Digital cameras and camera smartphones mean we’re taking more photos than ever — some 600 million a week in the UK alone.
Storing photos on your computer or a sharing service like Flickr doesn’t quite evoke the same memories as thumbing through a photo album, though, and printing them at home can be expensive.
So a better option is a ‘photo book’ — a professionally printed album that you can keep on a bookshelf and enjoy without switching on the computer. They are incredibly simple to make and make great gifts, too.
To save time, we’d advise getting your photographs ready before you start.
Step 1: Install Adobe Flash
Bonusprint can create a photo book online via its web app, or by using its free software. Both work in similar ways, but we’re using the web app here, as you can save your book at any time and return to it using any computer.
The web app uses Adobe Flash, so you’ll need to install this from get.adobe.com/flashplayer — be sure to untick the boxes for Yes, install Google Chrome and Yes, install Google Toolbar before clicking the Install now button.
Step 2: Select the photo book size
To launch the Bonusprint photo book web app, go to www.bonusprint.co.uk/products/photo-books and select the size you’d like. Prices start from £9.99 for the smallest Landscape S size (at the bottom of the page). You can filter the list of options using the buttons at the top of the page.
Step 3: Confirm the photo book’s details
The next page gives more information about your chosen photo book. You can’t change the photo book size once you’ve started creating it, so check this information carefully before clicking Create your book now. When the next page opens, click Make your photo book online and wait while the web app loads.
Step 4: Do you want a photo cover?
The first choice to make is whether to get a plain or photo cover. Photo covers cost extra, so note of the new price at the bottom-right of the window if you select one. Click the OK button to continue.
Step 5: Upload your photos
You need to upload your photos before you can start placing them on pages, so click the Import photos button at the left of the app window. Browse to your photos on your computer and select them. Don’t worry if all the photos aren’t in the same folder — you can repeat this step to upload more photos as often as you like.
Your photos may take some time to upload, depending on their size and your internet connection. A progress bar at the bottom left of the app window shows how the upload is going.
Step 6: Use auto-fill to place your photos
The quickest way to create a photo book is with the Auto fill option on the left of the window. This automatically places the photos in the book using the default page layout. This won’t necessarily give the best layout, but it’s quicker than placing each photo by hand and you can adjust the layouts afterwards. Click the second Auto fill button on the pop-up window to continue.
Step 7: Save your work
Before going any further, it’s worth saving your photo book in case the web app, or your computer, crashes. Click the Save button at the top of the web app window and login with your existing details, or click the Register as a new customer option. You’ll then be able to re-open the photo book whenever you return to the web app.
Step 8: Check and adjust the page layouts
Look through your photo book using the Next page / Previous page buttons to see how your photos have been placed. If a layout isn’t suitable, click the layout options button at the top corner of each page to cycle between the different options. This doesn’t affect the number of photos on the page, only their size and position.
Step 9: Remove and move photos
If there are too many photos on a page for the layout to be practical, remove one or more of them by clicking each one to select it and clicking the Delete icon on the toolbar that pops up. The photo is removed from the page and you’ll need to drag it to a new position later — see step 12.
You can then resize or drag the other photos around (use your keyboard’s arrow keys for more accurate positioning), or cycle through the layouts again to see which one now gives the best fit.
Step 10: Alter a photo’s appearance
The pop-up toolbar that appears also has options for zooming, rotating and flipping a photo. There are also options for applying special effects — though these are best created in a photo-editing application before you upload the photos to the web app, since Bonusprint’s are rather basic.
Step 11: Add some text to pages
Some pages may have a text box for adding a caption to a photo. You can move, resize and delete the box just like a photo, and add new boxes to pages using the Add text button at the top of the page. Font and colour options for a text box appear on its pop-up toolbar.
Step 12: Add more photos to pages
If you upload more photos, just drag them their thumbnails from the left of the app window to an empty photo placeholder. You can also add photos to an existing layout by clicking the Add placeholder button on the toolbar at the top of the app window. You can add more pages by clicking the Add pages, too.
Step 13: Preview the finished photo book
When you’ve added all your photos and are happy with the layouts, click the Enter preview mode button to see how it looks — but don’t forget to add a cover photo at the start of the book, if you chose this option. You can then leaf through a virtual copy of your photo book for a final check. if you need to make more changes, click the Exit preview mode button.
Step 14: Place your order
When you’re ready to place your order, click the Order this photo book button. You may be prompted to fix any errors (usually photos with a resolution that’s too low) before you go any further, else tick the box to indicate you’re happy with everything to continue.
Depending on the book style you chose, you may then be able to opt for glossy pages at an additional cost, plus a smaller copy of the book to give as a gift. You’ll need to enter your billing details to complete your order.