Thursday, May 29, 2008

How About the Blurb Paper, Folks?

(Click on the thumbnail to view larger image)

I won’t be able to get back to this for a couple of days, but just wanted to throw this out this question to SoFoBoMoers. If you went with Blurb to print your book, are you happy with the paper? I got one back from Blurb a couple of days ago and, while the paper is all right, I don’t think I would go with Blurb again. Just before the beginning of SoFoBoMo, I threw together a test book and went with Shutterfly for that one. Now, I have to be fair and say that I must have let it slip through a crack somewhere and given them the go-ahead to “enhance” my photos, so I wasn’t fully satisfied with the end result. Still, I much prefer the paper Shutterfly uses and the look it gives my pictures. In my opinion, that first book has a richer look.

As a side-note for anyone who hasn’t yet printed, I also discovered that all my desperate efforts to get everything in gamut for the Blurb profile backfired a bit. I knew the images looked a little light, but trusted the profile. Unfortunately, the prints are lighter than I would like. I certainly am looking forward to Doug Stockdale’s report on his experiment with sharpening for Blurb.

Later, I will have some more comments about my experience with SoFoBoMo, but the rest will have to wait for another day. One quick note: seeing a finished book didn’t give me nearly the thrill that the experience of making a book delivered. I suppose it makes sense, since this was not my first time to see my name on the cover of a book. I guarantee you the first time around I had to drop in to every bookstore I passed by to check the shelf and see if it was there. Those books weren’t photo books and they certainly weren’t pretty, but what a kick that was—almost as exciting as when that first monthly check rolled in. This time around the real buzz was in all the learning and the sharing. Without a community effort such as SoFoBoMo (can’t stop saying what a brilliant idea it was), making a book is a mighty lonely enterprise. I’m not proud to say that I might never have made a photo book without Paul Butzi’s challenge. Now I think I may be hooked.


  1. I print with Shutterfly. I'm happy enough with what they produce that I haven't bothered to try anywhere else lately.

    It turns out that they made the catastrophic decision to make their image enhancement the DEFAULT, so you must turn it off on each image (or maybe each gallery) before printing. So no surprise you didn't notice. I was pretty livid about it myself.

    In my case, their alterations weren't noticeable, and what they produced appeared exactly as it did on my primary monitor. They wrote that it is mainly an increase in saturation, and my pics are pretty heavily saturated to begin with. So that's probably why it made no difference to mine.

    If yours are more subtle, then turning off the default would make a pretty noticeable difference, I'd expect.

  2. qb, thanks a million for your response. I certainly wish Shutterfly made that default easier to turn off. But, next time I will be prepared. Evidently, you only have the option when you load the pics into your gallery. I went nuts trying to find a way to do it with photos already loaded into an existing gallery.

    I look forward to having a few minutes to spend at your gallery. I had only a couple of seconds to whet my appetite, but I will be back. You hit the nail on the head with your guess about saturation. That was one issue I had with Shutterfly. (Back to the default situation.) One shot in particular was quite subtle—until Shutterfly got hold of it.

    It certainly makes sense that experiments with the printing process is part of this challenge. I am just grateful to be paying for only one book at a time. One disappointment is not the end of the world. On the other hand, if you had a thousand printed and didn't like the quality, that would be hard to swallow.

  3. Well, I don't know anything about the paper, but the book stuff sure is addicting. If I can bring myself to do it, I'm going to put another small one together this week for my Wednesday or Thursday post. :-)

  4. Paul, I am looking forward to seeing your newest book. I know you will get it done in spite of your bombshell news. Wow!

    Now that I am back from a short trip, I can put together a post about the project I just finished. Besides that, I plan to bug a lot of people about this issue with Blurb paper. I was disappointed after having seen a Shutterfly book and I'm eager to see if others think I am being too picky.

  5. I just got my first Blurb book the other day, and I'm very disappointed with the paper! I expected it to be thicker. It feels flimsy, and I can see through to the other side (unless the page background is black) -- I want the pages to be stiffer and more substantial, especially for wedding photos. I liked having more flexibility with page layouts, but I think I'll try Shutterfly for my next project, because everyone seems happier with the quality of the paper.


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