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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Picaboo Yearbook Journey - My Review

When I found out that we were going to be reviewing a yearbook from Picaboo Yearbooks for the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was excited. I have never done an online photo book like this before so the whole process was brand new to me. I share this because if it is brand new to you too, you don't need to be concerned that you won't figure it out! It is easy and there are many tutorials to help you if you get stuck.

We were given a 20-page, 8.5" x 11" softcover yearbook to create from scratch for our families. There are hardback versions available too and you can add more than 20 pages if you wish. (Product choices here.) The turn-around time on the yearbooks is three weeks. (This does not count your "creative" time.) I devoted a lot of hours to mine because I was making a keepsake yearbook for my graduating daughter and I wanted it to be very special.

You begin by logging in to the site, clicking on, "Create a Yearbook," and get going! There is a process you will go through to create the specific pages you want to make. These are called sections. You can create the sections with names like "Cover" or "Page 4-5." After this I uploaded a ton of photos. This can take a while depending on your connection and the number of photos you want to upload at one time. I have high speed cable internet so it didn't take long for the batches of photos to upload, but I did have one time where it "glitched" on me and I had to log out, log back in, and begin the upload for that batch over again. Once I had all the photos uploaded, I then started creating. Below is a photo for a blank two-page spread. This is what you start with.

(Click to enlarge.)

I began by looking for a background (on the right). I wanted each two-page spread to have a different background and I wanted it to be just right. There are hundreds of backgrounds to choose from and each of them are categorized. I spent the bulk of my time doing this because it had to be just right. Click on the page you wish to add the background to and then start searching for the backgrounds. Once you find a background, you click on it and click on the page you want it to fill. The cover background will wrap around, but the others require one for each page. This is one of the ones I chose:


From there I could do two things: drag the photos I wanted to use onto the page and arrange them myself or use a template. The template choices are also on the right and look like this:


There are sections for print or captions and many different layouts for any number of photos. Almost any type of font can be used for text and in any size, shape or color.

This is the finished page for this background:


As you can tell, I used a lot of photos and two different kinds of text. I used some quotes I knew my daughter loved and photos of many of her friends. This was a template but I needed more photos so I dragged them to the page and aligned them where I wanted them. I was able to shrink any of the photos to the sizes I needed them to be, and move them within the border to showcase a portion of the photo I wanted. The white flower on the left is one of the stickers the program allows you to use. I wish they had more choices of stickers as they were a fun add-on, but were limited in selection.

These are two examples of the two-page spreads from our book:


and


As you can see, the backgrounds are quite varied! There are softer designs and solid colors along with solid-colored backgrounds that look textured. There is a great variety here.

Age range for a product like this is going to vary. If you don't mind your children helping you create it, and they understand how to do it, you can work together to make a special book as a family. I did all the work myself on ours; each family will differ.

The pricing is incredibly reasonable for this 20-page keepsake at $8.49. You can add pages for only 22 cents each! The shipping for my book was $10.99, but it looks like they have lowered the shipping price to $8.99. Either way, the book was around $20.

What did we think?

It was spectacular upon arrival. I mean it was absolutely gorgeous. The photo quality was extremely high and the font choices against the backgrounds I selected were perfect and easy to read. The book has a sturdy thick cover and the photo pages are nice and strong. It has been handled already by quite a few people and the pages have not been ripped at all. To say I am very pleased is a great understatement!

Picaboo Yearbooks entirely lived up to my expectations and delivered a gorgeous product. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I will definitely be doing this for each child as they graduate. There is so much to celebrate about your children and this is just one way to do it.

To see what the other Schoolhouse Review Crew folks thought of Picaboo Yearbooks, just click this link:

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9 comments:

Charlotte said...

You did such a great job designing the book and it is gorgeous!

Under the Sky said...

Thanks, Charlotte! :)

The Happy Homeschool Mom said...

Gorgeous! I had a great time making our family book this year, but I think I would love to do a book just for my graduating daughter next year. What a great idea!

Gwen T said...

Oh, I'm so glad you reviewed this one! Your finished product turned out gorgeous and now I see things I want to do for next time. :)

Under the Sky said...

Thanks, ladies! I had such a good time with this one!

:) Kate

The Mrs. said...

I enjoyed your review and your book is super! :)

Under the Sky said...

Thanks! :)

~SALLY~ said...

Wow! You were really creative in using your pictures and got so many on each page. Your book looks great. :)

Jennifer - The Deliberate Mom said...

So lovely! I've never used this service before but I'll have to! So many ideas to create!

Wishing you a lovely day.