Picture Snob

Digital Photo Services

November 12, 2008

NEW from Blurb: Gift Cards for the Photo Book Makers in Your Life

blurb_giftcard.jpgThis is a great gift idea for the folks in your life who like to make photo books. Or have thought about it and never done it. Blurb's new gift cards are available in $40, $75 and $150 amounts that you can print out or email to your recipient. The gift cards are also available in pounds and Euros, which is great if you've got a friend across the pond. Read more about Blurb in our earlier review and update.

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 9, 2008

New Photo Card Designs from StationeryStyle for Holidays 2008

stationerstyle_holiday08.jpgOkay, it's early to think about holiday cards, but we're just telling you the companies that be are starting to launch their 2008 designs. Check out the latest from StationeryStyle and if you can stomach an early order, there are discounts to be had -- 10% off at least. They offer free color correction and consultation to help you make your photo look the best.

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 2, 2008

Frame Channel: Manage Your Digital Picture Frame's Wi-Fi Feeds

framechanel.pngIf you've got a Wi-Fi digital picture frame in your life and haven't heard of Frame Channel, check it out. Here you can manage your RSS feeds and multiple photo sharing accounts. Through this single membership (free) you can set up your digital frame to receive your photos (and those of friends and family) from all kinds of sites like Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, MSN, Photobucket -- the list goes on. You can also set up RSS feeds to receive news and sports updates right to your frame. A centralized place to manage this stuff is fantastic. (via wirelesspictureframe)

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

May 26, 2008

Think Grandparents & Newlyweds: Kodak Preloaded Digital Picture Frames and Memory Cards

kodak_preloaded.jpgThis is a great gift idea. As part of your online order, Kodak will load your new digital frame with up to 100 of your photos. Frames come in 7-inch, 8-inch and 10-inch and range from $145-225. The Wi-Fi frame is also available preloaded at $275. See our earlier post for more detailed information on the frames. You can also order a Secure Digital memory card and preload that for $20. Now that's a great gift. How about getting the grandparents a frame one year and then annually sending a loaded memory card with the latest photos of the kids? Or the newlyweds a frame loaded with shots from their wedding? Yes indeed. Visit the link below to get started with Kodak:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/DigitalPictureFrameOverview.jsp

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 21, 2008

New! Real Memories: Online Custom Framing

realmemories.pngWe're excited about this one. While all the rage is digital picture frames, there will always be an occasion for the old fashioned beautifully framed print. And isn't it such an expense and hullabaloo to bring prints to a local shop? Well, at Real Memories you can upload your digital image file, edit it and select all the framing options you like--over 2,000 frame styles and mat openings--then you'll get a framed print in the mail! The web site is intuitive and easy to use and the base prices are affordable. Frames are handmade in the United States and you can select archival mats and museum quality glass. Beware they have a bird logo on the site that chirps -- anytime they want to turn that little feature off would be great. We plan on trying it out soon--let us know how it goes if you get to it first!

Some key features:

- Add personalized captions in foil stamp
- Ship the same frame to multiple people
- Can simulate a preview of the frame hanging on your wall, complete with your own paint color
- Loyalty points program gives you 10% back on every order

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

May 7, 2008

Death to the Dust Jacket: A Great New Offering from Blurb

blurb_imagewrap.jpgGo, Blurb, go. As of tomorrow, you can order a hardcover book with ImageWrap at Blurb. As you can see above, ImageWrap allows you to print one seamless cover head-to-toe with images. Previous to this offering you could only achieve this with a dust jacket, and let's face it, most dust jackets get mangled and even removed over time. It's a durable matte finish and prices start at $24.95.

Tomorrow Blurb's prices go up as well. We're okay with this. What prices aren't going up? You can read more here in the Blurb blog.

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 6, 2008

How Aspect Ratio Affects You: Have You Ever Noticed Your Digital Prints Are Cropped?

aspectratio.jpgWhen we all shot 35mm film, we all produced images with the same aspect ratio (3:2), and the ever popular 4x6 print is based upon that. In the digital world, however, digital cameras do not all share this 3:2 aspect ratio, and as a result, all digital photos do not convert well to 4x6 prints. The most common aspect ratios for digital cameras are 3:2 (most digital SLRs) and 4:3 (most compact point-and-shoots). Some cameras allow you to choose your own aspect ratio. Aspect ratios differ between manufacturer and even between models from the same manufacturer. Awesome, huh?

What is aspect ratio? Aspect ratio is simply the relationship between the width and height of your image--as you see in the chart below, we get the aspect ratio of an image by reducing the numbers to their lowest common denominator. (Don't worry, we did the math for you!)

