Calgary Artist & Blogger Cody James reviews www.photobookcanada.com and shows off his new Photo book.

It took me a long time to decide which company I wanted to invest in and make a photo book with. Some may make a snap decision and take the first result on Google, but it takes a lot of work to put together a nice photo book and I didn’t want to have hard work and time result in mediocre results. After checking out a bunch of reviews I decided to go with http://www.photobookcanada.com – Here’s my review:

Their software is one of the easiest to navigate, I tried out multiple different companies (Blurb, MyPublisher, & online sites like Adorama) Photobook Canada was the only company that had the panorama option where you can spread one large image across two pages. Being a landscape photographer this was invaluable to me and I was actually shocked that other companies didn’t natively do this. Some programs like Blurb recommended you cut the image in half and import both half’s on to each page, that’s a lot of work and a lot of aligning to get right and one mistake can ruin an entire spread (and book) even if it’s just a little off.

Sample image of Panorama spread:

Few other great positives from their software:

  • Fast , reliable, had no crashes.
  • Imported pictures have a number badge beside them indicating how many times that image appears in the book. Invaluable for those who are making larger books and want to avoid duplicate pictures!
  • Has multiple alignment options (vertical centre, horizontal centre, etc) Helps you avoid having pictures aligned improperly.
  • Masks (Give pictures texture overlays) Backgrounds (Big selection for scrapbook/wedding type books)
  • Tons of page styles including the two page panorama spread as mentioned above.
  • Payment and uploading all done through software which leads you to directly to their site. Very easy to use.
  • Automatic software updates.
  • Ability to save books/projects.

So with that being said, everything on the software end was a breeze, far more fluid than other books software, and they even have an automated auto flow option if you’re looking to make a quick book.

Here’s what I ordered:
15×11 Large Landscape Imagewrap
Paper: 170gsm Premium Silk
Cover: ImageWrap Matte Lamination
Shipping Method: Standard Courier 1-4 days in Canada
48 Pages
Order Total: $92.61 (Used a coupon, can be found on their facebook profile by ‘liking’ them)

Although the price was a little up there compared to some sites, I could not find another company that offers a book in 11X15 sizing that also offers the image wrap matte lamination option. Something that I personally find to look very, very, appealing. So obviously as far as price goes it’s hard to make a fair comparison as no other company offered a book this big.

I placed my order October 1st (late at night), the book was finished October 13th, and arrived at my door on October 18th. It did take a little longer than I expected to finish and ship, but the weekend timing didn’t work in my favour and there was also a long weekend in the mix there.

Now to the part you’ve been waiting for! Was this book worth $90 and the time I invested in it? Yes. I have ordered books in the past from other companies, NONE OF THEM touch this book in terms of build quality, paper quality, colours, finish, and just overall professional appearance. This book is so nice that I almost want to lock it away and never touch it. Any photographer can tell you there’s great satisfaction in having your work printed, it just looks and feels so much nicer than seeing it up on your website, flickr, etc. This is no exception, and in some ways made me feel a lot prouder of the work I’ve done as a photographer to date. Let me also say this again, the book is top notch, the colour is accurate, and I found absolutely no printing issues with this book. There was nothing about this book that I did not like, and so many things that made me go “wow”. I highly recommend professionals to purchase this book to showcase their portfolios, and I urge consumers to ask their photographers to include one of these in their photography packages.

Here’s the front cover and one of the opening pages:

One thing I instantly noticed that you really have to watch out for, is that the pages buckle. With this large of a book the pages can get tiny little creases if you don’t handle the pages properly.

How not to hold or flip the page:

(Little hard to tell but it buckles right there. Try and flip pages from the outside of the book and support them well)

As you can see in this image below almost dead center there’s a buckle in the page. It’s just to the left of the middle picture right near her eye. So handle pages with care!

Here are two more sample images highlighting different layouts you can choose from. As you can see in the first image you’re able to do portraits very nicely in the 11×15 book. There was very little cutoff if any.

Check out their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/photobookww There one of the many companies using social media exactly as intended for corporations! Promoting themselves with pictures, information, but also including deals (like 40% off) and entries into draws for Ipads and free photo books. This month if you purchase a book from them you’re entered into a draw for an Ipad (monthly giveaway) or a free book (weekly). I’ve also found that they’re very diligent in responding to clients needs on their wall.

Also some book suggestions (Click here) – From the Photobook Canada website.

Two suggestions for the folks at Photobook!

  1. Enable a feature similar to Blurb where your book can be published and sold. It’s a great feature and very enticing to artists.
  2. Allow a little grace period to make minor changes after uploading. I wanted to add a mask to the front images on my book, I sent an email shortly after submitting my order but because their system is very automated they were unable to cater to my request! Ultimately this was my fault, but I did send this request very shortly after it was submitted and this was on a very late Friday night. Maybe a warning to consumers to make sure you’re order is perfect before submitting, and to be fair they do give fair warning.

If you have any questions about this review, the book, or photography in general please feel free to connect with me via Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, the comments section, email,  or any other method of contact you can reach me at!

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