When my first child was born, I had plans like all first time moms. I looked forward to getting the nursery ready, taking pre-natal classes with my husband, crying from both exhaustion and joy when my little one arrived, holding her for the first time, creating a memory book covering her first year. But unlike many first time moms, my daughter’s unscheduled early arrival and hospital care tossed all my plans out the window.
Of course that seems like a distant memory when I look at my now happy, friendly, creatively energetic seven year old. We did take a lot of pictures and videos of my daughter during her those early years; they’re saved on the computer or copied onto CD. When I do get the urge to look at them I always think I should do it more often. Having them in digital form, although a great way to save them, it’s not a convenient way to look at them.
PhotoWorks wants you to share and enjoy these photos, all the time, not just when you pull out that CD. So I did just that. Using the new Photoworks Studio service on their website I pulled together photos and images from videos to create a book for my oldest daughter’s first year. PhotoWorks Studio offers you the ability to create stylish photobooks with a simple click or two.
All you need is about 20 or more photos and about 15 to 30 minutes of time (maybe more if you’re like me and can’t decide on what photos to use). No need to worry if you’re not creatively inclined, PhotoWorks Studio has a variety of themes and templates and designs for you to work with. Since I wanted to create a book for my daughter’s first year, I choose the baby theme (they also have themes for weddings and travel as well as an everyday theme to cover any moment you think is special and worth preserving).
After I choose to build a baby themed book, the rest was as easy as 1, 2, 3:
- Upload pictures to your online album
- Customize your book, with your picture size, position and groupings; adding words or leaving them out; changing layout, background and other decorative elements.
- Save, preview, and order or share.
It really is that simple. Although the themes have a default template, you can customize it the way you want, making this truly your book. I could change the background, look at a layout with just one or two or more images, add little decorative features. And I can see everything on screen just like it would appear in the printed book. Don’t like the way one page looks, change it. Decide that the image of my daughter opening Christmas gifts should go near the end, easily drag it to the area I want.
I found PhotoWorks Studio very intuitive but they do offer a great step-by-step pdf file if you’re really stuck. The little rollovers were helpful too. It’s from these that I discovered I could move pages around in my book easily without having to recrate them; just click on a page and drag it to the new spot. Some of my images aren’t high quality since they have been saved for my computer, especially a few of the video image captures. That doesn’t mean they can’t be used in my book; it just means they’re not ideal for some of the full picture pages. PhotoWorks Studio will flag any images that might be too low resolution for a page your creating which was very useful (and avoids any surprises and disappointments when the finished book arrives).
I had a great experience going through the images of my daughter’s first year. I’ve just finished my book and can’t wait for it to arrive and share it with her. And even though, or maybe especially because, my daughter isn’t a baby anymore, having her first year, a year that was such a blur, preserved in a book will enable to me relive all those special first moments we shared together so long ago. I may not have had the chance to do a lot of my planned new mom moments when my daughter arrived, but at least with PhotoWorks Studio I could do one; I now have a memory book of my first daughter’s first year.
You can visit the PhotoWorks Studio website to see the different themes, read FAQs and view a video on how to get started.