Groupbook Photobooks and Calendars #Gift

Check out Natalie’s review of Groupbook calenders and photobooks. They would make a great gift for anyone on your list wanting to keep memories and keepsakes.

Our family recently came back from a week long trip to NYC (pre Hurricane Sandy), and we had photographed several of our adventures there.  Usually, I would have just saved them to a folder on our computer, and maybe I would have posted a few on Facebook for friends and family to comment over.  Rarely, do I actually print out photos anymore.  Pretty sad, I know.  So, this time I decided that I would expand my horizons, and actually make a “photobook” , gasp, of our trip.  I had never made a photobook online before, so I was curious as to how easy/ difficult a process it would be.

The photobook company that I used is called GroupBook, and they are a Canadian based company out of Winnipeg, Manitoba.  They have a selection of both hard and soft cover photobooks, calendars, cards, and posters.   Also, GroupBook has a tips and tricks blog on their website:  I decided to make a hardcover 20 page 8 1/2″ X 11″  faux black leather book with a photo window.  The website offers many different templates to help you create your perfect photobook.  Initially, I decided to do an all black page photobook, with their preset photo templates.  However, I soon discovered that I actually liked the freedom of placing the photos on the pages in the layout that I preferred, so I deleted all of their templates, and went for it!  First of all, I had to download my photos onto their website.  For my book, I used about 70 photos, but I actually downloaded more than that, since I was not exactly sure which photos I wanted to use.  The downloading process itself took about 30-45 minutes.
photobookcollageThen it was time to start!  I began working on my first few pages.  It took me about 30 minutes to figure out exactly how I wanted to do the title page.  Then, I had to go pick up my son from school.  When I got back to the computer, I realized that my son had beat me to the computer to play a game.  ARGH! I also realized that my photobook had not been saved.  So, I lost all of my initial work the first time around.  The next time I finally got a chance to work on the book, it was late at night, and I accomplished around 6 pages, before I called it a night.  This time, I made sure to save my design.  The next day, I could not find my saved design, so I had to start all over again.  But then, when I saved it again, I realized too late that I was saving it as the old file name, which somehow still existed in their system after all.  So, again, I lost all of my latest saved design.  The last time I worked on the photobook, I worked around 3-4 hours straight on it.  This time I finally finished it, and then I ordered it.  However, after it was ordered, I realized too late that I had not saved my finished design.  So, I had no idea if the photobook which I had just ordered was actually the finished design, or the incomplete design which was still saved.  Thankfully, when I received the book, it was the finished design and looked amazing!

Word to the wise, save your design continuously, and especially before you order the book!  Hopefully, GroupBook will rectify this by automatically saving your design while you are working on it!   Also, the photo which I had carefully centred in the book’s top photo window, was not centred in the actual book, so the wording on the photo, which I had hoped to be the title of the book, was not entirely visible through the cover’s window.

Overall, I am really quite pleased with my book, and I am looking forward to showing it off to both family and friends.  I am sure that we will cherish it for many years to come.

I also created an 18 month calendar at the same time as the photobook.  This was a little less time consuming, since I only used one photo per month/ page for the most part.  I also used GroupBook’s backgrounds, and clipart to create a more professional looking product.  I really liked the fact that you could also highlight specific dates (ie. birthdays, anniversary, etc.) with photos as well.  However, again I did have one beef with the design of the calendar.  If you do not pick a starting month for your calendar, it defaults to the current month, and you cannot change this after you have started working on your calendar.  This happened to me, and I had already completed half of my calendar (spent an hour on it), and did not want to start all over again.  So, I ended up with a very snazzy calendar that started in November 2012, and ended in April 2014.
Ultimately, I am really happy with both the quality and look of my new photobook and calendar.

GroupBook has a Facebook FanPage  (There are lots of great offers on here all the time.)  They are unique in the way that you can share your designs on social networks.  Some sharing options are “view and buy”, “save a copy” and “Collaborate”.  Collaborate is really cool.  You can start a photobook (or whatever else) and share it with others to log into the exact same book and work on it together.

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