We’ve come a long way since premade photo albums. Nowadays all it takes is to go to the internet, upload your best photos to an online photo book builder, customize the book’s draft to your liking, and then simply wait until the photo printing company processes, prints and delivers the order to your doorstep. Unless you’re smart about the builder you choose, however, then one thing hasn’t changed: putting together the photo book still takes a bit of time, especially with the various customization options on offer.
However, by choosing the right tool from the start, the time that it takes to create a photo book can be reduced to virtually zero. Some software includes the option to have photos auto-filled into the would-be book, or get it created by a group of professionals. There are other innovative approaches, too, where only the photos need to be selected – or fetched automatically from a device or synced social media accounts – in order to start the photo book building process.
Automatic Photo Book Software
Let’s start with a little myth busting: photo book building will always need some sort of intervention from your side. However, thankfully that manual input can be reduced to just a few clicks.
Most photo book builders only provide an autofill option, leaving the rest of the editing process to the customer. However, there are times when users only need to manually select a predetermined amount of their favorite pictures, after which the software or app will automatically send a printing request. Certain solutions have taken this approach a bit further by leveraging the power of social media: this way the customer just determines a certain period of time on their timeline and, based on that information, the software fetches and automatically arranges all photos in chronological order – even with their respective captions that accompany them.
But even this can be automated as well by establishing a continuous connection between the photo book builder and the social media account, creating a truly effortless photo book building experience. With this method the moment a new photo is uploaded to Facebook or Instagram, the software takes that photo and puts it into the book, repeating this until the book reaches a predetermined page limit.
Recommended Automatic Photo Book Software and Apps
It’s good to think of Chatbooks as the Tesla of the photo book industry, matching the automobile manufacturer’s innovation when it comes to the automation of its photo books. Although the company provides a regular photo book building and printing service, the product that it is most famous for is its Photo Book Series, which takes care of everything with very little interference on the customer’s side.
Whether you prefer the online browser version or the iOS/Android app, Chatbooks only requires access to your Facebook or Instagram account to create a small-sized (6×6) photo book, with a new book being created each time the software fetches the required amount of 60 photos and their respective captions. And once the draft of the photo book is accepted, Chatbooks will print and ship the order within two-three weeks.
And to make the deal even sweeter, this service – which can be cancelled at any time – is only $10 per month with free shipping and includes a 30-day money back guarantee.
Although Mixbook is intended for those who take great care in designing their photo books, the company’s online editor also has some clever features that cater to customers who would rather put their books together quickly.
One such feature is the autofill option that, upon selecting the right photos from both online or offline sources, will automatically insert the pictures into the photo holders. This is the biggest time-saver, of course, but even those who would rather rush through the process will be happy to see the inclusion of an incredible variety of customization options, allowing for different sizes, covers, layouts, backgrounds, embellishments and more, all of which can be freely combined with one another. And for those who would rather make use of their mobile, there is the Mosaic iOS app, with which a 20-page small (7×7) book can be created in mere minutes – only to be shipped two days later.
Mixbook photo books, which are shipped within 3-11 business days, are available for as low as $15.99.
Best Photo Book Builders of 2020
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Photo Books Created by Professional Real Life Designers
Having the photo book created automatically is indeed convenient, but there is one huge catch: accepting the photo book’s draft without checking it first could result in an unsatisfactory final product. To avoid that there are two options, either spend some time with the process of building the photo book or assign the task to a real-life professional designer.
The advantage of having a photo book created by a professional is that they’ll select only the best pictures and put together the final product according to your very specific instructions. In other words, the photo book will appear exactly as you want it without any of the work.
However, this service is never free of charge, especially if the book is ordered. Since online photo book builders are so ridiculously easy to use, you’re not paying for someone’s expertise but their time – something to consider when pricing up someone to take the task on.
Aside from the online editor and the Photo Story iPad app, Shutterfly also provides an additional service appropriately named Make My Book.
Customers turning to Shutterfly’s designers only have to determine the size and style of the future book, then upload the necessary photos and provide any special instructions (such as the number of pages) to have a draft of their photo book created within three business days. Once the draft is ready, the photo book can then be further personalized with finishing touches or sent back to the Shutterfly designer staff for extra modifications.
The biggest advantage of Make My Book is that it is free of charge until the photo book is ordered. If the book does get printed, then Shutterfly only charges an additional $9.99 for its services, a fee that will be automatically added to the final price of the photo book at checkout.
Tips for Making a Photo Book in Minutes
There are two major ways for getting a photo book ready for printing in a short amount of time. The first option is probably the simplest, using a photo book creator that was intended for quick book building, such as My Social Book, Chatbooks – mentioned above – and PastBook. Although editing options are usually limited in these types of editors, they are capable of putting together a photo book within mere minutes. Also, they can be quite innovative: PastBook, for instance, can automatically create a ready-to-print photo book via a clever chatbot.
The other option is to rely on autofill, a feature that almost all major photo book editing software possesses – everything from Mixbook and Collage.com to Shutterfly and Snapfish. With this feature you only need to pick a matching style and the photo book builder automatically arranges any chosen photos into the book.
However, thanks to the huge variety when it comes to customization options, customers can typically add the finishing touches themselves, overriding the draft created by the software. Granted, this may slow down the building process, so if you don’t have special requirements for the book’s look then the way the editor automatically puts the book together should be satisfying.