The actual process of assembling the material was very instructive. I decided to create a photobook using the Snapfish service mainly because, at the time, they were offering a 50% discount for all photobooks ordered by Sunday 9th December. This provided a useful time box to prompt me to get it done quickly and to gain the insights I was looking for rather than trying to get the perfect result.
The Snapfish photobook service enables you to position photos and text anywhere on a page at will. However, I found it more flexible to create the pages in Powerpoint and to export the completed pages as jpg images. These could then be inserted into each of the photobook pages as if it were a single photograph. This approach has the additional advantage of leaving you with an electronic version of what you have created (I have yet to explore if Snapfish are prepared to provide an eBook version of what they print).
As I discovered shortly after starting, getting the facts straight about 45 years of employment is quite challenging, and I ended up working intensively for several days. I finally finished the photobook at 11pm on Sunday night within just one hour of the Snapfish 50% off deadline. I ended up with a 72 page 8 x 11 portrait photobook with custom front and back hardback covers and special UV coating (to give it extra sharpness and shine, and to reduce marking) costing £38.35 including postage.
Here are some of the insights I gained:
- The more time that passes, the harder it is to put faces to names and vice-versa,. It’s always best to make a note at the time.
- Many people have entries in Linked In, Facebook or other on-line sites, so it’s becoming increasingly feasible to obtain people’s photos through the internet.
- The more you think about what’s happened over the years, the more you keep remembering about it (there are now several additional things I would like to include in my work experiences photobook).
- Trying to scan papers that are larger than A4 on an A4 flatbed scanner doesn’t give the best results.
- Papers with a variety of different signatures written with different pens and ink colours, don’t scan well and require the scanner settings to be adjusted manually to get the best result.
- Trying to establish dates and events by looking at collected papers and mementos is feasible but very time consuming. It would have been a lot easier if the items had all been sorted and indexed.
- It’s quite easy to create photobooks once the content has been defined and assembled, and it can be relatively cheap if you take advantage of special offers – in this instance under £40 for 72 pages.
I now await the photobook to arrive to draw further conclusions about format, scanning quality etc., and, most importantly, to decide which of the artefacts I have used can actually be disposed of as originally envisaged.