I wanna make and buy a photo album online – which company do i use?

chatbooks-winner2Why i love printing photo albums
I’m a Mum of 3 young ones.
I’m addicted to photo albums.
My addiction began when i was about 16 years old.
I have about 100 self-made photo albums.

What products do i use for my home-put-together photo albums
I buy a landscape layout black acid free paper, interspersed with tracing paper, hard covered book from Whitcoulls, which have different styles but often feature a koru. They cost around $40.00 each. I visit Harvey Norman and use their photo kiosk. I use the collage feature, cos i like having a range of sizes in my albums and it makes my addiction a little more affordable.
The whole process is certainly a labour of love, each album takes over an hour to mount the photos which i use a german double-sided photo tab thingy for, then i write with a particular silver pen i have found which doesn’t fade. Hmmm, imagine if i was so geeky that i made a little video of the process with Jezzer’s go pro? Cos i’m a lady of leisure! Bahahahaaaa.
The kids love these albums, and i love watching them love them.
Looking through them helps me to feel grateful about the life i lead or which leads me, and reminds me of the adventures, the laughter, the delicious food, the interesting people and the beautiful places that share this life with me.
My advice to anyone who’s ever wanted to make an album is, “It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and/or guilty and feel like you want to get your shit together before you make a start. Have those feelings and then…make a start. You make the rules. You can either make them for each child (if you care for kids) OR just pick a date and start there.

The benefits of making and buying an album online
Sometimes i like to make specific albums as gifts, and what i love about online albums is i can make multiple copies and they make heart-felt presents for people. We did this for our wedding, and for our first born when she turned 5 and gave a copy to the 3 sets of grand-parents she has in her life. One of our 3 always leaf through one of the books and tell stories or ask questions, from the two albums on the coffee table, when we visit Babu and Dani in Matangi.

Those who have seen ‘my’ albums
* The hardbacked Rarotongan albums are ZNO
* The matt soft-covered Clara 0-5 year album is Artifact Uprising
* The yellow hard-covered Esther 0-5 year album is Artifact Uprising
* The wharekaho soft-covered Helen/Carrie album is Snapfish.

Zno versus Snapfish versus Artifact Uprising
The wedding albums were done through Snapfish.
The first 5 years of firstborn’s i jazzed things up. I tried Snapfish, Artifact Uprising and Zno (formerly know as Prince, just kidding, formerly known as Artisan State).

From those, goes here’s my humble feedback.

Cost: Snapfish
Easy to use / Intuitive: Zno
Aesthetic / Design: Artifact Uprising.
My feeling was Artifact Uprising felt more feminine and more eco come vintage, whereas Zno felt more masculine or more sleak, contemporary. Snapfish didn’t feel like it had a personality, although there was plenty of swirly designs to choose from if you wanted daring and disorientating.
Photo Quality: I didn’t have any issues with photos being missed or blurry, so don’t have a winner in this category. 
Hmmm, bit stumped here. Snapfish falls apart in that the leaves fall out. Artifact Uprising is made from a soft matt paper and the spine is splitting. Zno i gifted so i can’t vouch for these guys.
Overall: I’m heading back to Artifact Uprising for second born’s 5th Birthday coming on up in Spring. And i’m torn for a cheaper option to duplicate and send to the whanau who accompanied us on a family holiday. Hmmm. To do, to do, to, what to do?

I posed this riveting question to some friendbook mates:

Making a photo-album from home with jpegs…So there’s artifact uprising, zno (formerly artisan state), snapfish, and sticky9. Has anyone had experience with all of these? i’m interested in an ‘app’ ‘product’ which is ‘intuitive’ and is stylish and durable. Thoughts?

NB to self…sticky9 do lovely fridge magnets, laptop stickers, phone cases and tablet covers, i.e. not albums.

Here’s what some passionate facebooking friends fed-back:

amy: I’ve used zno to create albums for the kids baby photos. The printing is outstanding and the flush mounting is fabulous. But they’re not as cheap as snapfish, but I think the quality is superior.

emily from wild & grace: yup i agree the quality is higher than snapfish
i just can’t remember how painful the upload process was with zno
amy: not too bad. I love Happy Moose but they don’t do albums.

emily from wild & grace: ah ha. did they do that awesome poster, the one with the ‘square’ black and white images?
amy: yes! Very easy website too.

viv: friends were raving about snapfish over the holidays

emily from wild & grace: i’ve made heaps of snapfish ones cos they’re so affordable.
emily2: Snapfish probably the cheapest but quality reflects it and certainly not intuitive for me.

emily from wild & grace: yes i agree, i find the upload clunky with snapfish, but i do like their price tag too.

emily2: Has worked well for the kids though, we do summer albums each year of our adventures and send the grandparents one too, really good value as the kids don’t care about the quality of the photos like I do 😉, guess it depends on the main intention for creation ❤️
anna:  We do that too but they fall apart easily don’t they

emily from wild & grace: yes they dooooo.
the same but different emily: yes 😦

anna: I put our summer photos into books for the 60% off and free delivery deal that closed last week and one book came apart after about 4 viewings. Going to try and get a replacement. The hardcover books are much better aren’t they, just more expensive.

christine: I use Kroma. Have used Snapfish in past which are good too.

mell: I have used Kroma and their alter ego on grabone and found that pictures mysteriously move or disappear on review ( this is with the 50 page hardcover books) so the pricing is just not worth the frustration levels and time. Not my ineptitude on the computer either as Lance has same issues and several of their technicians couldn’t help either. Good calendars though.

jenny: Melany tried a few and so have I including Snapfish with not a lot of good results. Melany recommended Picture Postie but I haven’t had time to try it yet. She said it was very easy to use, low cost and good results. Good Luck 😀😘

greta: Hi Emily from wild & grace. I love Artifact. In particular the soft coveted books and mini instagram books. It’s a beautiful un-coated matte paper. A bit like water colour paper. I prefer to gloss.

Plus pretty easy to use g x

tumblr_inline_ne40zgJ67z1shkc2vGreta and Amy brought up a great point, Instagram.
I’m only on this for business purposes, but check this adorable company out (Chat Books) for a platform to bring your insta photos to life:

Without ending on a debbie-downer, the other reason i like to print photos off, are:
– technology i.e. computers, phones, portable hard-drives break or get stolen and years of photos can be ‘ripped away’ from ‘one’.
– i’m not sure this is a good thing or not, but i believe photos immortalise events and people, it helps to keep the memories alive, and/or the gratitude flowing, although other people may disagree and feel it adds to the grief, or doesn’t aid the letting go process?perhaps i don’t have enough experience of death yet to comment, but i love looking at the faces of people who have passed, sitting on my piano.

Hmm perhaps i’ll check out Picture Postie and jump onto Zno again for this family holiday album. And i’ll romanticise about making a short film about compiling my albums, otherwise i’ll get more minimalistically creative and watch this space.


I love reading your comments, kia ora for taking the time to share your thoughts

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