home »Photo Book Service Reviews » Snap My Life Creations

NOTE: This service closed in early 2012.

Snap MyLife Creations Photo Book Publisher Lets Users Collaborate

Snap MyLife

Book Quality: 4 stars quality
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars ease of use
Pricing: 4 stars
Features: 4 stars
Customer Service: 4 stars service
Shipping/Turnaround: 5 stars Inkubook turnaround and shipping is very fast

Pros: Online collaboration and free sharing, easy interface, Huge choice of layout and text options, good value for the money. Very fast turnaround.

Cons: Photo thumbnails are small and in 1 row. Logo is put on back cover unless you ask them to remove it. Limited photo editing.

COUPON CODES:

Formerly known as Inkubook, Snap MyLife is a collaborative website where users can create affordably priced photo books using simple, web-based software. It offers a truly impressive array of page layouts and is one of only a few photo book services that allows users to invite others to contribute their own photos and text to the photo book, which is fun for group projects.

I did the original review of Inkubook back in 2011, and I revisited it recently and updated it to include the changes and improvements made by Snap MyLife. While much remains the same, there were some welcome improvements, primarily to customization.

Using Snap MyLife

It only took a few seconds to sign up for a free account. Snap MyLife uses Microsoft Silverlight (for Windows 7 users) as their photo book interface, so to do this review I needed to download this plugin, which only took a minute. If you have Windows XP  you'll need to install a different plugin.

The interface couldn't be easier. When you click on "Start a  New Book" you'll be prompted to choose a style and size and you'll see the prices. You can then name your book and choose a general theme (you can change backgrounds and layouts on every page later if you want to). Then you'll be prompted to get photos. Importing photos from my PC took 14 minutes for an initial upload of 41 photos (I uploaded more later).You can also import them from another Snap MyLife project or from Facebook or Flickr.

Online Sharing and Collaboration

Snap MyLife does a good job with online collaboration and sharing. Friends can create and share books together. Click on the Invite button, then in the pop-up window enter the email addresses of your friends. Then click on Send Invitation. Sports teams, wedding parties and family reunions, among other groups, can put this feature to great use. However, unlike with Mixbook, friends can only contribute photos, not collaborate on the design itself. Once your book is completed you can create a virtual copy and then email or place a link to the book on Facebook, MySpace, iGoogle or netvibes for your friends to view.

Making a Book

There are two book creation options: Autofill or I could place photos myself. Being somewhat of a control freak, I chose the "place myself" option. if you choose auto-fill your photos are placed in the order they were uploaded. You can then go into each page and change whatever you want later.

With either option, you can choose from a variety of themes and different backgrounds. They include: wedding, children, travel, holiday, season, occasion, cookbook, pets, family, business and portfolio. You can also choose from a variety of solid and patterned backgrounds and from more than 50 photo border styles and over 60 border colors. There are 10 font choices, which is average, nothing special.

Layout Options - The main screen has a tabbed layout with photos, layout, background and text on different tabs. I'd love it if I could view my images and see the layout options at the same time, so I could eyeball my  photos and decide what is best layout for a particular page. However, I had to switch back and forth. If you want lots of layout options, however, Snap MyLife is for you. There is an enormous variety of page layout options, more than any other photo service that I can recall, including full bleeds and the ability to use an image as a background. For example, a 2-photo layout has a whopping 66 options with or without text, varying photo sizes and positions. You just drag and drop a layout onto a page; the same goes with the backgrounds and placing photos. You can also have pages with just text and either type it in or upload and drop in a text file. Another nice feature is the ability to zoom in on your page.

Customization

One big change since the acquisition by Snap MyLife is customization. You now have the ability to move photos and text anywhere on the page, similar to Mixbook and Shutterfly, and you can create your own templates. Further, many of us like to create our own designs in other programs first, such as in InDesign or scrapbooking software like My Memories Suite. You can create your own custom pages using your own graphic design softeware and upload them to their website as full-page bleed images in .jpg, .png or .tif file formats.

There have been a few other software upgrades You can now see all your photos at the same time and you have the ability to sort them by date uploaded, date taken or file name, but you can't drag and drop them to re-order manually. You can also view larger previews by clicking on an individual image. The company logo appears on the back cover. While you can email them and ask them to remove it, why not just remove it altogether or put it on the inside of the back cover?

Snap Mylife Creations allows group collaboration for making customize photo books

Editing - Snap MyLife's editing options are limited to nudging, rotating or resizing the image within the frame. Other editing such as red-eye removal and color, saturation or brightness correction needs to be done in your own photo editing program prior to uploading photos.

Changing Book Size - I learned that I could also change the book size. I tried going from the original 8.5 x11 to 8.5x8.5 and it worked quite well. Be sure to review all the pages. The software will automatically adjust frames to fit the new book size, so you may need to adjust some photos or select a different layout. Most other services don't have this option. If you make a typo or want to change the book's name, you can now do that easily.

Digi-Scrapbook Friendly - You can design scrapbook pages in other software then upload finished scrapbook pages as .jpg, .png or .tif file formats and then apply the images as full-page bleed images.

Snap MyLife saves your book each time you make a change (saving occurs in the background, there's no delay). I was grateful for this because my browser crashed and I was afraid I'd lose all my work. Happily it was all there when I reopened my browser. it would be nice if somewhere it indicated that autosave was on, so you don't panic if your browser crashes.

Photo Book Options

Photo Book Paper and Sizes

Photo books are available in five sizes:

Mini Brag book - 7x5 landscape hard or soft cover
Simple Square - 8.5x8.5 square hard or soft cover
The Ultimate Portrait - 8.5x11 portrait hard or soft cover
Classic Landscape - 11x8.5 landscape  hard cover only
The Great Big Square - 11x11 square hard cover only

More Pages = Cheaper Book

The pricing for books is in groups of pages, i.e. 0-20 is $29.95 and 21-40 pages is $34.95 for a hardcover 8.5x11. The more pages you have, the less cost per page.

Photo Book Cover Options

Hardcovers and softcovers are available. They use 100lb matte or gloss cover stock for softcovers. Softcover books are all perfect bound (with glue). Hardcover books have case binding, matte or glossy cover and white end leaf.

Quality

Books are printed on 100 lb archival-quality silk paper. The paper is matte in finish and there was no color bleed-through. The paper quality is very good.The thickness seems just right and has a light sheen. Before doing this review I made an 8.5x8.5 hardcover book and the photo printing quality was very good in terms of color and saturation. The binding appears to be well-made and sturdy.

Should You Use Snap MyLife for Your Photo Books?

Snap MyLife's photo book designing process is easy to use and you can produce beautiful books. The online collaboration option is a plus, as are the multitude of layout options. Prices start at $9.95 for softcover 7x5; classic landscape 8.5x11 hardcover starts $29.95, which is about average. Where the real savings comes in is when you make a larger book, say 40 pages or 80 pages. The more pages in your book, the less cost per page. An 80-page hardcover 8.5x11 book runs about $45 while Shutterfly is more than double.

Customer service is very prompt via online chat and you can also contact them via phone and email and use their extensive FAQ. Processing is very fast. I ordered my hardcover book on a Monday and received a shipping notice on Wednesday.

All in all, Snap MyLife is a solid choice. You get good value for your money and Snap MyLife offers some great discounts so you can get a really good deal on your photo book.

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