Print Size ---> Aspect Ratio
4x6 ---> 3:2
5x7 ---> 7:5
8x10 ---> 5:4
20x30 ---> 3:2

Some day, this discrepancy may sort out--maybe labs will print in other aspect ratios and maybe manufacturers will agree on an aspect ratio. Until then, here are a few things you can do to prevent an Insolent Cropping Crisis:


  1. If you know what size you like to print, get a camera that agrees with that aspect ratio.

  2. Some labs (try Snapfish) allow you to select "true digital size" and will not crop your image.

  3. Print with a lab that allows you to select your own crop when you want to -- try myPhotopipe.com (see our earlier post on this service).

  4. Be vigilant when taking your photos and leave enough "safe space" around the edges so that an auto-crop won't cut off anyone's head or eyeball or some such.

  5. Write to your congressman. If they have time to pioneer HDTV, they have time to save us from crappy crops.

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 25, 2008

Battle of the Photo Books: Blurb's the Best for Creativity

blurb.pngThis week we're looking at some key photo book services: Apple, Blurb and Lulu. We've written a bit about Apple already, but it's time to look at these three together. All three companies share a similar quality of printing and even pricing, but the way you build your photo book and the customization options are different.

How You Build the Book: Blurb BookSmart

First you sign up as a user and then they dub you a "Blurbarian" -- heh heh. Then download their bookmaking software, Blurb BookSmart. It's free and works on Mac & PC. BookSmart can tap right into your photo albums in iPhoto, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa and SmugMug. The interface is great -- intuitive and filled with options. Things are relatively speedy too, since it's all done on your desktop.

Extra Features:
Blurb has a community (of Blurbarians) where you can share and sell your books. From a single glance you can see that it's made up of many photographers showcasing their work, which is a nice testament to quality and design -- that your identity could come through in the Blurb setting. There are many design themes here: cookbooks, journals, text books.

ArrowContinue reading: "Battle of the Photo Books: Blurb's the Best for Creativity"

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 24, 2008

Battle of the Photo Books: Apple is a Simple, Integrated Option for Mac Users

applebooks.pngThis week we're looking at some key photo book services: Apple, Blurb and Lulu. We've written a bit about Apple already, but it's time to look at these three together. All three companies share a similar quality of printing and even pricing, but the way you build your photo book and the customization options are different.

How You Build the Book: iPhoto on a Mac Computer
First, you must have a Mac computer. Second, you must have iPhoto (it comes with the operating system). Third, you probably want to make sure you have the latest version of iPhoto (purchase iLife for $69.99) because they update book templates and functionality. Once you've got all that covered, you can make your photo book. What's handy about this is that iPhoto is also where you store and edit your photos and create albums, so there's no journey from photo organization/storage to the book, it's all right there. Ahh. The software is fairly intuitive, but do mind these tips to get the best results.

Extra Features:
There's nothing really extra here other than that you've got one integrated system in iPhoto -- it is here that you store, edit, organize and can then, with literally a click, create a book, order prints, send to email, create a web gallery, etc. It's a handy one-stop-shop for Mac-a-holics.

ArrowContinue reading: "Battle of the Photo Books: Apple is a Simple, Integrated Option for Mac Users"

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 23, 2008

Battle of the Photo Books: Lulu is Comprehensive but Clunky

lulu.pngThis week we're looking at some key photo book services: Apple, Blurb and Lulu. We've written a bit about Apple already, but it's time to look at these three together. All three companies share a similar quality of printing and even pricing, but the way you build your photo book and the customization options are different.

How You Build the Book: Lulu Studio
First you sign up as a user (painless). You use Lulu Studio via the web to create your book. This application uses the latest version of Flash. Lulu Studio is intuitive but can be a little slow since it's dependent on your web connection. A great feature is that you can batch upload images. If you have ever considered your computer or internet connection to be "slow" this will probably be a frustrating way to make a photo book. It does allow you to save your books and switch themes in the middle of a design.

Extra Features:
The cool thing is that you can publish your book to the Lulu community and sell it there. This is great for exhibitionists, but also useful if you say, made a photo book of a friend's wedding and wanted other guests to be able to purchase it. Lulu has also partnered with some Universities and offers access to their logos and themed books.

