started on my Italy photos, because they will likely encompass two or three books, and I still have to make a book of my cruise last year with my sister.  And soon I'll have photos from Ireland, Wales, England, and France to deal with.  I waited too long before, until the Italy project became a perpetual elephant in the room, always hanging over my head. I think that's what happens to a lot of photos that people take.  They have good intentions to "do something with the photos someday, but then never do and decades later they can't remember either the context of the photos or the people in them.  

After two weeks' work, I only have a few captions to write and background papers to decide upon.  And then I can get the books put together for Florence, Assisi, Pisa, and Rome....  Lol

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