ArrowContinue reading: "Battle of the Photo Books: Lulu is Comprehensive but Clunky"

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 10, 2008

myPhotopipe: Your Very Own Pro-Quality Digital Photo Lab

myphotopipe.pngWell here is a digital printing service to check out: myPhotopipe. It's been around a while but is not super well known. If print quality is your objective, definitely give it a try, especially for enlargements and custom projects. Expect to pay more than the mass-market services (Shutterfly, etc.) but you'll get your shekels back in quality. They make things you want -- panoramas, cards, collages, contact sheets, books -- not the freaky stuff you don't want, like photo blankets, mouse pads and such.

myPhotopipe touts its variety of print sizes, papers, finishes and attention to color management. They pledge to keep your color profiles and for $1 a print, you can have your prints individually color corrected by a real, live person. (Most printing services just push all images through a basic filter, if that.) They've got a fulfillment setup for event pros (weddings, etc.) and as a testament to quality, pros are a huge part of their customer base. They partner with Blurb for photo books -- Blurb's got a great reputation for quality and customizable designs.

If there's a catch, here it is: ROES (Remote Order Entry System).
If you want to use all the cool cropping and customization features myPhotopipe offers, you've got to download their ROES software. (You can do a straight upload of images via PhotoCentral if you just want lab prints, but that kind of misses the point of what myPhotopipe has to offer.)

ArrowContinue reading: "myPhotopipe: Your Very Own Pro-Quality Digital Photo Lab "

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 27, 2008

Apple Photo Books: 6 Tips to Get Good Results

applebook1.jpgRecently, PictureSnob ordered some photo books through Apple and we were a little surprised by the results... we designed and purchased a hardcover book and several soft cover books. We're going to describe what happened and at the end of the post are 6 hot tips for getting good photo book results. Read this! It will save you.

So we had a great time designing these books in iPhoto. It was easy to use and if you consulted the "help" menu you could figure out how to crop and customize to your heart's content. So we get the books (timing was fast, less than a week) and the hardcover book looked fantastic except for a magenta cast that was apparent across all the photos, including black & white images. Now most people might not notice this, but PictureSnob is, well, a SNOB, and this wasn't up to snuff for us. The soft cover books were damaged in shipping (bent corners) and the text had dropped out of most of the book. Additionally, it seemed like images were darker than expected.

So we go to the Apple Photo Services Support page to kvetch. Within hours Apple fully refunded every single book and included some helpful tips on how to better control the photo book results. (We still don't understand why they're shipping soft cover books in cardboard envelopes, but it's their buck.) The tips are good. Why this kind of information isn't more apparent when you set out to make your first photo book is mind-boggling. Apple? What gives?

Anyhoo, here's the tips:

ArrowContinue reading: "Apple Photo Books: 6 Tips to Get Good Results"

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (10) | social bookmarking

March 10, 2008

tiny*prints: There's nothing tiny about them

tinyprints1.jpg
We recently met up with a new photo printing service that looks fantastic -- tiny*prints! They specialize in baby announcements, invitations, thank you cards, gift tags -- not the place to go if you just want prints, but when you want to DO something with your photos. Actually, there's a bunch of options that use no photo too, which is also fun. The designs look great -- arguably the best design option out there (see our earlier post comparing digital printing services).

Their prices are on par with competitors -- about $1.39-2.69 per card, depending on the design and how many photos you use. Cards are produced on a digital press on 110# cardstock -- translation: they'll be vibrant, fast and nicely weighted.

PictureSnob is going to try out tiny*prints, so we'll report back on the whole experience. If you want to try it out yourself in the meantime, click through to tiny*prints and check it out!

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 20, 2008

Photo Sharing: From Flickr, Facebook and Shutterfly to iWeb, .Mac and Pixamo

pixamo.png

What's the best way to share photos with family and friends? There are many options and some important things to consider -- especially security and privacy. Remember that while you may be comfortable with your photos displayed on the WWW, your friends and family may not be. There are plenty of options to privacy-protect your photos and we recommend taking that step. Another big thing to consider is if your photo sharing service requires that people create an account to view the photos -- that can be annoying for friends and family and open them up to spam and one more password to remember. We've taken an overview of some popular services below. Our favorites? Pixamo, .Mac and SmugMug.

Facebook: Creep with Caution
It's easy to upload and share photos on Facebook. However, it is 100% NOT private. Think twice before placing photos of friends and family here. Facebook users can search through profiles in a million different ways -- location, school, workplace, names, and of course through the "friends" you have made. It's likely that every day some stranger looks at your Facebook profile, so exercise caution.

Flickr: Two Ways to Use It
Flickr is a vibrant community but with many reported security problems. If you wish to share photos because you are a photographer or hobbyist, it can be fun to leave your profile public and receive comments from other Flickr members. For personal photos though, we recommend that you check "private" when uploading photos. You can then invite family and friends to access it with a password. Even better -- see instructions to create a private group so your guests can chatter.

ArrowContinue reading: "Photo Sharing: From Flickr, Facebook and Shutterfly to iWeb, .Mac and Pixamo"

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

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